1. CRP still a popular program. The USDA Conservation Reserve Program signed on 1.7 million acres during the 45th CRP general sign-up, which wrapped earlier this year. The 1.7 million acres were selected from a pool of 1.9 million acres and 28,000 offers from U.S. farmers and landowners.
2. Really, drought? Just as Midwesterners were ready to write it off, short-term dryness and drought has crept up on the parts of Iowa and Missouri that thought they had seen enough rain in the spring to easily fend off drought's attacks. But now, short-term moisture deficits are returning, just as corn pollenates.
3. At it again – food vs. fuel: The way forward for ethanol policies in the U.S. is no doubt a complex discussion, and one the House Energy Committee Subcommittee on Energy and Power this week attempted to wrangle. The committee invited livestock, grain and environmental interests to testify regarding the Renewable Fuel Standard in hopes of developing policies that can keep everyone happy. Here's what they had to say.
4. Nat Geo interested in animal rights. If you want to hear what both sides of the animal rights debate have to say about undercover videos, check out National Geographic's "Inside: Secret America" series on July 31 at 10 p.m. EDT. The show will feature commentary from Animal Agriculture Alliance's Kay Johnson Smith and members of activist group Mercy for Animals.
5. USDA is considering new ways to promote fruits and veggies. Pilot programs in locations across the U.S. are playing with ways to increase consumption of locally grown fruits and vegetables among Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program benefit recipients. So far it's working – a program in Michigan boasts 100,000 active customers, and it benefits local farmers. Click here to see how it works.
6. Ever wonder what happens to tripe, tongue and tendons? Beef offal meats are a hit with exporting countries and make up a surprisingly large portion of meats exported. In fact, virtually 100% of the U.S. livestock herd is represented in variety meat exports – some part of every animal is sold to international customers. Get the numbers on this important but often overlooked demand.
7. What can you do in the event of a farm burglary? The first step is to never walk into a crime in progress, notes Jimmy Jones of the Alabama Cooperative Extension service. Instead, prepare ahead of time: take a video of the contents of your outbuildings, consider monitoring systems and park tractors in inconspicuous places.
And your bonus:
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What does your favorite ice cream say about you? It's Ice Cream month – a perfect opportunity to a) thank our nation's dairy farmers and b) engage in personality evaluations based on your favorite ice cream flavors. So, Baskin-Robbins has a neat infographic to help you determine your personality. If you are impulsive and easily suggestible, there's a chance your favorite is vanilla. Check out the others here.