Today’s quick hits, May 14, 2018

Maryland’s crab-visa hangover (Wall Street Journal): More H-2B visas are being issued to address a work shortage in Maryland’s crab industry, but the workers may arrive too late for businesses to make up for lost time.

Plants as carbon suckers (Grist): The California Healthy Soils Initiative is paying farmers to use their land to pull carbon out of the air with steps such as planting alfalfa between rows of almond trees, “the first major utilitization of farms as state-sponsored carbon-sucking factories.”

Dems at risk on Senate Ag  (Roll Call): Four of the “10 most vulnerable senators in 2018” in Roll Call’s ranking are Democrats on the Senate Agriculture Committee: Joe Donnelly of Indiana (No. 3), Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota (No. 4), Sherrod Brown of Ohio (No. 9) and Bob Casey of Pennsylvania (No. 10). New York State Republican John Faso, at No. 5, is the only House Ag panelist on the “10 most vulnerable representatives” list.

White House to count ethanol exports toward RFS (Reuters): The administration will formally propose changes to the Renewable Fuel Standard that would allow ethanol exports to be counted toward the federal target for biofuel use.

Multi-tier hog accommodations (Reuters): As China continues to industrialize and standardize its hog production, companies are building multi-floor “hog hotels” that can house a thousand animals per floor.

You say potato, I say sustainable (Janesville Gazette): In south-central Wisconsin, Scott Johnson is using a USDA grant to test five potato-growing methods to see which is the most cost- and time-efficient, as well as environmentally sustainable, for small-scale potato farmers.

Salmonella outbreak sickens 35 people (Washington Post): An outbreak of food-borne illness, blamed on salmonella in eggs, has resulted in 35 reported illnesses, including 11 hospitalizations.