Twelve things to know about the 2018 Farm Bill

Congressional leaders from the U.S. Senate and the U.S. House of Representatives are continuing to reconcile their versions of the 2018 Farm Bill, a nearly $870 billion spending plan for programs such as trade, commodities, food stamps and conservation. Here’s a look at what's in the proposed 2018 Farm Bill

Since 1955 the Vermilion Power Plant has been storing toxic coal ash in three ponds next to the Middle Fork Vermilion River near Oakwood, Illinois

Loose regulations allow coal ash to threaten river
Middle Fork River at risk from Dynegy coal ash ponds

Each year thousands of families boat down the Middle Fork branch of the Illinois Vermilion River below an embankment that holds back 3.3 million cubic yards of toxic coal ash sludge stored in three large ponds. Coal ash pollution is leaching into the river, and the riverbank is eroding under the ponds. We examine what's a stake in this investigative report.

Erosion on the bank of the Middle Fork River near the Dynegy coal ash ponds

Riverbank near coal ash ponds found unstable
Residents, environmentalists worry about a possible collapse

Environmentalists and community members in Vermilion County have expressed deep concern over the pollution from toxic chemicals seeping from large coal ash ponds into the Middle Fork River in Vermilion County. But engineering experts warn there may be a greater risk posed by the collapse of the riverbank holding back more than 600 million of gallons of toxic coal ash.

Opinion: White House ag bailout will not spell relief

In Dave Dickey's latest opinion, he writes that the $12 billion federal ag bailout is more than a Band-Aid in what may be a multi-growing season conflict with China. And that conflict is problematic for U.S. ag for a number of reasons.

People canoeing on a river

Protecting the Middle Fork from coal ash: How long is ‘perpetuity?’
Everyone agrees on the 'P' word

Dynegy is planning to close the coal ash ponds at its shuttered Vermilion Power Station near Oakwood, Illinois. The company may propose to remove the toxic coal ash from the banks of the Middle Fork River, or cap the ponds and leave them in place. The Illinois EPA says the river must be protected "in perpetuity." But after Dynegy walks away from the site, what does perpetuity mean?

Post merger, Bayer vague on lawsuit strategy, despite liability

It’s been nearly two weeks since the merger between Bayer AG and Monsanto officially began its integration, two months since the deal closed and nearly two years since the planned deal was announced.

Despite that, newly appointed Bayer officials are vague on how they plan to handle the mountain of lawsuits inherited from Monsanto over pesticides such as glyphosate and dicamba.

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.

Since the creation of the World Trade Organization, the U.S. has been involved in 269 trade disputes.

Trade disputes explode under Trump tariff war

As President Donald Trump continues to wage a multi-front trade war with some of the U.S.’ biggest economic partners, farmers have borne some of the heaviest financial burden.

More than a third of trade disputes involving the U.S. relate to agriculture, according to an analysis of disputes submitted to the World Trade Organization since its creation in 1995.

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."