Today’s quick hits, June 11, 2019

Chinese imports down (Wall Street Journal): Chinese imports fell 8.5 percent in May from a year earlier, in part due to the country’s trade dispute with the U.S.

Heavy rains stall river transport (New York Times): Across many of the country’s rivers, water levels have risen so high after heavy rains that barges cannot navigate their shipments of grains, fertilizer, and construction supplies downriver.

Very large dead zone forecast (NOAA): Abnormally high spring rainfall in the Mississippi River watershed means “much larger nutrient loading” to the Gulf of Mexico and a dead zone of 7,800 square miles, roughly the size of Massachusetts and much larger than the five-year average.

NIFA votes on unionization (FERN’s Ag Insider): In a reaction to USDA plans to move their agency out of the Washington area, employees of the grant-making National Institute of Food and Agriculture are scheduled to vote Tuesday on whether to join a union for government workers.

Myers isn’t fit for NOAA, scientists say (Union of Concerned Scientists): Two scientists are calling on the Senate to reject Barry Myers’ nomination to lead the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration because during his tenure at AccuWeather, women employees reported rampant sexual harassment at the company.

Packing plant a boon for rural jobs (AP): With Prestage Foods ramping up employment at its new pork packing plant in northern Iowa, analysts say the processor will create an economic boomlet in a region with a longstanding decline in population.