Health+Harvest

In a normal year, Kevin Bradley, a professor of weed science at the University of Missouri, would have spent his summer testing new ways to control a troublesome little plant called water hemp.

This has not been a normal year.

As soybean and cotton farmers across the Midwest and South continue to see their crops ravaged from the weed killer dicamba, new complaints have pointed to the herbicide as a factor in widespread damage to oak trees.

Monsanto and BASF, two of agriculture’s largest seed and pesticide providers, released versions of the dicamba this growing season. The new versions came several months after Monsanto released its latest cotton and soybean seeds genetically engineered to resist dicamba in 2016. Since then, farmers across the Midwest and South have blamed drift from dicamba for ruining millions of acres of soybeans and cotton produced by older versions of seeds.

Now, complaints have emerged that the misuse of dicamba may be responsible for damage to oak trees in Iowa, Illinois and Tennessee.

When Sarah Scantling went into labor this summer, she had to drive 30 miles and across state lines.

Three years earlier, the only maternity ward where she lives in Pemiscot County, Missouri closed down. Scantling had to choose between a handful of other hospitals in the region between 20 and 70 miles away. She chose to give birth in the hospital in Dyersburg, Tennessee.

More than one-quarter of serious cases of nursing home abuse are not reported to the police, according to an alert released Monday morning by the Office of Inspector General in the Department of Health and Human Services.

The health insurer Aetna is facing criticism for revealing the HIV status of potentially thousands of customers after it sent out a mailer in which information about ordering prescription HIV drugs was clearly visible through the envelope's clear window.

For example, in a letter sent to a customer in Brooklyn, N.Y., the window revealed considerably more than the address. It also showed the beginning of a letter advising the customer about options "when filling prescriptions for HIV Medic ... "

Illinois Issues: The Rural Exodus

Aug 10, 2017
Chumlee 10 / Flickr

Analysis: What should be done to respond to loss of rural population?

To see this month's total solar eclipse, the first one to be visible from the contiguous United States in nearly 40 years, all Donald Liebenberg will have to do is open his front door and step outside.

"It's a really special treat to be able to have one in my driveway," says Liebenberg, who has trekked to Turkey, Zambia, China and Pukapuka, a remote island in the Pacific, to see past eclipses.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has proposed spending $275 million to upgrade defenses against an invading force. The enemy? A fish. Specifically, Asian carp that are threatening to break through to the Great Lakes.

Copyright 2017 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

LULU GARCIA-NAVARRO, HOST:

Craft Brew glasses on tasting board
theNerdPatrol / Flickr

Several breweries from across the state will compete during a new attraction at this year's Illinois State Fair. 

It has become a rite of summer. Every year, a "dead zone" appears in the Gulf of Mexico. It's an area where water doesn't have enough oxygen for fish to survive. And every year, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration commissions scientists to venture out into the Gulf to measure it.

This story was co-published by NPR and ProPublica.

Four days after Marie McCausland delivered her first child in May, she knew something was very wrong. She had intense pain in her upper chest, her blood pressure was rising, and she was so swollen that she barely recognized herself in the mirror. As she curled up in bed that evening, a scary thought flickered through her exhausted brain: "If I go to sleep right now, I don't know if I'm gonna be waking up."

Gray wolves in the Great Lakes region should keep their spot on the endangered species list, the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Washington, D.C., ruled Tuesday.

Daisy Contreras / NPR Illinois

Over 50 people rallied in Springfield Tuesday night to protest efforts to repeal the Affordable Care Act. Signs had phrases like "Stop Repeal" and "Healthcare is a Human Right." On Tuesday, a close vote in the U.S. Senate led to the first potential legislative steps in dismantling the law.

The rally was one of several taking place across the state. Organizers say they will continue efforts to draw attention to the proposed changes by telling the stories of those impacted. 

Cyndy Sims Parr / Flickr

The Land of Lincoln is the country's largest de facto nuclear waste dump.

