Today’s quick hits, July 29, 2019

Deforestation picks up speed in Amazon (New York Times): More than 1,330 square miles of Amazonian forest have been cleared since pro-development Jair Bolsonaro became president of Brazil in January, a 39-percent increase from the first seven months of 2018, says a government agency.

House passes farm bankruptcy bill (Delgado): The House passed and sent to the Senate HR 2336, which would raise to $10 million the amount of debt that can be handled in a Chapter 12 bankruptcy reorganization — “increased flexibility” that will help farmers stay afloat, said sponsor Rep. Antonio Delgado, a New York Democrat.

Huge Roundup award slashed to $87 million (Washington Post): A California state judge reduced to $86.7 million the $2 billion that jurors awarded in a lawsuit that blamed the weedkiller Roundup for causing cancer in Alva and Alberta Pilliod, saying the $2 billion exceeded legal precedent.

Crop insurance not a slam-dunk (Minneapolis Star Tribune): The indemnity for a prevented-planting claim under crop insurance may do little more than offset the costs a farmer incurred in rent, fertilizer and pesticides, says an insurance agent in Minnesota.

The public and gene editing (Harvest Public Media): As researchers look into advanced gene-editing technology, they have to decide how to inform the public about the pluses and minuses of the science or risk a revolt like the opposition to GMO foods.

Seven win science honors for USDA (USDA): Seven researchers and scientists working at USDA or funded by USDA grants, including a microbiologist studying antibiotic resistance in hogs, are winners of the Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers.