Today’s quick hits, Aug. 20, 2020

Price-gouging case is dismissed: A state court judge in Texas dismissed a lawsuit filed by the state attorney general that accused egg producer Cal-Maine Foods of price gouging early this year when the coronavirus became a pandemic. (Food Dive)

Maxwell sues Smithfield over hog deal: A day after announcing it would cease operations in the new year, Maxwell Foods, which has a network of contract hog farms, filed a lawsuit in North Carolina accusing Smithfield Foods of trying to drive it out of business despite a 1994 agreement to pay favorable prices for Maxwell’s hogs. (National Hog Farmer)

USDA expands prevented planting: Beginning in 2021, the USDA will alter its prevented-planting rules to make it easier for growers to qualify for crop insurance payments. The change will include nationwide use of a “1 in 4” provision that allows coverage of land where a crop has been planted in at least one of the four most recent years. (Risk Management Agency)

‘Stock Cropper’ in Iowa: Zack Smith, a farmer in north-central Iowa, is trying a one-acre experiment of a system called Stock Cropper, which alternates 12 rows of corn with 20-foot strips of pasture. The pasture¬†is grazed, a section at a time, by a mix of goats, sheep, hogs, and chickens, which will enrich the soil while gaining weight for market. (Storm Lake Times)

Food journalists group to disband: The Association of Food Journalists, founded in 1974 to promote responsible and independent food journalism, announced it will dissolve on Dec. 31, an indirect victim of the downsizing of the news industry. (AFJ)