farming

Harvest Public Media
7:59 am
Mon October 20, 2014

Farmers Gear Up For Record Harvest, Brace For Lower Prices

Nationwide, farmers are expected to harvest record-breaking amounts of corn and soybeans this year.
Credit Grant Gerlock / Harvest Public Media

U.S. farmers are bringing in what’s expected to be a record-breaking harvest for both corn and soybeans. But all that productivity has a big financial downside: plunging prices that have many Midwest farmers hoping to merely break-even on this year’s crop.

Farmers will haul in 4 billion bushels of soybeans and 14.5 billion bushels of corn, according to USDA estimates. Those are record-breaking numbers, made possible by producers planting more corn and soybean acres and near-perfect weather in the Corn Belt.

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Harvest Public Media
7:58 am
Mon October 13, 2014

At Harvest, Corn Huskers Still Pick By Hand

Competitor Harlan Jacobson races to pick rows of corn at the annual Illinois State Corn Husking Competition in September.
Abby Wendle Harvest Public Media

Dick Humes squinted and sweat as he moved down a row of corn. He sliced through the husk with a metal hook in his right hand, snapped the ear from its stalk with his left, and threw it over his shoulder into a wagon rolling alongside him.

Every other second, the corn hit the floor of the wagon with a thud. Humes was setting a steady pace for the men’s 50-and-older division at the 34th annual Illinois State Corn Husking Competition.

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Harvest Public Media
9:30 am
Mon October 6, 2014

No Matter How Colorado Votes, GMO Labeling Debate Far From Over

Ingredients containing sugar from genetically engineered beets would have to be labeled as “produced with genetic engineering” if a proposed Colorado ballot measure is approved by voters.
Luke Runyon Harvest Public Media

Voters in Colorado will decide whether or not they want the state to require labels on foods containing genetically modified ingredients, or GMOs. The 2014 ballot measure highlights a much larger national conversation about the safety and prevalence of genetically modified foods.

If passed, food companies and farmers would need to affix to food a label that reads, "Produced with genetic engineering" if the product contains certain genetically modified crops and their derived oils and sugars that end up in processed foods.

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Harvest Public Media
7:38 am
Wed September 10, 2014

Heirlooms Passed Down By Seed Savers Exchange

: Steve Carlson handles some seeds of Trail of Tears corn. During the forced march in the 1830s from the southeastern U.S. to Oklahoma and Arkansas, Cherokee planted these seeds along the way.
Credit Sarah Boden / Harvest Public Media

Most vegetable seeds today are bred by seed companies to be hearty and easier to grow. They’re created by cross-breeding different varieties and selecting for specific characteristics.

Heirloom seeds, though, are different. Like your grandmother’s engagement ring or a dusty old photo album, heirloom seeds have been passed down through generations.

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Harvest Public Media
7:53 am
Wed August 27, 2014

USDA Predicts Drop In Farm Income

Farmers’ can anticipate a sharp drop in income this year, according to a new report from the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

In fact, the USDA predicts the $113 billion earned in 2014 will be the lowest amount of net farm income in five years. That’s equal to about a 14 percent fall from last year’s record amount, thanks mostly to a massive drop in crop prices.

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Harvest Public Media
7:56 am
Mon August 18, 2014

What Goes Into The Price Of Your Tomato

Vegetable farmer Tom Goeke of St. Charles, Mo., sells his Red Deuce tomatoes wholesale at about $1.50 per pound.
Credit Kristofor Husted / Harvest Public Media

Late summer in the Midwest is tomato season. For tomato growers around that country, it’s time to pick their bounty and calculate their earnings.

While sun and rain might be free, tomato farmers have to carefully weigh everything else they put in to growing their crop. Research and the development of new tools – from novel seed varieties resistant to diseases to additional fertilizers – has changed the input costs for growers.

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Harvest Public Media
8:21 am
Mon August 11, 2014

Drone To Fly Over Livestock Operations And 'Ag-Gag' Laws

Using unmanned aerial vehicles is a controversial practice, whether to scout farmland or to skirt laws outlawing the filming of farms.
Credit Lima Pix / Flickr--CC

An independent journalist says he’s found a way around the so-called “ag-gag” laws – flying drones over large livestock operations to document animal welfare problems and pollution.

Will Potter, a Washington D.C.-based environmental blogger, raised $75,000 on Kickstarter to buy drones and other equipment to do investigative work tracking animal abuse and pollution problems on large livestock operations.

