As Climate Change Ramps Up Heat, Farmers Struggle To Keep Animals Cool

RAYMOND — A pig’s ideal temperature is 65 degrees Fahrenheit. So on a 90-degree day in the middle of July, Phil Borgic keeps a close eye on his herd. “A pig can’t sweat,” he says. “So the only way that it can transfer the heat is by panting.” https://cpa.ds.npr.org/s138/audio/2021/08/livestock-climate-change-hpm-web.mp3 The air is humid and heavy […]

Health Or A Paycheck: New Report Shows How Extreme Heat May Hurt Farmworkers

People who work outside increasingly risk their income, illness and even death as climate change ramps up extreme heat. That’s according to a first-of-its-kind study from the Union of Concerned Scientists, titled “Too Hot To Work.” The study focused on workers who spend some or all of their work time outside, including construction workers, emergency […]

Lack Of Testing Means Millions Of Rural Midwesterners Risk Water Contamination

Millions of rural residents across the Midwest are at risk of nitrate contamination in their drinking water, but they might not know it. Many rural residents get their drinking water from private wells, which are not regulated by state or federal governments. And if residents aren’t regularly testing their well water, they could be at […]

Champaign Chief Of Police Anthony Cobb To Step Down In August

CHAMPAIGN – Champaign Chief of Police Anthony Cobb announced Thursday that he’ll step down from his position. He’s leaving the job to join the Illinois Law Enforcement Training and Standards Board, where he’ll serve as deputy director. Cobb was appointed in 2012 and has overseen the Champaign Police Department for more than nine years. Before […]

Cover Crops Can Help Slow Climate Change, But Few Farmers Are Planting Them

Amid a push from the Biden administration for U.S. agriculture to help slow climate change, a new study shows farmers in the Corn Belt are dropping the ball on adopting a climate-friendly practice.   A mountain of research shows the benefits of planting cover crops — from sequestering carbon from the environment to keeping waterways […]

States Ending Their Pandemic Emergency Declarations Surrender Extra Food Stamp Money

As states like Kansas and Oklahoma let their emergency declarations run out, they effectively take a pass on extra federal help with food stamps. Nearly one in five families struggled to afford food at the height of the pandemic. Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) allotments were maxed out to reduce food insecurity.  But with increasing vaccination rates […]

New U Of I Class Aims To Dispel Myths About Cannabis

URBANA — When people think cannabis, they often think marijuana. But the cannabis plant takes many different forms, from medicinal cannabidiol (CBD) to industrial hemp. A new class at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign aims to break down all the different uses of the crop and provide a foundation for students interested in entering the […]

Illinois Joins Midwestern States In Funding Farm Runoff Reduction Program

SPRINGFIELD — Illinois is the latest Midwestern state to earmark funding for a program to reduce nutrient runoff from farmland into waterways. It’s the first time the state has dedicated money to its Nutrient Loss Reduction Strategy (NLRS). Twelve states within the Mississippi River basin have similar strategies in place, and some, like Iowa, have […]

For Farmland Conservation, It Comes Down To Who Owns It

TOLONO — Lin Warfel puts farmland owners in central Illinois into two categories: Those with a deep connection and desire to preserve their land, and those obsessed with short-term money.   The 80-year-old still owns the land that’s been in his family since his great-grandfather arrived in Champaign County in the 1800’s. After farming it […]

Rural Areas Lag In Vaccination Rates, CDC Report Shows

COVID-19 vaccination rates are lower in rural counties than in urban counties, according to a new report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.  Nationwide, the vaccination rate among adults in urban counties is 45.7%, but only 38.9% of adults are vaccinated in rural counties. The disparity persists among different age groups and genders. […]

Hunger Is On The Decline After Pandemic-High, But Impacts Could Be Seen For Years

CHICAGO — The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted almost every aspect of our lives, including our ability to afford food. Rates of food insecurity skyrocketed during the pandemic due to high unemployment numbers and the economic recession. Now, though, with vaccines more widespread and the economy beginning to get back on track, those rates are on […]