Today’s quick hits, March 6, 2023

USDA names diversity officer: Secretary Tom Vilsack announced the appointment of L’Tonya Davis, an FDA official, as USDA’s first chief diversity and inclusion officer. (USDA)

Half drought-free: The remarkably wet winter in California has lifted half of the state out of drought; three months ago, 99 percent of the state was under drought conditions ranging from moderate to exceptional. (Los Angeles Times)

Whisky fungus ‘on steroids’: A fungus that feeds on alcohol fumes “has coated homes, cars, patio furniture and road signs” near the Jack Daniel’s distillery and barrelhouses in Tennessee, and is so persistent one protesting business owner said the fungus “now is on steroids.” (New York Times)

E15 proposal draws criticism: The EPA proposed to remove a barrier to summertime sale of E15 in eight Midwestern and Plains states effective April 28, 2024, but advocates said sales should be allowed this summer too. (Growth Energy)

Civil rights nominee advances: The Senate Agriculture Committee cleared for a floor vote the nomination of Margo Schlanger to serve as Agriculture assistant secretary for civil rights. (Senate Ag)