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Thompson Strawberry Farm has been around for 70 years, but this is the first year it is decorated with sunflowers. (Courtesy Scott Thompson)

Everyone could use a little sunshine in their life right now, so a Wisconsin farmer decided that’s what he was going to do, and planted more than 2 million sunflowers in his fields.

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The city of Kankakee, Illinois. (WTTW News)

Gov. J.B. Pritzker is facing political pressure from some areas of the state that want to reopen sooner than Chicago. We visit Kankakee to see how residents, farmers and others are coping with the pandemic.

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(Spike Stitch / Flickr)

Agriculture is one of Illinois’ main industries. But like many other sectors, it’s taking a beating because of the coronavirus.

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The Chicago Park District and the Illinois Soybean Association are partnering on hand sanitizer. (Courtesy of the Chicago Park District)

The Illinois Soybean Association is contributing raw materials and packaging to the Chicago Park District, which is producing 600 gallons of hand sanitizer for its staff and other essential workers.

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Maple syrup is bottled piping hot in the Funks Grove fishing room. The Funks say the hot liquid sanitizes the container. (Evan Garcia / WTTW News)

For generations, a small family business has relied on predictable weather patterns to produce thousands of gallons of maple syrup each year. But climate change is now threatening the industry – and filling the family with uncertainty about the future.

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They appear to be marbled, speckled, dipped and dyed, with names like “Red Glitter” and “Jingle Bell Rock.” We visit a poinsettia farm and learn what it takes to cultivate the crop in time for the holidays.

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In this May 10, 2019 photo, Brett Adams gestures as he stands where the road to his flooded farm disappears under flood waters, with the farm buildings seen in the background, in Peru, Neb. (AP Photo / Nati Harnik)

This year’s devastating losses are forcing tough decisions about the future of farming in America’s flood plains, even among those skeptical of climate change and humans’ role in it.

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Al Westerman with three of the 124 apple varieties growing in his orchard. (Jay Shefsky / Chicago Tonight)

When Al Westerman’s grandparents bought a farm in Northern Illinois in 1911, it came with a house, a barn and an apple orchard. Now, he collects heirloom apple trees and grows more than 100 varieties. 

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Illinois National Guard soldiers move sandbags through flood waters at East Cape Girardeau, Illinois, on June 12, 2019, as they construct a sandbag levee to control flooding in the community. (Barbara Wilson / Illinois National Guard)

Gov. J.B. Pritzker is asking the federal government to reconsider its decision to deny monetary aid to residents and businesses affected by near-record levels of flooding that hit Illinois this spring.

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Illinois National Guard soldiers move sandbags through flood waters at East Cape Girardeau, Illinois, on June 12, 2019, as they construct a sandbag levee to control flooding in the community. (Barbara Wilson / Illinois National Guard)

Steady rain throughout much of the spring led to the state’s worst flooding in more than 25 years, according to the Illinois Emergency Management Agency. More than two dozen counties can now apply for federal funding to help with recovery efforts.

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A field of 10,000 cabbages in one of the Garfield Park Conservatory’s outdoor gardens is the centerpiece of a new “living exhibit” as part of the Chicago Architecture Biennial. (Brian Kinyon / Chicago Park District)

A pair of Danish architects hope to make a statement and spark conversations about food production with their new exhibit that’s part of the Chicago Architecture Biennial.

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Farmer Randy Miller is shown with his soybeans, Thursday, Aug. 22, 2019, at his farm in Lacona, Iowa.  (AP Photo / Julie Pace)

The Trump administration granted waivers to 31 oil refineries so they don’t have to blend ethanol into their gasoline. Since roughly 40% of the U.S. corn crop is turned into ethanol, it was a fresh blow to corn producers already struggling.

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In this Feb. 23, 2018 file photo, John Deere products, including a toy tractor on the sign, are on display at a home and garden trade show in Council Bluffs, Iowa. (AP Photo / Nati Harnik, File)

Deere & Co. cut its profit expectations for the second time this year as beleaguered farmers and an escalating trade war with China cut into sales.

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(Marco Verch / Flickr)

The new law is expected to help Illinois-based food producers and manufacturers compete for contracts that prioritize locally sourced foods.

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Spring flooding in Illinois (Courtesy Illinois Farm Bureau)

A trade war with China. Springtime floods. And now weeks without rain have combined to create a perfect storm battering Illinois farmers. Will a disaster declaration be enough to save them?

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(U.S. Department of Agriculture)

As urban agriculture programs expand in Chicago and other cities, a new project aims to unearth data on one of the biggest potential obstacles to city-based farming efforts: soil contamination.

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