Need to catch up? Here are some stories you might have missed this week.
1. There's GE glyphosate-resistant wheat out there. Well, that's something we all knew. But what the USDA didn't know is that it was actually still growing in Oregon, nearly 10 years after Monsanto closed efforts to commercialize the Roundup Ready trait in wheat. An expanded investigation is ongoing, but industry says there could be trade repercussions.
2. Farmers keep on truckin': Planting progress was promising this week – planted corn acreage has now jumped to 86%, an increase over last week's rise to 71%. Which, might we add, was a huge jump from 28% the week before. But next week might not be so pretty as rains have covered most of the Corn Belt since late last week.
3. Smithfield inks Chinese pork deal. Smithfield Foods and Shuanghui International, majority shareholder of China's largest meat processing company, announced an impending merger for later this year. The $4.7 billion transaction marks a move that could offer some benefits – and risks – to both sides.
4. U.S. BSE status upgraded. The World Organization for Animal Health this week approved an upgrade for the U.S. BSE status to "negligible" – and that can mean more opportunities for the U.S. meat trade. Negligible risk is the lowest risk level a country can have.
Side note: Those two stories are actually related. Want to know why? Stop by Farm Futures editor Mike Wilson's blog Obama Must Leverage Smithfield Deal for insights on the global meat trade.
5. Urban ag about to get easier in Boston. In Boston, Mass., city zoning has prevented many agricultural and horticultural ventures within city bounds, but a new amendment to zoning rules could change that. Under the new rules, farms would be required to stay within size limitations but certain enterprises, like egg-laying hens and honey production, would be allowed in some areas.
6. Shout out to the school bus drivers. Here's a trip down memory lane for more than a handful of rural farm kids: riding the school bus. But Paula Mohr, The Farmer editor, says the school year isn't complete without a thank you to the driver.
7. Consumers shifting focus in the grocery store. If you have noticed a few more Aldi or Save A Lot discount grocers popping up, there's a reason why: consumers are shifting from mid-range products to either value priced or luxury products. But that can also mean a growing market for value-added niche products from small farms.
And your bonus:
Chevy C-10 farm truck turns showpiece. If you are a little bit of a gearhead you might enjoy this one – a California farmer took his family's farm truck, destined for the junkyard, to a new level. Enlisting the help of a local customs shop, the heirloom turned into a pretty fancy daily driver.
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