Environment & Agriculture

How the lead industry misled the public about its toxic problem for decades

BY: - May 31, 2022

Lead is a dangerous neurotoxin. Researchers have known that for decades. But the substance stuck around in everyday products like paint and gasoline for decades. One big reason: The lead industry spent years using racial bias to divert public attention away from the dangers of the toxin and minimized the impact of mounting evidence indicating […]

Vilsack highlights ‘mass timber’ to use small trees cut for wildfire prevention

BY: - May 30, 2022

West Des Moines — The federal government plans to remove kindling from about 75 million acres of land in the next decade — which includes thinning smaller-diameter trees from forests — to help prevent wildfires that have become more frequent and destructive in the Western states. That presents a problem: “What do you do with […]

USDA relaxes Conservation Reserve Program rules to boost crop production

BY: - May 27, 2022

Agricultural landowners who are not renewing their agreements this year with the federal government to keep their land out of production have the ability to put that land back to work earlier, a potential boost to wheat and other crop production amid global shortages, the U.S. Department of Agriculture announced Thursday. Those who have land […]

State Fair lawsuit over Aksarben Stock Show name moves forward

BY: - May 26, 2022

LINCOLN — The Nebraska State Fair Board’s lawsuit to protect its right to the name of Omaha’s former Aksarben Stock Show will move forward, and it could target the personal finances of three people who filed for the rights to the name after the show moved to Grand Island. Lancaster County District Judge Darla Ideus […]

Avian influenza’s arrival in Alaska signals danger for other parts of the world

BY: - May 23, 2022

When Larry Pouliot went on a morning walk in Sitka National Historical Park on May 9, he spotted a lethargic, unresponsive bald eagle perched in a tree, its eyes bloodshot and its neck drooping. “I realized he was not doing great,” said Pouliot, who got video footage and photos of the ailing bird. He called […]

Environmental Trust

Amid criticism, Nebraska Environmental Trust moves to clarify grant eligibility rules

BY: - May 19, 2022

LINCOLN — Amid criticism that too many grant applications were being deemed “ineligible,” the Nebraska Environmental Trust Board moved Thursday to review its eligibility requirements. State Sen. John McCollister of Omaha, in a recent op-ed in the Lincoln Journal Star, questioned the Trust Board for declaring that 34 of the 118 grants submitted to it […]


Final consideration of state’s largest cattle feedlot in Dundy County delayed again

BY: - May 17, 2022

LINCOLN — Consideration of what may become the state’s largest cattle feedlot has been postponed until June 6. The Dundy County Board postponed final approval of the Blackshirt Feeders’ 100,000-head feedlot after it was discovered that a public notice of the meeting hadn’t been published in time to allow consideration during the board’s meeting on […]

Why an ambitious effort to overhaul Kansas water management fell short

BY: - May 16, 2022

The dire state of water in western Kansas is not in dispute. The aquifer Kansans out west rely on to irrigate crops and provide drinking water dropped by a foot in 2021.  “If you look at charts as to where it was … when they started irrigating and now, it’s alarming,” said the Kansas House […]

Biden pledges more support for farmers, ‘the backbone of freedom’

BY: - May 11, 2022

At an Illinois farm on Wednesday, President Joe Biden announced federal assistance to alleviate costs for farmers and consumers and to ensure there is enough food to meet world demand as Russia’s war in Ukraine continues. Biden said he will double the recently announced federal funding to boost domestic fertilizer production. He also pledged to […]


Proposal to build state’s largest feedlot hits snag, but now headed for another vote

BY: - May 2, 2022

LINCOLN — A proposal to build perhaps the state’s largest cattle feedlot in a rural, southwest Nebraska county is getting a second chance after the Dundy County Board refused to approve the idea last month. The proposal by Blackshirt Feeders LP to construct a $65-million feedlot, holding up to 100,000 cattle and consuming 10 million […]

Avian flu strikes a flock of 2.1 million laying hens in Knox County, Nebraska

BY: - April 27, 2022

A seventh, and so far the largest, Nebraska poultry flock has been infected by the highly contagious and deadly bird flu that is spreading across the country again this year. The latest infection struck a flock of more than 2.1 million laying hens in Knox County, according to the Nebraska Department of Agriculture. The department […]

AltEn ethanol plant

Environmental group raises concerns about new groundwater contamination at AltEn plant

BY: - April 26, 2022

(Editor’s note: This story updated to include comment from state and NewFields officials) LINCOLN — An environmental watchdog group is raising concerns about new groundwater sampling that shows some high concentrations of pesticides in the vicinity of the AltEn ethanol plant in Mead. Eight of the nine test wells recently drilled showed some level of […]