agriculture

Pregnancy On The Farm Comes With Its Own Set Of Risks

Dec 4, 2019

In the fall, livestock veterinarian Dr. Bailey Lammers is often busy with vaccinating calves and helping wean them from their mothers.

A herd of auburn cattle greeted her at the barn gate during one of her house calls in northeastern Nebraska, peering from behind the dirt-caked bars. Lammers and her technician Sadie Kalin pulled equipment from tackleboxes in the back of Lammers’ truck.  

Illinois' Department of Agriculture published its bi-annual study that looked at how to improve water quality by cutting down on pollutants that runoff into streams and rivers. Runoff has been on the rise lately, and officials say reducing it involves more than just farmers.

Images
Wellness Group Pharms, LLC

A cultivation center in Union County has been given the OK to grow cannabis in advance of adult-use cannabis becoming legal on January 1.

The Illinois Department of Agriculture approved Wellness Group Pharms, LLC in Anna this week.

On a hot September day, five Japanese men arrived at Rod Pierce’s central Iowa farm. They represented feed mills and livestock cooperatives, and were there to see the corn they may eventually buy. 

Pierce invited them to walk among his rows of corn, climb into the cab of an 8-head combine and poke their heads into one his empty grain storage bins. 

Farmers have been struggling for years to hire enough workers, and increasingly turn to the H-2A temporary visa program.

Previously, farmers took out print newspaper ads for positions they were hiring for. But starting in late October, the U.S. Department of Labor will manage those postings on a government website and use state workforce agencies to advertise jobs locally.

How Illinois FFA Adapts To Keep Growing

Sep 21, 2019

Illinois Future Farmers of America set a record last year for membership. They also broke their record for enrollment across all agriculture education. This year, they’re set to surpass both again.

WSIU's Jennifer Fuller visits Flora Bay Farm ahead of the 2019 Neighborhood Co-op Farm Crawl, and talks with Farmer Courtney Smith, Co-op Brand Manager Amy Dion, and FoodWorks Executive Director Jennifer Paulson.

Even though the Midwest is tops in field corn production and grows row after row of it, these states don’t stand out when it comes to national production of sweet corn. 

But for many in the region, nothing says summer quite like a fresh hot ear of sweet corn — plain, buttered or salted.


The Crucial Partnership Between Farm and Laboratory

Aug 26, 2019
image
Kevin Boucher

With many people attending the annual Agriculture Day at the DuQuoin State Fair, WSIU Radio will now  hear from experts about the importance of farming, and, especially of the important link between farmers, and scientists.

Sci-fi writers have long warned about the dangers of modifying organisms. They come in forms ranging from accidentally creating a plague of killer locusts (1957) to recreating dinosaurs with added frog genes (2015).

Now, with researchers looking to even more advanced gene-editing technology to protect crops, they’ll have to think about how to present that tech to a long-skeptical public. 

Federal agencies are scrambling to establish regulations for hemp and hemp products as farmers in the Midwest and around the country start growing the crop. 

In the meantime, the government is warning companies not to make health claims about CBD they can’t back up. 

Ahead of the start of the Illinois State Fair next week, organizers say they’re optimistic about attendance and attractions. But the fair’s success is an open question.


With Water Slowly Receding, What Comes Next?

Jul 30, 2019
image
WSIU Radio

On this edition of WSIU InFocus, we hear from some soil experts and a local farmer about the impact of the floodwaters in southern Illinois.

Less than half the corn and soybean crops in Illinois are in good to excellent condition, according to the latest crop progress report from the U-S Department of Agriculture.

That's fewer crops than usual doing well at this point in the year, and is due primarily to the wet spring that delayed planting for many farmers across the state.

Local Food Growers Receive Help

Jul 10, 2019
image
Glaciersend Website.

June was a tough month for farmers and smaller growers in southern Illinois.

However, in between the rain showers, a beam of good news arrived in the form of a

$10,000 grant from the non-profit Faith In Place group, and the Little Egypt Alliance of Farmers, or LEAF.

People have been leaving rural midwestern areas for decades. And it’s not just population loss. Often fresh food sellers move away too. There might be hope, though.

