Luke Runyon http://kcur.org en Mutton Busting A Rodeo Tradition For Rough And Tumble Kids http://kcur.org/post/mutton-busting-rodeo-tradition-rough-and-tumble-kids <p>A furry beast, a brave rider and a roaring crowd make up the list of ingredients for the Western rodeo tradition known as “mutton busting.” Think of it as bull-riding, but for 6-year-olds, and the furry beast is actually a wooly sheep.</p><p>Mutton busting has its roots in Colorado, where it was first introduced in the 1980s at the National Western Stock Show in Denver. The crowd-pleaser is now a favorite at many rodeos and county fairs across the Midwest and Great Plains.</p> Mon, 07 Jul 2014 13:34:55 +0000 Luke Runyon 58474 at http://kcur.org Mutton Busting A Rodeo Tradition For Rough And Tumble Kids My Farm Roots: Smells Like Home http://kcur.org/post/my-farm-roots-smells-home <p>Most family vacations are remembered for endless car rides, packed tourist beaches and a string of poorly decorated hotel rooms.</p><p>But not former Nebraskan and current Coloradan Kari Williams. Her family vacation memories center on smells of cow manure, adventures on horseback and roosters with bad attitudes on farms in central Nebraska.</p> Wed, 02 Jul 2014 14:23:45 +0000 Luke Runyon 58269 at http://kcur.org My Farm Roots: Smells Like Home Agritourism A Growing Opportunity On The Farm http://kcur.org/post/agritourism-growing-opportunity-farm <p>Farms aren’t just for food any more. With the <a href="http://harvestpublicmedia.org/content/local-food-challenge">local food movement growing</a>, 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.</p> Tue, 17 Jun 2014 14:43:37 +0000 Luke Runyon 57455 at http://kcur.org Agritourism A Growing Opportunity On The Farm Industrial Hemp Could Take Root, If Legal Seeds Weren't So Scarce http://kcur.org/post/industrial-hemp-could-take-root-if-legal-seeds-werent-so-scarce The most recent farm bill is allowing a handful of farmers across the country to put hemp, the nonpsychoactive cousin of marijuana, in the ground.<p>The bill allows small-scale experimentation with the plant. But despite the new law, many farmers say they're getting mixed messages from the federal government.<p>Jim Denny is one of more than 100 growers given the nod by the Colorado Department of Agriculture to start planting hemp seeds. On his farm in Brighton, Colo., just outside Denver, Denny is prepping for planting season. Wed, 28 May 2014 07:33:00 +0000 Luke Runyon 56423 at http://kcur.org Industrial Hemp Could Take Root, If Legal Seeds Weren't So Scarce Flour Milling Merger Moves Forward http://kcur.org/post/flour-milling-merger-moves-forward <p style="margin-bottom: 20px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; outline: 0px; vertical-align: baseline; font-family: 'PT Sans', sans-serif;">Federal regulators Tuesday gave the final go-ahead for two of the country’s largest flour milling companies to merge.</p> Wed, 21 May 2014 12:40:44 +0000 Luke Runyon 56089 at http://kcur.org Flour Milling Merger Moves Forward Could Hemp Be An 'Agricultural Revolution'? http://kcur.org/post/could-hemp-be-agricultural-revolution <p style="margin-bottom: 20px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; outline: 0px; vertical-align: baseline; font-family: 'PT Sans', sans-serif;">The&nbsp;<a href="http://harvestpublicmedia.org/article/years-making-new-farm-bill-becomes-law" style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; outline: 0px; vertical-align: baseline; font-family: inherit; font-size: inherit; font-style: inherit; font-variant: inherit; font-weight: inherit; line-height: inherit; color: rgb(0, 98, 160); text-decoration: underline;">farm bill passed earlier</a>&nbsp;this year is big news for advocates of hemp. Tue, 20 May 2014 14:21:47 +0000 Luke Runyon 56023 at http://kcur.org Could Hemp Be An 'Agricultural Revolution'? Canada Jonesing For A Piece Of American (Hemp) Pie http://kcur.org/post/canada-jonesing-piece-american-hemp-pie <p>The U.S. market for foods and beauty products that contain <a href="http://www.agmrc.org/commodities__products/fiber/industrial-hemp-profile/">hemp is growing</a>, but American manufacturers that use hemp have their hands tied. The crop is still illegal to cultivate, according to federal laws, which means the current American hemp industry, <a href="http://www.fas.org/sgp/crs/misc/RL32725.pdf">estimated at $500 million per year</a>, runs on foreign hemp.