Agriculture

Agriculture
9:18 am
Fri March 7, 2014

Missouri Among States Suing California Over Henhouse Restrictions

Hens living high on the hog on David Kesten's family farm
Credit Frank Morris / KCUR-FM

By most measures David Kesten's hens are living the good life.

"They can act like chickens, they can run around," says Kesten, who's raising hens in an old wooden shed in the open countryside near Concordia, Mo. "They can go out and catch bugs, they can dig in the ground."

But most U.S. hens live crammed into very close quarters, according to Joe Maxwell, with the Humane Society of the U.S. And he says that's just wrong.

"There are some things we should not do to animals," says Maxwell.

Proposition 2, and the Commerce Clause

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Central Standard
1:00 pm
Wed March 5, 2014

Egg Wars: California Versus Missouri

Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster along with five other attorneys general have filed a lawsuit against the State of California for its regulations regarding cage sizes for chickens.

The original legislature, Proposition 2, was passed in 2008, which required cages to be nearly twice as large as most standard chicken cages. The follow up law requires all eggs sold in California to comply to these same conditions.

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Harvest Public Media
9:57 am
Wed March 5, 2014

Ag Data Could Generate Prescriptions For Fields

A couple of seeds, some fertilizer, a little sunshine – just add water and you’re ready to harvest your crops, right?

Farming, as you might imagine, is a lot more complicated than that. And that’s why information – data – is the next frontier for farming, which you may have already seen.

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Harvest Public Media
8:08 am
Tue March 4, 2014

U.S. Wastes Nearly A Third Of Food Produced

Nearly a third of the food available to be eaten in the U.S. is thrown out instead. And all of that wasted food comes with a steep price tag.

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Harvest Public Media
8:20 am
Mon March 3, 2014

Farmers Bid Farewell To Big Expense Tax Write-Offs

It could be yet another sign that the good times are over.

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Harvest Public Media
8:18 am
Mon March 3, 2014

Climate Change Could Be Good News For Some Invasive Plants

Ellen Nelson has battled invasive plants that out-compete native grasses on her grass-fed beef ranch near Bellvue, Colo. Some climate studies suggest that fight will worsen in the coming decades.
Credit Luke Runyon / Harvest Public Media

  Most climate models paint 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.  

A growing problem

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Central Standard
4:01 pm
Tue February 25, 2014

The Business Of Meat In America

This country's meat industry no longer includes the picturesque red barn and white picket fences. Instead, the meat we buy at the supermarket is likely processed by one of the four large meat packing companies that controls the majority of the industry.

On today's Central Standard, journalist and author Christopher Leonard discusses his book "The Meat Racket: The Secret Takeover of America's Food Business." Also, Mark Dopp of the American Meat Institute weighs in on what he perceives as the benefits of having a more centralized system.

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Harvest Public Media
8:06 am
Tue February 25, 2014

Farmers Play The Markets, Learn To Avoid Risk

: Robbie Maass shows his mother, Leah, the Commodity Challenge game that is helping him understand market tools. Leah Maass says her farm could benefit from better use of the tools and she’s hoping Robbie will be able to learn how to put them to work for the family
Credit Amy Mayer / Harvest Public Media

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.

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Harvest Public Media
8:02 am
Mon February 24, 2014

Young Farmers Wait For Their Opportunity

Eric Brockmann and his family moved back to his hometown of West Point, Neb., to pursue his passion for farming.
Credit Grant Gerlock / Harvest Public Media

The average age of American farmers has been climbing for decades, and many say rural towns are at-risk without new blood. There are enough people who want to farm, but there’s trouble connecting beginning farmers and the communities that need them.

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Harvest Public Media
7:10 am
Fri February 21, 2014

Preliminary Data From Ag Census Shows Aging Farmers, Declining Farms

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.

Greg Thessen, with the USDA’s agricultural statistics service, says sales figures come shining through in the preliminary data.

"The biggest thing it showed was the large increase in the market value of products that farmers sold in 2012," he said.

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Agriculture
5:15 pm
Tue February 18, 2014

Missouri Reclaims Second Highest Beef Cow Count in US

Veronique LaCapra/St. Louis Public Radio

Originally published on Tue February 18, 2014 1:02 pm

Missouri has retaken its position as the number two beef cow producer in the nation. The USDA’s annual inventory shows the state surpassed Nebraska with a 63,000-increase in cows from 2012 to 2013.

