Latest Stories

A fracking rig is silhouetted over a forest in 2011. Illinois officials settled on new fracking rules this month.

Reports question fracking health risks

As companies and landowners continue to settle on agreements to begin fracking, a handful of federal reports and studies have suggested fracking for gas and oil may present certain health risks. Continue Reading

A fracking operation in 2011. The Illinois Department of Natural Resources approved state fracking rules on Nov. 6, 2014.

Illinois farmers leased land ahead of newly passed fracking rules

Southern Illinois farmers and landowners have started leasing their land to major fracking companies to draw additional income. In just one southern Illinois county, Wayne County,property owners have signed more than 3,000 leases with oil and gas companies in the last two years, though some leases may not be specifically for fracking. In 2011, just 400 leases were signed, according to county clerk records. Continue Reading

Lin Warfel walks across his central-Illinois corn and soybean farm on Nov. 5, 2014. Like many farmers, Warfel opposes the Waters of the U.S. rule.

Waters of the U.S. comment window set to close

The public comment period for a proposed rule defining "Waters of the U.S." is set to close on Nov. 14, more than half a year sine the rule was first introduced. During that time, thousands of national lawmakers, state authorities and agriculture officials have criticized the rule. Continue Reading

U.S. consumption of poultry products is higher than either pork or beef. The U.S. poultry industry is also the world's largest producer of poultry, according to the Economic Research Service.

U.S. Senators push for better poultry standards

As Americans gear up to eat more than 40 million pounds of turkey this month, a handful of U.S. senators are calling for stronger Department of Agriculture oversight to reduce pathogens in poultry. Their push follows a recent government report that found poultry products – such as chicken and turkey – cause more foodborne-illness deaths than any other commodity. Continue Reading


Covering Big Agribusiness: tipsheets and presentations

The Minnesota Journalism Center's School of Journalism and Mass Communication – in collaboration with the Midwest Center for Investigative Reporting, and Investigative Reporters and Editors – hosted the “Covering Big Agribusiness” workshop in Minneapolis on Oct. 3 through Oct. 5. Check out the session tip sheets and presentations here. Continue Reading

Bev Ehler stands in her equipment shed at her rural Thomasboro, Ill., farm on Oct. 17, 2014.

Record yields mean lower returns for Midwest farmers

After making record profits from 2007 through 2013, farmers in Champaign County, Ill., who rent their land are likely to lose money on both corn and soybeans in this year and next, said a University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign economist. Continue Reading

Blueberry pickers at a farm in Hillsboro, Ore.

Heat rising over ‘hot goods’

An attempted crackdown on minimum wage and child labor violations at berry farms in the Pacific Northwest has sparked a backlash that threatens one of the U.S. Labor Department’s most potent tools for enforcing protections for farm workers. Continue Reading