agriculture

How Illinois FFA Adapts To Keep Growing

Sep 19, 2019
Sean Crawford / WUIS

Illinois Future Farmers of America set a record last year for membership. They also broke their record for enrollment across all agriculture education. This year, they’re set to surpass both again.

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

"Soybeans" by Flickr User Aerna's Mom / (CC x 2.0)

Farmers are entering their 5th year of low crop prices and now soybeans have reached a 10-year low, in part due to Chinese tariffs. Economists say this could be a pivotal year for farmers in Illinois and across the country.

RICI HOFFARTH | ST. LOUIS PUBLIC RADIO

Soybean growers in the Midwest are caught in the middle of an escalating trade war between the U.S. and China.

China retaliated against the Trump administration’s tariffs on Chinese products Friday by imposing $34 billion in tariffs on hundreds of American goods, including soybeans. Analysts say the added expense of China’s 25 percent tariff on U.S. soybeans will effectively block the product from entering the Chinese market.

WGLT

U.S. Rep. Rodney Davis said Thursday he supports work and job training requirements in the draft of the new Farm Bill.

Democrats said that would drastically cut food aid to the needy and that many people on the Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program (SNAP) already work.

WNIJ / WNIJ

Two Illinois lawmakers have proposed a plan to offer tax credits to biotechnology businesses in hopes of boosting agricultural jobs in central Illinois.

The Decatur Herald & Review reports the legislation, introduced by state senators Chapin Rose (R-Mahomet) and Andy Manar (D-Bunker Hill), would provide incentives to produce and sell new renewable products made from biomass and other renewable sources.

Manar says the state is strategically poised to lead the development of new renewable products.

Katie Finlon / WNIJ

Illinois is still without a budget after the last legislative session ended last week. Here's what that means for LINK card recipients shopping at farmer’s markets:

There are about 450,000 SNAP beneficiaries within the WNIJ listening area, according to Illinois Human Services data. That’s about a quarter of all recipients within the state.

Now, more and more farmers markets in the area are starting to allow those residents to pay with their LINK cards. That includes DeKalb’s market, which is in its fifth year of accepting LINK.

Vicki Snyder Chura / Rochelle High School

A tradition continues at Rochelle High School this morning: it’s “Ag Day,” a showcase for the area’s farming heritage.

Non-farmers will get the chance to climb on tractors, check out the school’s greenhouse, and learn which animals you can pet -- and which ones you shouldn’t.

CASS HERRINGTON / PEORIA PUBLIC RADIO

Illinois U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL) announced a $25 million federal grant for the Illinois Manufacturing Excellence Center in Peoria Thurs. The aim is to help local manufacturers compete in a rapidly changing industry.

The Peoria-based consultant advises and trains manufacturing companies on ways to increase profits, sustainability and cost-savings. The bulk of IMEC’s clients are small to mid-size companies. That’s why Democratic Senator Durbin says the funding will help give small businesses in Illinois a leg-up in the tech-driven, global market.

Illinois officials say the threat of bird flu required limits on poultry at this year’s Illinois State Fair.

This strain of avian influenza entered the U.S. last December. So far it’s infected flocks in all the states surrounding Illinois.

State Department of Agriculture Director Philip Nelson says it’s resulted in 48 million birds either dying or being killed. Because of that, he says bird exhibitions at the state fair will be limited to Illinois birds.

Ryan Pumroy / WNIJ

Entrepreneurs looking to get in on the business side of Illinois' new medical marijuana program are facing fierce competition.  The state has come out with numbers showing just how much.  

Jenna Dooley / WNIJ

Nancy Nienhuis was born in a farmhouse in rural Janesville, Wis. She's worked the land her whole life and plans to keep it in the family. She's proud of her family's agricultural legacy and wants others to take notice.

State Wants to Promote Farm Food

Jan 15, 2013
Illinois Department of Agriculture

The Illinois Department of Agriculture wants shoppers to buy food farmed in Illinois. And it wants grocery stores that sell local food to encourage it. The state wants stores and farmers’ markets to take part in its new "Where Fresh Is" campaign.