Here's a look at a few stories you might have missed this week.
1. The Plains suffers and the Midwest drowns. Mother Nature is not cutting anyone any slack this spring. The latest drought monitor shows continuing drought – even some expansion – in wheat-growing areas of the Plains, while portions of the Midwest are free and clear. Except there's another problem: major flooding along the Mississippi and Illinois Rivers.
2. GMO labeling proposition resurfaces. It wasn't too long ago that an amendment to the 2012 Senate Farm Bill proposed federal labeling of genetically modified foods and foods containing GM ingredients. But this week, a bipartisan, bicameral group of legislators is proposing the same thing – this time as standalone legislation. It's anyone's guess what will play out, but a similar California ballot measure last November failed by only a slim margin. Conversely, the 2012 Farm Bill amendment failed 26-73.
3. Food Safety Modernization Act deadline will be more concrete. A few consumer groups went to bat in a California federal court this week to push the Food and Drug Administration into committing to a real deadline for FSMA implementation. The judge ruled in favor of their complaint, and by May 20, 2013, the FDA must have a better handle on FSMA deadlines.
4. CME selling KC Board of Trade Building. The CME Group this week listed the Kansas City Board of Trade building, located at 4800 Main Street in Kansas City, for sale. The sale will be the second large real estate move the group has made in recent years – both the north and south towers of the Chicago Board of Trade building were sold in April, 2012, for $151.1 million.
5. Brazilian urbanites view farming as important occupation. A survey of 600 Brazilian urbanites revealed that 81% of them believe farming is important to the national economy. But Farm Futures blogger James Thompson wonders, if Americans were asked the same questions, would the results be the same?
6. Turning a liability into an asset. A USDA commitment this week to support construction of methane digesters and other programs to create renewable energy from unused farm waste will help farmers turn a liability – ahem, manure – into a usable by-product: electricity.
7. What some would give to have a hog's diet. Ok, maybe not. But one Las Vegas hog farmer makes sure his 2,500 pigs dine on the best – thousands of pounds of leftovers from Vegas' finest casinos. No corn, no problem!
And here's your bonus:
Reflective safety vests are protecting rural Amish and Mennonite children. More than 2,000 reflective vests have been donated to rural Anabaptist children in Pennsylvania to keep them safe while walking along roadsides – a reminder that safety in rural and agricultural areas is paramount for pedestrians, farm equipment and motorists.
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