Today’s quick hits, June 11, 2018

Farmers more optimistic (Purdue): The Ag Economy Barometer rebounded by 16 points to its highest reading since January 2017, fueled by a significant upturn in expectations of better times in the year ahead. Thirty percent of farmers expect their operation will be better off financially a year from now, a gain of 7 points in a month.

GOP paints NRDC as Chinese agent (InsideClimate News):¬†Republican leaders of the House Natural Resources Committee will probe whether the Natural Resources Defense Council, a critic of Trump environmental policies, is under “undue influence” from China.

Smokey Bear wants you to promote urban wood (USA Today): The Forest Service, known for tips to prevent forest fires, runs a “matchmaking” effort to connect nonprofits that employ former prisoners to salvage wood from abandoned buildings in big cities with companies looking for reclaimed lumber.

The ‘citrus archeologist’ of Italy (Atlas Obscura): Citrus expert Paolo Galeotti, director of the parks and gardens office of the Tuscany Museum Center, helped classify and name 100 species and varieties of citrus and rebuilt the glory of the gardens of Villa di Castello, once owned by the Medicis.

Wendy’s turns to hothouse tomatoes (The Packer): Fast-food chain Wendy’s says by early 2019 all the tomatoes used at its U.S. and Canadian outlets will be vine-ripened and grown in greenhouses in Canada, Mexico and the U.S. The Coalition of Immokalee Workers said Wendy’s sidestepped calls by the farmworker group to join its Fair Food Program.

Trade trip to Japan (USDA): The U.S. agriculture undersecretary for trade, Ted McKinney, will lead a trade mission to Japan, the No. 5 market for U.S. ag exports, this week with 14 state agricultural officials and four dozen businesses and ag groups taking part. The goal is to expand sales under current trade rules rather than negotiate new ones.