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Beef check-off money goes to pay for MBAs — Masters of Beef Advocacy.

The National Cattlemen’s Beef Association used $240,000 to from the check-off to pay for a short course for students at land grant colleges. The idea is to arm young farmers with arguments against the anti-agribusiness positions of foodie advocates such as Michael Pollan.

Mother Jones reports

• Tough times for hunters in Iowa. Five deer hunters in the state were shot while in the field last weekend alone, normally the number of accidents for an entire seven week season. 

“The common denominator has been shooting at running deer,” resources department spokesman Kevin Baskins said. “That usually involved party hunting, where you are pushing deer toward others in the party.”

And two hunters were hit by slugs that traveled over ridges. All the accident victims are recovering.

• David Bennett in the Delta Farm Press contends the new Food Safety bill (now hung up in Congress) ignores imports of tainted seafood because it has no aquaculture component.

“It is undeniable that Vietnamese catfish destined for the United States are being raised in river pens where run-off from agriculture, factory waste and human/livestock-generated sewage is dumped,” Bennett writes. As cheaper, foreign fish come in, the domestic catfish industry has shrunk, Bennett says. Since 2001, the catfish acres in Mississippi have decreased 43 percent.

Bennett explains the tortured reasons why little of the seafood imported into the U.S. is ever inspected. Suffice it to say that the situation is FUBAR. Good story from the Delta Farm Press. 

• Retail fertilizer costs continue to go up. 

• We know that Democrats lost most of their House seats in rural districts. R. G. Ratcliffe, in the Houston Chronicle, says the party has more to worry about than a few members of congress. 

In Texas, Democrats were wiped out in rural counties. Commissioners, county judges, justices of the peace — the party lost all those offices that produce the next generation of politicians. More than 105 Democratic county office holders in Texas lost in November, including 16 incumbent county judges.

“The media focus has been on Republican gains in Congress and the Legislature, but the long-term devastation for the Texas Democratic Party occurred statewide in wipeouts of Democratic county officials,” Ratcliffe wrote. “The training ground for Democrats, particularly in rural areas, is dwindling fast.”

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