</p> Tue, 20 May 2014 12:52:31 +0000 Luke Runyon 56017 at http://kcur.org Canada Jonesing For A Piece Of American (Hemp) Pie Now Appearing: Hemp, For First Time In Decades http://kcur.org/post/now-appearing-hemp-first-time-decades <p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">&nbsp;</span><span style="line-height: 1.5;">A</span><a href="http://harvestpublicmedia.org/content/colorado-hemp-growers-begin-historic-planting-season#.U208cPldUrU" style="line-height: 1.5;"> handful of farmers</a><span style="line-height: 1.5;"> are set to plant the country’s first hemp crop in decades, despite federal regulations that tightly restrict the plant’s cultivation.</span></p> Mon, 19 May 2014 11:00:00 +0000 Luke Runyon 55878 at http://kcur.org Now Appearing: Hemp, For First Time In Decades Six Cool Maps From The Farm Census http://kcur.org/post/six-cool-maps-farm-census <img class="wysiwyg-asset-image-wrapper wide" data-caption="Rural pockets of the country still lack internet connectivity, the agricultural census shows." data-attribution="Credit USDA-NASS" typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://mediad.publicbroadcasting.net/p/kunc/files/styles/placed_wide/public/201405/farms_with_itnernet.JPG" alt="" /><p>Remember that scene from the 1979 movie <em>The Jerk</em> where Steve Martin’s character leaps with glee over <a href="http://youtu.be/ahuPW6_t-z0" target="_blank">the delivery of new phone books</a>? 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.<p> Mon, 05 May 2014 14:25:26 +0000 Luke Runyon 55230 at http://kcur.org Six Cool Maps From The Farm Census Brazil Beef Imports Too Risky, Farmers Worry http://kcur.org/post/brazil-beef-imports-too-risky-farmers-worry <p>The U.S. Department of Agriculture wants to <a href="http://www.regulations.gov/#!documentDetail;D=APHIS-2009-0017-0010">green light a proposal</a> 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.</p> Mon, 05 May 2014 13:08:41 +0000 Luke Runyon 55226 at http://kcur.org Brazil Beef Imports Too Risky, Farmers Worry While Farm Life Changes, FFA’s Blue Jacket Stays The Same http://kcur.org/post/while-farm-life-changes-ffa-s-blue-jacket-stays-same <p>The blue corduroy jacket worn by high school students in FFA, formerly the Future Farmers of America, is an icon of rural life. To the average city dweller the jacket is a vestige of dwindling, isolated farm culture, as fewer and fewer young people grow up on farms. The numbers tell a different story however. In spite of that demographic shift, a record number of kids are donning blue jackets this year.</p> Thu, 10 Apr 2014 13:48:03 +0000 Luke Runyon 53972 at http://kcur.org While Farm Life Changes, FFA’s Blue Jacket Stays The Same Could Our Food Supply Be A Target For Terrorists? http://kcur.org/post/could-our-food-supply-be-target-terrorists <p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">&nbsp;&nbsp;</span>It sounds like the plot of a Hollywood blockbuster. Villains in trench coats scheme ways to cause the most destruction and chaos. They settle on a food company, an easy target, and plan to lace the products with a chemical or pathogen. The hero finds out the plan with enough time to save the day.