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Amy Mayer / Harvest Public Media

U.S farmers have long depended on foreign buyers for some of their corn, soybeans, pork and other products. And federal officials have used some agricultural commodities as tools of diplomacy for decades.

But as the Trump administration has pursued hard-line moves with major trading partners, especially China, farmers have found themselves with huge surpluses — and on the receiving end of government aid.

Madelyn Beck / Illinois Newsroom

Floodwaters on the Illinois and Mississippi rivers may be going down, but rain has continued to soak farmland around much of the state of Illinois, and more rain could be on the way later this month.

Wet fields make it hard to plant because farmers use large, heavy machinery in the fields. Even if a field is dry enough for equipment not to get stuck, too much pressure on wet soil makes it hard for seedlings to develop solid root systems.

The Trump administration is preparing a new list of $300 billion worth of Chinese imports that would be hit with tariffs of up to 25%, after China retaliated Monday in the trade war between the world's two largest economies.

The prices of the things we buy, from floor lamps to canoes and bicycles, are slated to go up, literally overnight, as the Trump administration makes good on a promise to raise tariffs on $200 billion worth of imported Chinese products.

From bees to butterflies, a worldwide decline in pollinators has entomologists trying to figure out how to help those bugs and the plants that rely on them survive.

The answer could come from a mixture of new technology and new habitat, and the timing is critical, as the monarch butterfly is up for an endangered species listing later this year.

When Uhunoma Amayo found out his science experiment was one of just 34 selected to be carried out this spring on the International Space Station, he was shocked.

"They pulled me out of class," says Amayo, a seventh-grader at Coronado Middle School in Kansas City, Kansas. "I was dumbfounded."

Amayo is one of four students at Coronado who designed the experiment, which will explore whether mint grows as well in orbit as it does here on earth.

USDA.gov

The ongoing partial shutdown of the federal government, now into its third week, is reaching ever deeper into the lives of people far from the Washington, D.C., epicenter.

Esther Honig / Harvest Public Media file photo

Hardly a week went by in 2018 where there wasn’t some kind of breaking agriculture, food or rural news. It was the year of the farm bill, a trade war and several food recalls.

But Harvest Public Media reporters found places to revel in some fun, too. Here are some of our favorite stories from the last 12 months.

Updated at 8:25 a.m. ET

President Trump, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto signed the new U.S. Mexico Canada Agreement — or USMCA — in Buenos Aires Friday, using the backdrop of the G-20 Summit to resolve a trade dispute between America and its closest neighbors.

Esther Honig / Harvest Public Media

A changing climate has major implications for farmers and ranchers across the U.S., according to a federal report.

Here’s a select breakdown of the agriculture section of the fourth National Climate Assessment, which was released last week.

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