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Agriculture
7:45 am
Wed August 6, 2014

'Right to Farm' Passes Narrowly, Recount Possible

In Callaway County, Mo., Jeff Jones feeds grain to his foraging cattle once a day. He opposed Amendment 1 in part because a 10,000-hog confinement facility is trying to move in next to his farm.
Credit (Kristopher Husted/Harvest Public Media)

Missouri’s so-called “Right to Farm” amendment appears to have passed Tuesday but with such a small margin that there could be a recount.

With all precincts reporting, Amendment 1 won by just 2,528 votes.

At a victory party Tuesday night, Missouri Farm Bureau President Blake Hurst said he will watch to see if a recount is requested but he doesn’t expect the results to change.

“I’m fully confident that the vote will stand,” he said.

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Harvest Public Media
2:55 pm
Tue August 5, 2014

My Farm Roots: She's Her Dad's 'Son'

Emily Robbins and her father, Vic, at the family's farm in Osage County, Kan.
Credit (Courtesy Emily Robbins)

Emily Robbins is a city girl now.

Well, I’m using that term as a cliché. Robbins, 27, lives in Kansas City and works as an engineer at a large firm. She is part of a profession that is made up of just 14 percent women.

Her choice of professions makes sense, though, when you know that she started out as her father’s “boy.”

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Harvest Public Media
7:56 am
Mon August 4, 2014

Farmers On The Prairie Work Through Modern Day Dust Bowl

Farmer John Schweiser, 80, has had to take shelter from recent dust storms. He also lived through the Dust Bowl in the 1930s.
Luke Runyon Harvest Public Media

When the wind picked up from the south on John Schweiser’s farm outside Rocky Ford, Colo., the sky would go black. A charging wall of dust would force the 80-year-old farmer and his wife to hunker down in their ranch-style farmhouse.

“You’d look up and here’d come this big ol’ rolling dirt,” Schweiser said. “You couldn’t see how high it was.”

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Harvest Public Media
7:58 am
Tue July 29, 2014

Missouri's 'Right To Farm' Pits Farmer Against Farmer

Farmer Jeff Jones and his daughters feed grain to their foraging cattle once a day in Callaway County, Mo. They’re concerned about the health and environmental effects a potential hog farm next door might have.
Credit Kristofor Husted / Harvest Public Media

The agriculture industry is a cornerstone of the Midwest economy. In some states, it may even become a right.

In Missouri, the so-called “right to farm” is on the ballot in the form of an amendment to the state Constitution. And the controversial provision could be a model for Constitutional additions on other ag-heavy states.

Though the “right to farm” provision is focused on agriculture, it has pitted farmer against farmer with some worried that the results could change the face of farming in the Midwest.

Accountability concerns

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Harvest Public Media
8:23 am
Mon July 28, 2014

The Forensic Technology That Can Tell If There Are Drugs In Your Milk

Dairy cows like these on Dorine Boelen’s farm in Brooklyn, Iowa, can be treated with antibiotics, but their bodies must be free of the medication before they are allowed to contribute milk to the food supply.
Amy Mayer Harvest Public Media

TV shows like “CSI” have made forensics a hot topic, spawning books and even science programs for kids. The same technology used at crime scenes to link a stray hair to a suspect can also find antibiotics or other medications in milk and meat. And the use of sophisticated testing is becoming increasingly available for livestock producers, who stand to lose lots of money if their products are tainted.

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Harvest Public Media
8:25 am
Mon July 21, 2014

On Front Lines, Farmers Struggle Against Chemical-Resistant Weeds

The arrangement of the leaves helped Hargrafen distinguish Palmer amaranth from other pigweeds.
Amy Mayer Harvest Public Media

A fast spreading, crop destroying weed may be coming to the farms near you.

Palmer amaranth, which has plagued southern farms for decades, has been marching across the Midwest. It can decimate a crop. It can withstand many common herbicides. And it can cost farmers millions.

Roger Hargrafen, a farmer in Muscatine County, Iowa, is on the front lines in the battle against Palmer amaranth. His is one of four Iowa farms confirmed as having it.

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Harvest Public Media
7:45 am
Thu July 17, 2014

Acres Of Genetically Modified Corn Nearly Doubled In A Decade

More than 90 percent of U.S. field corn is genetically modified, according to data recently released by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

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Central Standard
4:56 pm
Tue July 15, 2014

PHOTOS: Barns Of Missouri And Kansas Through Your Lens

Kill Creek Farm in De Soto, Kan.
Lori Murdock

A drive through the Midwest countryside wouldn't be complete without a dozen or so barn sightings. 

