Abby Wendle

Agriculture Correspondent

Abby Wendle is the Agriculture Correspondent for Tri States Public Radio. She reports in partnership with Harvest Public Media. Abby's job includes reading about the history of anhydrous ammonia, following crop futures from her desk in Macomb, wandering through corn fields with farmers, and gazing into the eyes of cows, pigs, and goats. Abby comes to TSPR from Tulsa, Oklahoma, where she produced radio for This Land Press. During her time at This Land, Abby developed an hour long radio show, published a poetry anthology with a complimentary podcast, and partnered with public radio programs, The Story, State of the Re:Union, and The CBC’s Day 6. Her work has earned awards from The Third Coast International Audio Festival, KCRW's Radio Race, The Missouri Review, and The National Association of Black Journalists. She has worked as an assistant producer for The Takeaway, interned at Radiolab, and announced the news for WFUV, an NPR affiliate in the Bronx.

Abby has a bachelor's degree in Liberal Studies from Flagler College in St. Augustine, Fl. and a master's degree from The Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism. She grew up in Youngstown, Ohio, where it's really cold. Now that she's back in the Midwest, Abby's stockpiling snow scrapers, hot chocolate, and wool socks.

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Abby Wendle

High interest rates have the potential to slow an economy and drop prices. So when the Federal Reserve Board raised the interest rate last week for the first time in seven years, farmers and ranchers likely wondered how it would affect their outlook.

Image by Curtis Bisbee

Joel Gruver stood in front of a packed house at the Western Illinois Museum and talked about apprenticing with an old farmer in the hilly countryside of rural Maryland, where he grew up. He stretched his arms wide to illustrate how steep the hill was that he ran down one afternoon in hot pursuit of the farmer’s runaway antique tractor. The audience gasped and then laughed as Joel described catching up with the machine only to have a wheel pop off and bounce over the fence.

Abby Wendle

The U.S. might be on the verge of a boom in new fertilizer plants, which could be good news for farmers, but not the environment.  Today's farmers can produce more from their land than ever before thanks, in part, to nitrogen fertilizer, a key ingredient that has never been more widely available.

File: Amy Mayer/Harvest Public Media

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), seeking to pull Enlist Duo from the market, has filed a request with the U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals to cancel its registration of the recently approved herbicide.

Tim Sackton, Flickr

Despite the bird flu epidemic that devastated Midwest turkey farmers this spring, the price of a turkey this Thanksgiving is a little cheaper than last year. This years turkeys are ringing up one cent less per pound than in 2014, according to the USDA’s most recent numbers.

(File: Grant Gerlock/Harvest Public Media)

U.S. energy policy that effectively promotes corn ethanol is holding back a generation of more environmentally sound fuels, according to a new report by the Environmental Working Group (EWG).

Abby Wendle

I wiped my palms on my jeans, tugged at the bill of my baseball hat, and took a deep breath. It was my first time competing in the annual Illinois State Corn Husking Contest at the end of September and I was nervous.

(Data: Nancy Rabalais, LUMCON; R Eugene Turner, LSU. Credit: NOAA)

The dead zone in the Gulf of Mexico grabs the media's attention every summer when scientists funded by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) boat around the Gulf, taking its annual measurement. This year, it was bigger than expected at 6,474  square miles - roughly the size of Connecticut and Rhode Island combined. 

Abby Wendle

Erik Terstriep, perched in the captain's chair of his combine, glides through eight rows of corn at a time. When he lifts up the harvesting head to turn the machine around, it lets out a quick, staccato, "beep, beep, beep." Terstriep is fluent in the language of this machine, able to decipher every chirp.

Abby Wendle

All week, Harvest Public Media's series Choice Cuts: Meat In America is examining how the meat industry is changing the U.S. food system and the American diet.

Drive down a dirt road, a two-lane country highway, even many Interstates in the Midwest and the view out the window is likely to get monotonous: massive fields filled with acres of corn sprawled in all directions.

Abby Wendle

Corn and soybeans are the two crops at the center of the U.S. food system. In order to grow massive amounts of the crops, farmers in the Midwest typically apply hundreds of pounds of fertilizer on every acre they farm. This practice allows food companies to produce and consumers to consume a lot of relatively cheap food.

Abby Wendle

While consumers might seek out organic food for its purity, organic farmers have a reputation for being anything but. At least, that's the social stigma organic corn and soybean growers face in the Midwest for having mare's tails and pigweeds poking their raggedy heads up through the neat rows of cash crops.

Photo courtesy Andy Ambriole

WIU’s Allison Organic Research and Demonstration Farm’s annual Field Day will be held August 13, 2015 at 9am. Andy Ambriole will give the keynote presentation at 11am at The Dakin Family Farm at 130 20th St., Roseville, IL 61473*. The Allison farm is located 0.7 miles north of the Dakin Farm. Signs will be posted.

Abby Wendle

The Matthew family farm, M&M&m Farms, outside of La Harpe, looks different from the farms surrounding it in western Illinois. It's not filled with neat rows of soybeans or lines of corn that's over-my-head high in late July. The Matthew's place is a bit more disorganized and far more diverse.

Abby Wendle

The Illinois Environmental Protection Agency (IEPA) and the Illinois Department of Agriculture (IDOA) released the state's first ever Nutrient Loss Reduction Strategy.  The document is the state's plan to decrease pollution of local waterways, the Mississippi River, and the Gulf of Mexico -- pollution caused in large part by fertilizer runoff from farmland.

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