rural

The corporate headquarters of Cabela's has for decades been located in Sidney, Nebraska.
Grant Gerlock / Harvest Public Media

Cabela’s is known for big stores filled with museum-grade taxidermy and shelves piled with hunting and fishing gear. The Cabela’s store in Sidney, Nebraska, sits along Interstate 80 with a giant bull-elk sculpture facing the freeway. Next door is the sprawling company headquarters, complete with a forest-green Cabela’s water tower.

Lisa Rodriguez / KCUR 89.3

Over concerns about the exclusivity of the local tech scene, one Kansas City man wants to create a startup community near the 18th and Vine District for minority entrepreneurs. We also hear from a former Kansas City Star writer about her life in the Flint Hills and the transition to new work.

scott1346 / Flickr -- CC

Is the family farm changing? As the farming industry's wealth is consolidated into the hands of just a few multinational companies, three family farmers discuss the challenges they face and how they're adapting.

Guests:

Rober Moodie, 89, joined the family business when he returned to West Point, Neb., to practive law in 1952.
Grant Gerlock / Harvest Public Media

Fewer young attorneys are choosing to set up shop in small towns and take over for retiring professionals.

DonkeyHotey / Flickr -- CC

After a surprising and emotional election night, how are Kansas Citians feeling today? A look at how the election results fit into their personal stories.

Guests:

After 122 literary agents rejected her work, Kansas novelist Bryn Greenwood finally found a publisher in August for All the Ugly and Wonderful Things. She reflects on her own experiences that lead to the complicated fictional tale of a young girl who grows up on a meth compound, and falls in love with an ex-con nearly 20 years her senior.

The Delta Montrose Electric Association outside Montrose, Colorado, developed micro-hydro power plants in partnership with local water users.
Cally Carswell / for Inside Energy

In the 1930s, rural electric cooperatives brought electricity to the country’s most far-flung communities, transforming rural economies. In Western Colorado, one of these co-ops is again trying to spur economic development, partly by generating more of their electricity locally from renewable resources, like water in irrigation ditches and the sun.

Carrico Implement in Hays, Kansas, plans to focus on parts and repairs rather than selling new equipment.
Bryan Thompson / for Harvest Public Media

This year was a very good year for growing wheat, but that means it could be a very bad year for wheat farmers.

There’s a glut on the global wheat market and prices for winter wheat – which is grown all up and down the Great Plains, from Texas to North Dakota– wheat prices this year hit their lowest levels since 2003. Coupled with lower prices for corn, sorghum, and soybeans, many are concerned about the rural economy in the Wheat Belt.

Water is life — you drink it, cook with it and even shower in it — but unregulated runoff from farms and business can pose a threat to keeping it clean. A new series from Harvest Public Media, based at KCUR, looks at the conditions of water in Kansas City and throughout the Midwest.

Guests:

Courtesy Crystal Bradshaw

After the Civil War, freed slaves fled the South, but not everyone went North. Many thousands came to start farms and towns in rural, western Kansas — a movement that has lasting impact on agriculture and culture to this day.

Guests:

Before public officials in Platte County, Missouri, make a plan for spending tax dollars, they know it'll have to pass the muster of Ivan Foley, editor and publisher of The Landmark. That's why he was awarded the 2016 Tom and Pat Gish Award for courage, tenacity and integrity in rural journalism.

Contractor Mike Hudson and his team pull apart an old barn in Malta Bend, Missouri. The pieces will be sold as reclaimed wood.
Kristofor Husted / Harvest Public Media

Larry Gerdes is having his barn taken down and disassembled in Malta Bend, Mo. It’s about the size of a three-car garage but stands much taller in a clearing surrounded by six-foot stalks of corn.

The barn’s exterior is graying, part of its roof is missing and there’s a gaping hole looking out from the hayloft. It’s about 100 years old and it’s not really useful.

