Agriculture

Immigration
8:31 am
Fri February 3, 2012

Republicans At Odds Over Undocumented Worker Program

A bill introduced into the legislature proposes that undocumented immigrants be allowed to work in Kansas for two years at a time to address labor shortages at feedlots and dairies.
NDSU Ag Comm Flickr.com

A pro-business, pro-immigration bill introduced in the Kansas legislature yesterday pits traditionally Republican business leaders against the hardline anti-immigration Secretary of State and maybe the Republican governor as well.

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Harvest Public Media
10:27 am
Tue January 31, 2012

Cows Munch On Recycled Captain Crunch

Breakfast for you or your cattle? Food waste, like discarded oatmeal, from many factories gets recycled into livestock feed.
Farmanac Flickr.com

Throwing food scraps to hogs and other farm animals is an age-old practice. As food production has become more industrialized, food factories have found ways to continue to recycle massive amounts of would-be food waste.

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Tracking NBAF
9:26 am
Mon January 30, 2012

Governor: Bioscience Authority Controversy Won't Affect NBAF

An audit released recently alleges misdeeds by former Kansas Bioscience Authority head Tom Thornton. The KBA is one of the groups that worked to help Kansas land the National Bio and Agro-Defense Facility (NBAF) project.

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Tracking NBAF
4:58 pm
Fri January 27, 2012

Safety Concerns Aired At NBAF Hearing

The proposed NBAF lab at in Manhattan, Kan., would guard the nation's food supply against diseases like bird flu and Mad Cow disease.

A committee of the National Research Council visited Kansas State University Friday to get a feel for safety concerns for a giant biosafety lab planned for the Manhattan, Kan., campus.

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Harvest Public Media
3:38 pm
Wed January 25, 2012

Antitrust Official Gets Stampeded By Big Beef

At sale barns, like this one in Kingsville, Mo., cattlemen still bid openly for breeding stock. Meatpackers once bought on the open market, too.
Frank Morris for NPR

Originally published on Thu January 26, 2012 9:34 am

Dudley Butler is quitting his job tomorrow. Never heard of him? He's President Obama's appointee to run the division of the U.S. Department of Agriculture that governs antitrust issues in the meat industry. He was part of a cadre of high-level bureaucrats charged to expose and fight agribusiness monopolies. In fact, he was the last of that group.

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Tracking NBAF
8:33 am
Wed January 25, 2012

Questions Loom For Future Of High-Security Lab At K-State

The site designated to become the home of the National Bio and Agro-Defense Facility, or NBAF, is on the campus of Kansas State University in Manhattan, Kan.
Eric Durban Harvest Public Media

It’s been three years since the Department of Homeland Security chose Kansas as the site of its National Bio and Agro-Defense Facility, or NBAF, but there’s a growing sense that the project has a precarious future.

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Harvest Public Media
9:06 am
Wed January 18, 2012

Liberal Arts Degrees Grow Jobs At ConAgra

ConAgra is behind giant brands like Chef Boyardee, Healthy Choice and Orville Redenbacher.
Courtesy ConAgra

You might think employees in ConAgra’s Information Technology department are all big-time techies or that they boast computer science degrees from prestigious universities. While some certainly do, ConAgra is one of many companies making hiring decisions that are a bit outside the box.

A few years ago, the company re-vamped its IT intership program looking for more recent graduates with liberal arts degrees.  IT departments are usually heavy on computer scientists and not on those who didn’t climb the traditional techie ladder.

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Harvest Public Media
12:59 pm
Tue January 17, 2012

Surprise! Corn Stocks Are Up

Grain bins sit on the edge of a harvested corn field in western Kansas.
Eric Durban Harvest Public Media

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s first crops supply report of the new year surprised some analysts Thursday, because it didn’t lower the estimate for corn in storage. Predictably, that led to a drop in corn prices by about 50 cents a bushel.

That price drop doesn’t just affect corn farmers. It has ramifications for the entire food system, from corn farmers to cattle ranchers to grocery store shoppers.

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Harvest Public Media
10:48 am
Fri January 13, 2012

USDA Defends Cost-Cutting Plan

U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack details the USDA's Blueprint for Stronger Service plan at the American Farm Bureau conference in Honolulu, Hawaii, Jan. 9.
USDAgov Flickr

Some farmers groups and consumer advocates are concerned that the U.S. Department of Agriculture's plan to close 259 offices nationwide could hurt farmers and food safety.

