Today’s quick hits, August 8, 2018

A Florida candidate stands by Big Sugar (Tampa Bay Times): Taking donations from Big Sugar has become a political liability in Florida since the industry was fingered as possible cause of toxic algae blooms—but one gubernatorial candidate is still taking the industry’s donations.

Scaling back as algal blooms increased (Miami Herald): Florida cut back on environmental agencies and reduced funding for water-quality monitoring over the past decade, leaving the state less prepared for the algal bloom in Lake Okeechobee and the red tide on the state’s west coast this year.

What does it pay to work in a slaughterhouse? (Daily Yonder): A new data set reveals how much slaughterhouse workers are paid in different states. Nebraska offers the highest wages, while in parts of Alabama, workers earn significantly less.

Worst drought in a generation (Queensland Country Life): Drought across eastern Australia is forcing liquidation of cattle herds and deteriorating crop outlooks.

Cricket wrangling. For real (Modern Farmer): Cricket-based foods are on the shelves of major grocery chains, so “the idea of home cricket production is slowly moving from a novelty idea to something, well, real,” says a step-by-step description of backyard cricket farming.

Found: Corn that gets nitrogen from the air ( Researchers identified a corn variety, first observed in a field near Oaxaca, Mexico, that acquires an essential fertilizer, nitrogen, by feeding sugars to beneficial bacteria, which take up nitrogen from the air and pass it to the corn plant.

Chinese researchers conspired to steal rice technology (Justice Department): Two rice researchers from China are accused of conspiracy to steal valuable seeds of new U.S. rice varieties in order to acquire proprietary rice production technology.