Imagine you’re a farmer and it’s time to decide what to plant. You need information on supply, demand, prices, outlook -- information from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, university extension services, even economists at the Federal Reserve.

In Rural Trump Country, Trade Policy Divides

Mar 20, 2017
CREDIT GRANT GERLOCK / Harvest Public Media

This story is part of the special series United And Divided, which explores the links and rifts between rural and urban America.

Bottles of Roundup on a shelf.
Grant Gerlock / Harvest Public Media

After court documents unsealed Tuesday raised questions about its research methods, chemical giant Monsanto says it did not ghostwrite a 2000 study on the safety of glyphosate, the active ingredient in its flagship pesticide Roundup.

Man standing in front of a tent full of chickens.
Bryan Thomson / Harvest Public Media

Low crop prices have many Midwest wheat and corn farmers looking for ways to supplement their incomes. One possibility for conventional farmers: producing food for farmers markets.

A woman at the farmers market buying flowers.
The Land Connection

CHAMPAIGN, IL - The Land Connection's  Mastering the Farmers’ Market series in Champaign and Springfield continues this month with workshops designed to help farmers’ market vendors build their brand, attract more customers, and explore small business basics.

Money Matters at the Farmers’ Market in March will cover small business budgeting strategies from local experts and the ways that new technologies can help market vendors improve payment options for their customers, track sales more effectively, and run their booth more efficiently.

NPR Illinois | 91.9 UIS

Memorial Behavioral Health will host two opportunities for the public to receive training to learn how to identify and respond to people showing signs of mental illness and substance abuse.

Kristofer Husted/Harvest Public Media

Liz Graznak runs an organic farm in Jamestown, Missouri, which she calls Happy Hollow Farm. She sells her vegetables to local restaurants, in CSA boxes and at the farmer’s market.  But eight years ago, after falling in love with the idea of growing her own local produce, the farm she runs today looked like a near-impossible dream.

producer
Dan Stroud / FLICKR.COM/DSTROUD (CC-BY-NC)

A group of Illinois legislators are pushing an agenda intended to help farmers who sell at local markets.

Luke Runyon / Harvest Public Media

This story is part of the special series United And Divided, which explores the links and rifts between rural and urban America.

 

Fantasy farming gives high school students from western Illinois a chance to learn firsthand about the guesswork and gambles that farmers make every year.

 

“It’s almost like picking a fantasy football team,” said Troy Coziahr, Manager of the Monsanto Learning Center, a 480 acre research farm just south of Monmouth.

“They’re drafting their team and the hybrid is like the quarterback, right? That’s the first choice you‘re going to make. Nitrogen is kind of like the running back. That’s carrying the load.”

Woman shopping produce at Farmer's Market
NPR Illinois | 91.9 UIS

Lindsay Record has been Executive Director of the Illinois Stewardship Alliance for more than a decade.  Her tenure witnessed a renewed interest on local food and sustainability.  And one of the places that was most visible was at farmer’s markets.

But the crowds have begun to taper off, at markets in Springfield and other locations in the state. 

Wikimedia / Damonsacks

Health reporter for The State Journal-Register, Dean Olsen, has been looking at the hurdles in place when it comes to healthcare access, many as a result of the state's budget problems. 

 A doctor handed Melissa Morris her first opioid prescription when she was 20 years-old. She had a cesarean section to deliver her daughter, and to relieve post-surgical pain her doctor sent her home with Percocet. On an empty stomach, she took one pill and laid down on her bed.

“I remember thinking to myself, ‘Oh my god. Is this legal? How can this feel so good?’” Morris recalls.

Richard Sitler / The Southern Illinoisan

No permits for horizontal hydraulic fracturing have been issued since the Illinois Department of Natural Resources started taking applications in the fall of 2014. Even so, there were some in Grayville who believed that a well was fracked in October under the new law. 

Rachel Otwell

A group of nuns in Springfield is participating in a long-term medical study. For those involved, it’s another way to serve others.

Pages