As the Congress organizes and President Biden works to keep his promises, My Rural America will primarily be sharing national news stories during the next few weeks, all related to decision-making in Washington, DC.  However, an exception to this, is the study featured below — Crop Insurance’s Role in Maintaining Healthy Soil.  Some years ago, I was Associate Administrator for USDA’s Risk Management Agency.  Then, I proposed that RMA begin an evaluation of how FCIC crop insurance could assist farmers and ranchers help in the fight against climate change.  Then, sadly, the project was considered “ahead of its time”, but now it’s timely … and certainly even more necessary.  We offer CONGRATS to the Journal of Environmental Management and to National Crop Insurance Services for their understanding of this challenge.

Successful Farming, Chuck Abbott, 2/9/2021

“The Trump administration’s “phase one” trade agreement with China alienated U.S. allies while failing to deliver on its promises of mammoth purchases by Beijing, wrote trade policy expert Chad Bown on Monday in calling for a new approach. “Only a group of countries working together and sharing the burden will be able to make progress with China,” said Bown in a Peterson Institute for International Economics blog.”

“’The lesson from year one of the U.S.-China agreement is that purchase commitments did not work,’ said Bown. …”

Read more: https://www.agriculture.com/news/business/new-approach-needed-following-phase-one-failure-says-analyst

Politico — Insurrection Fall-Out, Heather Caygle, Melanie Zanona, Sarah Ferris, 2/2/2021

“…The House took an unprecedented step Tuesday night, voting to levy hefty fines against colleagues who bypass the recently installed metal detectors that surround the chamber. The reason is simple but speaks to the new reality: lawmakers are afraid of being injured, or worse, by colleagues trying to sneak weapons on to the House floor….”

Read more: https://www.politico.com/news/2021/02/02/capitol-security-fines-465206

AXIOS, Alayna Treene, 2/3/2021

“…Why it matters: Leadership hopes that with this vote, Republican lawmakers can move forward from the drama surrounding Cheney’s decision to impeach former President Trump, and focus on a unified message ahead of the 2022 midterms.

“Driving the news: The vote came after a tense, hours-long meeting about the future of the party following a push by pro-Trump members to oust Cheney….”

Read more: https://www.axios.com/house-republicans-vote-keep-cheney-leadership-7a1807b4-e16f-4185-ae28-56259cfba7a7.html

CNN, Peter Nickeas, Whitney Wild and Zachary Cohen, 2/3/2021

“…Nearly a month after the deadly attack on January 6, the US Capitol Police force remains in turmoil, with union officials preparing an unprecedented ‘no confidence’ vote in the department’s leadership, and rank-and-file officers still reeling from the physical and psychological effects of the attack.

“The fallout from the insurrection has been compounded by the death of an officer during the fight, another officer’s subsequent suicide and a Covid outbreak that has infected dozens of people within the Capitol Police. More than 100 officers are still nursing significant physical wounds and countless others are dealing with the psychological trauma of the day — all while working long hours to keep the Capitol secure….”

Read more: https://www.cnn.com/2021/02/03/politics/capitol-police-turmoil-no-confidence-leadership/index.html

CNN, Jeremy Herb, Manu Raju, Lauren Fox, 2/2/2021

“The House impeachment managers charged Tuesday that former President Donald Trump is “singularly responsible” for inciting the insurrection at the US Capitol last month, while Trump’s legal team argued his speech was protected by the First Amendment and a Senate conviction would be unconstitutional.

“The dueling pretrial legal briefs from the House managers and Trump’s lawyers detailed the major points that will be argued at next week’s trial, in the first real glimpse at how Trump’s new legal team plans to defend him after the House voted to impeach him last month….”

Read more: https://www.cnn.com/2021/02/02/politics/democratic-impeachment-filing/index.html

NCIS and the Journal of Environmental Management, 2/2/2021

Crop insurance is not acting as a barrier to the adoption of conservation practices and has a role in helping farmers maintain healthy soil. That’s according to a new peer-reviewed study in the renowned Journal of Environmental Management.

During the study, researchers from Purdue University, Arizona State University, and the Nature Conservancy used interviews and a multi-state survey to determine if crop insurance requirements limited cover crops and conservation tillage for corn producers in the Midwest.

Read more: http://portal.criticalimpact.com/vm2/ea66f994c054d850/29371/aeca38e7a30e9afca6473c7b9fa19141/29371

Des Moines Register, Donelle Eller, 2/2/2021

“Vilsack, who appeared before the committee on a virtual video feed, responded that it’s [biofuels] not ]an either-or circumstance.’

“‘There’s an opportunity to advance both,’ he said. ‘The reality is we’re going to need biofuels and the biofuels industry in the foreseeable future. As we educate people about the environmental benefits of biofuels, we’ll have an opportunity to expand use’ of biofuels, particularly within the marine and aviation industries.’

“Vilsack, Ernst and other committee members pointed to a study released last month that showed greenhouse gas emissions from corn-based ethanol are 46% lower than for gasoline….”

Read more: https://www.desmoinesregister.com/story/money/agriculture/2021/02/02/tom-vilsack-usda-nomination-full-senate-vote-joe-biden-cabinet-former-iowa-governor/4277677001/

Government Executive, Eric Katz, 2021

“…Just days before he left office, President Trump issued a rescission request under the 1974 Congressional Budget and Impoundment Control Act…. [Trump’s original signing stopped a full government shutdown.]

“It focused largely on international aid efforts through the State Department and U.S. Agency for International Development, but the 73 targeted programs also included those related to climate research, federal student aid and renewable energy….”

Read more: https://www.govexec.com/management/2021/02/biden-unfreezes-billions-two-dozen-agencies-reversing-trumps-last-minute-budget-maneuver/171769/