WIUM Tristates Public Radio

Dana Cronin

Dana Cronin is a reporter based in Urbana, Illinois. She covers food and agriculture issues in Illinois for Harvest. Dana started reporting in southern Colorado at member station 91.5 KRCC, where she spent three years writing about everything from agriculture to Colorado’s highest mountain peaks. From there she went to work at her hometown station, KQED, in San Francisco. While there she covered the 2017 North Bay Fires. She spent the last two years at NPR’s headquarters in Washington D.C., producing for shows including Weekend Edition and All Things Considered.

A pig’s ideal temperature is 65 degrees Fahrenheit. 

BIGSTOCK

People who work outside increasingly risk their income, illness, and even death as climate change ramps up extreme heat.

Dana Cronin/Harvest Public Media

Amid a push from the Biden administration for U.S. agriculture to help slow climate change, a new study shows farmers in the Corn Belt are dropping the ball on adopting a climate-friendly practice.

As states like Kansas and Oklahoma let their emergency declarations run out, they effectively take a pass on extra federal help with food stamps.

 

Lin Warfel puts farmland owners in central Illinois into two categories: Those with a deep connection and desire to preserve their land, and those obsessed with short-term money.

COVID-19 vaccination rates are lower in rural counties than in urban counties, according to a new

When it rains on Joe Rothermel’s central Illinois farm, most of the water drains into the nearby East Branch Embarras River. There, it begins a journey south through the Wabash, Ohio and Mississippi Rivers.

Some states are saying they won’t use Johnson & Johnson’s single-dose vaccine to immunize vulnerable, harder-to-reach populations, including agriculture workers, over concerns about equity and perceptions of how well it protects against COVID-19. 

Steve Larimore was hoping to triple the size of his garden this year.

Once the seed catalog arrived at his home near Bend, Ore., Larimore excitedly got his order together. He then went online and began adding the different seed varieties to his cart, only to discover about a third of the items he wanted were unavailable. 

Tomatoes? Sold out. Kale? Gone. Sweet corn? Nope.

“I was pretty discouraged,” he says. “There were some things that I’ve grown before that I really like and I wanted to grow again and they didn’t have those.” 

For more than a decade, Saraí has been a farmworker, cultivating corn and soybeans in the fields of central Illinois. She moved to the U.S. from Mexico to find work that would allow her to better support her family.

In late July 2019, a group of migrant farmworkers from south Texas was working in a cornfield in DeWitt County, Ill., when suddenly a crop duster flew overhead, spraying them with pesticides. Panicked, the crew, which included teenagers and a pregnant woman, ran off the field with clothes doused in pesticides. Their eyes and throats burned and some had trouble breathing.

It happened again two weeks later, this time twice within 30 minutes.

In October, Purdue University’s Ag Economy Barometer recorded its highest-ever index, meaning farmers were at an all-time high level of optimism.

However, that number dropped off significantly in November, due in large part to the presidential election.

 

Dusty Spurgeon is proud to be a female farmer. 

 

On the outskirts of Rantoul, in east-central Illinois, about 100 migrant farmworkers are living at an old hotel in a sleepy part of town.

 

Ja Nelle Pleasure never used to think twice about putting food on the table for her family.

 

The number of families experiencing food insecurity has hit a record due to the pandemic, and Black and Hispanic families are disproportionately affected.

 

 

When you walk into Cyndy Ash’s barn, one of the first things you notice is a huge burlap sack, bursting at the seams with wool.

“We’re sitting on about 600 lbs of wool from when they were sheared last. And it’s been sitting there since they were sheared in March,” Ash says.

 

 

Like many small business owners, Amy Manganelli has taken a financial hit since the start of the coronavirus pandemic. So, a few weeks ago, she decided to apply for a small business loan from the federal government.

 

It’s planting season across much of the United States, and for some farmers who rely on foreign guest workers for help in the fields, the pandemic is getting in the way.  

As the price of gasoline plummeted amid COVID-19 restrictions, so has the price of ethanol.

 

For many farmers, 2019 was the first year of growing hemp, since it became legal under the 2018 Farm Bill. In addition to the normal challenges of farming, hemp growers have had to deal with a different kind of problem: theft.