Today’s quick hits, June 13, 2022

HPAI toll nears 40 million: With the discovery of bird flu in two Colorado flocks totaling 1.98 million chickens, U.S. losses to highly pathogenic avian influenza in domestic flocks rose to 39.92 million birds since early February. (USDA)

Burning crops amid drought: Short of water, farmers in California’s Central Valley increasingly are uprooting vineyards and orchards, and setting the brush on fire because it’s cheaper, although more polluting, than running it through a chipper. (Los Angeles Times)

AOC endorses Maloney challenger: New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez endorsed a fellow progressive Democrat, state Sen. Alessandra Biaggi, over centrist Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney, chairman of the House Democratic campaign committee and Agriculture Committee member, in the June 28 primary. (New York Times)

Smithfield closes Farmer John: Citing the rising cost of doing business in California, Smithfield Foods said it would close its Farmer John slaughterhouse and associated hog farm in suburban Los Angeles in early 2023 and may “exit its farms in Arizona and California.” (City News Service)

Farm equipment sales skid: Sales of agricultural tractors and combines during May were 14 percent below their year-ago levels, with supply chain disruptions the primary issue. (Association of Equipment Manufacturers)