Photo: Jean-Francois Monier/AFP/Getty Images

The Trump administration's resistance to addressing climate change is exacerbating the Department of Agriculture's mostly unsuccessful attempts to help farmers cope with extreme weather, Politico reports.

Why it matters: Farmers and ranchers are already reckoning with the impacts of climate change today in their businesses, making federal action (or inaction) on the issue especially relevant.

The state of play: USDA spends 0.3% of its $144 billion budget to help farmers respond to climate change, per Politico, describing the lack of effort as "a conspiracy of silence at lower levels of the department." Many officials fear they'll lose their jobs if they acknowledge climate change publicly.

  • A collection of 10 Climate Hubs, designed during the Obama era to help farmers, ranchers and rural communities deal with climate-related vulnerabilities, has been operating under-the-radar, with few resources and little staffing "to avoid sparking the ire of top USDA officials or the White House," Politico writes.
  • Farmers are still feeling the effects of the March "bomb cyclone," which brought blistering blizzard conditions to the Plains this year.
  • Wet conditions this spring meant 20 million acres could not be used for planting, according to Politico.
  • Weather-related events across the country "have converged to make the past year one of the worst for agriculture in decades," Politico writes.
  • Politico reports that new tools designed to help farmers respond to global warming are not typically promoted, and are tricky to find on the department's resource pages.
  • A recent Politico investigation found the department "routinely buries its own scientists’ findings about the potential dangers posed by a warming world."

Flashback: During President Obama's tenure, USDA changed what had been years of that agency deeming climate change "too politically toxic in the traditionally conservative agriculture sector," Politico writes. But now under the Trump administration, the issue has been largely repressed.

Between the lines: Earlier this year, Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue blamed climate change on weather patterns, a stance that has trickled down throughout the department.

  • Rather than climate change, staff should hold "weather extremes" responsible for shifting patterns, Bianca Moebius-Clune, an official directing soil health at the Natural Resources Conservation Service wrote per emails obtained by The Guardian. "Instead of climate change adaptation, staff should consider using 'resilience to weather extremes/intense weather events: drought, heavy rain, spring ponding,'" Politico added.

The big picture: The National Climate Assessment, released by the Trump administration in late 2018, cites human-driven global warming for climate shifts, and it warns of catastrophic impacts.

Go deeper: Trump administration ignored internal report on climate change and migration

Go deeper

Senate to vote on Amy Coney Barrett's confirmation on Oct. 26

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) in the Capitol on Oct. 20. Photo: Stefani Reynolds/Getty Images

The Senate will vote to confirm Judge Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court next Monday, Oct. 26, Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) announced Tuesday.

The big picture: The Senate Judiciary Committee will vote this Thursday to advance Barrett's nomination to the full Senate floor. Democrats have acknowledged that there's nothing procedurally that they can do to stop Barrett's confirmation, which will take place just one week out from Election Day.

Updated 1 hour ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. Politics: Americans feel Trump's sickness makes him harder to trustFlorida breaks record for in-person early voting.
  2. Health: The next wave is gaining steam.
  3. Education: Schools haven't become hotspots.
  4. World: Ireland moving back into lockdown — Argentina becomes 5th country to report 1 million infections.

Meadows confirms Trump's tweets "declassifying" Russia documents were false

Photo: Tom Williams-Pool/Getty Images

White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows confirmed in court on Tuesday that President Trump's tweets authorizing the disclosure of documents related to the Russia investigation and Hillary Clinton's emails "were not self-executing declassification orders," after a federal judge demanded that Trump be asked about his intentions.

Why it matters: BuzzFeed News reporter Jason Leopold cited the tweets in an emergency motion seeking to gain access to special counsel Robert Mueller's unredacted report as part of a Freedom of Information Act request. This is the first time Trump himself has indicated, according to Meadows, that his tweets are not official directives.

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