Midwest cities have plenty of vacant lots. So why can’t urban farmers buy that land?

Urban farmers are trying to buy vacant lots for their farms to bring fresh, healthy food and green space to their neighborhoods, but they face challenges in acquiring that land. KANSAS CITY, Kan. — There’s a high demand for the vegetables Mediatrice Niyonkuru grows in her urban garden. Cassava leaves, muchicha and white eggplant are […]

John Deere says it will make the tractor of the future — no driver needed

Farm implement manufacturers, including giant John Deere, are well on their way to deploying autonomous tractors. Prototypes are in the field now, and they could be widely available by the end of the decade. Autonomous vehicles that drive themselves may come to farm fields long before they are common on roadways. John Deere intends to […]

USDA designates Champaign & Vermilion counties as primary natural disaster areas

After severe droughts in July and August, the U.S. Department of Agriculture designated Champaign and Vermilion counties as primary natural disaster areas. With that announcement, farmers with 30% crop loss, can apply for low-interest, emergency loans. This can help replace equipment or refinance certain debts. John Gehrke heads the loan program at the USDA Illinois […]

SNAP-Ed pays workers so little that some qualify for food benefits themselves

CHAMPAIGN — Del Jacobs likes almost everything about her job. As a SNAP-Ed community worker in Illinois, she likes getting to know the regulars at local food pantries and teaching them about healthy eating on a budget. She likes working with children, especially since she doesn’t have any kids of her own. What she doesn’t […]

New climate law injects billions into agriculture conservation programs

CHAMPAIGN — Illinois State Conservationist Ivan Dozier is happy to explain the reasons why $18 billion has been set aside for United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) farm conservation programs within the bipartisan Inflation Reduction Act of 2022, a $740 billion climate, tax and healthcare spending package signed into law by President Joe Biden this summer. […]

‘It’s not for everyone.’ How Midwestern states tempt tourists with unpretentious getaways

Mount Rushmore and the Great Lakes are a couple of the Midwest’s tourism magnets, but some states have to work against their reputations to attract visitors. They’re getting creative by highlighting amenities that can be a bit off the beaten path. https://cpa.ds.npr.org/s60/audio/2022/08/underdog-tourism-states-web.wav Listen to this story here. Climbing into a cattle water tank and floating […]

13th district Republican candidate Regan Deering scores Illinois Farm Bureau endorsement

CHAMPAIGN — Illinois’ 13th district congressional race is heating up as November approaches. The newly redrawn district stretches from the Champaign-Urbana area to the Metro East suburbs near St. Louis — including much of Decatur and Springfield. This week, the Illinois Farm Bureau’s political action committee endorsed 13th district Republican candidate Regan Deering. The news […]

Duckworth, Salvi court ag industry voters in campaign for U.S. Senate

LEXINGTON — An array of issues, ranging from biofuels and renewable energy to livestock protection and trade agreements, faced Democratic incumbent U.S. Sen. Tammy Duckworth and Republican challenger Kathy Salvi during the Illinois Agricultural Legislative Roundtable candidates forum Wednesday in rural Lexington. The recently signed Inflation Reduction Act and the Biden Administration’s student loan forgiveness plan […]

Bailey, Pritzker face off in agriculture forum with accusations of lies

LEXINGTON – The candidates for Illinois governor faced questioning about their agriculture-related policies Wednesday in an outbuilding on a McLean County farm. Gov. JB Pritzker’s message was one of optimism, billing himself as the state’s “chief marketer.” His challenger, state Sen. Darren Bailey, a Republican from Xenia, told the room full of farmers that Illinois […]

USDA secretary visits Le Roy gas station to promote money for biofuels

LE ROY – U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack visited Illinois on Tuesday to announce a new investment of $100 million for biofuel infrastructure. Sen. Tammy Duckworth met Vilsack at a Casey’s General Store in Le Roy. Duckworth pointed out a new, yellow handle at the Casey’s pump – where drivers can fill up their […]