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Harvest Public Media
3:15 pm
Thu January 12, 2012

North Kansas City Demolishes Mill; Area Ready For Development

Work crews start to demolish the old ADM mill building on Armour Road in North Kansas City, January 11, 2012.
Jeremy Bernfeld Harvest Public Media

North Kansas City took the first step toward creating a new sprawling business development Thursday, when a demolition crew began destroying a century-old Archer Daniels Midland mill.

The hulking gray mill sits on 58 acres of prime land at the intersection of 210 highway and I-35. The city hopes a developer will re-tool the land and create a large mixed-use development that could include medical offices, retail stores and possibly even some residential units.

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Harvest Public Media
8:40 am
Tue January 10, 2012

USDA Announces Closure Of 259 Facilities

Soil scientist Eton Codling examines a South Dakota corn field.
Scott Bauer USDA

The U.S. Department of Agriculture announced Monday that it will close 259 of its facilities as part of an effort to save about $150 million.

The closings will encompass offices, labs and other operations. The plan will affect the USDA's Washington D.C. headquarters, facilities in 46 states and its international operations. The USDA’s budget is currently about $145 billion.

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Harvest Public Media
2:48 pm
Fri January 6, 2012

FDA Puts New Limit On Antibiotics In Livestock

Cows on Sally Angell's farm in Missouri eat feed without antibiotics.
Jessica Naudziunas Harvest Public Media

The Food and Drug Administration is clamping down on the off-label use of certain antibiotics in food-producing animals. 

In an order published today, the FDA said meat producers can no longer use the class known as cephalosporins in ways not approved by the agency. While curbing use won’t change much in the meat industry, the order signals a bigger concern about antibiotics regulation, some farmers say.

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Harvest Public Media
9:21 am
Thu January 5, 2012

After MF Global Crisis, Farmers May Hedge On Hedging

Traders in the wheat futures trading pit at the Kansas City Board of Trade signal each other in September 2010. The KCBOT and Chicago Mercantile Exchange host two of the country's largest commodities markets.
Tammy Ljungblad Kansas City Star

Hedging by way of the commodities market often comes in mighty handy for many of the nation’s farmers.

But in the aftermath of derivatives trader MF Global’s recent bankruptcy —in which $1.2 billion in customer funds, much of it from Midwest farmers, went missing — some observers are questioning whether farmers and other investors might reconsider their options.

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Harvest Public Media
9:10 am
Tue January 3, 2012

Republicans On The Farm

Harvest Public Media
10:01 am
Thu December 15, 2011

Local Poultry Producers In A Bind

Ron Bartlet feeds the ducks he keeps on his small Iowa farm.
Kathleen Masterson Harvest Public Media

Just as the local foods movement is growing legs in the Midwest, a key piece of infrastructure is struggling. 

Many small poultry processing plants have closed, in large part because of  challenges finding laborers and making a profit. Without the plants, small farmers say they won't be able to provide meat to local grocery stores and farmers markets.

In Iowa, poultry growers this year got an unexpected, and unwelcome, surprise right during poultry harvest time -- one of Iowa's three state-inspected poultry plants shut down.  

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Farm Bill
10:14 am
Wed November 9, 2011

New Farm Subsidy on a Fast Track?

Grain Elevator Disaster
4:21 am
Tue November 1, 2011

Grain Dust: Just Like Dynamite

Outside the explosion site, a sunflower motif was to have been November wedding theme of victim Chad Roberts.( Click to enlarge.)
Photos by Dan Verbeck/KCUR.

Atchison, KS. – The bodies of six Kansas men have been removed from wreckage of an Atchison grain elevator that exploded Saturday night. No other victims were sought. KCUR's Dan Verbeck reported from near the site on perils of working around volatile grain dust.

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Agroterrorism
10:54 am
Fri September 9, 2011

Agroterrorism A Subject Of Study And Concern In Post-9/11 World

Dr. Peter Chalk.
Rand Corporation

Before 9/11,"agroterrorism" was not a familiar term to many.

But in the post-9/11 era, the possibility of a deliberate attack on our food supply is something government, law enforcement and private industry have been studying carefully.

Dr. Peter Chalk of the Rand Corporation, a political scientist and expert on international terrorism, has written extensively on the issue of agroterrorism.

He says there's never been an intentional attack on our plant or livestock production, but we ignore the possibilities at our own risk.

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Agriculture
11:18 am
Tue September 6, 2011

Is U.S. farm policy feeding the obesity epidemic?

KANSAS CITY, Mo. –

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Tracking NBAF
12:00 pm
Wed August 17, 2011

All Eyes On NBAF Construction, Just No Cameras

The dirt’s far from settled at the construction site of the new home for the National Bio and Agro-Defense Facility— or NBAF — in Manhattan, Kan.

