Need to catch up? Here are some stories you might have missed this week.
1. Is a farm bill conference on the way? House lawmakers this week narrowly passed a bill authorizing a nearly $40 billion cut to food stamp programs, paving the way for a farm bill conference with the Senate. Conferees have not yet been named.
2. Slower regulatory approvals a hurdle for ag. Monsanto's Chief Technology Officer Robb Fraley, in an interview with Penton/Farm Progress, suggests the delayed release for the company's dicamba-tolerant Roundup Ready 2 Extend trait in corn and soybeans is frustrating for farmers who need the technology now.
3. USDA says GMO alfalfa contamination a "commercial issue." The USDA announced this week that it would not investigate the discovery of genetically modified material in a non-GM alfalfa field in Washington. The contamination – potentially caused by either cross pollination or direct contamination of purchased seed – could affect international trade, anti-GM groups say. However, GM alfalfa was approved for commercial use by the USDA in 2011.
4. Ag industry observes farm safety week. The International Society for Agricultural Safety and Health this week kicked off the National Farm Safety and Health Week, Sept. 15-21. The 2013 theme is "Working together for safety in agriculture." With harvest knocking on the door, here's a look at three ways to improve grain bin safety.
5. Wouldn't it be nice to avoid the stress and cost of dehorning? Dairy farmers may be in luck – researchers at the University of Minnesota have discovered a gene-editing technique that may do away with the hassle and cost of dehorning dairy animals. The technique is similar to selective breeding, but the process is much speedier.
6. House committee approves waterways bill. The House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Thursday unanimously approved the Water Resources Reform and Development Act of 2013, authorizing waterways infrastructure changes that could provide benefits to U.S. farmers and grain shippers.
7. Do consumers trust the food system? Not completely, according to a recent Oklahoma State University survey. Findings conclude that 4 in 10 have "lost trust in the food system" – even while Americans' views of farming have risen favorably from a year ago, according to an August survey by Gallup.
And your bonus:
Man, I need to wash this cheese brine off my car! That refrain might become commonplace this winter in Milwaukee, Wis., where city administrators are considering a pilot program that will mix cheese brine with rock salt to combat icy buildup on roads and bridges. Though it's just a trial, previous alternatives to rock salt haven't been well-received.