U.S. corn production in 2013 set a record of 13.9 billion bushels, according to U.S. Department of Agriculture data. Collectively, farmers topped the old record, set in 2009, by 7 percent. Also faring well was the soybean crop, the third largest ever. Drought and new demand for gluten-free grain pushed sorghum acreage higher. Production of the water-sipping crop increased 58 percent compared to 2012.
Meanwhile, global wheat production is expected to exceed the previous record by two percent, according to the USDA’s Economic Research Service.
On Thursday the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works will hold a hearing to discuss President Obama’s climate plan.
Announced last June, the plan includes regulatory actions such as limiting carbon emissions from existing power plants, more money for renewable energy research and carbon capture projects (see below), and federal drought monitoring. The president also established two climate change advisory committees, one of federal officials and one of state and local leaders.
The Department of Energy will provide 60 percent of the funding for a $US 435-million carbon capture demonstration project in Louisiana. The Lake Charles CCS project will collect carbon dioxide from a proposed petcoke gasification plant and send it through a 19-kilometer (12-mile) pipeline into Texas where it will be used in oil field operations. Petcoke is a byproduct of oil refining that can be converted into gas for power plants. The project is one of three major carbon capture demonstrations funded by the Energy Department.
Brett writes about agriculture, energy, infrastructure, and the politics and economics of water in the United States. He also writes the Federal Water Tap, Circle of Blue’s weekly digest of U.S. government water news. He is the winner of two Society of Environmental Journalists reporting awards, one of the top honors in American environmental journalism: first place for explanatory reporting for a series on septic system pollution in the United States(2016) and third place for beat reporting in a small market (2014). He received the Sierra Club’s Distinguished Service Award in 2018. Brett lives in Seattle, where he hikes the mountains and bakes pies. Contact Brett Walton