Amy Mayer http://kcur.org en My Farm Roots: Carrying On A Farm Family Legacy http://kcur.org/post/my-farm-roots-carrying-farm-family-legacy <p>In his home in Forest City, Iowa, Riley Lewis has the original warranty deed for his farm, signed by President James Buchanan and issued to one Elias Gilbert, a soldier who served in the War of 1812.</p><p>“He moved here, northeast of Forest City, and lived there for one year,” Lewis said, which was the obligation veterans had if they homesteaded. “And then he sold it to Robert Clark, who was the founder of Forest City.”</p> Wed, 23 Jul 2014 13:19:28 +0000 Amy Mayer 59357 at http://kcur.org My Farm Roots: Carrying On A Farm Family Legacy On Front Lines, Farmers Struggle Against Chemical-Resistant Weeds http://kcur.org/post/front-lines-farmers-struggle-against-chemical-resistant-weeds <p>A fast spreading, crop destroying weed may be coming to the farms near you.</p><p><a href="http://www.agweb.com/article/palmer_amaranth_pigweed_creeps_farther_into_the_midwest_NAA_Rhonda_Brooks/">Palmer amaranth</a>, 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.</p><p>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.</p> Mon, 21 Jul 2014 13:25:42 +0000 Amy Mayer 59220 at http://kcur.org On Front Lines, Farmers Struggle Against Chemical-Resistant Weeds Acres Of Genetically Modified Corn Nearly Doubled In A Decade http://kcur.org/post/acres-genetically-modified-corn-nearly-doubled-decade <p style="margin-bottom: 20px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; outline: 0px; vertical-align: baseline; font-family: 'PT Sans', sans-serif;">More than 90 percent of U.S. Thu, 17 Jul 2014 12:45:28 +0000 Amy Mayer 59057 at http://kcur.org Soybean Acres Up, Corn Down In This Year's Planting http://kcur.org/post/soybean-acres-corn-down-years-planting <p>Farmers planted a record number of soybean acres this season. But corn is flat in several Midwestern states, while down slightly in others.</p><p>Those are some of the takeaways from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s report on planted grain acres for the season, which offers the first glimpse of production for 2014.</p> Tue, 08 Jul 2014 14:59:19 +0000 Amy Mayer 58534 at http://kcur.org Soybean Acres Up, Corn Down In This Year's Planting Feed The Future Seeks Hunger Solutions From The Heartland http://kcur.org/post/feed-future-seeks-hunger-solutions-heartland <p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">&nbsp;&nbsp;</span>Global hunger has no easy answer.</p><p>But as part of a partnership with the federal government called&nbsp;<a href="http://feedthefuture.gov/">Feed the Future</a>, researchers at land-grant universities are trying new approaches to the decades-old dilemma.</p> Mon, 30 Jun 2014 06:05:01 +0000 Amy Mayer 58056 at http://kcur.org Feed The Future Seeks Hunger Solutions From The Heartland Is Corn Dust Killing Bees? http://kcur.org/post/corn-dust-killing-bees <p></p><p>Nathan Anderson stops his red pick-up truck alongside a cornfield on his farm near Cherokee, Iowa. The young farmer pulls on a heavy brown hoodie, thick, long, sturdy gloves and a beekeeper’s hat with a screened veil. He approaches a pair of hives sitting on the edge of a field recently planted with corn and adjusts a yellow plastic flap that traps some of the pollen the bees bring back to their hive.</p> Tue, 27 May 2014 12:49:32 +0000 Amy Mayer 56364 at http://kcur.org Is Corn Dust Killing Bees? Iowa Egg Farm Charged In Salmonella Outbreak http://kcur.org/post/iowa-egg-farm-charged-salmonella-outbreak <p style="margin-bottom: 20px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; outline: 0px; vertical-align: baseline; font-family: 'PT Sans', sans-serif;">The former operators of a large egg farm in Iowa have agreed to plead guilty to federal charges in connection with a major salmonella outbreak in 2010.</p> Thu, 22 May 2014 12:42:31 +0000 Amy Mayer 56149 at http://kcur.org Iowa Egg Farm Charged In Salmonella Outbreak Climate Change Report: Short-Term Benefits, Long-Term Worries For Farmers http://kcur.org/post/climate-change-report-short-term-benefits-long-term-worries-farmers <p style="margin-bottom: 20px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; outline: 0px; vertical-align: baseline; font-family: 'PT Sans', sans-serif;">The White House’s new climate change report predicts threats to agriculture, including severe weather, more pests and greater demands for water and energy.