Illinois farmers now have until July 15 to officially say they won’t be planting crops this year. A key deadline has been extended for claiming some types of crop insurance.

It's been one of the wettest springs in state history. Just last month alone, Illinois averaged more than five inches of rainfall, a whole inch above normal. It’s been so wet for so much of the planting season, farmers across the state haven’t had much of a chance to get their crops in the ground.

Images
Illinois News Connection

Some Illinois growers are using the power of NASA in a new project aimed at addressing food security, from improving crop outputs to working their land more efficiently.

Midwestern fish farmers grow a variety of species, such as tilapia, salmon, barramundi and shrimp, all of which require a high-protein diet. The region grows copious amounts of soybeans, which have a lot of protein, but these two facts have yet to converge.

SIU Ag Day Brings Researchers and Farmers Together

Jun 26, 2019
image
WSIU/Kevin Boucher

On Wednesday, June 26th, 2019 farmers, scientists and agricultural partners from all across Illinois met for a field day to showcase the latest agricultural research going on at Southern Illinois University at Carbondale.

Douglas rattles around a collection of glass jars in the storage closet of his Denver apartment. They’re filled with a small grain, like barley, and covered in a soft white fungus — a mushroom spawn. Soon, he’ll transplant it in large plastic bins filled nutrients like dried manure and coconut fiber.

Over the course of two weeks, mushrooms that naturally contain psilocybin, a psychoactive ingredient, will sprout.

image
WSIU/Kevin Boucher

The Director of the Illinois Department of Agriculture had some good news for State Fair Goers on Wednesday, June 12th, 2019. Standing in front of the DuQuoin State Fair Grandstand, Director John Sullivan said, thanks to the passage of the recent Capital Spending plan, work is being done right now to re–surface main street and the loop on the fairgrounds.  Sullivan said the work is being done by the Illinois Department of Transportation, and IDOT hopes to have the project done by June 21st.

Perry County resident, and Fair Manager,  Josh Gross  says the investment in the Fair amounts to just over 350– Thousand Dollars.  Gross also added that, starting this year, there will be NO admission fee to attend the DuQuoin State Fair.  Gross also said that this year's Grandstand Lineup will be announced this Monday, June 17th.

Farmers have been using the weed killer glyphosate – a key ingredient of the product Roundup – at soaring levels even as glyphosate has become increasingly less effective and as health concerns and lawsuits mount.

Nationwide, the use of glyphosate on crops increased from 13.9 million pounds in 1992 to 287 million pounds in 2016, according to estimates by the U.S. Geological Survey.

By The Numbers: Glyphosate Use In The Midwest For Corn, Soybeans

Jun 12, 2019

Glyphosate is the most-used pesticide on U.S. crops, an estimated 287 million pounds in 2016, according to an analysis by the Midwest Center for Investigative Reporting.

The Midwest saw 65 percent of the nation’s total agriculture glyphosate use on crops, a 12-state territory that includes Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska and North Dakota.

image
Courtesy of Illinois Farm Week

On this edition of WSIU InFocus, WSIU's Kevin Boucher visits with U of I Extension Educator in Local Foods and Small Farms, Nathan Johanning.

As grassland and prairies gave way to farmland in the Midwest, habitats for some native birds disappeared. There’s a relatively new program in central Illinois looking to restore wetlands for migrating birds and help farmers at the same time.

The program to help them is limited but is secure for now. However, the future for both the bird and the program could be on shakier ground in just a few years.

Northwestern Illinois’ Stephenson County is one area where changes in the status of cannabis are being embraced. The people doing it are not necessarily the ones you’d expect.

Images
Jackson County State's Attorney

A professor in SIU-Carbondale's College of Agricultural Sciences has pleaded not guilty to the charge of Theft of Governmental Property.

The Jackson County State's Attorney says 39-year-old Jeremy Davis of Carterville is accused of stealing a polymerase chain reaction machine and a Nano Drop machine.

A group of 16 Illinois organizations and agencies have teamed up to help the monarch butterfly survive. 

Andrew Joyce won’t be growing any tomatoes this summer. His three-acre produce farm in Malden, Missouri, will lie fallow. The cause: damage from the weed killer dicamba.

Pages