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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

Cuomo asks New York AG and chief judge to choose "independent" investigator into sexual harassment claims

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo at a press conference on Feb. 24. Photo: Seth Wenig/pool/AFP via Getty Images

A special counselor to New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo released a statement Sunday asking the state's attorney general and chief judge to jointly pick an "independent and qualified lawyer in private practice without political affiliation" to investigate claims of sexual harassment against the governor. The AG's office subsequently turned down the offer, saying it wants to conduct its own probe.

The state of play: The statement is an about-face from Cuomo, who had previously selected a former judge close to a top aide to lead the investigation, the New York Times reported, a move that was widely criticized.

Republican Sen. Sasse slams Nebraska GOP for "weird worship" of Trump after state party rebuke

Sen. Ben Sasse, (R-Neb.) Photo: Andrew Harnik - Pool/Getty Images

The Nebraska Republican Party on Saturday formally "rebuked" Sen. Ben Sasse (R-Neb.) for his vote to impeach former President Trump earlier this year, though it stopped short of a formal censure, CNN reports.

Why it matters: Sasse is the latest among a slate of Republicans who have faced some sort of punishment from their state party apparatus after voting to impeach the former president. The senator responded statement Saturday, per the Omaha World-Herald, saying "most Nebraskans don't think politics should be about the weird worship of one dude."

Cuomo barraged by fellow Dems after second harassment accusation

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo faced a barrage of criticism from fellow Democrats after The New York Times reported that the second former aide in four days had accused him of sexual harassment.

Why it matters: Cuomo had faced a revolt from legislators for his handling of nursing-home deaths from COVID. Now, the scandal is acutely personal, with obviously grave political risk.