</p> Tue, 06 May 2014 19:36:33 +0000 Amy Mayer 55315 at http://kcur.org Climate Change Report: Short-Term Benefits, Long-Term Worries For Farmers Integrated Local Food System Can Grow The Market http://kcur.org/post/integrated-local-food-system-can-grow-market <p>The smell of baking dinner rolls fills the kitchen at Decorah High School in northeast Iowa. As two kitchen workers mix a fresh broccoli salad, another, Chad Elliott, ladles tomato soup from a large metal pot on the stove into white plastic buckets for delivery to the town’s elementary schools.</p><p>Elliott says most of the food served in the district is made from scratch and many ingredients come from local farms and dairies.</p> Wed, 30 Apr 2014 12:39:12 +0000 Amy Mayer 54994 at http://kcur.org Integrated Local Food System Can Grow The Market Public, Private Partners Key To Local Food Success http://kcur.org/post/public-private-partners-key-local-food-success <p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">As Food Corps service member Ashley Turk navigates her way through a brand-new greenhouse in the courtyard at </span>Waukon<span style="line-height: 1.5;"> High School in the northeast corner of Iowa, she points to a robust supply of red and green lettuce leaves growing neatly in rows.</span></p><p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">“It’s huge,” she says. “We cut it off and it just keeps growing.”</span></p> Mon, 28 Apr 2014 13:00:42 +0000 Amy Mayer 54863 at http://kcur.org Public, Private Partners Key To Local Food Success Hog Farmers Required To Report Disease Outbreaks http://kcur.org/post/hog-farmers-required-report-disease-outbreaks <p>Hog farmers are now required to <a href="http://www.aphis.usda.gov/publications/animal_health/2014/faq_ped_reporting.pdf">report outbreaks</a> of certain viral diseases that have spread across the country during the past year, according to the&nbsp;<span style="line-height: 1.538em;">U.S. Department of Agriculture</span><span style="line-height: 1.538em;">.</span></p> Mon, 21 Apr 2014 14:35:33 +0000 Amy Mayer 54499 at http://kcur.org Hog Farmers Required To Report Disease Outbreaks Corn Farmers Fight Rootworm Resistance http://kcur.org/post/corn-farmers-fight-rootworm-resistance <p>After a long battle with corn rootworm, Midwest farmers thought they’d found relief in genetically modified seeds engineered to produce toxins deadly to the pest. But recent research confirms what farmers have been noticing for several years: the western corn rootworm has been evolving to outwit the technology.</p> Mon, 07 Apr 2014 13:32:18 +0000 Amy Mayer 53791 at http://kcur.org Corn Farmers Fight Rootworm Resistance Bring Home The Bacon: Virus Cutting Pork Supplies http://kcur.org/post/bring-home-bacon-virus-cutting-pork-supplies <p>Bacon-loving shoppers prepare yourselves: A <a href="http://harvestpublicmedia.org/article/ped-virus-continues-rip-through-hog-farms">virus that has devastated piglets</a> for nearly a year is causing lower pork supplies and higher prices.</p><p>Farmer Phil Borgic of Nokomis, Ill., knows firsthand what happens when porcine epidemic diarrhea (PED) virus infects a hog barn. He walked through one in late January, pointing out the differences among litters.</p><p>“This is a PED litter. See how dirty they are?” he said, pointing to a sow whose little piglets had dirty hooves.</p> Mon, 17 Mar 2014 12:57:46 +0000 Amy Mayer 52750 at http://kcur.org Bring Home The Bacon: Virus Cutting Pork Supplies Farmers Bid Farewell To Big Expense Tax Write-Offs http://kcur.org/post/farmers-bid-farewell-big-expense-tax-write-offs <p style="margin-bottom: 20px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; outline: 0px; vertical-align: baseline; font-family: 'PT Sans', sans-serif;">It could be yet another sign that the good times are over.</p> Mon, 03 Mar 2014 14:20:03 +0000 Amy Mayer 52053 at http://kcur.org Farmers Play The Markets, Learn To Avoid Risk http://kcur.org/post/farmers-play-markets-learn-avoid-risk <p>On a frigid winter day, Chad Hart tries to warm his economics students at Iowa State University to the idea of managing some of the risk of farming using the commodity markets. Because, as he told them on the first day of class, farmers don’t make money planting or harvesting crops; they make money selling them. And Hart knows that marketing—managing those sales for the best profit—can be intimidating.</p> Tue, 25 Feb 2014 14:06:07 +0000 Amy Mayer 51790 at http://kcur.org Farmers Play The Markets, Learn To Avoid Risk Preliminary Data From Ag Census Shows Aging Farmers, Declining Farms http://kcur.org/post/preliminary-data-ag-census-shows-aging-farmers-declining-farms <p>The U.S. Department of Agriculture is beginning to release figures from its 2012 Census of Agriculture. An early standout in the data is the value of products being sold.</p><p>Greg Thessen, with the USDA’s agricultural statistics service, says sales figures come shining through in the preliminary data.