Illinois Agriculture

Marcia O'Connor, Flickr CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

Hemp has been used for centuries to make rope, fishnets, paper, car parts, fuel and much more. It’s an unruly crop. It’s skinny, it’s tall, but what has made it controversial is that it’s a derivative of the cannabis plant.

Bill Wheelhouse / WUIS/Harvest Public Media

Rural America was an important demographic in the last election cycle, helping Donald Trump advance to the White House over Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton. Even though Illinois was an electoral victory for Clinton, only twelve of Illinois’ 102 counties went blue, and more than half of those were located in Chicagoland. 

Rich Berning

The recent Obama administration announcement of easing trade and travel restrictions certainly caught Rich Berning's attention.  The Springfield man had just visited the island nation in November.  Bill Wheelhouse, who visited Cuba in 1999 with Governor George Ryan, chatted with Berning.  We also have a few photos of those old American cars they keep running on the island.

Illinois Cuba Working Group

Back in 1999, then Governor George Ryan led a delegation to the island nation of Cuba.   Since that time, a number of Illinois Agriculture groups have been working to ease trade restrictions to the small nation.   The Illinois Cuba Working Group recently sent a letter to President Barack Obama hoping to expand trade opportunities between the nations.