Today’s quick hits, Nov. 14, 2018

Senate talk in Iowa (Iowa Starting Line): Joni Ernst, a member of the Senate Agriculture Committee, is up for re-election in 2020, and speculation about possible Democratic challengers includes former two-term Gov. Tom Vilsack, newly elected Rep. Abby Finkenauer, and J.D. Scholten, who nearly beat Rep. Steve King.

More bacon and beef on the table (Reuters): The trade war has slowed beef and pork exports, so restaurants are taking advantage of lower prices for red meat by putting more burgers and bacon on the menu and cutting back on chicken.

DuPont sheds ethanol plant (Des Moines Register): Verbio North America, a subsidiary of a German biofuel company, is buying a cellulosic ethanol plant built by DuPont in central Iowa with plans to convert it to the production of renewable natural gas.

Four times the U.S. average (DTN/Progressive Farmer): Washington State grower Phillip Gross won the National Wheat Yield Contest for the third consecutive year with an entry of 202.52 bushels an acre, more than four times the U.S. average of 47.6 bushels an acre.

Americans tuck into take-out (USDA): Americans spend far more on “food away from home,” which includes take-out food, restaurant meals, and institutional servings, than for groceries to eat at home — $122 billion more in 2017, says the Economic Research Service, which says “food away from home” eclipsed grocery spending in 2010.

Harder beats Denham in Central Valley race (San Jose Mercury News): Former venture capitalist Josh Harder, a Democrat, defeated four-term Rep. Jeff Denham, a Republican member of the House Agriculture Committee, by 4,919 votes in a Modesto-area district in the Central Valley.