There may be a farm remedy for asthma. Doctors say as many as 10% of schoolchildren have asthma and many believe it’s because today’s children are just too clean. It’s the hygiene hypothesis. Scientists now say they may have found the magic potion to prevent asthma in children: microbes from farm animals, carried into the home in dust.

This is not some snake oil from Dr. Oz. Research published in the New England Journal of Medicine raises the possibility of “developing a spray” for children who do not have regular contact with cows and horses. Could that be “essence of barnyard?” Dr. Talal Chatila, an immunologist at Harvard Medical School, says, "It is not far-fetched to start thinking of how one could harness those bacteria for a therapeutic intervention."

Chipotle’s New Plan

Free beer. That’s it. Chipotle is offering drink specials as a way to increase its traffic and sales.

The struggling burrito roller is testing Happy Four Hours through select markets in the Midwest, offering half-priced adult beverages through the end of next month. We would be the first to criticize Chipotle for its lack of creativity, but…hey, free beer always works! Just avoid the burritos.

Quiet Drought

It’s the drought no one is talking about.

The Southeastern U.S. is suffering an extreme drought that “has crept under the radar of most people living outside the region,” says The Washington Post. Between April 1 and July 31, Chattanooga, Tenn., had only received 61 percent of its normal rainfall, a deficit of over 6.5 inches. The U.S. Drought Monitor also shows a widespread area of the Northeast in severe drought conditions.

Animal experts say the drought in the Boston area could cause increased coyote activity.

If there’s a silver lining, drought conditions in Western Massachusetts help create a better balance of acidity in wine grapes.

U.S. Pork, Beef Exports Solid in June

U.S. red meat exports ended the first half of 2016 on a positive note, as June export values for both pork and beef were the highest of the year. June also marked the second consecutive month of solid year-over-year volume growth.