Agriculture | WGLT

Agriculture

dairy cows
Jeff Roberson / AP

Illinois Farm Bureau President Richard Guebert said Tuesday the new U.S. trade agreement with Canada and Mexico will make two of the state's top export markets even stronger.

Gracie Weinzierl
Ryan Denham / WGLT

2019 was a memorable year for central Illinois farmers—and not in a good way. Trade disputes cut into prices and drove up anxiety. A soggy planting season led to a late harvest. And just as farmers finally were able to get into this fields this fall, it snowed.

John and Bridget
Courtesy

Teacher Katie Buckley needed to show her students in LeRoy the many real-world applications of the STEM concepts they were learning about. That made agriculture a no-brainer.

Sonny Perdue speaks
Ryan Denham / WGLT

Illinois’ two senators are calling on the USDA to rework its massive trade aid program to fix what they see as inequities and a lack of transparency into how payments are doled out.

man at podium speaking.
Charlie Schlenker / WGLT

The Chinese consul general in Chicago said talks to end the trade war are at a critical point. During a speech at Illinois State University, Zhao Jian said the world's two largest economies are interdependent.

Giant check presentation
DeAnne Bloomberg / Illinois Farm Bureau

The Illinois State University farm will buy new equipment with help from a $50,000 gift from the Illinois Farm Bureau's board of directors.

Pennycress in a field
Maliheh Esfahanian

Illinois State University researchers are part of a team that’s creating a new crop that could help both the environment and farmers' bottom lines.

Industrial hemp growers are still working through some kinks to comply with state rules and have a successful growing season.

Jeff Hake
Eric Stock / WGLT

This is the last in a four-part series about how the USDA’s trade relief payments are playing out in Central Illinois. It was produced by WGLT and WCBU.

This is the third in a four-part series about how the USDA’s trade relief payments are playing out in Central Illinois. It was produced by WCBU and WGLT.

This is the second in a four-part series about how the USDA’s trade relief payments are playing out in Central Illinois. It was produced by WCBU and WGLT.

Wes Kingdon poses
Ryan Denham / WGLT

This is the first in a four-part series about how the USDA’s trade relief payments are playing out in Central Illinois. It was produced by WGLT and WCBU.

Chad Leman
Ryan Denham / WGLT

Want to know farmer Chad Leman’s top concern? It’s not the trade dispute with China.

Rich Guebert speaks
Illinois Farm Bureau / Facebook

An economist with the American Farm Bureau visiting Normal this week said the trade dispute with China has shown how “dangerous” overreliance on one customer can be.

Combine harvests corn
Nati Harnik / AP

Central Illinois farmers produce a lot of corn and soybeans. But they also produce tons of data.

Google Maps view of the plant
Google Maps

UPDATED 3:40 p.m. | An unknown number of people will lose their jobs after Corteva Agriscience announced Wednesday it is closing its commercial soybean production facility in LeRoy.

Sibley Celebrates Vibrant and Rich History

Jul 3, 2019
Sibley Business and Historical Association

Small towns across Illinois are having a rough go to keep their culture alive. For decades rural populations have been falling. Some subside into tiny crossroads communities. Others keep trying.

Drone hovers off the ground
Jeff Smudde / WGLT

At the edge of the McLean County fairgrounds, a sound like a swarm of bees filled the air.

Two men stand at a podium
John O'Connor / AP

The Illinois Department of Agriculture received nearly 400 applications to grow or process industrial hemp in the first 24 hours after they became available.

Agriculture officials said Wednesday they received 295 applications to grow the plant on 7,100 acres (2,873 hectares). Another 74 applications to process the harvested crop arrived.

A change in state law last summer allowed growing the crop in Illinois for the first time in decades. Gov. J.B. Pritzker announced on Tuesday that applications to grow this season are availabl

John Sullivan was chosen by Gov. J.B. Pritzker to head the Illinois Department of Agriculture, succeeding former director Raymond Poe. 

Durbin with farmers
Jeff Smudde / WGLT

U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin visited Bloomington Friday to talk with McLean County farmers about the impacts of last year’s updated farm bill.

Despite a lot of uncertainty and a weak farm economy, 2018 was a good year for sales of farm equipment. Figures from the Association of Equipment Manufacturers show tractor sales in the US rose 7 per cent, and combine sales jumped 18 per cent, compared to the previous year. 

Staff / WGLT

Illinois State University is planning to expand the University Farm by 80 acres.

Combine with corn
Seth Perlman / AP

Nearly 1,000 acres of high-quality farmland are expected to turn into millions of dollars in donations to Illinois Wesleyan University and two other nonprofits during a highly anticipated auction Tuesday.

Climate Change Researcher Talks Illinois Impact

Oct 23, 2018
Combine with corn
ABBY WENDLE / Harvest Public media

The impact of climate change on Illinois is a lot more than switching from hot days to cold days.

Seth Perlman / AP

Congress was unable to pass a new farm bill before the 2014 version expired at midnight on Sunday.

Corn and soybean fields as far as the eye can see are the typical sights of summer throughout rural areas of Illinois. But next year, 'fields of green' will take on an entirely different meaning as farmers will soon be allowed to grow industrial hemp. 

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

Gary Smith has worked at the grain elevator at Okaw Farmer’s Co-op in Lovington, Illinois, for forty years. On his desk sit two computer screens, where he tracks corn and soybean prices online at the Chicago Board of Trade.

As he explains, trade moves fast: “Just bam bam bam, and within a few seconds it could change a nickel or a dime against your favor.”

Organic product sales totaled around $50 billion and now account for more than five percent of total food sales in the United States, according to an industry survey. As the demand in Illinois grows, advocates are pushing for more support for organic farmers in the 2018 farm bill. 

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