</p> Mon, 10 Mar 2014 13:27:28 +0000 Luke Runyon 52380 at http://kcur.org Could Our Food Supply Be A Target For Terrorists? Climate Change Could Be Good News For Some Invasive Plants http://kcur.org/post/climate-change-could-be-good-news-some-invasive-plants <p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">&nbsp;&nbsp;</span>Most <a href="http://www.hprcc.unl.edu/publications/files/HighPlainsClimateChangeGuide-2013.pdf">climate models paint</a> a bleak picture for the Great Plains a century from now: It will likely be warmer and the air will be more rich with carbon dioxide. Though scientists don’t yet know how exactly the climate will change, new studies show it could be a boon to some invasive plant species. &nbsp;</p><p><strong>A growing problem</strong></p> Mon, 03 Mar 2014 14:18:01 +0000 Luke Runyon 51965 at http://kcur.org Climate Change Could Be Good News For Some Invasive Plants Farmland Real Estate 'Bubble' May Be Ready To Pop http://kcur.org/post/farmland-real-estate-bubble-may-be-ready-pop <p>The so-called farmland real estate bubble appears to be starting to deflate. After years of steep property values, a new report from the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City shows the high times may be coming to an end.</p><p>Since 2011, the price for a plot of a farmland across the Midwest has been growing at breakneck speed. Most of that has been due to the same trajectory in the price of major commodity crops like corn and soybeans. Now, with crop prices slipping, farmers are set to bring in less money. Money they could be using to buy or rent more land.</p> Mon, 17 Feb 2014 14:15:30 +0000 Luke Runyon 51391 at http://kcur.org USDA Will Set Up Hubs To Help Farmers Adapt To Climate Change http://kcur.org/post/usda-will-set-hubs-help-farmers-adapt-climate-change <p>The U.S Department of Agriculture announced Wednesday it plans to set up seven new research hubs across the country to help farmers adapt to climate change.</p><p>In the past few years, farmers across the Midwest have grappled with epic drought, mega-blizzards and crippling heat.</p><p>“The combination of all those factors convinces me that the climate is changing and it will have its impact,” said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack.</p> Thu, 06 Feb 2014 14:14:37 +0000 Luke Runyon 50868 at http://kcur.org Marijuana-Laced Treats Leave Colorado Jonesing For Food-Safety Rules http://kcur.org/post/marijuana-laced-treats-leave-colorado-jonesing-food-safety-rules Where there's pot, there's pot brownies. But how do you make sure those high-inducing sweets are safe to eat?<p>Colorado regulators are wrestling with that question now that the state has legalized recreational marijuana. From sodas and truffles to granola bars and butter, food products infused with THC – the chemical in marijuana that gives you a high — are already for sale.<p>The problem? Marijuana is still illegal under federal law. Sun, 02 Feb 2014 21:10:00 +0000 Luke Runyon 50659 at http://kcur.org Marijuana-Laced Treats Leave Colorado Jonesing For Food-Safety Rules Colorado Creates Food Safety System To Regulate Marijuana Industry http://kcur.org/post/colorado-creates-food-safety-system-regulate-marijuana-industry <p>Colorado made history when it opened up <a href="http://kunc.org/post/colorados-mountain-resorts-gear-recreational-marijuana">licensed marijuana retail shops this year</a>. Aside from just legalizing the purchase of smoke-able marijuana, it also means pot brownies have the potential to be big business. Food products infused with marijuana’s psychoactive ingredient, THC, are available in stores across the state.</p> Mon, 27 Jan 2014 13:59:08 +0000 Luke Runyon 50322 at http://kcur.org Colorado Creates Food Safety System To Regulate Marijuana Industry Abundance Of Wheat Drives Down Prices For Midwest Farmers http://kcur.org/post/abundance-wheat-drives-down-prices-midwest-farmers <p>The world is growing a lot more wheat, and that’s having an effect on the prices farmers get for their crop in Kansas and other states in America’s wheat belt.</p><p>Bumper wheat crops in Canada, Russia and Australia will likely make this year’s haul the largest harvest on record. With all that wheat flooding the market, prices are declining.</p><p>“It’s hard not to pay attention when the price is dropping," says Darrell Hanavan, director of the Colorado Wheat Growers Association. He says farmers can expect prices to dip even further, barring a drought on the other side of the globe.