Reporter’s Diary: Illinois Farm Bureau encourages farmers, ag business be considered essential business

The American Farm Bureau Federation said they called on Congress to include farmers in rescue measures. The new agreement includes as much as a $14 billion increase in the United States Department of Agriculture’s, USDA’s, borrowing power through the Commodity Credit Corporation. This measure is set to support agriculture and assist specialty crop producers, direct retail farmers and livestock operators, according to the American Farm Bureau.

EPA fines Frontier Ag over Clean Air Act violations

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, EPA, reached a settlement Monday with Frontier Ag Inc. concerning three facilities in Kansas that were violating the Clean Air Act in Oct. 2018.

This was the next step on our pesticide drift project

Last week, we hosted a discussion regarding our pesticide drift sensor project. Twenty-five people from various industries including scientists from the University of Illinois, local public health officials, the Champaign County Farm Bureau, and environmental focus groups gathered at the Champaign-Urbana Public Health Department as we presented our findings from the project and asked for their input.

Midwest Center hosts first dinner and docs

Farmers, chicken enthusiasts and community members came together to eat dinner and watch a documentary at the Midwest Center for Investigative Reporting’s event Dinner and Docs held June 18 The City Center in Champaign, Illinois.

The documentary was a Netflix film called “Rotten: Big Bird,” which shows “the ruthlessly efficient world of chicken production pits vulnerable growers against each other and leaves them open to vicious acts of sabotage,” according to Netflix.

Chicken farming hobby highlights changing industry

Sonja Solomonson is in the minority of farmers who produce chicken and other poultry. She lives on a small farm with a small flock, while her competitors raise thousands of birds, contracted with one of the major agribusiness companies.

Five companies — Tyson Foods, Pilgrim’s Pride, Sanderson Farms, Perdue Farms and Koch Foods — produce 61% of the chickens Americans eat, about nine billion per year, which doesn’t leave much room for alternative methods of farming birds.

Join us for dinner and a movie; we want your questions

The Midwest Center for Investigative Reporting is hosting its first Dinner and Docs event on June 18. It will be an evening of dinner, a documentary and discussion around U.S. chicken production. The event will also highlight how the media covers issues of food and farming.

California jury rules $2 billion verdict against weedkiller Roundup

A California jury made an unprecedented $2.055 billion ruling in favor of a married couple who claimed a pesticide made by agrichemical company formerly known as Monsanto caused their cancer. Alva and Alberta Pilliod filed the case on Aug. 14, 2017, against Monsanto alleging the repeated use of the pesticide Roundup and its key ingredient glyphosate since the 1970s caused their non-Hodgkin lymphoma. The Livermore, Calif. couple were awarded $1 billion each in punitive damages and $55,206,000 in compensatory damages, the Associated Press reported.