Champaign County survey is the first step in filling rural internet gaps

URBANA — Surveyors will start knocking on doors in rural Champaign County this weekend to ask residents if they are happy with their internet service. Champaign County officials commissioned the survey to find the most efficient way to close internet gaps with $3 million in COVID-19 relief. “There might be a way that we can […]

How small companies bring fast internet to rural places that telecom giants ignore

Installing fiber-optic internet in sparsely populated places like western Kansas is extremely expensive, even with government subsidies. But some smaller, local broadband providers are finding ways to make it work where the big national companies have not. https://cpa.ds.npr.org/s8/audio/2022/05/050222-dc-sk-ruralbroadband-webmix.mp3 HAYS, Kansas — With a family of five and a farming operation to run, Clay Scott’s home […]

Black farmers have lost $326 billion worth of farmland, study says

For the first time, researchers have assigned a value to the Black-owned farmland lost over the past century. Throughout the 20th century, Black farmers in the U.S. were forced to give up millions of acres of farmland. A new study puts a number to that loss — $326 billion. Discriminatory lending practices at the federal […]

Kernza — the grain you’ve never heard of that could revolutionize farming

https://cpa.ds.npr.org/s60/audio/2022/05/kernzawebaudio.mp3 The perennial grain can produce an annual crop even as it stays in the ground for up to four years. Its deep root system helps pull carbon out of the air and makes it more resistant to floods and drought. This story was produced in partnership with the Food & Environment Reporting Network Carmen […]

Biden visits Illinois; Sees bigger role for US farms due to Ukraine war

WASHINGTON — President Joe Biden wants to put a spotlight on the spike in food prices from Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. The Democrat plans to travel on Wednesday to an Illinois farm to emphasize how U.S. agricultural exports can relieve the financial pressures being felt worldwide. The war in Ukraine has disrupted supply of that […]

Farmers in the Plains are in ‘dire straits’ due to drought, wildfire conditions

Most of Illinois has had plenty of rain, but even with a few recent rains, much of the Great Plains are in a drought. Wildfires have swept across the grasslands and farmers are worried about how they’ll make it through the growing season. https://cpa.ds.npr.org/s60/audio/2022/05/drought-in-plains-hpm-web2.wav Listen to this story here. Randy Uhrmacher is in his tractor, […]

Antique tractor sells for $1.47 million in Illinois, shattering the world record

The 1913 CASE 30-60 is one of just five that still exist, making the model highly sought after by antique tractor enthusiasts. A century-year-old tractor just became the most expensive tractor ever sold. The 1913 CASE 30-60 model tractor sold at an auction house in Illinois for a whopping $1.47 million. It’s one of only […]

Pork producers are taking a gamble to get more money for lobbying and lawsuits

Looking for ways to fund lobbying and legal efforts to preserve their way of business, pork producers are turning down guaranteed money that could go to advertising and marketing. Pork producers are feeling threatened by attempts to change the way they raise pigs. So much so that they made the surprising move of reducing the […]

Farmers turn to old-fashioned manure as fertilizer prices soar

It’s never been a better time to sell manure. “We have been inundated with calls,” said Andy Scholting, president and co-founder of Nutrient Advisors, a Nebraskan manure broker. “We’ve certainly never seen so much demand for manure fertilizer.” Farmers are blowing up the office’s phones, hoping to find an alternative to expensive synthetic fertilizers. Prices […]

Biden waiving ethanol rule in bid to lower gasoline prices

MENLO, Iowa — President Joe Biden has journeyed to corn-rich Iowa to announce he’s suspending federal rules that restrict ethanol in gasoline, aiming to strike at least a small blow against surging inflation. He said Tuesday at a biofuel plant that the action should trim about a dime a gallon at a limited number of […]

As bird flu sweeps across U.S. even small, backyard flocks are at risk

In fall 2020, Leah Shaffer ordered four chickens from a Missouri hatchery — a pandemic impulse purchase to get her two children outside, she said. “I wanted them to have a reason to go out basically into the backyard and just have some real life sort of experience with nature instead of just computer time,” […]