Today’s quick hits, Sept. 24, 2021

Wilkes advances: The Senate Agriculture Committee cleared the nomination of Homer Wilkes to be undersecretary of agriculture for natural resources for a vote by the full Senate. (Senate Ag)

Big crops worldwide: World grain production will be 3 percent higher this year than last, led by an 82-million-tonne increase in global corn output. (International Grains Council)

Drought’s toll: Human-caused climate change is intensifying the 20-year drought in the U.S. Southwest and imposing “enormous costs” on the 60 million people who live in the region, said a NOAA report. (Colorado Public Radio)

Asia rising: China’s application to join the 11-nation trans-Pacific trade pact “will lead to interesting changes in regional dynamics,” and if it is accepted “could further cement the Asia Pacific’s role as the world’s leading economic bloc,” say two analysts. (Nikkei Asia)