TAKEN: Despite reforms, burden still heavy on owners of seized property

The value of the property seized has totaled in hundreds of millions of dollars in property, cash, jewelry and real estate over the last eight years, according to an analysis of Illinois State Police data by the Midwest Center for Investigative Center.

Columbia power plant opts for “clean closure”

While Columbia has been proactive about cleaning up its coal ash — cinders that it used to spread on icy and snowy streets in the winter — it still gets 70 percent to 80 percent of its energyfrom coal-fired power plants in the Midwest, and most of that comes from the Sikeston Power Plant in southeast Missouri and the Prairie State Energy Campus in Illinois.

Residents concerned about groundwater pollution from coal ash ponds

For decades, coal ash has been stored in ash ponds, many of which lie in flood plains or in water tables where groundwater can flow through the ponds into nearby wells, aquifers or rivers. For many small communities across the nation, clean groundwater is an essential resource for drinking water.

On the farm, children face the risk of injury, death

About three children die from a agriculture-related incident every day, according to a 2018 factsheet from the National Children's Center for Rural and Agricultural Health and Safety, which holds child-injury prevention workshops and provides guidance for prevention programs and training to professionals.

A quarter of the deaths involved machinery, 17% involved motor vehicles like ATVs and 16 percent were drownings. Other causes include suffocation, electrocution, animals, being struck by a falling object and falling.

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.

Opinion: Beware shrinking federal agriculture research and development expenditures

Federal Research and Development dollars are crucial to help farmers produce more food, fiber and fuel while at the same time consuming fewer natural resources and protect public health.

It's a huge job.

You would think funding for this sort of stuff would be a no brainer. But federal agriculture research and development funding has stagnated in recent years.