Damage from dicamba spurs confusion, questions

In 2016, Monsanto released its dicamba-resistant soybeans in the company’s largest ever rollout of a new biotechnology.
But its accompanying herbicide – XtendiMaxTM herbicide with VaporGripTM Technology – was not approved by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency until several months later, leading some farmers to use other versions of the herbicide on their soybeans.

In wake of new Monsanto seed, Illinois sees more crop damage

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.

Irrigation playing role in water issues across Illinois

While Illinois is not currently facing a water crisis, highly populated areas with high growth — namely Chicagoland and Champaign County — are undergoing some levels of water conflict, partly because of agricultural irrigation. The State Water Survey projects that in the coming decades, Illinois will require 20 to 50 percent more water. But planning for the increase has been inadequate, largely due to a halt in planning because of the ongoing state budget crisis, government water experts say. In 2006, then-Governor Rod Blagojevich issued an executive order that the water survey and Illinois Department of Natural Resources would develop state and regional water supply plans for 10 regions of the state. However, only three of those plans were completed, and two were being developed when the Illinois Department of Natural Resources suspended all regional water supply planning activities in March 2015 because of a lack of funding from the state legislature.

Delays at proposed Tuscola fertilizer plant put tax breaks at risk

Cronus Chemicals will start losing part of its nearly $40 million in state tax incentives if its proposed $1.9 billion ammonia fertilizer plant in Tuscola is not operating by July 2, according to tax credit agreements.

A review of company filings with the state of Illinois shows the project must be “in service” within 24 months of July 2, 2015. According to the documents, “in service” means “the state or condition of readiness and availability for specifically assigned functions.”

And if the plant is not complete and operating within five years of July 2, 2015, the company will lose out on all $40 million of its tax incentives from the Illinois Department of Commerce, said department spokeswoman Jacquelyn Reineke.

Central Illinois already seeing effects of climate change

“We’re actually at the warmest part for the historical record for Illinois,” said State Climatologist Jim Angel, speaking to a crowd of about 60 at the Champaign Public Library on Tuesday. “This is a different climate for what our parents, grandparents or great grandparents would’ve experienced in Illinois.”

Illinois could see effects of climate change as soon as 2020

July was the hottest month in recorded history. And continued increases in temperature and a shift in rain patterns could mean a 15 percent yield loss in the next five to 25 years and up to a 73 average yield loss by the end of the next century if farming patterns don’t change significantly, University of Illinois finance professors Don Fullerton and Julian Reif laid out in a report released from the Institute of Government and Public Affairs last year.