Agriculture

Harvest Public Media
8:19 am
Wed July 23, 2014

My Farm Roots: Carrying On A Farm Family Legacy

For four generations, Riley Lewis’ family has farmed a plot of land near Forest City, Iowa. Lewis currently raises corn, soybeans and hogs.
Credit Amy Mayer / Harvest Public Media

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.

“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.”

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Central Standard
4:45 pm
Tue July 22, 2014

The Modern Role Of State And County Fairs

Food vendors are setting up at the Wyandotte County Fair.
Credit Christina Lieffring / KCUR

Counties and states all over America host seasonal fairs. Originally, they were organized to share the latest technology in agriculture and genes among livestock. But in an age of instant information are state and county fairs still relevant? On Tuesday's Central Standard, we investigate the modern function of fairs, and talk with some professional livestock judges about their criteria for appraising animals and producing the food of tomorrow.

Guests:

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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
1:08 pm
Wed July 16, 2014

Without Intervention, Old Barns Stand Defiantly Or Fall Unceremoniously

Kill Creek Farm in DeSoto, Kan. is home to a nostalgia-worthy barn.
Credit Lori Murdock

The barn is an icon of the American work ethic and rural nostalgia. On Wednesday's Central Standard, we explored the trend of rehabbing and restoring old barns that would otherwise fall into irreversible decay.

We also spoke with people throughout the nation and in our own area about the challenges of preserving these structures.

Do old barns -- the red ones with big huge doors -- still matter, even as larger steel structures replace them in function?

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Harvest Public Media
8:01 am
Wed July 16, 2014

My Farm Roots: Farm Life Anything But Quiet

Jack and Diane Aaron spent years in Kansas City, Kan., but have embraced their new rural life in Raymore, Mo.
Suzanne Hogan for Harvest Public Media

Jack and Diane Aaron lived in Strawberry Hill in Kansas City, Kan., for decades. They loved their neighborhood and it was close to family. But when a friend passed away and left them land on a farm, they decided to take a chance on country living.

While farm life is different, they found it’s anything but quiet.

“Out here we’ve got, just different sounds. We have birds that will wake us up. A cat that likes to wake me up at six because he wants to eat,” Diane Aaron said. “It’s peaceful, but it doesn’t make you crazy,”

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Agriculture
2:14 pm
Mon July 14, 2014

18 Big Lobbyers That Influenced The Farm Bill

Hundreds of companies and outside groups lobbied the 2014 Farm Bill and related issues during the drafting process.
Credit Bigstock

Setting the course for almost a trillion dollars of government spending, the 2014 Farm Bill attracted hundreds of companies eager to find their slice of the pie.

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Agriculture
8:42 am
Mon July 14, 2014

Lobbyists Of All Kinds Flock To Farm Bill

Sen. Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich., (in green), watches as President Barack Obama signs the Farm Bill at Michigan State University on Feb. 7, 2014.
Credit David Kosling / Courtesy USDA

When U.S. Sen. Debbie Stabenow announced passage of the Farm Bill in February, she echoed a refrain from a car commercial.

“This is not your father’s Farm Bill,” she said.

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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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Harvest Public Media
9:38 am
Wed July 9, 2014

My Farm Roots: Touch The Ground

Though he grew up without designs on farm life, Elisha Pullen has embraced rural living on his farm near Bell City, Mo.
Credit Jacob McCleland / Harvest Public Media

As a young man, Elisha Pullen never imagined he would spend his days on the farm.

Growing up near rural Bell City in southeastern Missouri’s “Bootheel” region, Pullen longed to leave the farm and get an education.

“I grew up in the day and time when we had to do a lot of chopping and stuff like that. Hard labor,” Pullen said. “I’m going to college, I’m getting my degree and I’m going to work in the air conditioning.”

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Harvest Public Media
9:59 am
Tue July 8, 2014

Medical Association Seeks Stricter Rules For Antibiotics In Farm Animals

Low doses of antibiotics are often delivered to livestock in their feed.
Credit Jeremy Bernfeld / Harvest Public Media

The largest association of U.S. physicians is calling for tighter rules on antibiotic use in livestock.

The American Medical Association (AMA) says there should be an outright federal ban on using antibiotics to plump up farm animals. Last year, the Food and Drug Administration asked pharmaceutical companies to voluntarily phase out the use of antimicrobial drugs that promote growth in livestock.

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Harvest Public Media
9:59 am
Tue July 8, 2014

Soybean Acres Up, Corn Down In This Year's Planting

Farmers have planted a record number of acres in soybeans this year, while planting fewer in corn.
Credit Amy Mayer / Harvest Public Media

Farmers planted a record number of soybean acres this season. But corn is flat in several Midwestern states, while down slightly in others.

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.

