agriculture

Farmers are entering their 5th year of low crop prices ... and now soybeans have reached a 10-year low, in part due to Chinese tariffs.

Economists say this could be a pivotal year for Illinois farmers.

WSIU InFocus: Southern Illinois Peach Crop

Jun 28, 2018
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WSIU

Rendleman Orchards has been around almost as long as the State of Illinois. WSIU's Amelia Blakely talks with Wayne Sirles about the business and how the 2018 peach crop is looking so far.

Two counties in southwestern Illinois grow the majority of the nation’s — possibly the world’s — horseradish. The city of Collinsville, population 25,000, straddles both Madison and St. Clair, and celebrates the root annually, hosting the International Horseradish Festival.

Harvest Public Media decided it was time to check out the entertainment, games and horseradish-based dishes and drinks. Here’s a bite of the zesty gathering.

LEAF Online Farmers Market Starts Second Season

Apr 20, 2018
LEAF Food Hub
Benjy Jeffords / WSIU

Last year, we introduced you to Little Egypt Alliance of Farmers – or LEAF – and their online farmers market.

Spring is here, the grass is growing, trees are starting to show their leaves, and flowers are starting to bloom.

Some people are planning to start a garden while others plan on going to the farmers market.

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File

A southern Illinois lawmaker is trying to lower costs on downstate truck drivers.

State Representative Natalie Phelps Finnie says she has successfully passed legislation out of a House committee to increase truck hall weights for farmers.

The U.S., Canada and Mexico wrapped up the latest round of negotiations earlier this month over NAFTA, the North American Free Trade Agreement.

President Donald Trump has threatened to terminate the trade pact, which he continues to call a bad deal for the U.S. But NAFTA has helped grow the beef industry beyond the U.S. borders, so while some worry about the Trump administration’s wavering commitment to NAFTA, others want more protections.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture tossed out a set of proposed changes this week that would have redefined living conditions for dairy and beef cattle, sheep, lamb, poultry and egg-laying chickens on certified organic farms.

Widespread Drought Across US Stoking Fears That 2012's Devastation Will Repeat

Feb 28, 2018

Western Illinois might be close to the Mississippi and Illinois rivers, but it’s the driest part of the state this year.

“We really haven’t really had any measurable rain since the middle of October,” says Ken Schafer, who farms winter wheat, corn and soybeans in Jerseyville, north of St. Louis. “I dug some post-holes this winter, and it's just dust.”

In Organic Labels Consumers Trust, But Fraud Threatens The Industry

Feb 22, 2018

Peyton Manning, the NFL quarterback-turned-pitchman, apparently has another side hustle: Certifying shipments of grain as organic for a Nebraska-based agency called OneCert.

Problem is, OneCert president Sam Welsch doesn’t remember hiring Manning for his business, which is accredited by the U.S. Department of Agriculture to inspect everything from small vegetable farms to processing plants and international grain operations.

Partisan politics may meet its match in the 2018 farm bill.

The massive legislation, versions of which will be introduced this spring in the U.S. House and Senate, is shaping up to be less about political affiliations and more about finding common ground.

Rural America was an important demographic in the last election cycle, helping Donald Trump advance to the White House over Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton. Even though Illinois was an electoral victory for Clinton, only twelve of Illinois’ 102 counties went blue, and more than half of those were located in Chicagoland

After reports last year that the popular weed–killer Dicamba had damaged  soybeans in Missouri and other states, its manufacturer, Monsanto, revised their use guidelines. 

Farm, Food, Forestry And More On The Table In The Next Federal Farm Bill

Jan 16, 2018

In the coming months, Congress will map out how it’ll spend upwards of $500 billion on food and farm programs over the next five years.

The massive piece of legislation known as the farm bill affects all taxpayers — whether they know it or not — and runs the gamut from farm safety net and conservation programs to food stamps and loan guarantees for rural hospitals. Since the bill hasn’t been introduced yet, now is the time when interest groups, farmers and others clamor to ensure their desires will be heard.

A few years ago, Kansas City restaurateur Anton Kotar surveyed the local and national restaurant scenes and concluded his town’s reputation as a steakhouse paradise had slipped.

