The Week Before Christmas and Ag News Is Stirring

When it comes to agriculture, the week before Christmas has not been a “silent night,” and “creatures have been stirring all through the house.” Here are some of the key headlines:

** The 2018 Farm Bill has garnered varied opinions, but overall responses seem to be positive. This summary from the House Agriculture Committee lists key points. In this report, the Farm Bureau looks at the support the new bill gathered, and this article from a Midwest publication lists some of the “pros and cons” of the bill.

**  A new FDA report shows a 33% decline from 2016 to 2017 in the domestic sales and distribution of all medically important antibiotics used in food animal production.

** Gene-edited farm animals are coming. This article includes insights from animal science experts, and it looks at the advances, along with questions of safety and public acceptance.

** The U.S. meat industry is gigantic, but it faces emerging competition on two fronts: plant-based meat substitutes and actual meat grown in labs. However, many experts agree that livestock production is still essential for global food security.

Christmas on the Farm–Red Barn, Mismatched Livestock, and Memories Stuck to Our Boots

Youngsters on the farm and off have plenty of choices–high tech and low–to select from when it comes to the latest holiday presents. Although Fortnite is the rave this year, agriculture has its apps, video games, and digital attractions too. But some kids still enjoy the tangible nature of toys.

As this blog says, some stores still stock the “Old McDonald’s Farm” sets, and even the classic red barn still shows up occasionally on living room floors. Look back on a time when toys consisted of mismatched plastic animals, small tractors with worn rubber tires, and anything in the house that could add to the farm operation–from thread spools to Lincoln logs to erector set pieces. It can still be fun to “farm the carpet.”

by dan gogerty (top graphic from and bottom pic from

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