Need to catch up? Here are some stories you might have missed this week.
1. U.S – Europe trade deal moving ahead. As first round of talks on the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership kicked off last Friday, ag trade experts say it marked the beginning of a process that could result in the largest trade deal in the world. But hurdles exist to expanding trade with the EU, including regulations on meat, biotechnology, labeling and food safety.
2. Researchers look for PEDV test. As Porcine Epidemic Diarrhea Virus sweeps through U.S. farms, Ohio State University researchers are looking to develop a test for the disease. More than 330 cases have been confirmed in 15 states since the virus was identified in May.
3. Congress keeps chugging on farm bill. The Senate this week dodged roadblocks on the road to conferencing the farm bill, first calling on the House to deliver its bill to the Senate, thus making it eligible for conference, then taking up the House bill, to approve or amend it, then send it back to the House requesting a conference. However, the House may work on a nutrition title before moving to the formal conference process.
4. Beef Checkoff taking on a budget cut this year. The Beef Checkoff, which assesses a $1 fee on each cattle sale transaction, will be operating on a smaller budget for fiscal 2014 – but it's not all bad news, says Beef Producer blogger Andy Vance.
5. Americans are familiar with expensive show livestock, but pigeons? Pigeon races are big business in China, with some of the best pigeons fetching hundreds of thousands of dollars. And it's also spurred a secondary industry that U.S. grain farmers might be interested in.
6. Senate addresses futures markets in CFTC hearing. The Senate Committee on Agriculture Wednesday heard from a panel of market stakeholders during a hearing to reauthorize the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, addressing issues with recent brokerage failures and potential changes to the CFTC structure to address oversight concerns.
7. GE crops still going strong. According to USDA data released earlier this month, genetically engineered crops still have a big stronghold in the U.S., with herbicide-tolerant soybeans leading the way among Bt and herbicide-tolerant corn and cotton. See the USDA graphics that explain the break down among all crops.
And your bonus:
Backyard chicken overload. Animal shelters are seeing an influx of unwanted hens and roosters in municipal areas where chicken-keeping is legalized, largely because their owners underestimate the care chickens need, according to NBC News' JoNel Aleccia.