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KCUR News
1:42 am
Thu June 30, 2011

Council Committee Likes Urban Chickens

Photo from chickens.com. Click to enlarge.

KANSAS CITY, Mo. – The latest trend in the urban agriculture movement is chickens in the city. And a city council committee looked with favor Wednesday on loosening the rules on feathered neighbors.

You can now keep up to 15 chickens in Kansas City, Missouri - as long as they are kept 100 feet from the nearest building used by people.

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Central Standard
12:00 pm
Wed May 25, 2011

Residential Composting

Brooke Salvaggio and Dan Heryer of BADSEED Market

Dan Heryer and Brooke Salvaggio from BADSEED Farms visit the studio to talk about ways to compost at home and their new residential composting program starting next month. 

Brooke says that 75% of our household waste is compostable.  Residential composting can be done using any natural materials. 

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KCUR News
3:24 pm
Mon May 9, 2011

Residents In Southern Missouri Win Big In Lawsuit Against Hog Barns

The owners of the large Kenoma hog barn in Barton County, Missouri was judged to be emitting unreasonably stinky odors by a jury over the weekend. Plaintiffs were awarded almost 2 million dollars. Photo by Laura Ziegler.

Kansas City, Missouri – A jury in Southern Missouri has awarded almost 2 million dollars to 16 defendants in Southern Missouri in a suit against industrial agriculture. The residents said 2 Iowa-based hog producers were liable for unpleasant odors that made it impossible for plaintiffs to work or enjoy their land. The barns collectively house over 7 thousand hogs.

The lawsuit divided a community of one time friends who live side by side and went to high school together.

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KCUR News
9:46 am
Fri April 15, 2011

Missouri Legislature Sends Governor Bill Opponents Say Is Friendly To Industrial Ag

Kansas City, Missouri – Should a property owner be able to sue a farmer OVER AND OVER for making the neighborhood smell farmy?

What about for making it unpleasant to work outside?

These are some of the questions at issue as Governor Jay Nixon considers weather to sign a bill legislators sent to his desk last night.
The bill is known informally as The CAFO bill because it deals with what are called Confined Animal Feeding Operations - CAFO's.

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KCUR News
3:04 pm
Mon February 28, 2011

Who's Wearing Those Overalls?

Kansas City, MO – The vast majority of women-run farms are smaller, and focus on niche markets, like grass-fed livestock. Together, Helen Gunderson and Betsy Dahl are breaking into a typical male territory and taking it in their own direction.

Listen to the story at Harvest Public Media

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KCUR News
1:24 pm
Mon February 28, 2011

Redefining the Farm Woman

Kansas City, MO –

Across the Midwest, the landscape of farming is subtly changing hands. As the population ages, one group of farmland owners is growing: widows. In Iowa, women over 65 now own more than a one-quarter of the farmland.

While women have long been a part of farm life, women landowners frequently face unique social and cultural challenges. Advocates say that they haven't always been respected as farm decision makers and leaders. Slowly this is changing.

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KCUR News
11:04 am
Tue February 22, 2011

Investing in Ag 2.0

Jason Tatge in his office at Farms Technology's headquarters in Overland Park, Kan.
(Photo by Tim Lloyd / Harvest Public Media)

Kansas City, MO –

You've probably heard of Web 2.0, but what about Ag 2.0? It's shorthand for the infusion of technology into every facet of the agriculture industry.

Now a fresh crop of entrepreneurs is busy developing technologies that could change the face of farming.

Harvest Public Media's Tim Lloyd profiles one local company that's cultivated a new way for farmers to sell what they grow.

Got your interest piqued?

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KCUR News
9:32 am
Tue February 8, 2011

Grape expectations: Introducing Marquette wine in Iowa

Des Moines, IA –

(Photo by slolee / Flickr Creative Commons License)

Listen to the story

Marquette wine may be the most highly anticipated new product to ever hit Iowa's commercial wine industry.

And it's time has arrived.

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KCUR News
3:23 pm
Fri February 4, 2011

Winter Markets are Heating Up

Bad Seed winter farmers market in Kansas City, Mo.
(Photo by Eric Durban)

Kansas City, MO –

Bad Seed, which is open every Friday from May through February, is one of a handful of Kansas City winter markets and part of a nationwide trend. The number of winter farmers markets has increased 17 percent in the last two years, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. As more small farmers find ways to grow produce in the winter, they're finding a home at winter markets.

Read and listen to the story at Harvest Public Media.

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