Today’s quick hits, March 15, 2019

Adding an ‘I’ to Ag Day (White House): Official presidential proclamations routinely use dry and predictable prose, but President Trump used the first-person pronoun to highlight his work on trade pacts and the farm bill in a proclamation for National Agriculture Day.

California, after years, is drought-free (Los Angeles Times): After a wet winter and for the first time since 2011, all of California is officially free of prolonged drought, although two relatively small areas are listed as “abnormally dry” on the latest U.S. Drought Monitor map.

A pitch for ag biotech (Senate Agriculture): Three dozen senators, including Senate Agriculture chairman Pat Roberts, asked President Trump, when he meets with Chinese President Xi Jinping to resolve the trade war, to “continue to prioritize a timely, transparent, and science-based system for the approval of agricultural biotechnology products.”

More food recalls due to ‘foreign matter’ (New Food Economy): The USDA says 18 percent of food recalls are a result of foreign matter, such as metal shavings or plastic, in the food. The agency has offered new “best practices” advice for companies about how to respond to complaints of foreign objects in their products.

Five more ethanol waivers (DTN/Progressive Farmer): The EPA granted five additional retroactive “hardship” waivers to exempt small refineries from having to comply with the ethanol mandate for 2017 sales, raising the total for that year to 34 waivers and sparking protests from the ethanol industry.