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Harvest Public Media
6:02 am
Tue July 8, 2014

On The Farm, Chefs Learn The Basics Of Food Production

Farmer Kate Potter shows chef Terrah King how to gut a chicken at Chef Camp in Livingston County, Ill.
Sean Powers Harvest Public Media

With farm to table restaurants springing up left and right, cooks are having to go beyond the grocery store. That’s why about a dozen chefs from Chicago and central Illinois recently gathered for a two-day crash course on where their food comes from – the farm.

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Harvest Public Media
8:34 am
Mon July 7, 2014

Mutton Busting A Rodeo Tradition For Rough And Tumble Kids

Two cowboys lift a mutton busting participant onto a wooly sheep at the Greeley (Colo.) Stampede rodeo.
Luke Runyon Harvest Public Media

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.

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.

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Harvest Public Media
9:23 am
Wed July 2, 2014

My Farm Roots: Smells Like Home

Growing up in Nebraska, Kari Williams spent many vacations visiting her family’s farms.
Credit Luke Runyon / Harvest Public Media

Most family vacations are remembered for endless car rides, packed tourist beaches and a string of poorly decorated hotel rooms.

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.

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Agriculture
1:05 am
Mon June 30, 2014

Feed The Future Seeks Hunger Solutions From The Heartland

Kurt Rosentrater, center, and Mamun Ur Rashid, in blue shirt, meet with workers at a feed mill in Bangladesh as part of a project designed to improve fish feed in the developing world.
Credit Courtesy Kurt Rosentrater

  Global hunger has no easy answer.

But as part of a partnership with the federal government called Feed the Future, researchers at land-grant universities are trying new approaches to the decades-old dilemma.

“The world’s poorest people, and hungriest people, generally, the majority of them are small farmers living in rural areas,” said Tjada D’oyen McKenna, deputy coordinator for development for Feed the Future. “And agriculture is the most effective means of bringing them out of poverty and under-nutrition.”

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Harvest Public Media
7:58 am
Mon June 23, 2014

100 Years On, Panama Canal Still Vital To Midwest Economy

A loaded container ship passes through the Miaflores Locks on the Panama Canal in 2006.
Jean-Pierre Martineau Flickr -- CC

When it opened in 1914, the Panama Canal introduced the harvest from Midwest farms to the world and helped link U.S. farmers to the global economy. Nearly a century-old, the canal today remains an important connector of global trade, from the U.S. heartland to Asia.

“Obviously it’s one of our major achievements,” said Bill Angrick, a former state Ombudsman of Iowa who was born in the Canal Zone and has studied the engineering marvel. “It’s like going to the moon. It’s something we did well and did right.”

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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
12:24 pm
Thu June 12, 2014

Beef Sent To Kansas City Restaurant Recalled Due To Mad Cow Fear

Food safety regulators are recalling beef that could be tainted by parts of cattle nervous system that can carry mad cow disease and a Kansas City restaurant may be affected.

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Agriculture
4:20 pm
Tue June 10, 2014

Recent Heavy Rains Won't Eliminate Drought In Kansas

This map shows dry conditions covering most of the state of Kansas.
Credit Source: U.S. Drought Monitor

Despite recent heavy rains across the state of Kansas, officials say the precipitation is likely not enough to end the drought.

Assistant State Climatologist Mary Knapp says Kansas has seen almost double what would be a normal amount of rain for the first part of June. But she says the rains won’t be enough to bring conditions back to normal, as the first five months of the year were very dry.

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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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Agriculture
10:47 am
Mon June 2, 2014

Miscanthus: A Growing Energy Crop

Iowa State University, the University of Iowa and the University of Northern Iowa are all working on a project to plant, study and harvest miscanthus for biofuel.
Credit (Rick Fredericksen for Harvest Public Media)

Miscanthus, a relative of sugar cane that looks like bamboo, could be the Midwest’s next energy crop. But in a region dominated by corn and soybeans, it has yet to fully catch on.

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Harvest Public Media
7:49 am
Tue May 27, 2014

Is Corn Dust Killing Bees?

Bees at these hives near a corn field in Cherokee, Iowa, must pass through a yellow plastic trap that scrapes off a bit of pollen. Researchers are studying whether insecticide-coated seeds could be harming the bee population.
Credit Amy Mayer / Harvest Public Media

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.

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Agriculture
7:23 am
Mon May 26, 2014

Aquaponics Brings Fish And Produce Under One Roof

At All Seasons Harvest near Cedar Falls, Iowa, lettuce, kale and herbs are grown in nutrient-rich water fertilized by tanks of farmed tilapia fish.
Credit Pat Blank / Harvest Public Media

Farmers all over the country are using hydroponic technology to grow produce indoors, year-round, in nutrient rich water. And fish farmers around the globe have figured out how to raise their catch in tanks. Now, some operations are combining the two, raising both produce and fish.

Many so-called “aquaponics” operations use the waste from fish farming to fertilize the water used in growing hydroponic produce.

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