Agriculture | WGLT

Agriculture

Erik Wilcox uses simulator
Carleigh Gray / WGLT

An agricultural cooperative company in Bloomington has used technology to become a pioneer in the industry.

Charlie Schlenker / WGLT

U.S. Sen. Tammy Duckworth said Wednesday she will fight proposed Trump administration cuts to agriculture.

During comments to reporters at the Illinois Farm Bureau in Bloomington, the Illinois Democrat singled out crop insurance as something that needs to be preserved.

Ryan Denham / WGLT

President Donald Trump’s top agriculture official stopped in Central Illinois on Monday to talk with farmers about the next farm bill and other federal programs.

When Steph Davidson and Jennifer Swartout heard talk that the local food trend in Bloomington-Normal had maxed out, they decided to take action.

Several people at outdoor table eating a meal in Cuba.
Photo courtesy of Linda Stockton via Facebook

Former State Senator and Treasurer Dan Rutherford says his travel business to Cuba won’t be hurt by President Trump’s plans to reverse Obama-era easing of restrictions on travel and trade.  But,  Rutherford thinks the president’s policy is a mistake.

Prairerth Farm

A farmer and an extension agent agree there are a number of issues hurting small organic farmers in Illinois and one of them is that a growing number of people don't know how to cook. 

Laura Kennedy / WGLT

The McLean County Museum of History explores local agriculture history in their newest exhibition.

Ron Frazier / Flickr

The Agriculture sector is among many U.S. interest groups carefully watching and weighing the young Trump administration in Washington. Candidate Trump staked out ground on the North American Free Trade Agreement that could harm Ag producers.

Illinois Farm Bureau Vice President David Erickson Erickson farms  3,400 acres in Knox and Henry Counties near Altona.

Forest and Kim Star / Flickr

Many couples celebrated Valentine's Day with gifts of chocolate. But, the sweet has a sometimes bitter and complex history.

Illinois State University Anthropologist Katie Sampeck looks at the genesis of taste and how chocolate came to be.

Randy Wick / Flickr

Illinois Agriculture groups are starting to show concern about the Trump administration direction in trade policy.

During the campaign, Trump focused on manufacturing jobs. But, agriculture has been a big winner under NAFTA and other regional and global trade deals.

More than half of Illinois corn and soybeans go to Mexico and Canada. Illinois Farm Bureau Vice President David Erickson of Altona, Illinois said nervous Mexican firms are starting to look for suppliers in Brazil and Argentina.

Lance Cheung / U.S. Department of Agriculture

The chief lobbyist at the Illinois Farm Bureau still thinks the nation will see comprehensive immigration reform.

But, it may take several more years because the incoming Trump administration may not take on the entire question right away.

Andrew Malone / Flickr via Creative Commons

Uptown Normal hosts not-your-average harvest festival, Saturday and Sunday, August 27 & 28.  It's the Sweet Corn Blues Festival, featuring over 20 tons of fresh sweet corn and two days of live blues on the CEFCU stage.

Kelly's Bakery And Cafe Hosts Local Flavors Event

Jul 20, 2016
Woman cutting tomato
Colleen Reynolds / WGLT

The Local Flavors farm-to-table restaurant series continues tomorrow at Kelly’s Bakery and Café where the menu will feature roasted chicken salad on a pretzel roll, a roasted veggie pita, applesauce and sweet peach tea, all made with ingredients from Central Illinois farms.  Owner Kelly Mathy says farms who supply her use practices associated with organic farming but ingredients are not certified as organic.

Ron Frazier / Flickr

Several teenage detasslers were among 60 or so farm workers treated Tuesday after being exposed to a pesticide in a field near McLean.

Officials report the field was sprayed Monday night, and the workers were exposed as they went about their duties Tuesday morning. Many experienced skin irritation and were treated inside a tent next to a farm field.

After being scrubbed with soap and water, they were allowed to leave. None were apparently hospitalized.
 

Chef shows off stuffed tomatoes
Colleen Reynolds / WGLT

The local foods movement has come a long way in a short time with a bigger network of suppliers, making it easier for restaurants to source food within a 100-mile radius.  Now in its ninth year, a local flavors farm-to-fork series kicks off this month at The Garlic Press,  an Uptown Normal restaurant that was on the forefront of keeping it local.

