extreme weather

Report: Wetter Midwest led to higher crop insurance payouts, not more cover crops

Rain, snow and sleet increased in almost all midwestern counties between 2001 and 2020. Along with that additional precipitation came increased federal crop insurance payments to farmers whose crops failed due to “excess moisture,” said a report Wednesday by the Environmental Working Group.

In Newsom’s long-term water strategy, ag makes a fleeting appearance

Faced with the worst drought in 1,200 years and a dwindling water supply, Gov. Gavin Newsom outlined a new, long-term water strategy for California at a press conference on Thursday. His plan, he said, would prepare the state for a hotter, drier future.

Americans overwhelmingly connect climate change and extreme weather

A report from the Yale Program on Climate Change Communication released Thursday shows that Americans who think global warming is happening outnumber those who think it’s not happening by a ratio of six to one (72 percent vs. 12 percent). Nearly the same percentage (70 percent) think climate change is tied to environmental problems such as extreme heat and wildfire. 

Producers receive $4 billion in ERP payments

In the six weeks since the USDA launched the program, farmers have received $4 billion from the Emergency Relief Program as compensation for losses from wildfire, drought, hurricanes, winter storms, and other natural disasters, said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack on Wednesday.

Global tally of acute food insecurity rises 26 percent

Around 193 million people in 53 countries and territories experienced acute food insecurity at crisis or worse levels in 2021, an increase of 40 million from the previous year. “The situation is expected to worsen in 2022,” said a report by the Global Network Against Food Crises on Wednesday.

Deluge of rain won’t end California farmers’ water woes

After a near-record year of drought, California received some relief this week from torrential rains, the result of an atmospheric river hitting a bomb cyclone. The storms snuffed out the Dixie Fire, which has been burning in the northern Sierras since July, and put an end to Northern California’s grueling fire season. What the rains didn't do was end the drought — or the water restrictions faced by many of the state's farmers. (No paywall)

Congress approves $10 billion in disaster aid to agriculture

Farmers and ranchers would be eligible for $10 billion in disaster relief for losses in 2020 and this year under the short-term government funding bill passed by Congress on Thursday. The bill also extended the life of a livestock price-reporting bill until Dec. 3, giving lawmakers time to agree on a multiyear reauthorization.

Global hunger climbs 15 percent, at five-year high

Warfare, the pandemic, and extreme weather pushed an additional 20 million people into acute food insecurity in the past year, driving the worldwide total to 155 million, said the Global Network Against Food Crises on Wednesday. It was the highest total in five years.

Frigid weather hits meat plants, ports, citrus, and livestock

Snow and bitter cold damaged the citrus crop in Texas, slowed meat production in the Plains, and threatened to snarl grain exports through the Gulf of Mexico. Some traders have claimed force majeure because of ice and cold weather in Houston and New Orleans, reported AgriCensus

Farmers are worried about climate change but skeptical of carbon markets — survey

Farmers in the largest corn-growing state are increasingly concerned about the potential impact of climate change on their operations but also dubious of carbon markets that would pay them to sequester carbon in the soil, according to the annual Iowa Farm and Rural Life Poll. Their skepticism stood in contrast to President Biden's goal of creating new sources of revenue for farmers while his administration pushes American agriculture to be the first in the world to achieve net-zero emissions of greenhouse gases.

Book: Climate change and the looming crisis in U.S. food production

In his new book Perilous Bounty, Tom Philpott takes a deep look at perhaps the two most important farming regions in the country, California and the Midwest, and finds that both face what might be called an under-appreciated existential crisis. In California, recently engulfed in wildfires, the …

In harsh year, U.S. crop acreage shrinks 5 percent

The rainiest spring in a quarter-century slowed the planting season and helped limit U.S. farmers to their smallest crop area in five decades, said the government in assessing 2019 production. Early snowfall and icy autumn weather prevented growers from harvesting more than 600 million bushels of corn, and the USDA said it would update estimates of corn and soybean supplies, if warranted, "once producers are able to finish harvesting remaining acres."

U.S. economy slows as corn and soy output soar, according to USDA projection

With a return to normal weather, farmers will expand vastly their corn and soybean plantings next year — enough to produce their largest corn crop ever and the fourth-largest soybean crop, according to USDA's agricultural projections. Bumper crops will drive down market prices in the near term and create huge stockpiles that will take years to whittle down.

House passes disaster bill by large margin on fourth attempt

The long-delayed, $19.1-billion disaster bill is on its way to the White House for President Trump’s signature. The House passed the bill, which includes $3 billion in agricultural aid, 354-58.

Senate passes long-delayed disaster bill with ag relief money

On Thursday, with President Trump giving his support, the Senate passed a $19.1-billion disaster bill that includes $3 billion for farmers hit by flooding and severe wet weather this spring along with aid to producers pounded last year by hurricanes in the South, wildfires in the West, and volcanoes in Hawaii.

A ‘black swan’ casts shadow on soggy Farm Belt

Mired by a rainy and chilly spring, U.S. farmers may soon give up on planting corn in rain-soaked parts of the Farm Belt because it is getting too late for money-making yields, said economist Scott Irwin of the University of Illinois. "I truly believe we are in 'black swan' territory as far as late corn planting is concerned," he said over the weekend, using a term popularized during the financial crisis a decade ago.

Beto O’Rourke releases climate plan, includes ag measures

Former congressman and Democratic presidential candidate Beto O'Rourke unveiled a $5-trillion climate plan Tuesday that calls for reaching net zero carbon emissions by 2050, and includes a number of agricultural initiatives to reduce and mitigate greenhouse-gas emissions on farms and deal with extreme weather events.

Hurricane Michael ruined 7 percent of the U.S. cotton crop

Georgia, the No. 2 cotton state, lost one-third of its crop to Hurricane Michael, said the USDA on Thursday in lowering its estimate of the total U.S. harvest by 7 percent because of storm damage in the Southeast.

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