In Illinois, for example, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) recently reported a decline in the health of the state’s corn plants for the second week in a row. In Missouri, farmers only had half of their soybeans planted by June 20th, the USDA’s official end of the planting season for the area.
There was no shortage of rain this month, but rather a shortage of drainage solutions. Collectively, Illinois received 8.9 inches of rainfall in June making it the wettest June on record and the fourth wettest month in the state's history according to records dating back to 1895. Currently, the wettest month on record happened in September of 1926 when 9.26 inches of rainfall fell over Illinois.
John Reifsteck is chairman and president of GROWMARK, Inc, a regional agricultural cooperative in Bloomington, Ill. Reifsteck, who is also a grain farmer, told lawmakers that unless Congress backs a national standard and blocks individual state laws, American agriculture will be harmed.
At 76 years old, U of I graduate Mary-Dell Chilton is still working. The genetically-modified corn, soybeans and other crops that her research helped develop now grow on more than 170 million acres of U.S. farmland. Earlier this month, Chilton’s groundbreaking discoveries earned her a place in the National Inventors Hall of Fame.
Finally, pumpkin pie might be getting the attention it deserves from lawmakers in Springfield. Illinois grows 95 percent of pumpkins processed in the United States, and lawmakers have proposed a bill making pumpkin pie the official pie of Illinois.
Michael Perry is a New York Times Bestselling author, known for his memoirs of growing up in and returning to rural Wisconsin. He is also a humorist, singer/songwriter, radio host, and intermittent pig farmer. Even with all of that he is visiting Champaign-Urbana Saturday as the keynote speaker for the Champaign Library’s Local Author Festival.