ByAnna Casey/Midwest Center for Investigative Reporting |
University of Illinois weed scientist Aaron Hager said that reports of plant damage from the herbicide dicamba are something that he sees every year, but there were a few factors that made the 2017 growing season rife with complaints to agriculture officials.
Join us for a panel discussion featuring weed scientists, industry leaders and community members as we delve into the issues that arose with dicamba. There will be time after the moderated panel for an audience Q & A session.
The event is free but RSVP required. Light refreshments will be served.
We've also put together a fact sheet so you can ask questions, too.
More than 5,400 pesticide applicators and farmers have attended free trainings on spraying the herbicide dicamba throughout Illinois. Here's what reporter Anna Casey learned while attending one of them.
For farming communities in the Midwest, the herbicide dicamba did more than damage crops – it created tensions between friends and neighbors and raised questions about how state officials and makers of dicamba - Monsanto and BASF - responded to the problem. Join us for a panel discussion featuring weed scientists, industry leaders and community members as we delve deeper into the issues that arose with dicamba. There will be time after the moderated panel for an audience Q & A session.
Hundreds of rural schools in Midwest states nestle against fields of corn and soybeans that are routinely sprayed with pesticides that could drift onto school grounds.
Health experts say those pesticides might pose risks to children, and nine states in other regions of the country have been concerned enough to pass laws requiring buffer zones. But states in the Midwest do not require any kind of buffer zone between schools and crop fields and seldom require any notification that pesticides are about to be sprayed, a review of laws by the Midwest Center for Investigative Reporting has found.
This story was inspired by a question submitted at a Listening Post the Midwest Center for Investigative Reporting held in August. Stuart Levy in Urbana, Illinois, asked us what would be needed for row crop farmers to switch from corn and soybeans to “something more sustainable.” We dug into that question, which starts with the unlikely circumstances that turned the soybean into a multi-billion dollar industry, and what this history might reveal about the future of U.S. agriculture.
Repetitive motion injuries, amputations and cuts continue to be common dangers that workers in the meat processing industry face, according to a Government Accountability Office report released this month. The GAO also found workers suffer respiratory illnesses from peracetic acid – an antimicrobial chemical – sprayed on meat in processing facilities. In addition, investigators from GAO identified a lack of bathroom access as a major concern among workers – one that workers were afraid to mention to federal labor inspectors at plants for fear of retribution from their employer. The report reviewed the government’s efforts – specifically the Department of Labor’s Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA) – to protect the health and safety of workers in the nation’s animal slaughtering and processing industry, one of the most hazardous industries in the U.S.
Approximately 72 workers were interviewed in Arkansas, Delaware, Nebraska, North Carolina and Virginia. Workers in three of those states said they had suffered negative health effects, such as kidney problems, from delayed or denied bathroom breaks.
A new report from the Environmental Working Group, a research and advocacy organization, indicates that more than 1,700 water districts across the U.S. recorded nitrate levels that averaged 5 ppm or more in 2014-2015. The vast majority — 1,683 of the water districts — were rural systems serving no more than 25,000 people and generally located in farming areas where fertilizer and manure in cropland runoff can seep into the public water supply. Included in those rural districts were 118 systems that matched or exceed the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s limit of 10 ppm.
The Midwest Center for Investigative Reporting found that the number of alleged pesticide misuse complaints in Illinois this year is already more than the previous three years combined. States across the Midwest have reported a similar spike. Experts say this sharp increase is due in large part to new formulations of the weed killer dicamba. Many farmers and homeowners are reporting damage to their non-dicamba-resistant plants, raising questions about how easily the product can drift off target, even when applied according to the directions on the label. The Midwest Center for Investigative Reporting has been following the story, and we want to hear from you (regardless of whether you filed a formal complaint).