2011 was a year marked by diverse news events from volatility in commodity and financial markets to corn harvest progress and animal rights activists. Here is the list of the most-viewed stories of 2011.

1) $12 corn could materialize say some Chicago traders
While corn prices have doubled from a year ago, some traders in Chicago have placed bets on a continued rally that may make current prices look like a relative bargain.

2) Corn planting lags by 53 percent from 2010
Thirteen percent of the corn in the top 18 producing states has been planted according to the USDA’s Crop Progress report released May 2. Although it is a four-percent improvement from last week, nationally the 2011 corn planting is 27 percent behind the five-year average and 53 percent behind 2010’s progress.

3) HSUS, Missouri farmers to square off at rally
Representatives of the Humane Society of the United States have set their sights on Jefferson City. They will stage a rally on the grounds of Missouri’s Capitol to express their displeasure for a new bill passed by the state’s legislature.

4) New pork  slogan designed to inspire consumers
“Pork. Be Inspired” is the much anticipated new slogan for the National Pork Board’s advertising campaign. Rolled out at the National Pork Industry Forum in Phoenix, the tagline will soon supplant the 23-year old “Pork. The Other White Meat” tag.

5) USDA corrects antibiotics usage statements
USDA officials have issued a clarification to recent statements made about livestock producers overusing antibiotics and about that overuse leading to antibiotic resistance in humans.

6) Smithfield sells Texas hog complex to Cargill for $33 million
Smithfield Foods Inc. said it completed the sale of an idled hog production complex near Dalhart, Tex., to Cargill Inc. for about $33 million.

7) Hog prices heading for record highs, but volatile grain markets loom
Hog prices are on pace for record highs in 2011 amid tight animal inventories and robust exports, but pork producers face volatile grain and animal prices that likely will keep expansion plans in check, USDA livestock analyst Shayle Shagam said.

8) House votes to block E15
In a blow to the biofuel industry, the House voted to stop an increase in the amount of ethanol that can be added to gasoline, according to the Des Moines Register. Some 79 Democrats joined 206 Republicans in voting for the measure.

9) Commentary: How high is high?
A trip to the supermarket today makes it readily apparent that meat prices are creeping higher. How high they will go is anyone’s guess, as live-animal prices and futures quotes for hogs and cattle have ventured into unchartered territory setting record highs. With all of the other economic pressures they face, consumers will likely respond to retailers’ features on meat cuts, buying whatever cuts give them a price break for the week.

10) Nebraska farmer accused of starving hogs
A southeastern Nebraska resident was charged with 10 felony counts of animal cruelty and is accused of starving hundreds of pigs on his farm located approximately 25 miles east of Lincoln.