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.
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.
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.
Even though the use of antibiotics in livestock feed has been linked to an increase in drug-resistant bacteria, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration recently backed away from a 30-year-old proposal that would ban the use of antibiotics tetracycline and penicillin in livestock feed.
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.
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.
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.
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.
The Food and Drug Administration is clamping down on the off-label use of certain antibiotics in food-producing animals.
In an orderpublished 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.
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.
Whoever wins, the 2012 presidential election is sure to change the country, and the farm.
The eventual Republican nominee will have to address numerous farm-related issues. In this era of shrinking budgets, what will happen to crop insurance, agricultural subsidies and the farm bill? With a renewed national focus on the environment and foreign oil dependence, what role will ethanol play in the future? With high land prices, how will family farmers continue to pass their farms to the next generation? How will changes in immigration policy affect farmers?
The most popular menu choice at Amigos restaurant in Lincoln, Neb., is the soft taco. The combo meal with a soft taco, a 20-ounce Pepsi and mexi-fries, which are like tater tots, adds up to 1,100 calories.
While you can find that calorie count on the Amigos web site, it’s not on the menu — yet.
After finding success and controversy in other states, horizontal fracking is bringing a new angle to the oil and gas business in Kansas, along with environmental concerns.
“It’s just now starting here in Kansas. We probably have a handful of horizontal drilling operations currently going on, but we anticipate that to grow,” said Doug Louis, director of the conservation division with the Kansas Corporation Commission, which regulates the state’s oil and gas industry.
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.
From Harvest Public Media: With more families depending on the National School Lunch Program to feed their children, school districts are gearing up to implement new nutrition guidelines being handed down by the federal government by early next year.
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.
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.
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.
Columbia, Missouri – President Obama signed into law yesterday a measure that will set new, expansive nutrition guidelines in the country's public schools. As Harvest Public Media's Jessica Naudziunas reports, the new law will get produce from local farms.
The Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act will shape new public school food offerings to help encourage healthier choices in vending machines and school lunches.
Kansas City, MO – The U.S. Senate recently approved funding for a second round of settlements for black farmers who missed their first opportunity to receive compensation for years of discrimination. Photojournalist John Ficara spent four years documenting the lives of black farmers while working on his book Black Farmers in America. He spoke with Harvest Public Media's Jessica Naudziunas about his experience.