As our daily talk show, Central Standard, prepares for its examination of challenges that go into barn restoration, we rounded up a collection of regional barn photos — thanks to you.

We asked our listeners for their best pics of regional barns and they were happy to oblige. Flip through the above slideshow for a sampling of what you sent in. 

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Harvest Public Media
9:40 am
Thu July 10, 2014

EPA Promotes Water Rule To Farmers

EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy speaks to reporters at Heffernan Farm in Rocheport, Mo., July 9, 2014.
Credit Kristofor Husted / Harvest Public Media

The head of the Environmental Protection Agency is touring farm country, trying to assure farmers that the agency isn’t asking for more authority over farmers and ranchers’ lands.

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Central Standard
5:08 pm
Wed July 9, 2014

Boys Grow Teaches Kids Business Skills Through Farming

Boys Grow kids getting their hands dirty on their farm.
Credit Jamie Burks / The Good Food Blog

At a farm in Kansas City, Kan., a group of young men from are developing their entrepreneurship skills through farming. Boys Grow, a non-profit agency, works with these kids to develop business skills as they sell their agricultural commodities.

On Wednesday's Central Standard, we talked to two of these boys about their experience with Boys Grows and their hopes for the future.

Guests:

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Mental Health
3:07 pm
Tue June 17, 2014

Report: Farmer Suicide Rate Higher Than All Other Workers

A new study shows that agricultural workers have unusually high suicide rates compared to other workers.
Credit Harvest Public Media

U.S. farmers are more than three times more likely to commit suicide than other workers, a new study has found.

University of Iowa researcher Wendy Ringgenberg compiled a study based on Occupational Safety and Health Administration farm death statistics from 1992 to 2010. In a recent interview with Iowa Public Radio, Ringgenberg said suicide rates have likely been underestimated and underreported. 

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Harvest Public Media
9:43 am
Tue June 17, 2014

Agritourism A Growing Opportunity On The Farm

Many states have been making it easier to run agritourism operations by passing laws limiting farmers’ liability.
Luke Runyon Harvest Public Media

Farms aren’t just for food any more. With the local food movement growing, more savvy farmers are putting a price tag on more than those organic tomatoes. They are instead marketing and selling the “farm experience” in the form of agritourism attractions.

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Harvest Public Media
7:58 am
Mon June 16, 2014

Midwest A Cattle Paradise As Drought Stretches Beef Country

Cattle come to Van Housen Feed Yard to be fattened up before heading to one of the nearby meat packing plants. Drought in beef states like Texas and Oklahoma has led to growth feedlots in Nebraska.
Grant Gerlock Harvest Public Media

Drought is re-shaping the beef map and raising the price of steak. Ranchers are moving herds from California to Colorado and from Texas to Nebraska seeking refuge from dry weather. And cattle producers in the Midwest are making the most of it.

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Harvest Public Media
8:24 am
Tue June 10, 2014

Drought Hammers Winter Wheat Across The Plains

Farmer Jim Haarberg of Imperial, Neb., compares the heads of wheat from two different stalks to demonstrate the stunting effects of drought.
Ariana Brocious Harvest Public Media

Much of the Midwest and the Plains have been battling drought for years. And the current winter wheat crop looks like it will be one of the worst in recent memory, stressing farmers in the heart of the Wheat Belt – from Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas, Colorado and Nebraska.

In Nebraska, a full quarter of the winter wheat crop is rated poor to very poor, and Nebraska farmers are doing comparatively well. More than 40 percent of the wheat acres in Colorado are poor or worse; nearly 60 percent in Kansas and Texas; and an incredible 80 percent in Oklahoma.

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Harvest Public Media
7:52 am
Tue June 10, 2014

A Signal To Hog Producers: Cargill To Stop Use Of Gestation Crates

Barns like this one often house more than a thousand pregnant sows in gestation crates.
Credit Sarah McCammon / Harvest Public Media

Cargill, one of the country’s largest pork producers,announced Monday that it will stop using gestation crates, the controversial narrow cages meant to house and separate sows. Cargill is joining other major meatpackers, like competitors Tyson and Smithfield Foods, in planning to move away from hog crates.

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Harvest Public Media
7:50 am
Mon June 9, 2014

Farmers Hope For River System Improvements

When fully loaded, the Crimson Glory barge carries 1,400-2,200 tons of cargo.
Rich Egger Harvest Public Media

Farmers and ag groups in the Midwest say the U.S. river system needs an upgrade, and they’re hopeful it will come with proposed improvements in legislation recently passed by Congress.  