</p> Mon, 20 Jan 2014 13:49:04 +0000 Luke Runyon 50009 at http://kcur.org The New Wheat Behind Whole Grain White Bread http://kcur.org/post/new-wheat-behind-whole-grain-white-bread <p style="margin-bottom: 12px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; outline: 0px; vertical-align: baseline; font-family: 'PT Sans', sans-serif; line-height: 15px;">A new wheat variety may have cracked the code to marry the fluffiness of white bread with whole grain nutrition.</p> Mon, 06 Jan 2014 12:46:10 +0000 Luke Runyon 49322 at http://kcur.org The New Wheat Behind Whole Grain White Bread Kansas And Missouri Hog Farmers Battle Deadly Virus http://kcur.org/post/kansas-and-missouri-hog-farmers-battle-deadly-virus <p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">Porcine epidemic diarrhea</span>&nbsp;virus continues to plague hog operations across the country, including Kansas and Missouri. The outbreak is raising larger questions about international trade.</p><p>The deadly virus has been detected in 19 states. Colorado’s state veterinarian Keith Roehr compares its spread to a wildfire.</p><p>“If you have an infectious agent, it’s like a spark. If you have a susceptible population it’s like dry wood,” says Roehr.</p> Mon, 30 Dec 2013 13:48:35 +0000 Luke Runyon 49031 at http://kcur.org Forget Golf Courses: Subdivisions Draw Residents With Farms http://kcur.org/post/forget-golf-courses-subdivisions-draw-residents-farms When you picture a housing development in the suburbs, you might imagine golf courses, swimming pools, rows of identical houses.<p>But now, there's a new model springing up across the country that taps into the local food movement: Farms — complete with livestock, vegetables and fruit trees — are serving as the latest suburban amenity.<p>It's called development-supported agriculture, a more intimate version of community-supported agriculture — a farm-share program commonly known as CSA. Tue, 17 Dec 2013 08:15:00 +0000 Luke Runyon 48451 at http://kcur.org Forget Golf Courses: Subdivisions Draw Residents With Farms Organic Crop Acreage Up Dramatically In Missouri http://kcur.org/post/organic-crop-acreage-dramatically-missouri <p>Demand for organic foods continues to grow, and according to recent estimates more farmers are switching to organic methods to keep up.&nbsp;<span style="line-height: 1.5;">In Missouri alone, acreage of organic crops has increased six-fold in the past 15 years.&nbsp;</span></p><p>Walk into a grocery store these days and you’re likely to find whole sections devoted to organic foods. The organic label gives insight into how the food was produced, usually without the aid of synthetic chemicals, antibiotics and food additives.</p> Mon, 02 Dec 2013 14:06:11 +0000 Luke Runyon 47665 at http://kcur.org Organic Crop Acreage Up Dramatically In Missouri Proposed Merger Could Create Wheat Milling Goliath http://kcur.org/post/proposed-merger-could-create-wheat-milling-goliath <p>Fall is planting time for wheat across the Great Plains and this year’s crop went into the ground while big changes were underway in the wheat market. Some of the biggest players in the flour milling industry are joining forces to make the country’s largest miller even larger.</p> Mon, 18 Nov 2013 14:13:02 +0000 Luke Runyon 47012 at http://kcur.org Proposed Merger Could Create Wheat Milling Goliath Cantaloupe Farmers Plead Guilty To Criminal Charges http://kcur.org/post/cantaloupe-farmers-plead-guilty-criminal-charges <p>The Colorado farmers who distributed cantaloupes infected with listeria two years ago pleaded guilty in federal court to criminal charges Tuesday. Jensen Farms, located outside Holly, Colo., was the source of the outbreak that killed 33 people nationwide.</p><p>The outbreak was the <a href="http://harvestpublicmedia.org/article/858/listeria-outbreak-deadliest-1924/5">deadliest in more than 20 years</a>. Cantaloupes processed in the summer of 2011 at Jensen Farms near the Kansas border were laden with listeria. It’s a pathogen infamous for its high mortality rate.