Need to catch up? Here are some stories you might have missed this week.
1. Farm bill food fight unlikely to cease soon. House Democrats this week renewed their call to House Speaker John Boehner to avoid passing steep cuts to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program. And they may get their wish – time is running out for Congress to act on the "split" farm bill legislation.
2. Mmm, tender. USDA has plans to tell consumers just how tender a certain cut of meat will be by adding a USDA tender or USDA very tender certification right on the label. The agency said tenderness adds to overall consumer satisfaction and eating experience.
3. GM wheat's cold case. Washington State University researchers say in testing of hundreds of wheat varieties, seeds containing Monsanto's Roundup Ready trait that was discovered in an Oregon field earlier this year have yet to turn up. Neither USDA nor Monsanto has identified any more GM seeds either.
4. Merck turning up heat on Zilmax. Merck Animal Health, maker of cattle feed additive Zilmax, says it will review claims that the beta-agonist causes mobility problems in cattle, an accusation that last week spurred Tyson's decision to stop accepting animals that have been fed the supplement.
5. ID of new virus could help researchers rule out BSE. A newly discovered neurological virus in cattle and the test used to determine its presence could help researchers weed out BSE more easily. It does not pose a threat to human health, but its genome is particularly useful for veterinarians and researchers for diagnosing other, more remote viruses.
6. What does it take to raise a bundle of joy? In rural America, it doesn't take as much cash as it might elsewhere – about $10,000-$12,000 per year, depending on the age of the child, a USDA report finds.
7. The bootlegger's son has gone legit. Even with 200 dry counties still on the books across the United States, moonshine has jumped from the deep woods to the shelves of Walmart. And producers, once with a perpetual ear to the ground, are no longer running from the feds, says Western Farm Press' Chris Bennett.
And your bonus:
Is a handshake enough? For most, it used to be. But higher land values, insurance issues and the cost of long-term investments may have you thinking twice about your cash-rent agreements.