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Photo: Robert Michael/picture alliance via Getty Images

Domestic plantings of corn have stalled to their slowest pace in 40 years as a result of adverse weather conditions, the Washington Post reports, citing data released by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Why it matters: May 2018 to April 2019 was the wettest 12-month period on record for the Lower 48 states, according to the National Centers for Environmental Information. May 2019 itself was also the second-wettest month alone in the U.S. since 1895. The torrential downpours have flooded American farmland, particularly in the Midwest, and making a greater proportion of crops unviable compared to past planting seasons.

Details: Some individual regions have seen especially low planting levels. In Ohio, just 68% of potential corn acres have been planted, followed by South Dakota at 78% and Wisconsin, Michigan, Indiana, Missouri and Illinois trailing in the 80% range.

  • Other crops are struggling as well. Soybean plantings only reached 77% of intended acreage in the 18 states evaluated by the USDA, with numbers as low as 46% for Ohio and 53% for Michigan. Sunflowers are also struggling, with 56% of potential acres planted in South Dakota, 58% in Kansas and 61% in Colorado.

The big picture: Farmers are facing one of the worst economic crises in 30 years as a result of low commodity prices and trade war pressures. As of May, the Trump administration had made $8.52 billion in direct payments to farmers through a 2018 aid program designed to counter losses from the trade war.

Go deeper: Historic flooding hits the Midwest, costing farmers millions

Go deeper

3 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Rahm Emanuel floated for Transportation secretary

Rahm Emanuel. Photo: Joshua Lott for The Washington Post via Getty Images

President-elect Biden is strongly considering Rahm Emanuel to run the Department of Transportation, weighing the former Chicago mayor’s experience on infrastructure spending against concerns from progressives over his policing record.

Why it matters: The DOT could effectively become the new Commerce Department, as infrastructure spending, smart cities construction and the rollout of drone-delivery programs take on increasing economic weight.

4 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Biden turns to experienced hands for White House economic team

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Joe Biden plans to announce Cecilia Rouse and Brian Deese as part of his economic team and Neera Tanden to head the Office of Management and Budget, sources tell Axios.

Why it matters: These are experienced hands. Unveiling a diverse group of advisers also may draw attention away from a selection of Deese to run the National Economic Council. Some progressives have criticized his work at BlackRock, the world's largest asset management firm.

Biden taps former Obama communications director for press secretary

Photo: Mark Makela/Getty Images

Jen Psaki, who previously served as Obama's communications director, will serve as President-elect Joe Biden's press secretary, the transition team announced Sunday.

The big picture: All of the top aides in Biden's communication staff will be women, per the Washington Post, which first reported Psaki's appointment.