The problem, he says, is the way conventional beef is raised – bulked up with grain on feedlots, making it cheap and plentiful and changing what Americans expect to taste.

Egg Prices Expected To Rise In First Months Of 2018

Jan 2, 2018

The U.S. Department of Agriculture predicts consumers will be paying less for beef, pork, lamb, chicken and turkey in early 2018 than at the start of 2017. Not so for eggs.

Farmers Explore Cover Crops to Aid Winter Losses

Dec 5, 2017
Agriculture
Illinois Public Radio/WILL

Farmers in Central Illinois are experimenting with cover crops to stop soil erosion. Cover crops can also help stop an environmental threat hundreds of miles away. But, do cover crops cut into a farmer’s finances—or even solvency?

Agriculture
submitted / Blue River Technology

Cameras and machine learning may eventually save farmers a lot of money on chemicals. They may even help prevent water pollution and reduce the need for genetically-modified seeds. That's according to the CEO of Blue River Technology, a company based in California's Silicon Valley that John Deere just bought for $305 million.

WVIK's Michelle O'Neill reports the acquisition may have wide-ranging effects on agriculture and other industries.

There’ve been five rounds of negotiations over the decades-old North American Free Trade Agreement in recent months, but little movement toward a re-imagining of the treaty with Canada and Mexico from which U.S. agriculture benefits greatly.

With President Donald Trump still threatening to pull the country out of NAFTA if his preferred updates aren’t made, senators in farm-intensive states increasingly are speaking out.

If you drive along the two lane back roads of northern Illinois these days, you’re likely to see farm fields that just a few weeks ago had row upon row of corn. Now, in those fields machines are turning laps leaving just the stub of a corn stalk. Illinois Public Radio's Brian O'Keefe has a look at this years whiskey crop...

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Illinois Farm Bureau

Governor Bruce Rauner has declared a “harvest emergency” across Illinois.

The designation means trucks carrying grain can exceed weight limits by 10 percent.

New Non-Native Fly Harms Illinois Fruit

Aug 9, 2017
University Of Illinois Extension Service.

The U of I Extension service held a public workshop this past Monday for fruit growers, and one of the topics was how to control a small, non-native fruit fly which can cause heavy damage.  According to the Extension Service,  the Spotted-Wing Fruit Fly, is native to east Asia and was first detected in the United States in 2008. 

High Tunnel at Shade Tree Farm
Benjy Jeffords / WSIU

Farmers usually plant in the spring and harvest through the summer and fall, then take the winter off.

Some local farmers have found a way to grow year round.

It’s called High Tunnel Farming.

While the current presidential administration has vocalized goals to deport all undocumented immigrants, some farmers are trying to bring more documented, migrants into the U.S. to work for them.

Ten years ago, Cindy Bonnet found out she was getting new neighbors in Nora, Illinois: 10,000 cows. It’s what’s known in the industry as a “concentrated animal feeding operation,” or CAFO: basically a big cow warehouse, with a giant trough under it to catch their waste.


Peach Bud
Flamm Orchards / WSIU

When temperatures dipped into the teens in mid March, area growers grew concerned.

“Well we’ve got some damage in the peaches, but at this point we still have peaches."

Sudden Winter Weather Shift Could Kill Crops

Mar 10, 2017

Local farmers are bracing for winter weather expected to hit Friday night, and early growth of peaches and apples has them worried.

A group of Illinois legislators are pushing an agenda intended to help farmers who sell at local markets.

The world’s largest seed companies have their eye trained on Africa’s farming industry. A few, including St. Louis-based Monsanto, see drought-resistant corn as the key to an untapped market.

But some African civil service organizations are wary of the genetically modified seeds Monsanto hopes to introduce.

Shawnee Health Services Outreach Event
Shawnee Health Services / WSIU

As harvest time is in full swing, we take a look at the people performing the hard labor of collecting the produce that ends up in lunch boxes and dinner tables

Farm work is not the easiest job.

Its long hours, extreme weather conditions and physically demanding.

Farm
Illinois Farm Bureau

The Illinois Humanities Council will host a special program this weekend in Cobden, highlighting the future of agriculture in rural areas like southern Illinois. WSIU’s Jennifer Fuller has this preview of “Seeding Change”.

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