Today’s quick hits, April 23, 2019

China’s swine flu epidemic bigger than acknowledged (New York Times): The epidemic of highly contagious African swine fever, almost always fatal to hogs, has infected more pigs and in more places in China, the world’s largest hog producer, than the government has reported.

School lunch debt a ballooning problem (New Food Economy): There’s no official count but surveys of school districts, news stories and anecdotal accounts say school lunch debt is rising, creating problems for schools and parents.

Ohio county sues EPA over Lake Erie pollution (Toledo Blade): The Ohio county that includes Toledo accused the EPA in a lawsuit of “longstanding and indefensible failure” to enforce clean water laws and address the algal blooms that appeared in western Lake Erie nearly every summer since 1995.

U.S. ag sales to Japan at risk (DTN/Progressive Farmer): U.S. food and ag exports to Japan are “increasingly disadvantaged” because of Japanese trade pacts that grant other nations lower tariffs, said a coalition of farm and shipping groups. They urged the administration to quickly negotiate a new trade agreement with Japan.

Livestock programs are enhanced (USDA): The Department of Agriculture announced changes to insurance programs that it said will provide more efficient coverage for livestock and dairy producers.

Corn planting lags (USDA): Farmers in Iowa and Illinois, the two largest corn-growing states in the nation, have planted far less corn than usual for late April and five others have planted no corn at all in a wet spring; overall, 6 percent of corn acreage has been planted vs. the five-year average of 12 percent.