farming

NASHIK, India – In a dusty lot outside a wholesale market in western India, farmer Ambadas Sanap leans on the lip of his flatbed truck, surrounded by crates of green peppers and tomatoes. If he could get away from all this for just one day, he says, he'd travel to the capital to protest.

He wants his voice to be heard.

But Sanap, 44, cannot afford to take time off from laboring in his fields or hawking his produce at this sprawling government-run wholesale yard. He's got nine family members to feed.

With more than 20 million acres of corn and soybeans, Illinois is among the top U.S. producers of both those crops. To make it all happen, the state relies on thousands of farmworkers — some who travel to the state for seasonal work and others, like 35-year-old Saraí, who call Illinois home.

The White House

After a majority Senate vote, Tom Vilsack is now reprising the role of U.S. Secretary of Agriculture. He said during a news conference that one of his biggest priorities is responding to the pandemic.

Farming has destroyed a lot of the rich soil of America's Midwestern prairie. A team of scientists just came up with a staggering new estimate for just how much has disappeared.

The most fertile topsoil is entirely gone from a third of all the land devoted to growing crops across the upper Midwest, the scientists say. Some of their colleagues, however, remain skeptical about the methods that produced this result.

Katie Peikes / Harvest Public Media

There’s been a lot of hype around how farmers can make money from selling the carbon their plants naturally remove from the air, but there are still questions about how much of a difference these markets can make in reducing greenhouse gases.

Kelly Garrett is experimenting with carbon markets on his farm in western Iowa’s Crawford County. As of early February, he’s made $115,000. Most of that money came from Canadian e-commerce giant Shopify, which bought 5,000 carbon credits from Garrett.

Seth Bodine / KOSU

The U.S. Department of Agriculture is extending the deadline for the largest private land conservation program in the country, following a shortfall in enrollment and change in the White House.

The Conservation Reserve Program pays farmers and ranchers to preserve land for 10 to 15 years, but it saw a shortfall of 4 million acres under the Trump administration. As of December 2020, there are 20.8 million acres enrolled in the program.

With President Biden’s focus on mitigating climate change, the USDA extended the deadline for enrollment.

Todd Johnson / Oklahoma State University Agricultural Communications Services

The cold weather gripping Oklahoma and a large swath of the United States is creating headaches for farmers who are working day and night to keep their livestock alive. The subzero temperatures are causing oil in tractors to gel and stop working, and water tanks to freeze over.

Seth Bodine / KOSU

More than 20 years ago, Black farmers across the country won a discrimination lawsuit against the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Today, advocates and experts are saying more is needed to repair the decades of discrimination.

Seth Bodine / KOSU

On the 49th floor of the Devon Tower in Oklahoma City, a chef walked a cutting board with a large steak to a table where Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt was sitting. But this wasn’t just a regular steak — it was the first Oklahoma Certified Beef steak.

The Congressional Hispanic Caucus is calling on governors to follow guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to prioritize food and agriculture workers in the vaccine rollout.

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