Drought

11:02am

Thu August 23, 2012
The Two-Way

Drought's Still Deep In Nation's Midsection

Originally published on Thu August 23, 2012 1:04 pm

The week of Aug. 21.
National Drought Mitigation Center

Though there were "a few notable improvements" in places such as Indiana, where beneficial rains fell, the deep drought that has dug in across much of the nation's midsection continued in the past week, according to the statisticians at the National Drought Mitigation Center.

Their maps from the past three weeks tell the story.

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1:21am

Thu August 23, 2012
Planet Money

Why Do Taxpayers Subsidize Farmers' Insurance?

Originally published on Fri August 24, 2012 8:16 am

Grandpa Traub — corn former and millionaire.
Chana Joffe-Walt NPR

This summer's drought has hit more than half the states in the country. Crops are suffering, but farmers might not be. Most farmers have crop insurance.

U.S. taxpayers spend about $7 billion a year on crop insurance. It's our largest farm subsidy.

And this subsidy goes in part to farmers — who will tell you themselves they aren't so sure about the whole idea. "I have an aversion to it," says Jim Traub, a corn and bean farmer in Fairbury, Illinois. "But you're not going to turn it down."

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3:23pm

Tue August 21, 2012
Environment

State Climatologist Says Drought Is ‘Stabilizing’

Drought in Colorado
Carlye Calvin courtesy of University Center for Atmospheric Research

Colorado’s drought conditions aren’t getting any better, but they’re also not getting any worse.

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3:27pm

Mon August 20, 2012
The Two-Way

Low Waters Close 11-Mile Stretch Of Mississippi River

A tow pushes a barge past a sandbar on the Mississippi River near the confluence with the Missouri River north of St. Louis., on Friday. Many sandbars normally under water on the two rivers are now exposed as the drought has caused river levels to drop.
Jim Salter AP

An 11-mile stretch of the Mississippi River was closed today because of low waters levels.

The AP reports:

"Coast Guard spokesman Ryan Tippets told The Associated Press on Monday that the stretch of river near Greenville, Miss., has been closed intermittently since Aug. 11, when a vessel ran aground.

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12:44am

Fri August 17, 2012
Planet Money

Competing Against The Nicest Guy In Town

Originally published on Fri August 17, 2012 12:36 pm

Hondo (left) and Dizz.
Chana Joffe-Walt NPR

For more: Why does the government subsidize crop insurance in the first place? We try to answer that question in our latest podcast.

The federal government spends about $7 billion a year on crop insurance for U.S. farmers. Policies are sold by private companies, but the government sets the rates, so the companies can't compete on price.

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