</p><p>"The biggest thing it showed was the large increase in the market value of products that farmers sold in 2012," he said.</p> Fri, 21 Feb 2014 13:10:42 +0000 Amy Mayer 51603 at http://kcur.org Making The Leap: How Niche Crops Go Mainstream http://kcur.org/post/making-leap-how-niche-crops-go-mainstream <p>In the Midwest, crop agriculture often gets divided between the major commodities – corn, soybeans and wheat – and everything else. Diverting acres away from a major commodity to an un-tested crop is risky, but sometimes agronomics and market forces meet in a sweet spot and farmers can reap the benefits of innovation.</p> Wed, 12 Feb 2014 15:28:18 +0000 Amy Mayer 51138 at http://kcur.org Making The Leap: How Niche Crops Go Mainstream Years In The Making, New Farm Bill Becomes Law http://kcur.org/post/years-making-new-farm-bill-becomes-law <p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">&nbsp;&nbsp;</span>President Barak Obama signed the new farm bill into law Friday at Michigan State University in East Lansing, ending years of negotiations and wrangling.</p><p>With farm equipment, hay bales and crates of apples setting the stage, the president told the crowd that this farm bill – <a href="http://harvestpublicmedia.org/article/new-farm-bill-may-be-sight">officially called the Agriculture Act of 2014</a> – will save taxpayer dollars while also offering support to farmers and ranchers. And he says that helps the whole country.</p> Fri, 07 Feb 2014 22:37:08 +0000 Amy Mayer 50959 at http://kcur.org Years In The Making, New Farm Bill Becomes Law 2014 Farm Bill Would Change U.S. Ag Policy http://kcur.org/post/2014-farm-bill-would-change-us-ag-policy <p style="margin-bottom: 12px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; outline: 0px; vertical-align: baseline; font-family: 'PT Sans', sans-serif; line-height: 15px;">It’s getting so close now … Last week the U.S. Mon, 03 Feb 2014 14:05:56 +0000 Amy Mayer 50679 at http://kcur.org 2014 Farm Bill Would Change U.S. Ag Policy Pig Virus Continues To Spread, Raising Fears Of Pricier Bacon http://kcur.org/post/pig-virus-continues-spread-raising-fears-pricier-bacon Pork producers across the country are grappling with a virus that's going after piglets. Livestock economists estimate the porcine epidemic diarrhea, or PED, virus has already killed about 1 million baby pigs in the U.S. since it was first found in Iowa last spring.<p>Canada <a href="http://www.opic.on.ca/images/pdfs/ONPEDNOTIFICATION.pdf">reported</a> its first case Thursday, and the disease shows no sign of abating. Sun, 26 Jan 2014 10:05:00 +0000 Amy Mayer 50278 at http://kcur.org Pig Virus Continues To Spread, Raising Fears Of Pricier Bacon Virus Continues To Rip Through Hog Farms http://kcur.org/post/virus-continues-rip-through-hog-farms-0 <p>Pork producers across the country are continuing to grapple with a virus that’s killing their piglets. Experts estimate Porcine Epidemic Diarrhea (PED) virus has already killed about 1 million baby pigs and the disease shows no sign of abating.</p> Tue, 21 Jan 2014 14:45:36 +0000 Amy Mayer 50047 at http://kcur.org Virus Continues To Rip Through Hog Farms As 2013 Comes To A Close, Still No Farm Bill http://kcur.org/post/2013-comes-close-still-no-farm-bill <p>For the second straight year, farmers are heading into a new year without a farm bill. The massive package provides government support for farmers and ranchers. But, divisions in Congress, including over the nutrition programs that make up the bulk of the spending, have kept it from the president’s desk.</p><p>Farmers say it’s difficult to plan their crops and make other business decisions without a farm bill. Instead, Iowa State University agricultural economist Chad Hart says farmers must focus on the information they have.</p> Mon, 30 Dec 2013 13:55:42 +0000 Amy Mayer 49032 at http://kcur.org As 2013 Comes To A Close, Still No Farm Bill Poultry Inspection Rules In Focus On Capitol Hill http://kcur.org/post/poultry-inspection-rules-focus-capitol-hill <p style="margin-bottom: 20px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; outline: 0px; vertical-align: baseline; font-family: 'PT Sans', sans-serif;">A bipartisan group of senators is pressuring the U.S. Department of Agriculture to finalize changes to the way poultry is inspected.</p> Mon, 23 Dec 2013 14:49:45 +0000 Amy Mayer 48767 at http://kcur.org Farm Bill Falls Victim To Polarization, Gridlock In Washington http://kcur.org/post/farm-bill-falls-victim-polarization-gridlock-washington <p>If it seems like Congress just can’t get the farm bill done, well … that’s because it can’t.