Kansas City , Mo. – Reports from the federal government last week underscore optimism about the farm economy. But for farm activists, there are lingering concerns.
The US Department of Agriculture and Federal Reserve reports suggest the farm economy is in relatively good shape. Among the reasons are stabilizing land and commodity values, greater demand for corn-based fuel because of higher prices for crude oil, and the potentially record crop harvests.
Kansas City, MO – Food, Inc., a documentary film about the modern agricultural industry, is a hit with big-city movie reviewers, small-scale organic farmers and vegetarians. Full of disturbing scenes depicting chickens, hogs and cattle being crowded into confined areas, the movie argues that large-scale agriculture produces inexpensive meat and vegetables at a high cost to the environment - as well as Americans' health.
The National Bio and Agro-Defense Facility, or NBAF, as it's known, is supposed to bring millions of dollars in economic development, hundreds of jobs and international prestige to Manhattan, Kan.
A consortium of Kansas State University, the state of Kansas and a public-private "bioscience authority" wrote the proposal for the facility's location. The Department of Homeland Security chose the Kansas proposal over four finalists from other states.
Manhattan, KS – The National Bio and Agro-Defense Facility, or NBAF, as it's known, is supposed to bring millions of dollars in economic development, hundreds of jobs and international prestige to Manhattan. A consortium of Kansas State University, the state of Kansas and a public-private "bioscience authority" wrote the proposal.
Kansas City, MO – While lots of industries are in trouble these days, it's hard to think of one that's been turned upside down quite the way ethanol has. Three years ago the profits were huge, and companies excitedly planned hundreds of new plants. The "dot corn bubble" popped earlier this year, before the recession hit. Now the industry faces a major transition, in a recession.
Kansas City, MO – Long term forecast, look for warming with alternating droughts, floods and an ever increasing chance of ice storms and tornadoes for the next 100 years. The Director of the US Agriculture Department's National Soil Tilth Lab Jerry Hatfield says large parts of Kansas will likely have to stop growing wheat. Heavy storms will pose serious challenges for Missouri farmers. Hatfield doesn't think there will be less rain in total, but he expects it will be a whole lot less predictable.
Kansas City, Kansas – In the winter, as the land takes a rest, farmers often attend seminars and workshops so they can prepare for the next growing season. In the small cafeteria of the Korean Presbyterian Church in the Argentine neighborhood of Kansas City Kansas, a group of immigrant and refugee farmers recently gathered to share ideas. The event was organized by the Kansas City Center for Urban Agriculture. KCUR's Suzanne Hogan was there.
The Department of Homeland Security announced recently that a site near K-State in Manhattan, Kan., was on the short list to be the home of a new multi-million dollar federal center designed to protect the nation's food supply and public health.
Sen. Pat Roberts, the former Chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee and member of the Agriculture Committee, says biosecurity is a national concern and that Kansas is a natural place to put it front and center.
The proposed National Bio and Agro-Defense Facility, or NBAF, as it's known in Washington, will replace the aging lab on Plum Island, near New York. That lab has been the premier biosecurity facility to date.