Dry weather across the country had a lot to do with Missouri reclaiming the spot which it held from 1983 to 2008, said University of Missouri agriculture economist Scott Brown.

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Harvest Public Media
8:15 am
Mon February 17, 2014

Farmland Real Estate 'Bubble' May Be Ready To Pop

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.

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.

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Agriculture
9:28 am
Wed February 12, 2014

Making The Leap: How Niche Crops Go Mainstream

Andrew Pittz and his family operate a commercial aronia berry farm in Iowa, which supplies berries and value-added products to retailers nationwide.
Credit Amy Mayer / Harvest Public Media

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.

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Central Standard
4:00 pm
Tue February 11, 2014

The Missouri Dairy Industry Crisis

The dairy farm has been a staple of the idea of the American farm, but approximately 2,500 smaller dairy farms in Missouri have closed shop, unable to compete with larger operations. 

Now, according to Missouri State Representative Casey Guernsey, 60 percent of Missouri's milk is imported because of the decreasing number of local dairy farms.

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Harvest Public Media
7:56 am
Mon February 10, 2014

Spike In Propane Price Worries Midwest Farmers

The barn at Borgic Farms in Nokomis, Ill., where piglets are weaned must be kept warm year-round. In the winter, that means using a bank of propane-fueled heaters
Credit Peter Gray / Harvest Public Media

Residents across the Midwest are struggling with tight propane supplies, especially in this bitterly cold, snowy winter. But it’s not just homes in rural counties that are lacking adequate heating fuel. Farms that put bacon and eggs on your breakfast plate are also feeling the supply pinch. 

Hog farmer Phil Borgic of Nokomis, Ill., burns liquid propane – LP - from September through May to support his piglets. His farrowing barn goes through about two semi truckloads of LP each year. 

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Agriculture
4:37 pm
Fri February 7, 2014

Years In The Making, New Farm Bill Becomes Law

President Obama signs the Agriculture Act of 2014 as members of Congress and the Cabinet look on.
Credit Courtesy Stephen Carmody / Michigan Radio

  President Barak Obama signed the new farm bill into law Friday at Michigan State University in East Lansing, ending years of negotiations and wrangling.

With farm equipment, hay bales and crates of apples setting the stage, the president told the crowd that this farm bill – officially called the Agriculture Act of 2014 – will save taxpayer dollars while also offering support to farmers and ranchers. And he says that helps the whole country.

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Harvest Public Media
8:14 am
Thu February 6, 2014

USDA Will Set Up Hubs To Help Farmers Adapt To Climate Change

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.

In the past few years, farmers across the Midwest have grappled with epic drought, mega-blizzards and crippling heat.

“The combination of all those factors convinces me that the climate is changing and it will have its impact,” said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack.

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Harvest Public Media
7:28 am
Wed February 5, 2014

Why Cutting The Ethanol Mandate May Not Ruin The Rural Economy

Just outside of Central City, Neb., is the Green Plains Energy ethanol plant, a facility that can produce 100 million gallons of ethanol each year.
Grant Gerlock Harvest Public Media

The EPA wants to roll back the amount of ethanol mixed into the fuel supply for 2014, worrying farmers across the Corn Belt. Ethanol supporters warn that if the EPA follows through, the rural economy will take the fall. But many economists predict a soft landing.

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Central Standard
4:00 pm
Tue February 4, 2014

The Farm Bill's Final Steps

On Feb. 4, Congress passed the farm bill, a piece of legislature that will cut food stamps by $800 million a year, consolidate dozens of agriculture subsidy programs and provide crop insurance to farmers. Harvest Public Media's Jeremy Bernfeld share details on the changes to one of the largest spending measures congress passes.

Guest: 

  • Jeremy Bernfeld, multimedia editor for Harvest Public Media at KCUR
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Harvest Public Media
3:31 pm
Tue February 4, 2014

Senate Passes Farm Bill, Sends It To President

After more than two years of debate on Capitol Hill, a new farm bill is poised to become law after both the U.S. House and Senate approved it.
Credit greetarchurch / Flickr--CC

The U.S. Senate passed the farm bill Tuesday by a vote of 68-32, sending it to the president’s desk and ending years of political wrangling.

