Today’s quick hits, September 26, 2018

Walmart goes blockchain (The New York Times): The retailer is adopting blockchain technology to better track its food supply chain, in part responding to food contamination events that left customers sickened.

Roark’s influence grows in fast food (Restaurant Business): Less than a year after it bought Arby’s for $2.9 billion, Roark Capital-backed Inspire Brands will buy Sonic for $2.3 billion. The private equity group now owns several fast food chains.

Green group files petition for Trump tariff records (EWG): TheEnvironmental Working Group says public records laws obliges the USDA to release the names, addresses and payment amounts of Trump tariff aid being disbursed to crop and livestock producers.

Publicity is potent prod for poultry plants (USDA): Chicken slaughter plants almost always improved their performance when the Food Safety and Inspection Service publicized their record in controlling salmonella contamination in their plants, say USDA researchers.

Two execs leave commodity trader Louis Dreyfus (Financial Times): The chief executive and chief financial officer of Louis Dreyfus, a global trading house, resigned on the same day, a development likely to fuel speculation about the strategy of the family-controlled company.

Trade war may damage U.S agriculture permanently (Bloomberg): The chief executive of processor Cargill says the Sino-U.S. trade war could destroy the U.S. reputation as a reliable supplier and in the long term have a detrimental effect on the agricultural economy.

Weighing in at nearly three-quarter tons, a pumpkin (Anchorage Daily News): Dale Marshall had to cut a hole in his greenhouse roof to bring his giant pumpkin to the Alaska State Fair, where it weighed a record 1,471.5 pounds. It was his third record-setting state fair pumpkin in 11 years.

The water cop in arid country (KUNC): Deputy sheriff Dave Huhn gets 60 to 100 calls a month in disputes over water use in southwestern Colorado; one time, two octogenarian farmers tangled with shovels as weapons over water.