Today’s quick hits, March 26, 2019

Electric co-ops plug into solar energy (E&E News): Rural electric cooperatives have dramatically reduced their reliance on coal-generated electricity—down 14 percentage points in three years—while benefitting for newly cost-competitive solar farms.

Food stamp cuts hit 43 percent of Puerto Ricans (Washington Post): Food stamp benefits in Puerto Rico are lower than on the mainland and now they are being scaled back because of a dispute involving Congress and the White House over providing additional funds.

‘Future 50 Foods’ (NPR): To assure plant diversity and the global food supply, the World Wildlife Fund and Knorr Foods launched the “Future 50 Foods” campaign to encourage people worldwide to eat a wider variety of foods; 12 plants and five animal sources provide 75 percent of the food now consumed.

Alternatives left on the shelf (Civil Eats): County agricultural commissioners routinely defer to pest-control advisors and other third parties and infrequently use their authority to decide if a safer alternative is available or whether mitigation measures are sufficient when they decide whether to approve a permit to apply restricted pesticides.

Farm transitions are tricky (Harvest Public Media/New Food Economy): The hardest conversation for a farm family is how to move the new generation into the driver’s seat while the older generation still has a hand on the steering wheel.

Floods slow U.S. ethanol production (Reuters): Flooding in the western Corn Belt forced ethanol makers to slow production or shut down plants that produce 13 percent of U.S. ethanol, due to flooded rail lines and stranded supplies of corn to make the biofuel.