Today’s quick hits, Jan. 27, 2020

Wisconsin governor proposes rural package (Associated Press): After calling a special legislative session for this week, Gov. Tony Evers detailed an $8.5-million package of bills to help rural Wisconsin, which has lost a third of its dairy farms since 2011.

Western monarch butterfly at historic low (Bay Area News Group): Only 29,418 western monarch butterflies were tallied during an annual count along the California coast, the second year in a row that numbers were at an historic low.

Gates launches ag project (Devex): The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation will create a new nonprofit, dubbed Gates Ag One, to accelerate scientific breakthroughs to improve crop productivity for small farmers and help them adapt to climate change.

Scientists leave federal agencies (Washington Post): More than 1,600 federal scientists left the government during President Trump’s first two years in office, a drop of 1.5 percent, and one-fifth of the high-level appointee positions in science are vacant.

Settlement sought in Roundup cases (DTN/Progressive Farmer): Bayer said it was engaged in discussions with a court-appointed mediator about a possible settlement of lawsuits that allege its Roundup herbicide is to blame for cancer cases.

Maple syrup from the U.S. Northwest (Northwest News Network): Vermont is the top producer of maple syrup, but Neil McLeod has been producing syrup since 2011 in Washington State, tapping bigleaf maple trees native to the Pacific Coast.