Corn and soybean planting is half of normal due to wet spring

Wet weather is holding corn and soybean planting far behind usual rates for the first week in May, the USDA said Monday. Economist Scott Irwin of the University of Illinois said on social media that half of the corn crop must be planted in the next two weeks to avoid the large yield losses that accompany later-than-optimal seeding.

Pesticide applicators warned Illinois about potential dicamba damage

The Illinois Department of Agriculture was warned a year ago about the potential crop damage that could be caused by the herbicide dicamba if the department didn’t tighten regulations on its use, says a report by the Midwest Center for Investigative Reporting.

Dicamba debacle spreads, Illinois sees more crop damage

The 2017 growing season was supposed to be the year of “spotless” soybean fields after Monsanto introduced a new generation of soybeans – the largest single biotechnology launch in the company’s history. The new soybeans can tolerate the use of dicamba, a traditional herbicide used on corn that spreads easily and has historically harmed soybeans. But the Illinois Department of Agriculture has received 368 complaints so far in 2017, which are more alleged pesticide misuse complaints than in the previous three years combined, according to a review of a statewide database of complaints by the Midwest Center for Investigative Reporting.

Soda tax will apply to 41 percent of Illinoisans on Wednesday

Cook County, the most populous county in Illinois, will begin collecting a penny-per-ounce tax on sugary beverages beginning on Wednesday, making it the largest jurisdiction with a soda tax, following a state court decision that the tax is constitutional, said the Chicago Tribune. Som

Tougher race expected for House Ag panelist Bost

It’s still 15 months until the 2018 midterm elections, but prospects have turned cloudier for Illinois Rep. Mike Bost, a member of the House Agriculture Committee, says Sabato’s Crystal Ball. Now that a Democrat challenger has announced, the political tipsheet rates the race in the southern Illinois district as “likely” Republican, a change from its previous “safe” Republican assessment.

House Ag panelists Mike Bost and Rick Nolan draw challengers

Illinois Rep. Mike Bost, a member of the House Agriculture Committee, faces a potentially strong challenger in Democrat Brendan Kelly, says Roll Call, which rates the race as "likely Republican" instead of the previous "solid Republican." The Capitol Hill publication also said St. Louis County commissioner Pete Stauber, a Republican, will run for the seat held by Minnesota Democrat Rick Nolan, an Agriculture Committee member who narrowly won re-election last November.

Chicago Tribune is honored for reports on large-scale hog production

Two reporters and a photographer from the Chicago Tribune won the top writing award from the North American Agricultural Journalists for "The Price of Pork," a series of stories on large-scale hog production in Illinois. Written by Gary Marx and David Jackson, the stories "told the story of an exploding number and size of large hog confinements across rural Illinois, where state officials promoted an industry that poisoned streams, trampled the rights of farm families and brushed aside worker reports of animal abuse," said NAAJ.

House Ag member Bustos passes on run for Illinois governor

With three other Democrats already in the race, House Agriculture Committee member Cheri Bustos said she will seek her fourth term in Congress rather than run for governor in Illinois. Her decision leaves Democrats "without a major Downstate candidate" in the gubernatorial primary to face incumbent Republican Gov Bruce Rauner in 2018, said the Chicago Tribune.

After 92 years in Peoria, Caterpillar will move headquarters to Chicago

The company synonymous with Peoria, Ill., Caterpillar, will move its global headquarters to Chicago because it is closer to the global marketplace for the world's largest manufacturer of earth-moving equipment, says the Peoria Journal Star. Caterpillar was founded in Peoria, in central Illinois, in 1925 and has been the dominant employer.