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Deep South flooding puts a damper on U.S. rice crop

The Japan Times

LONOKE, ARKANSAS – Heavy rain that brought record flooding to Louisiana recently has put a damper on the nation's harvest of rice, a food staple that usually likes water as it grows but can't be gathered by machine if fields are inundated. While rice is an aquatic plant, this is the time of year when farmers drain their land and roll in heavy equipment for the harvest. Some fields remain unreachable in parts of Arkansas and Louisiana. "I've heard from a lot of the farmers the water level has been higher than a lot of the past hurricanes," said Dustin Harrell, a rice agronomist at the LSU Agriculture Research Center near Rayne, Louisiana. Two feet of rain fell in parts of the state.


Bees Are Facing Yet Another Existential Threat

Mother Jones

Honeybees pollinate more than $15 billion worth of fruits, nuts and vegetables a year, largely in California, according to the US Department of Agriculture.Frank May/picture-alliance/dpa/AP Images This story was originally published by Reveal and produced in collaboration with the Food & Environment Reporting Network, an independent nonprofit news organization. It appears here as part of the Climate Desk collaboration. While soybean farmers watched the drift-prone weed killer dicamba ravage millions of acres of crops over the last two years, Arkansas beekeeper Richard Coy noticed a parallel disaster unfolding among the weeds near those fields. When Coy spotted the withering weeds, he realized why hives that produced 100 pounds of honey three summers ago now were managing barely half that: Dicamba probably had destroyed his bees' food. In October, the US Environmental Protection Agency extended its approval of the weed killer for use on genetically modified soybeans and cotton, mostly in the South and Midwest, for two more years.


Pesticides Are Harming Bees in Literally Every Possible Way

WIRED

This story originally appeared on Reveal and is part of the Climate Desk collaboration. It was produced in collaboration with the Food & Environment Reporting Network, an independent nonprofit news organization. While soybean farmers watched the drift-prone weed killer dicamba ravage millions of acres of crops over the last two years, Arkansas beekeeper Richard Coy noticed a parallel disaster unfolding among the weeds near those fields. When Coy spotted the withering weeds, he realized why hives that produced 100 pounds of honey three summers ago now were managing barely half that: Dicamba probably had destroyed his bees' food. In October, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency extended its approval of the weed killer for use on genetically modified soybeans and cotton, mostly in the South and Midwest, for two more years.


'Wild Tuna' creator Craig Piligian snaps up a historical spot in rural Kansas

Los Angeles Times

Unscripted television king Craig Piligian has gone off the beaten path in a recent home purchase. The founder and chief executive of Pilgrim Studios and his wife, actress-dancer Lucinda Piligian, recently bought a historical ranch property in Reno County, Kan., at auction for 5.325 million. Known as Yaggy Plantation, the 1884 property includes five tracts spanning 1,260 acres. It had been owned by the same family for 130 years prior to the sale. Once a large shipping point for produce between Missouri and California, the plantation includes two period homes, including an 1892 manufactured home by Sears and Roebuck.


Wildfires rage in south end of Appalachian Trail, threatening homes amid long drought

The Japan Times

ATLANTA – All but a few of the nation's largest active wildfires Thursday were burning in the South, where a relentless drought has turned pine trees into torches and forced evacuations in dozens of communities in the Appalachian foothills. High winds, unseasonably warm temperatures and weeks without rain have combined to spark blaze after blaze in the dry brush and trees. Numerous teams of firefighters reported blazes running up slopes and down ravines as they struggled to protect hundreds of threatened structures. "It just smells like a campfire" along the Appalachian Trail in north Georgia, said Carlie Gentry, who works at the Mountain Crossings store at Walasi-yi, a popular stop for hikers. "For weeks up here we've been having smoke, but it is getting more intense for sure," Gentry said.