Side Effects Public Media

With more than 20 million acres of corn and soybeans, Illinois is among the top U.S. producers of both those crops. To make it all happen, the state relies on thousands of farmworkers — some who travel to the state for seasonal work and others, like 35-year-old Saraí, who call Illinois home.

 

On the outskirts of Rantoul, in east-central Illinois, about 100 migrant farmworkers are living at an old hotel in a sleepy part of town.

On Aug. 3, a prescription for Zach Matheny's blood thinning medication was filled at his pharmacy and sent out for delivery via the U.S. Postal Service. It never arrived at his home in Columbus, Ohio.

"After a week I started to get worried, so I went ahead and called the pharmacy," Matheny says. "And after some back-and-forth, they essentially gave me the answer along the lines of, 'Well, it might be lost because of everything going on.'"