The Scoop’s Top Feature Stories Of 2020

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Looking for a deep dive or compelling story about a fascinating person? Here are the 6 top feature stories from These are wonderful reads authored by some of our best storytellers: Chris Bennett and Tyne Morgan. 

Government Cameras Hidden on Private Property? Welcome to Open Fields 

Can the government place cameras and monitoring equipment on a private citizen’s land at will, or conduct surveillance and stakeouts on private land, without probable cause or a search warrant? Indeed, according to the U.S. Supreme Court’s (SCOTUS) interpretation of the Fourth Amendment. Welcome to Open Fields.

Hell Hornets: Giant Asian Species Set to Expand Across US? 

The Asian giant hornet, which already causes 40-50 deaths each year in Japan and decimates honeybees, was recorded four times in Washington in December 2019—the first sightings in U.S. history.

Seldom does an invasive species’ immediate debut cause instantaneous alarm, but the stakes are high: If Asian giant hornet achieves long-term, established numbers in the U.S., its presence will make a substantial impact on the economy, environment and public health.

Death Jump: Farmer Survives Airborne Combine Accident 

After a Dukes of Hazzard-style jump on a backroad, Matt Griggs escaped a wild combine accident, and the Tennessee farmer is insistent: His survival was not by chance.

Farmland Is Hiding Loads Of Buried Treasure 

Farmland often serves as a giant time capsule. Arrowheads, fossils, petrified wood, meteorites, marbles, coins, buttons and bullets are a portion of an endless list pulled straight from the trappings of yesteryear.

Predator Tractor Unleashed on Farmland by Ag’s True Maverick 

In the spring of 2019, surrounded by a 400-acre field of open farmland and far removed from the protection of a shop or metal building, Precht transformed a standard green 9510R from stem to stern, literally completing the paint job during rain breaks. 

A Touching Tractor Tribute for Iowa Man Who Lost Battle with Cancer 

David Beenken was a staple in his community. A proud farmer since 1976, his farming career was full of challenges, including the crisis in the 1980s and producing pigs in the 1990s. While he had a love for farming, he also had a love for tractors and went to school to be a diesel mechanic.

With COVID-19 restrictions, the community knew a traditional service wasn’t possible. So, they orchestrated a special tribute. 

Farmer Refuses to Roll, Rips Lid Off IRS Behavior 

Randy Sowers’ nightmare began when the IRS seized his bank account, over $60,000, and almost wrecked his farm through a law intended to nab drug lords and crime bosses.


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Within two days at the end of March, two grain companies said they will cease operations in Russia.

6 Spring Ammonia Season Reminders

The next couple of weeks will be busy with ammonia application in Illinois. Here are a few reminders to keep in mind when working with ammonia

9 Steps to a Perfect Corn Stand

More ears at harvest is the key to higher yield. That requires starting with a picket-fence stand with photocopied plants, achieved by adjusting your planter as conditions change from field to field and within fields. 

FieldAlytics Engage: Farmer-Facing App Clears The Communication Pathway

“This is a powerful app designed to strengthen service providers’ relationships with growers by housing essential information in a single source,” says Ernie Chappell, president of Ever.Ag Agribusiness.

Plagued By Drought and High Input Prices, Cotton Acres Could Crumble This Year

Just ahead of USDA's Prospective Plantings report, the largest cotton growing state in the U.S. is seeing another year of drought, and with fields resembling the Dust Bowl, crop prospects are dwindling by the day.

Farmers Really Want to Plant Corn Not Soybeans, Says FBN Chief Economist 

Kevin McNew says the company's survey of 2,000-plus growers shows they will plant 92.5 million acres of corn and 84.5 million acres of soybeans. Both estimates are counter to what USDA projected in February.