Report warns of dangers from staff decline at Illinois EPA

The state's lack of investment in the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency is putting citizens at increased risk of public health issues, according to a report released by a group of experts on Tuesday.

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A 10-minute delay of key USDA reports gave some people an advantage. Here’s why.

Each month, the United States Department
of Agriculture releases a series of reports that analysts, grain traders,
investors and farmers use to make decisions or buy and sell commodities.

But on Friday, November 8, two of those USDA
reports - World Agriculture Supply and Demand Estimate (WASDE) and the Crop
Production report – were delayed by at least 10 minutes.

Does efficient irrigation technology preserve groundwater? A new GAO report says the answer is probably no.

Note: This story is embargoed for republication until Nov. 24, 2019

Efficient irrigation may produce more crops, but it doesn’t appear to preserve groundwater, according to a federal report released this week. Decades of irrigation has already depleted aquifers that many irrigated farms rely on, according to the report from the Government Accountability Office, and efficient systems appear to not help. Minus a few exceptions, GAO researchers found “there is no change in the amount of water farmers apply to a field with more efficient technology,” according to the Nov. 12 report.

Soybean promoters shop for new markets as talks with China continue

In Washington D.C. Friday, President Trump announced that China and the U.S. had reached a tentative trade agreement. The announcement came at the end of a 13th round of trade talks between the two nations over 18 months. Though the president's statement was light on details, one promise brought cautious optimism to U.S. farmers and ranchers. Trump said the deal will include $50 billion in U.S. agricultural goods heading to China, though no timeline was mentioned. More than 800 miles west of Washington D.C., Rich Guebert, a farmer in Ellis Grove, Illinois, hoped the rain would hold off long enough for him to finish harvesting corn.

Kraft, Mondelez agreed to pay $16 million for allegedly manipulating the wheat market. Now, they’re complaining the feds talked about it.

Two of the biggest food companies in the U.S. were fined a $16 million penalty for allegedly manipulating the wheat market for its own gain as part of a settlement agreement reached in August. When the federal agency posted a news release about it, the two food companies complained the agency broke its part of the agreement.

President Trump makes surprise phone call during Decatur Farm Progress Show

United States Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue took the stage at the Farm Progress Show in Decatur, Illinois, Wednesday to discuss the U.S.-China trade war, trade agreements and other problems facing farmers. He was interviewed by long-time agriculture journalists Max Armstrong and Orion Samuelson. Then the president called.

As foreign investment in U.S. farmland grows, efforts to ban and limit the increase mount

Foreign investors acquired at least 1.6 million acres of U.S. agricultural land in 2016, the largest increase in more than a decade, according to the latest available federal data.

The latest data from the U.S. Department of Agriculture shows that foreign investors control 28.3 million acres, valued at $52.2 billion. That area is about the size of the state of Ohio.