</p> Wed, 23 Oct 2013 12:24:27 +0000 Luke Runyon 45658 at http://kcur.org Cantaloupe Farmers Plead Guilty To Criminal Charges Ranchers Wonder If U.S. Sheep Industry Has Bottomed Out http://kcur.org/post/ranchers-worry-demand-sheep-declines Over the last 20 years, the number of sheep in the U.S. has plummeted by half. The sheep industry has actually been declining since the late 1940s, when it hit its peak.<p>The sharp drop in production has left ranchers to wonder, "When are we going to hit the bottom?"<p>Some sheep are raised for their wool, others primarily for food. Consumption of both products — lamb meat and wool — have been declining in the U.S.<p>If you look at the tags on clothes in your closet, chances are quite a few pieces will be blended with synthetic fibers: nylon, rayon and polyester. Mon, 21 Oct 2013 09:03:00 +0000 Luke Runyon 45522 at http://kcur.org Ranchers Wonder If U.S. Sheep Industry Has Bottomed Out The Long, Slow Decline Of The U.S. Sheep Industry http://kcur.org/post/long-slow-decline-us-sheep-industry <p>Over the last 20 years, the number of sheep in this country has been cut in half. In fact, the number has been declining since the late 1940s, when the American sheep industry hit its peak. Today, the domestic sheep herd is one-tenth the size it was during World War II.</p><p>The decline is the result of economic and cultural factors coming together. And it has left ranchers to wonder, &ldquo;When are we going to hit the bottom?&rdquo;</p> Fri, 18 Oct 2013 12:09:41 +0000 Luke Runyon 45418 at http://kcur.org The Long, Slow Decline Of The U.S. Sheep Industry Can Millet Take On Quinoa? First, It'll Need A Makeover http://kcur.org/post/can-millet-take-quinoa-first-itll-need-makeover Walk through a health food store and you'll find amaranth, sorghum, quinoa — heritage grains that have been staples around the world for generations. Americans are just discovering them.<p>There's another age-old grain that grows right here on the Great Plains: millet.<p>The millet plant is drought-tolerant, and nutritionally it competes with quinoa, the protein-rich South American grain that American farmers <a href="http://www.npr.org/blogs/thesalt/2012/11/29/166155875/quinoa-craze-inspires-north-america-to-start-growing-its-own">are clamoring</a> to grow. Wed, 02 Oct 2013 07:23:00 +0000 Luke Runyon 44544 at http://kcur.org Can Millet Take On Quinoa? First, It'll Need A Makeover Is Millet The Next Trendy Grain? http://kcur.org/post/millet-next-trendy-grain <p>Heritage grains are trendy. Walk through a health food store and see packages of grains grown long before modern seed technology created hybrid varieties, grains eaten widely outside of the developed world: amaranth, sorghum, quinoa.</p><p>But there&rsquo;s another grain with tremendous potential growing on the Great Plains: millet.</p> Mon, 30 Sep 2013 14:36:15 +0000 Luke Runyon 44422 at http://kcur.org Is Millet The Next Trendy Grain? Farmers Look To Do More With Less Water http://kcur.org/post/farmers-look-do-more-less-water <p>The future of agriculture across the Great Plains hinges on water. Without it, nothing can grow.</p><p>Climate models <a href="http://harvestpublicmedia.org/article/thirsty-cities-drain-colorado-farmland">and population growth</a> paint a pretty bleak picture for water availability a few decades from now. If farmers want to stay in business, they have to figure out how to do more with less. Enter: super efficient irrigation systems.</p> Mon, 26 Aug 2013 12:41:54 +0000 Luke Runyon 42576 at http://kcur.org Farmers Look To Do More With Less Water Young Farmers Break The Bank Before They Get To The Field http://kcur.org/post/young-farmers-break-bank-they-get-field As the average age of the American farmer has crept up to 60, fewer young people are filling in the ranks behind them. That's prompted some to ask if young people even want to farm anymore.<p>The quick answer is yes, just not in the same numbers as they used to. Wed, 21 Aug 2013 07:05:00 +0000 Luke Runyon 42296 at http://kcur.org Young Farmers Break The Bank Before They Get To The Field