Creative Commons

How Americans view agriculture is not necessarily how the rest of the world sees farming practices. A British agriculture journalist recently stopped by the GLT studios during her trip across the U.S. as part of a fellowship studying U.S. farming practices and perceptions.

Workbench/Green Top Grocery

Bloomington-Normal's start-up food co-op Green Top Grocery has set a construction timeline.

Expect to see earth-moving equipment on the site at 921 E. Washington Street in Bloomington beginning in July. General Manager Michael Pennington says most of the work then will be installing underground utilities with the bulk of construction occurring late in the year.

Midwest To Be Used As Model For Conservation Efforts

Feb 12, 2016
Michael Hill / WGLT

Illinois, Iowa, and Kentucky will be the proving ground for land and water conservation across the United States. The efforts aim to reduce the amount of chemical runoff to keep the land fertile and increase water quality.

The Land Connection

A central Illinois farmer is this year's Sustainable Agriculture Award winner in Illinois. Harold Wilken farms more than 2,000 acres near Danforth in Iroquois County.

The Drones Are Coming

Dec 15, 2015
Bob Carroll / TV 10

The drones are coming, and so are the rules for the unmanned flying machines. Randy Aberle  of Flying Ag in Gibson city says he welcomes the new rules, for the most part. One rule that does bother him is a requirement anyone flying for hire must obtain a pilot's license. Aberle says that is standing in the way of farmers who want to use drones to get a better picture of conditions of the fields.

A third consecutive overall index drop in a monthly rural bankers survey suggests an economic slowdown is ahead for rural parts of 10 Western and Plains states. The Rural Mainstreet Index sank to 44.4 this month from 49.0 in September and 50.0 in August. The overall index is computed from various economic category scores, and survey organizers say any score below 50 suggests that factor will decline.

IL Stiffs State Fair Vendors

Oct 1, 2015
Il Dept. Agriculture

The Illinois State Fair ended in August. But many who worked there are still owed money. The event is a celebration of agriculture and more. But this year, the state warned vendors they might have to wait to get paid.

Illinois Hosts Dairy Tour

Sep 29, 2015

Illinois officials are hosting visitors from nearly 20 countries which are potential milk buyers. Representatives from the Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Mexico, Nepal and Thailand are among those participating in this year's Illinois Dairy Tour. The event began Monday at Rolling Lawns Farms in Greenville. It was there that in 1915 one of the state's first Holstein cows was registered. Warren Goetsch is acting director of the Department of Agriculture. He says Illinois is 22nd in the nation in producing milk, and the Dairy Tour is a key part of the state's marketing plan.

Monsanto Donates For Monarch Rescue

Sep 28, 2015

A national wildlife group says it is doling out $3.3 million in grants as part of an initial push to stem the worrisome decline of monarch butterflies. The 22 grants announced by the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation will be matched by more than $6.7 million from the recipients, who are in at least a dozen states including Illinois. The money is meant to restore up to 33,000 U.S. acres of habitat in areas identified by experts as key to monarch butterfly recovery.  

A subsidiary of Dow Chemical Co. is opening a facility in the research park at the University of Illinois' Champaign-Urbana campus. Indianapolis, Indiana-based Dow AgroSciences and the university have announced the Dow AgroSciences Innovation Center is joining the Dow Chemical Company Innovation Center, which opened in the school's research park in 2013. Dow Chemical is based in Midland, Michigan.  

Photo courtesy Flickr user fish hawk via Creative Commons

Host Patrick Murphy has an appreciation for farmers, plus some canning advice.

Harvest Moon Gathering Afoot

Sep 17, 2015
fleurmach.com

There's a harvest moon the 27th and 28th of this month, and the Twin City Amateur Astronomers are hosting an event Saturday night at Sugar Grove Nature Center for sky gazers focusing on what should be a pretty spectacular appearance by our closest neighbor. WGLT's Jim Browne talks with former ISU planetarium director Carl Wenning, with the Amateur Astronomers. He says the harvest moon is also known as a "supermoon" this time of year. He says early farmers coined the term harvest moon to describe autumn moons that tended to rise only a half hour apart on successive nights.