Today’s quick hits, October 3, 2018

Wisconsin bleeds dairy farms (WPR): In the first eight months of this year, 5 percent of Wisconsin dairy farms went out of business, according to state data. Industry officials blame the decline on low milk prices over the past three years.

Rural schools resist free meals for all (Daily Yonder): Just 33 percent of eligible rural schools utilize a USDA option that allows schools in high poverty areas to serve meals for free to all students, compared to 46 percent of eligible urban schools.

Trump may attach strings to E15 (Reuters): As a concession to oil refiners, the White House may tighten the rules on trading of ethanol credits known as RINs at the same time that President Trump announces year-round sales of E15.

High food loss in the field (ScienceDirect): Monitoring of vegetable harvest in North Carolina finds losses of 42 percent due to poor quality or poor appearance; researchers say the high loss rate should prompt a re-assessment of U.S. food loss and waste estimates.

Climate change a threat to African peatlands (Global Landscapes): The peatlands of the Congo basin in central Africa are a vast, boggy carbon repository that could release greenhouse gases due to climate change and more immediately, an expansion of farming, logging, mining and oil drilling.

China slashes cotton stockpile (ICAC): After years of working down a mountain of surpluses, China has its smallest cotton stockpile since 2011/12, and will be the world’s largest cotton importer while the United States again will be the largest exporter in 2018/19.

Letter by scientists against USDA make-over (UCS): More than 1,100 scientists and economists signed a letter to Congress asking for a delay, and greater study, of Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue’s plant to move two research agencies out of Washington and to take direct control of one of them.