Members of the House and Senate have reached a bipartisan agreement on a five-year farm bill that will end months of uncertainty for farmers and agriculture workers, its backers say. If enacted, it would close the gap left when the previous farm bill expired late in 2013, after an emergency extension lapsed.
Starting this year, farmers across the Midwest can sign up for a service that lets big agribusiness collect data from their farms, minute by minute, as they plant and harvest their crops.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture says Illinois was the country's leading producer of soybeans and second-largest corn producer last year.
The past year was a busy one for the animal welfare activists who've turned their hidden cameras on confinement facilities where huge numbers of food animals are raised.
Decatur-based Archer Daniels Midland has confirmed that it's moving its global headquarters to Chicago.
In a couple of weeks, residents in Champaign can begin applying for licenses so that they can get backyard chickens.
The story was produced for Harvest Public Media, a collaboration of public broadcasting stations in the Midwest covering food and agriculture issues.
This Thanksgiving, hungry families all over the country will finish off their holiday meal with a little slice of the Midwest.
A crop-dusting pilot is being fined $750 for mistakenly spraying almost 80 teenagers with fungicide as they detassled corn near Champaign this summer.
The News-Gazette reports the pilot was fined for violating the Illinois Pesticide Act during the July 25 accident.
A spokesman for the Illinois Department of Agriculture says the fine was issued by an administrative law judge.
The teenagers were working in Pesotum to cut the pollinating tassels off corn plants when they were hit by the chemical being sprayed on an adjacent field.
They were decontaminated and treated for minor ailments, mostly irritated skin.
Congressman Rodney Davis says he agrees with Democratic Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid that there should be no extension of the 2008 Farm Bill.
This story was produced in collaboration with the Center for Investigative Reporting and UC Berkeley's Investigative Reporting program. This is part two of a two-part report about sexual assault of agricultural workers in the U.S.
It started with a missing paycheck.
In 2006, Guadalupe Chavez, a farm worker in California's Central Valley, was supposed to earn $245 for a week of picking pomegranates. It was money the widowed mother of two needed urgently to pay her bills. When she went to track down the check, a supervisor she'd never met before told her someone had it out in the fields. He said to follow him there in her car.