Need to catch up? Here are some stories you might have missed this week.
1. It was a busy Farm Bill week. Yep, that's right – the House is at again, this time considering "farm-only" provisions in the Farm Bill and leaving the nutrition provisions behind (for now!). Lawmakers certainly weren't bashful about sharing their opinions on the split, but in the end votes tallied 216 for and 208 against, effectively passing the legislation Thursday afternoon.
2. USDA catching heat for COOL rule. Meat interests from the U.S. and Canada this week filed a lawsuit against the USDA to stop the recently announced Country of Origin Labeling rules from being fully implemented. The groups made three charges against the agency – click here to read more about them.
3. Senators largely skeptical of Smithfield's Chinese takeover. In a Senate Ag Committee hearing this week, Senators questioned Smithfield CEO Larry Pope on the company's purchase agreement with a Chinese food processor. Several other industry experts weighed in on the matter, too.
4. Mark your calendars for Ag Day. The Agriculture Council of America this week announced the date for the 41st annual National Agriculture Day as March 25, 2014. Scheduled events aim to increase awareness of the agriculture industry and its importance in providing food and fiber, professional opportunities and economic growth.
5. Illegal marijuana farming putting stress on legitimate farms. Illegal marijuana farming requires more than just catching criminals – it's also putting pressure on ecosystems due to illegal pesticide use and poses a threat to food safety, officials say.
6. Cow slaughter still reining in beef production. It appears the U.S. beef herd will get smaller again this year because of drought-induced, large beef cow slaughter in the first half of the year, an Oklahoma State livestock marketing specialist says. There are several contributing factors, but there is a potential to climb out of the declining herd – if a few things are accomplished, the specialist notes.
7. Drought expands slightly this week. Drought isn't slacking this week – it kept right on going, moving up a bit into the intermountain West and expanding into Arkansas, the U.S. Drought Monitor showed. And pasture and rangeland conditions aren't anything to call home about, either.
And your bonus:
Here's a video that makes you thankful for working machinery. Folks that farm know machinery doesn't always cooperate – and neither does Mother Nature. But thankfully this week when one didn't cooperate, the other did, and a Colorado farmer was able to save most of his burning field by digging a fire line and preventing more damage.
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