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Harvest Public Media
8:05 am
Mon February 3, 2014

2014 Farm Bill Would Change U.S. Ag Policy

More than two years in the making, the farm bill process has been a long slog for lawmakers on Washington D.C.’s Capitol Hill and farmers alike.
Credit greetarchurch / Flickr--CC

It’s getting so close now … Last week the U.S. House passed the Agriculture Act of 2014, the new farm bill. The Senate is expected to take it up Monday. President Obama’s signature could be on it in the coming days and then … boom!

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Harvest Public Media
7:57 am
Mon February 3, 2014

Senate To Consider Farm Bill

The U.S. Senate is set to take up the long overdue farm bill Monday.

The bill passed the U.S. House last week and if it makes it through the Senate, many Midwest farmers will be taking a close look at how they spread the risk of growing commodities. Sstarting immediately, direct payments would not be available to prop up the bottom line.

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Harvest Public Media
8:23 am
Wed January 29, 2014

New Farm Bill May Be In Sight

Should the Agricultural Act of 2014 become law, direct payments would end and the crop insurance program would become the bedrock of the U.S. farm safety net.
Credit wobble-san / Flickr--Creative Commons

House and Senate negotiators emerged Monday with a new compromise farm bill, which means the end of the two-year farm bill writing saga may finally be in sight.

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Harvest Public Media
7:59 am
Mon January 27, 2014

Colorado Creates Food Safety System To Regulate Marijuana Industry

A marijuana plant glows purple under grow lights at 3D Cannabis Center in Denver, Colo.
Luke Runyon Harvest Public Media

Colorado made history when it opened up licensed marijuana retail shops this year. 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.

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Harvest Public Media
7:52 am
Mon January 27, 2014

More Than One In Seven Americans Receive Food Stamp Benefits

Fifteen percent of Americans received federal food stamp benefits in the 2013 fiscal year, according to a new U.S. Department of Agriculture report. That includes about 936,000 people in Missouri and 316,000 in Kansas. The program is the most controversial issue for negotiators working on a new farm bill.

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Harvest Public Media
8:45 am
Tue January 21, 2014

Virus Continues To Rip Through Hog Farms

Experts estimate Porcine Epidemic Diarrhea virus has already killed about 1 million baby pigs and the disease shows no sign of abating.
Credit Amy Mayer / Harvest Public Media

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.

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

Missouri Ag Director Says He Wants To Increase Exports

The director of Missouri’s agriculture department says he wants to increase agricultural exports from the state.

Exports are already a big deal for Missouri farmers. In 2012, the state sent almost $4 billion worth of farm products overseas, a figure that more than doubled over the previous ten years.

Richard Fordyce, director of the Missouri Department of Agriculture, says capitalizing on foreign markets is vital for producers here.

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Harvest Public Media
7:49 am
Mon January 20, 2014

Abundance Of Wheat Drives Down Prices For Midwest Farmers

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.

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.

“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.

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NBAF
9:40 am
Fri January 17, 2014

Big Boost For NBAF In New Budget Bill

Senators Jerry Moran and Pat Roberts sit with Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback at the NBAF groundbreaking in Manhattan, Kan., in May, 2013.
Credit Laura Ziegler / KCUR

Finally — a chunk of federal funding for the National Bio and Agro-Defense Facility (NBAF), has made it through Congress.  The $1.1 trillion appropriations bill that sailed through Congress this week makes it possible for construction to begin on the animal disease lab in Manhattan, Kansas.

It would be the first federal funding for the controversial project since 2011.

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Agriculture
11:41 am
Thu January 16, 2014

How The Government Shaped What We Eat

Charles Wille, 1918. Charles Wille was sent to Leavenworth Federal Penitentiary for breaking the Oleomargarine laws.
National Archives, Records of the Bureau of Prisons

Try as we might, Americans can’t seem to get Uncle Sam out of our kitchens. Government policies have a hand in just about everything we buy, cook and eat. An exhibit at the National Archives in Kansas City puts all of this into focus. It’s called What’s Cooking Uncle Sam? The traveling exhibit was first shown in Washington DC and it chronicles the history of the government policies that effect the food we eat.

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