Last year one of the country’s largest Community Supported Agriculture share providers went bankrupt. Grant Family Farms in Northern Colorado launched an organic CSA back in 2007 with 127 members and peaked with more than 5,000 in 2012.
The story behind why Grant Family Farms went bankrupt is complicated. But it also sheds light on whether a CSA can become too big.
Jackie Dougan Jackson keeps a pretty thorough log of her life. The 85-year-old retired college professor lives in Springfield, Ill., and has lived there for more than 40 years. However, she has devoted a lot of time to her first 22 years, when she lived on a family farm near Beloit, Wisc.
The farm bill being discussed in the U.S. House of Representatives contains legislation having to do with all aspects of how Americans put food on their dinner tables. About 80 percent of the bill deals with the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), what we often call “food stamps.” Other portions of the legislation, though, address policy governing the farms that create this food.
The U.S. House is set to take up the farm bill this week, after the Senate passed its version of the bill in early June. Both bills include about $500 billion in spending over five years. Few pieces of legislation can produce such sharp divisions, even by Washington standards—but few could have such immediate, significant impact on so many Americans.
Crop insurance is a big part of the farm bill debate in Washington this year. The Senate recently passed a bill that would expand the heavily subsidized program. And now the House is zeroing in on the issue.
Several pending amendments would curb how much the government provides to cut the cost farmers pay for crop insurance. But, crop insurance premiums aren’t the only part of the system supported by tax payers.
If you’ve experienced sticker shock shopping for ground beef or steak recently, be prepared for an entire summer of high beef prices.
Multi-year droughts in states that produce most of the country’s beef cattle have driven up costs to historic highs. Last year, ranchers culled deep into their herds – some even liquidated all their cattle – which pushed the U.S. cattle herd to its lowest point since the 1950s.
Monica Johnson, 36, watered edible yellow kale flowers on a recent sunny morning at a rooftop garden in Greenpoint in Brooklyn, N.Y. Standing in front of the Manhattan skyline in her sleeveless top, shades and blond ponytail pulled back in a trucker cap, she looked part-farm girl and part-hipster.
The U.S. Senate approved a new comprehensive farm bill Monday, its plan for everything from food and nutrition assistance to disaster aid for livestock producers to crop insurance for farmers. But before you go popping champagne corks and celebrating the creation of five-years of agricultural policy, know this: The U.S. House has yet to weigh in.
April Segura is a regular at the Old Cheney Road Farmers Market in Lincoln, Neb. On a warm, May afternoon, the single, stay-at-home mother of three greeted friends and acquaintances while strolling past tables of lettuce and herbs. She hoped to find more asparagus for sale.
“I love asparagus season and it’s probably about to be over,” said Segura, holding two grocery bags with one arm and her one-year-old son, Jeriel, with the other.
There was a lot of hand-shaking and back-slapping at the recent groundbreaking for the National Bio and Agro-Defense Facility in Manhattan, Kan. Soon, the first construction will begin on an independent utility plant for the top-security animal disease lab.
It’s been 4 and a half years since the Department of Homeland Security awarded the project to Kansas, and it's been a rocky road to this point.
Crops and cattle, soil and sweat. American agriculture has a proud history to share, a story to tell. But getting the attention of a tech-savvy nation that has mostly moved away from its farm roots has been difficult. Today, though, there is a glimmer of hope for farm fans. The plow, truth be told, looks a little lonely.
As lawmakers debate the Farm Bill in Washington, millions of dollars are at stake for small businesses across the country. Rural development grants go out to everything from home loans to water projects to small co-ops.
With budget cuts likely, the U.S. Department of Agriculture is adjusting how these funds are used, and proposing changes to the word “rural.” But there’s concern that a tighter belt at the federal level means farmers and ranchers in small towns will be left behind.
The USDA’s amended COOL rule will require packers and retailers to include more information on labels on beef, pork, lamb, chicken and goat meat, specifically where the animal was born, raised and slaughtered.
Currently, labels only require companies to include where the animal was born.
Companies are also now barred from commingling cuts of meat from animals of different origins, which could make it easier to trace contaminated products. The USDA estimates these labeling changes could cost more than 7,000 companies up to $192 million.
In the small town of Staunton, Ill., the new $9 million water plant is a welcome addition. After all, when the 80-year-old facility it replaces seized up last year, the community’s 5,000 residents were without water for five days.
But for Staunton’s part-time mayor Craig Neuhaus, the plant represents more than water security. He expects the water system upgrade to help bring business to this town about 40 miles north of St. Louis.
Growing and eating local food isn’t just about health for one Kansas City group. Their farm fields are fertile ground for developing responsibility and shaping young lives, and the group’s leaders hope to harvest more than just tomatoes.
When you grow up in the city, chickens aren’t something you see every day, but 13-year-old Malek Looney is getting to know them well.
"They’ll flap their wings and make loud noises and squawk at you. And you’ll be like, 'Oh no, they're mad at something,'" says Looney.
Groundbreaking for the National Bio and Agro-Defense Facility will take place next Tuesday in Manhattan, Kansas according to a release from Senator Robert's office.
Cost sharing for this phase of the animal disease lab will be about equal - 50/50- for the independent power plant required on the 48 acre site at Kansas State University. Both Kansas and the federal government are putting in roughly $40 million.
Kansas Senators Tuesday gave first round approval for new spending in support of a controversial federal animal disease lab Manhattan.
Some Democrats as well as some in Gov. Brownback’s own party have questioned whether the state should commit an additional $202 million in bonds, on top of $145 million already spent in support of the federal lab.
Doubters in the legislature worry the state will be on the hook for cost overruns as the project continues.
How does a new craft brewer stand apart from the pack? A few have hitched their brewery onto the local food bandwagon, sourcing the ingredients that form beer’s DNA straight from the fields around them.
The Governor's Chief of Staff, Landon Fulmer, will visit the state Democratic Caucus on Thursday to explain, again, why Governor Brownback has requested $202 million in additional bonds for the proposed top security lab in Manhattan.
Taxpayers are contributing billions more than necessary for farmers’ crop insurance, according to a new report from the Environmental Working Group (EWG).
The study, which examined the 2012 crop year, argues that big subsidies channel farmers into lavish policies that in some cases paid drought-afflicted farmers last year more than they would have earned with a good harvest.
Kendra Short (center) works with students on a dance number at her studio in Belleville, Kan. Short and her husband Shannon have applied for the Rural Opportunity Zone program in Republic County, and are building a house.
When the Homestead Act of 1862 made land in the Great Plains virtually free, people rushed in to settle rural Kansas. But 150 years later, the dust has truly settled. Between 2000 and 2010, more than half of Kansas counties declined in population — many by 10 percent or more.
The Food and Drug Administration is ratcheting up inspections this year on cantaloupe farms and other processing facilities throughout the country. The increased scrutiny is in direct response to two large-scale outbreaks of deadly food borne bacteria.
Both outbreaks were tied directly to tainted cantaloupe. Salmonella on melons from Indiana and listeria on some from Colorado killed 36 people.
The repercussions were felt by cantaloupe growers throughout the country - including Michael Hirakata in Colorado’s Arkansas River valley.