From disaster planning to small business development, Medicare Part B to highway construction, policymakers use census data to plan and fund many programs that affect your community. The census is for everyone! You can respond now, online.
The novel coronavirus outbreak has disrupted the nation’s food supply chain, resulting in increased prices for panicked shoppers and major losses for Illinois farmers. The usual rules of supply and demand between farmers and consumers have been disrupted by a problem with reduced capacity at processing plants and slaughterhouses. “Our system is so efficient and streamlined that everything moves at the same flow,” says Travis Meteer, a University of Illinois Extension commercial agriculture educator. “But when you have a kink, all of a sudden, that flow stops.” Meat processing plants are considered critical infrastructure and have remained open. But with several commercial packing plants in Illinois closed or working at a reduced capacity, thousands of cattle and pigs are waiting to be processed. Small-scale regional processors are still operating, but most are booked well into fall. Cases of COVID-19 in the work force have forced plants to close to follow CDC recommendations for cleaning and inspections, and some staff are not reporting for shifts out of fear of getting sick, Meteer says. “The price of meat is going up but the price [farmers] are receiving is going down,” Meteer says. The beef cattle industry nationwide is projected to lose $13.6 billion due to COVID-19. Those who can find a buyer are taking losses of $216 to $146 per animal, or as high as $700, according to Illinois Extension commercial agriculture educator Teresa Steckler. “With packing plants closed, fat steers are sitting in the feedlot with nowhere to go,” Steckler says. “So, you have to keep feeding them.”
In this Virtual Field Day webinar, Prairie Rivers Network and Food Works explore climate change and its impacts on agriculture in southern Illinois. Illinois’ State Climatologist Trent Ford discusses the science and impacts of climate change as they relate to agriculture in southern Illinois. Farmer Jill Rendleman of All Seasons shares “on the ground” experiences and how her farm is adapting to wet, warm, and unpredictable weather. Amanda Pankau, an Energy Campaign Coordinator with Prairie Rivers Network, discusses agriculture as an important solution for climate change mitigation and adaptation. Listen here.
Research demonstrates that incorporating green spaces into cities can have a positive impact on a number of societal conditions, including crime, property values, and health. Increasing green space in economically challenged communities could also be one of the cures for societal inequality. In our June 18 Local Government Education webinar, we will discuss the connection between green infrastructure and community diversity, equity, and inclusion goals. Speakers will showcase how communities and organizations are incorporating equity into natural resource management and share the results of a recent survey about barriers and opportunities communities in the Midwest are encountering in making green storm water infrastructure equitable.