Monday Roundup: Flood Insurance?

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The Missouri River Valley is still flooded, and will be for weeks, but now people are beginning to think about insurance, or the lack thereof. 

The Omaha World-Herald reports on a meeting between Sen. Ben Nelson and flooded property owners. If you have federal flood insurance, you’re in business, Sen. Nelson said. Without flood insurance, however, Nelson said people will have a “steep hill” to climb to get federal assistance.

Meanwhile, AP reports that officials with the Federal Emergency Management Agency are “still urging private agents to sell (flood) insurance even though the policies contain deadlines that appear to exclude the Missouri River flood damage.” 

We can understand federal officials urging people to buy flood insurance if they live in the flood plain. But people are confused about whether the insurance they buy now will apply to fields and houses already inundated.

“I’m getting calls every day,” said one private insurance agent. “People are clearly frustrated. The farther down the Missouri River, the more this is the case because these people, in many instances, haven’t seen any flooding.”

FEMA requires that policies be purchased 30 days before a flood begins. The agency says this flood began June 1.

• Ledyard King, writing in the Great Falls (MT) Tribune, concludes that a deficit cutting plan would touch everyone, “but Montana, a rural state whose citizens disproportionately depend on government services, figures to get hit harder than most.” 

Montana has a larger percentage of its population in Medicare and Social Security — and the state has a high proportion of Native Americans, veterans and farmers. 

• The University of Tennessee now has a masters degree program for rural librarians. The university is working with working librarians in the mountains of Tennessee, Kentucky and Virginia. 

•I don’t think any of us need move out of the way for all those New York magazine editors coming out to farm, but Time Magazine did run  a story saying that if you want to make more than a banker, you should become a farmer. The magazine finds

In the past few years, thanks to a wealthier (and hungrier) emerging-market middle class and a boom in biofuels, the business of growing has once again become a growth business. At a time when the overall economy is limping along at an anemic growth rate of 1.9%, net farm income was up 27% last year and is expected to jump another 20% in 2011. Real estate prices in general are again falling this year. But according to the Federal Reserve, the average farm has doubled in value in the past six years. Farmland is quickly emerging as one of the year’s hottest investments on Wall Street. “We’ve been doing this for a number of years, long before anyone thought this was sexy,” says Jeff Conrad, who heads Hancock Agricultural Investment Group. “Now we are getting a lot of calls, and we are noticing more competition. There’s a lot of interest in New York.”

• The West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection has denied a petition asking that Blair Mountain be declared unsuitable for mining. The agency said the petition was “frivolous.” 

• The New York Times has a good rundown on the crumbling support for ethanol subsidies

• The tech experts who came to the White House with President Barack Obama have largely left over the last six months, Politico reports. These were the people who were pushing the administration’s broadband initiative. 

• The Boston Globe reports of classes where Yanks can learn to get rid of their accents. People want to “neutralize” their accents because “they think it makes them sound dumb.” 

Talk about dumb……

• The food producers and advertisers have created a new organization to block federal efforts to create voluntary nutritional guidelines for foods sold to children, the Washington Post reports.

The guidelines are meant to encourage foodmakers to reduce the amount of sugar, salt and fat they put in foods marketed to children. The standards are voluntary, but the industry is opposing them anyway. The initiative is a joint project of Sens. Sam Brownback (Republican of Kansas) and Tom Harkin (the Iowa Democrat). 

• About 9 out of ten farmers growing soybeans, cotton and corn use genetically engineered seeds, the Economic Research Service finds

 

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