Need to catch up? Here are some stories you might have missed this week.
1. Environmental group has crop insurance suggestions. The Natural Resources Defense Council this week proposed a voluntary addition to the Federal Crop Insurance Program that would lower premiums for farmers who no-till or use cover crops. The change, they said, would enhance soil quality and water filtration.
2. Net farm income forecast higher. The USDA Wednesday released latest figures on net farm income, projecting a 6% increase from 2012's estimate of $113.8 billion to $120.6 billion for 2013. The increase, if realized, would be the highest inflation-adjusted amount since 1973.
3. Cargill cuts off Zilmax-fed cattle. Beef packer Cargill announced this week it will suspend further purchases of cattle fed the beta-agonist Zilmax – pending its review by product manufacturer Merck – and will have all Zilmax-fed animals out of the supply chain by September's end.
4. Protect the pollinators. A coalition of ag groups this week released an educational guide to help producers avoid potential damage to non-target organisms – like pollinators – when handling and using seed treatments or treated seed.
5. GAO finds potential farm payment snafus. According to a Government Accountability Office audit released this week, the Farm Service Agency and Natural Resources Conservation Service may have inadvertently provided farm program payments to recipients who exceeded qualifying income limits.
6. Activist groups want producer info. Several animal rights and environmental activist groups Wednesday filed a suit against the Environmental Protection Agency for abandoning a proposed rule that would have allowed the agency to collect personal information from "factory farms." The groups say EPA is "turning a blind eye" to animal feeding operations.
7. Ogallala aquifer in trouble? Kansas State researchers say the High Plains Aquifer – also known as the Ogallala – could be in trouble. A key water source for much of the High Plains, the aquifer could be facing 69% depletion in the next 50 years if current trends continue.
And your bonus:
CME group keeps commodities interesting for kids. CME Group – owners of the Chicago Board of Trade and the Kansas City Board of Trade – has teamed with 4-H to create the Commodity Carnival, a game that demonstrates how much farmers spend to create a product and how much they eventually make.