Today’s quick hits, Sept. 18, 2020

Agriculture favors Peterson: In GOP-leaning western Minnesota, Republicans have offered voters the option of a well-financed conservative, but so far the agricultural sector seems to be sticking with the Democratic incumbent, House Agriculture chairman Collin Peterson. (MinnPost)

Biden likes the biofuel scorned by greens: Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden pledged to “promote and advance renewable energy, ethanol, and other biofuels to help rural America and our nation’s farmers,” potentially helping him in farm country but rankling environmentalists, many of whom say corn ethanol is no better than petroleum. (Washington Post)

R-CALF challenges beef checkoff, again: The activist rancher group R-CALF USA filed a new lawsuit in federal court in its attempt to overturn the beef checkoff program, arguing this time that the USDA had failed to allow public comment when it entered memorandums of understanding with 15 state beef councils that spend checkoff funds. (Drover’s)

USDA spends $1 billion on food boxes: Following President Trump’s decision to extend the life of the Farmers to Families Food Box, the USDA approved contracts totaling $1 billion with the vendors responsible for buying and packaging fresh produce, dairy products, and precooked chicken and meat, and delivering the food to nonprofit groups for distribution. (USDA)

Research on algal blooms: The EPA awarded $6.5 million to researchers at seven institutions, from Florida to California, looking for ways to reduce nutrient runoff from agriculture and wastewater that can cause harmful algal blooms that affect drinking water and marine life. (EPA)