Need to catch up? Here are some stories you might have missed this week.
1. Farm expenditures are up. U.S. farmers spent a record-high $351.8 billion on agricultural production in 2012, a 10.4% increase from 2011, according to the National Ag Statistics Service's Farm Production Expenditures report.
2. RFS volume obligations finalized. The U.S. EPA Tuesday finalized 2013 Renewable Fuels Standard volumes, keeping the total at 16.55 billion gallons. That's the same overall volume proposed in February, though it cuts cellulosic volumes by more than half.
3. Farmers markets gaining in popularity. The USDA, during National Farmers Market Week, Aug. 4-10, announced that the number of markets recorded in the national directory has climbed over the past five years from 5,000 in 2008 to 8,144 in 2013. That translates into a pretty big return for local farmers.
4. Farm bill amendment not appreciated by all. The Humane Society of the United States in recent weeks has been rallying the troops to do away with an amendment from Rep. Steve King, R-Iowa, in the 2013 Farm Bill that would prevent states from enacting laws that place conditions on how agricultural goods are raised or grown within the state's borders for sale in other states.
5. There's no shortage of ag jobs: Agriculture has been working to modernize its image and attract more workers for ag-related jobs and industries, says USA Today writer Christopher Doering.
6. House adds to legislative to-do list. Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure Chairman Bill Shuster, R-Penn., announced that the Water Resources Reform and Development Act -- legislation that could improve waterway transportation infrastructure -- will likely be marked up shortly after the August recess and be up for full consideration in the House by October.
7. Top five things kids learn at the fair: It's state or county fair week for many folks, bringing to mind the many lessons that kids can learn by participating in 4-H or FFA. It's a true 'learning by doing' experience, blogger says.
And your bonus:
'Tractor Boy' Max Armstrong has an app for you tractor lovers out there. Vintage tractor enthusiasts can test their tractor trivia skills, enjoy stories of classic machines and more, on the go, with a new free smartphone and tablet app from farm broadcaster Max Armstrong. Check it out.