Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Video Highlights California Farmer’s Struggles With Federal Regulators on Water Issues

WASHINGTON, D.C., Dec. 22, 2015 – A new video produced by the American Farm Bureau Federation highlights the struggles a California farm family has encountered with federal water regulations. The video also illustrates how the climate regarding water regulations will likely become much worse and encompass the entire nation under the widely-reviled Waters of the U.S. rule.

As the enforcer of water regulations, the Army Corps of Engineers has told fourth-generation tree, vine and wheat grower John Duarte, a member of Farm Bureau in California, that he broke the law simply by plowing his land in rural Tehama County, California. Experts say that under the EPA’s WOTUS rule, the same type of regulatory enforcement could become commonplace, threatening farmers across the nation. EPA has said that farmers have no need to worry about the rule because normal farming is exempt from regulation, but what’s happening to the Duarte family shows how the EPA and the Corps work around that exemption.

“The Corps and EPA aren’t trying to micromanage farmers. They’re trying to stop farmers,” Duarte said. “They’re trying to turn our farm land into habitat preservation. They’re simply trying to chase us off of our land.”

Duarte decided to take his case to court, which was met by a counter-suit from the U.S. Justice Department, seeking millions of dollars in penalties, basically for plowing his field, according to Tony Francois, an attorney with the Pacific Legal Foundation, which is representing Duarte.

“Anyone who’s being told not to worry about the new WOTUS rule, they should be thinking about this case,” Francois said. “The very thing they are telling you not to worry about is what they are suing Duarte over – just plowing.”

The AFBF video about the Duarte case can be found at: http://bit.ly/1OIV48V.

Additional information about the Duarte case can be found at: https://www.pacificlegal.org/cases/duarte-nursery


Washington, D.C. – December 22, 2015 – According to the American Pizza Community (APC), pizza is the shared meal choice among many families during New Year’s festivities when most families are together.  From the convenience of ordering a fresh, hot meal to being a crowd pleaser, most family gatherings and celebratory occasions are marked with orders from local pizza stores including New Year’s Eve and Day.

With more than 34 million ways to order a pizza, it is a communal meal that is meant to be shared, customizable and liked broadly.  In fact, 85 percent of pizza today is consumed at home as families turn to the convenience of delivery and carry-out to share family meals.

Pizza remains a top choice because it is convenient and unique – made-to-order, handmade, freshly-baked, high-quality ingredients.  Consider a few pizza industry fast facts:
There are 3 billion pizzas sold in the U.S. each year.
There are more than 73,000 pizzerias in the U.S.
94 percent of the U.S. population eats pizza (Parade Magazine 2012).
Americans rank pizza fourth on the most-craved food list (American Dairy Association random-sampling survey).
The average family eats pizza at home 30 times a year (PMQ Monthly).
The most popular days for ordering pizza are Super Bowl Sunday, Halloween, the day before Thanksgiving, New Year's Eve and New Year's Day.

Lux Research Highlights Top 10 Innovative Companies From 2015

Brain-computer interfaces, advanced water treatment, cybersecurity, and more, present new business opportunities based on Lux's ongoing emerging technology scouting

BOSTON, MA – December 22, 2015 – Leading emerging technology research firm Lux Research profiled 1,189 companies across 20 different emerging technology domains during 2015 as part of its ongoing intelligence services.  Drawing on the deep domain expertise of its analysts, Lux Research uses primary research to provide information and analysis on firms developing emerging technologies that impact global megatrends like energy and infrastructure, health and wellness, and information meets matter. 

Each firm gets a “Lux Take” that ranges from “Strong Caution” to “Strong Positive,” to provide a bottom-line assessment of its prospects, with a “Wait and See” rating for companies that still face too much uncertainty for a definitive call.  As the end of the year approaches, Lux analysts selected the 10 companies profiled in 2015 that are poised to make a significant impact on their target industries.

1.    NeuroSky (Positive – BioElectonics; Sensors) -- NeuroSky develops a number of bioelectrical signal detection and processing systems, most notably its electroencephalography (EEG) sensors that have enabled mind-reading brain-computer interface devices like Uncle Milton's Star Wars Force Trainer – and will also enable future diagnostic and monitoring solutions as health care shifts to digital technologies.

2.    Organica Water (Positive – Water) -- In addition to providing significant reductions in energy consumption, sludge production, and overall footprint for wastewater treatment, Organica builds low-cost greenhouses around its treatment plants to reduce odor, allowing it to locate plants closer to wastewater sources and enabling cost-effective reuse within cities.

3.    PFP Cybersecurity (Strong Positive – Connected Objects and Platforms) -- PFP uses a physics-based approach to detecting cyber threats by analyzing the electrical patterns of processors, ideal for securing for Internet of Things (IoT) devices that can't support modern security software or are limited by memory or compute constraints.

4.    Norsk Titanium (Positive – Advanced Materials) -- 3D printing is best known for producing customized but pricey plastic pieces – Norsk's plasma arc deposition allows it to 3D-print parts from titanium that are up to 70% cheaper than those made via conventional machining methods, due to greater material utilization.

5.    Nutrigenomix (Positive – Food & Nutrition) -- Offering genetic testing to provide individualized recommendations on seven specific dietary components, Nutrigenomix is a step in the right direction for personalized nutrition.

6.    Fulcrum BioEnergy (Positive – Alternative Fuels) -- Biojet fuel and renewable diesel are going to be major plays in 2016 and Fulcrum is well positioned to make both fuels from municipal solid waste (MSW) – it has strong partnerships along its entire value chain, and is the only Fischer-Tropsch biojet process developer with proven production at some scale.

7.    Zerlux (Positive – Exploration and Production) -- The use of lasers in the oil and gas industry isn't widely known, but Hungarian player Zerlux is a leader, with high-powered lasers for well stimulation, hard-scale removal, and subsea pipeline remediation.

8.    Hillcrest Labs (Positive – Sensors) -- As the number of sensors in products from cars to mobile phones continues to grow, sensor fusion – integrating the interpretation of data from different sensors – is becoming more critical; strategic relationships with Bosch, Atmel, and ARM position Hillcrest to be a dominant player in this market.

9.    ENS Europe (Wait and See – Intelligent Buildings, Sustainable Building Materials) -- More efficient electrostatic filters from ENS Europe can help clean indoor air, much like a HEPA filter does, but the technology has the potential to scale up to clean smog and address other city-wide air quality issues. 

10.  AgDNA
(Positive – Agro Innovation) -- Finding successful business models for precision agriculture has been challenging, but AgDNA has been able to get traction licensing its technology – which integrates data from existing equipment into a decision-support system for growers – to OEMs like John Deere.

See the list of companies that made “Honorable Mention