The nation’s rivers are essential for moving agricultural products to market.

“It’s our third coast, if you will,” said Jim Tarmann, field services director with the Illinois Corn Growers Association. “Over 60 percent of our grain exports move via the Illinois and Mississippi Rivers. That’s how things get to our world markets.”

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Harvest Public Media
3:12 pm
Thu June 5, 2014

What Does The ‘Right To Farm’ Mean In Missouri?

Rep. Vicki Hartzler of Missouri supports a proposed "right to farm" amendment to the state's Constitution.
Credit Kristofor Husted / Harvest Public Media

U.S. Congress members are throwing their support behind a proposed “right to farm” amendment in Missouri’s constitution. But critics are pointing to the measure’s ambiguous language as problematic.

Rep. Vicky Hartzler, a Republican from the central part of the state, is one of several U.S. representatives pushing for Missouri voters to approve the amendment in a state-wide primary election Aug. 5.

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Up to Date
9:00 am
Fri May 9, 2014

Finding Fresh Products In The Farmers' Market

Eighteen-year-old Michelle Sullivan helps a customer at her family's fresh vegetable and flower stall.
Beth Lipoff/KCUR

It's the season for farm-fresh local produce, and one of the popular spots in the Kansas City metro area is the Overland Park Farmers' Market.

On Friday's Up to Date, we take a trip to that market and talk with vendors ages 18 to 80 about what they’re selling and why they’ve chosen this particular spot to sell their wares.

The vendors and market-goers:

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Harvest Public Media
2:36 pm
Tue May 6, 2014

Climate Change Report: Short-Term Benefits, Long-Term Worries For Farmers

Climate change has contributed to record corn yields, but over the long term it's likely to have a negative impact on agriculture.
Credit Amy Mayer / Harvest Public Media

The White House’s new climate change report predicts threats to agriculture, including severe weather, more pests and greater demands for water and energy.

The third National Climate Assessment is a summary of the current science about the nation’s climate and how it’s changing written by a panel of expert scientists.

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Harvest Public Media
9:25 am
Mon May 5, 2014

Six Cool Maps From The Farm Census

Rural pockets of the country still lack internet connectivity, the agricultural census shows.

Originally published on Mon May 5, 2014 5:52 pm

Remember that scene from the 1979 movie The Jerk where Steve Martin’s character leaps with glee over the delivery of new phone books? That same sequence plays out every five years when the U.S. Department of Agriculture drops its agricultural census and ag data nerds everywhere rejoice.

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Harvest Public Media
8:08 am
Mon May 5, 2014

Brazil Beef Imports Too Risky, Farmers Worry

The U.S. hasn’t had an outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease in more than 80 years. In Brazil, the latest recorded outbreak was in 2006, though it occurred in an area that would not be allowed to export to the U.S. under the proposed rule.
Credit Luke Runyon / Harvest Public Media

The U.S. Department of Agriculture wants to green light a proposal that would allow imports of fresh beef from certain sections of Brazil, despite the South American country’s history of outbreaks of foot-and-mouth disease, a highly contagious pathogen that cripples cattle.

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Harvest Public Media
8:00 am
Mon May 5, 2014

Ag Census Points To Fewer U.S. Farms

Farmers raised $395 billion worth of goods in 2012, according to the latest Census of Agriculture.
Credit isnapshot / Flickr--CC

The number of farms in the U.S. is shrinking, according to the latest Census of Agriculture, released Friday. The census is taken every five years and shows the changing landscape for farmers.

Since 2007, the U.S. lost 95,000 farms, or about 4 percent. There was a similar drop in the number of farmers. But the number of Latino farmers grew by 20 percent, according to the Census. There are also more African American farmers.

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Beyond Our Borders
11:09 am
Thu May 1, 2014

In Ivanhoe, Food Helping Neighborhood Rebuild

Terry Glenn re-stocks shelves at the Harvest Learning Center Market. The store is in the basement of the church where Glenn is pastor.
Credit Jeremy Bernfeld / KCUR

Terry Glenn’s neighborhood was hit hard by the recession, and it wasn’t booming before the rough times.

He saw houses crumble, get boarded up and left to rot. He saw neighbors moving away. And he worried that Ivanhoe, on Kansas City’s east side, was dying.

“We said, ‘We’ve got to look inside of this and see exactly what the problem is,’” Glenn said. “And once we did, we found out that the families were moving to try to find better schools, find healthier food, find different places that their family can go and have a good community.”

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