Today’s quick hits, June 24, 2019

Chinese ag official elected as FAO leader (The Hagstrom Report): Qu Dongyu, China’s vice minister of agriculture and rural affairs, was elected to a four-year term beginning on Aug. 1 as director-general of the UN Food and Agriculture Organization. He is the first Chinese and first communist to lead FAO.

A few rich people own a lot of land (New York Times): One hundred families own 42 million acres of land across the United States, up 50 percent since 2007, and their neighbors are uneasy about management practices that include road closures and a cut-off of timber sales.

Trump asks review of RFS waivers (Reuters): After getting complaints from farmers during a E15 victory visit to Iowa, President Trump has ordered a review of EPA’s stepped-up practice of exempting small-volume refineries, some owned by big oil companies, from compliance with the federal mandate to mix ethanol into gasoline.

Restoring the grasslands of the Southeast (Yale Environment 360): Before white settlement, native prairie and savanna covered vast areas from Maryland to Texas, a “great but forgotten grassland” region where scientists and local activists hope to restore imperiled habitat.

Conaway promotes Russell to chief of staff (House Agriculture): The Republican leader on the House Agriculture Committee, Mchael Conaway of Texas, announced that legislative director Matthew Russell will become his chief of staff with the departure of Mark Williams, who held the job for five years.

A dairy breakfast for 3,000 in Wisconsin (New York Times): In Bangor, farmers carry on the tradition of an annual dairy breakfast despite the steady decline of the state’s dairy industry.