</p><p>All year long, Washington lawmakers have been saying they want to pass a full five-year farm bill. But even though leaders of the House-Senate conference committee say they are close, they have acknowledged it just <a href="http://harvestpublicmedia.org/content/no-farm-bill-year#.UqoTUfRUf-s">won’t get done</a> this year. They’re pushing it off until January.</p> Mon, 16 Dec 2013 13:52:49 +0000 Amy Mayer 48405 at http://kcur.org Farm Bill Falls Victim To Polarization, Gridlock In Washington How Microbes Can Help Farmers Feed People http://kcur.org/post/how-microbes-can-help-farmers-feed-people <p>Farmers and scientists have long understood that what lives beneath the soil affects how crops grow. Often, they work to fight plant diseases—warding off infectious viruses and damaging fungi, for example. But now some microbiologists are focused on how to harness the good things microbes can do, with the goal of increasing farmers’ yields and diminishing their dependence on chemical inputs.</p> Tue, 03 Dec 2013 14:06:08 +0000 Amy Mayer 47726 at http://kcur.org How Microbes Can Help Farmers Feed People Schools In Missouri And Kansas Spending More On Local Food http://kcur.org/post/schools-missouri-and-kansas-spending-more-local-food <p>School districts in both Kansas and Missouri spent more than ten percent of their food budget buying from local farms in the 2011-2012 school year, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Farm to School Census. That means efforts to fill cafeteria trays with local foods have plenty of room to grow.</p><p>Across the Midwest, most states report 25 to 50 percent of their school districts are buying from local farms, growing edible gardens or teaching nutrition—all parts of USDA’s Farm to School effort.</p> Mon, 18 Nov 2013 15:21:46 +0000 Amy Mayer 47011 at http://kcur.org Consumers Often Lost In The Middle Of Scientific Food Battles http://kcur.org/post/consumers-often-lost-middle-scientific-food-battles <p style="margin-bottom: 12px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; outline: 0px; vertical-align: baseline; font-family: 'PT Sans', sans-serif; line-height: 15px;">Hot-button food issues of the day, such as the use of genetically modified organisms or the treatment of livestock, tend to pit large industries against smaller activist groups. Often, both sides will claim the science supports what they are saying. That can leave consumers, most of whom aren’t scientists, in a bit of a bind.</p> Mon, 11 Nov 2013 13:43:21 +0000 Amy Mayer 46625 at http://kcur.org Consumers Often Lost In The Middle Of Scientific Food Battles Technology Looks To Prevent Grain Bin Entrapments http://kcur.org/post/technology-looks-prevent-grain-bin-entrapments <p>Across the rural Midwest, landscapes are dotted with tall, cylindrical storage containers for grain. Some belong to commercial grain elevators, but increasingly farmers want to market their grain throughout the year so they install their own storage bins right on the farm. Maintaining the quality of that grain requires vigilance&mdash;and can present safety concerns. In particular, the risk of entrapment when a person enters a bin to check on the grain.</p> Thu, 10 Oct 2013 20:21:27 +0000 Amy Mayer 45026 at http://kcur.org Technology Looks To Prevent Grain Bin Entrapments Is There A Tilt In Pork Board-Funded Research? http://kcur.org/post/there-tilt-pork-board-funded-research <p>When a new disease &mdash;&nbsp;<a href="http://www.genesus.com/global-tech-report/pedv-quick-facts-tactics">known as PEDV</a>&nbsp;&mdash;turned up in the U.S. hog industry in May and threatened to kill whole litters of piglets, the&nbsp;<a href="http://www.pork.org/Home.aspx#.UieNKH_EoRQ">National Pork Board&nbsp;</a>quickly responded with $450,000 in research funding.</p> Thu, 10 Oct 2013 12:36:00 +0000 Amy Mayer 44988 at http://kcur.org Is There A Tilt In Pork Board-Funded Research? Expected Bumper Crop Has Price Of Corn Dropping http://kcur.org/post/expected-bumper-crop-has-price-corn-dropping <p>On a clear fall day in central Iowa, Aaron Lehman climbed into the cab of his green combine with a screwdriver to do some maintenance. He was hoping his corn had a couple more weeks to grow before harvesting because the price per bushel this fall is much lower than it has been for the past three years.</p><p>Corn farmers have been riding high prices for the last few years. But an expected bumper crop has prices falling this harvest season, and many economists expect the price of corn to drop to its lowest level in recent years.</p> Mon, 07 Oct 2013 12:52:11 +0000 Amy Mayer 44801 at http://kcur.org Expected Bumper Crop Has Price Of Corn Dropping