Lack of portable insurance adds health care burden to migrant workers | Iowa Watch

Having continued insurance for health care from job to job is one of many unique health challenges migrant farmworkers face because of the workers’ frequent movement from state to state without portable health insurance, which leads to a lack of insurance coverage, inconsistent professional medical care and confusion about health care services in the area where they are working.

Monsanto ordered to pay $289.2 million in landmark Roundup lawsuit verdict

A San Francisco court has ordered the agribusiness company Monsanto to pay nearly $290 million in damages to a California man who alleges his cancer was caused by Roundup, the company’s most widely used herbicide. The verdict was issued Friday. Dewayne “Lee” Johnson filed the lawsuit against St. Louis-based Monsanto Co. in January 2016, "alleging exposure to the Roundup herbicide he sprayed while working as a groundskeeper for the Benicia Unified School District caused him to develop non-Hodgkin lymphoma."

Illinois environment agency cites energy company for alleged contamination

A former Vermilion County, Illinois, coal plant heavily criticized for contaminating groundwater has received a violation notice for alleged contamination of the Middle Fork River.

The Illinois Environmental Protection Agency cited Vistra Energy Corporation, formerly known as Dynegy Midwest Generation, for alleged violations of the Illinois Environmental Protection Act at the Vermilion Power Station near Oakwood, Illinois.

Monsanto No More: Agri-Chemical Giant’s Name Dropped In Bayer Acquisition | NPR

These days Monsanto is shorthand for, as NPR's Dan Charles has put it, "lots of things that some people love to hate": Genetically modified crops, which Monsanto invented. Seed patents, which Monsanto has fought to defend. Herbicides such as Monsanto's Roundup, which protesters have sharply criticized for its possible health risks. Big agriculture in general, of which Monsanto was the reviled figurehead. And soon Monsanto will be no more.

Local communities fight air pollution from large animal farms
Lack of regulations leaves communities exposed to health and climate risks

With their expansive deck overlooking a pond, Shirley Kidwell and her family used to spend summer days outdoors reading, but the growth of large animal farms in the area has eliminated that pastime. “When that odor hits, you’ve got to go inside and a lot of times we go downstairs to the basement to get away from it,” said Kidwell, the owner of a small farm in Callaway county, Missouri, and the secretary for Friends of Responsible Agriculture, who lives within a mile of a farm with 5,600 hogs. Kidwell and other residents are particularly worried about a new 10,000-hog farm moving to Callaway county.  It would be built less than a mile from Kidwell’s home. According to a 2017 report from the office of the inspector general, there are currently 450,000 animal feeding operations in the U.S.  The majority contain less than 300 animals, but approximately 18,000 raise thousands of animals. Air pollution from those operations can create numerous respiratory health problems, such as asthma, and contribute to climate change.

Report: USDA payments to non-farmers remain high

The largest federal farm payments were disproportionately paid to farm operations primarily made up of managers, or those who did not actively work on the farm, according to a new government watchdog report released in May. Farm investors and managers received nearly $260 million in U.S. Department of Agriculture subsidy payments in 2015, the Government Accountability Office reported. The top 19 operations receiving farm subsidies in 2015 had an average of nine managers receiving payments.  

Steve Morris, Director of Natural Resources and Environment for the GAO, said a trend identified in 2013 is still evident in the 2015 data. “When you look at the definition of ‘actively engaged’ and how that’s breaking out, I think some of those patterns remain consistent,” he said.