Today’s quick hits, December 19, 2018

Restaurant rollup continues (Nation’s Restaurant News): There were more than 40 mergers and acquisitions in the restaurant sector in 2018, including several sales of fast-casual chains to private equity firms.

More hurdles for fake burger (Bloomberg): Impossible Foods awaits a final FDA clearance for one of its ingredients before its faux ground beef can be sold to customers to cook at home.

China buys at least five cargoes of soybeans (AgriCensus): Market sources say Chinese state-owned businesses, in a break from the trade war, bought as many as 14 shiploads of U.S. soybeans, continuing a  string of purchases that began last week.

More hazelnut orchards than vineyards (Salem Statesman Journal): Thanks to development of blight-resistant varieties, hazelnut orchards are spreading across the Willamette Valley, covering twice as much land as vineyards.

Ernst, Perdue most vulnerable on Senate Ag (Sabato’s Crystal Ball): Republican Senators Joni Ernst of Iowa and David Perdue of Georgia are the most vulnerable of the eight Senate Agriculture Committee members facing re-election in 2020.

Trump tariff payments still a week or two out (AgriTalk): Agriculture Undersecretary Bill Northey said it takes a week or two to issue trade bailout payments, so some producers may not see their second-round payment until January and if there’s a shutdown, “timing could be disrupted.”