“It’s deteriorated and it would cost a lot of money to repair it,” Gerdes says. “And it doesn’t fit into the modern farming. Unless you got two cows to let them loaf inside, nothing fits and it’s just obsolete.”

Megan Hart / Heartland Health Monitor

Rural hospitals nationwide are facing a host of financial challenges, but states can still take action to keep them open, the head of a rural health group told the Governor’s Rural Health Working Group on Wednesday in Topeka.

Alan Morgan, CEO of the National Rural Health Association, said people in urban areas have a few explanations for why rural hospitals are struggling: irreversible population decline in rural areas, low-quality care and bad management practices.

Paul Andrews / paulandrewsphotography.com

With his silvery hair, his sun-and-wind-weathered skin, formidable stature and a booming, resonant voice, Wes Jackson steps out of his pickup truck in a blazer, radiating confidence. But 40 years ago, when he'd just given up a tenured professorship in California to set up shop in rural Kansas with the goal of transforming not just agriculture but the way humans live, he was appropriately daunted by the scale of his own ambition.

"I did it with a lot of doubt," he says with a laugh. "Especially in the middle of the night."

Paul Andrews / paulandrewsphotography.com

Meet a prominent thinker who's a Kansas farm boy and "prairiebilly" turned geneticist, and hear the story of how and why he became a leader in the sustainable agriculture movement back in the 1970s. Jackson is retiring as president of the organization he started: The Land Institute in Salina, Kansas. 

Guest:

An update on last night's mass shooting in and around Hesston, Kansas.

Guest:

Matt Hodapp / KCUR

Missouri Sen. Ryan Silvey (R-Kansas City) provides an insider perspective on the Missouri General Assembly as we discuss the urban versus rural divide and transportation.

This is an excerpt from Statehouse Blend. You can listen to the full episode here, or by subscribing on iTunes.

Guests:

  • Ryan Silvey, Representative from Kansas City, Missouri General Assembly 
  • Matt StaubBlogger
  • Elle Moxley, General Assignment Reporter, KCUR

The success of 60's era "The Andy Griffith Show" largely hinged upon the on-screen relationship between Andy Griffith and Don Knotts, who played Sheriff Andy Taylor and his trusty deputy, Barney Fife. Steve Kraske learns about the real-life friendship between the stars of his favorite show.

Guest:

  • Daniel De Visè is the author of Andy & Don: The Making of a Friendship and a Classic American TV Show.

Andrea Tudhope / KCUR 89.3

Imagine it's 8 p.m. on a Saturday in the mid-1970s.

You're starting the engine of a 1966 Chevrolet Caprice, big block engine, 4-speed manual transmission with a vinyl interior. 

All is dark and quiet in town, but the main square is lit with activity. For perspective, it looks and sounds kind of like American Graffiti — engines revving, music pouring out of open windows, there's hollering and laughter. Cars are lined up, bumper to bumper. For the rest of the night, you're cruising.

Nineteen-year-old Claudia Rivera shares a single-story tract home in Liberal, Kansas, with her boyfriend, 20-year-old Jesùs Varela.

Last month, Varela’s mother moved in so she could watch Rivera’s baby boy, Fabian, while Rivera works at the Dollar General store and Valera pulls down a shift at the local meatpacking plant.

This is the story of a man who built the Garden of Eden in Lucas, Kansas; the man who purchased and cared for the sculpture environment nearly a century later; and the town whose survival increasingly depends on grassroots art.

Gina Kaufmann / KCUR

Sculptor John Hachmeister remembers the first time he saw the Garden of Eden, a mysterious outdoor sculpture environment built in Lucas, Kansas, right after the Civil War.

Kristofer Husted / Harvest Public Media

As the agriculture industry changes, what it means to grow up on a farm is changing, too. Our panel talks chores, the cycle of life, the dangers of farming and the lessons in business and character that farm kids learn. Plus, leaving the farm for the "concrete jungle," and city kids pursuing agriculture as adults.

Guests:

  • Mary Hendrickson, rural sociologist, University of Missouri
  • Adam Kirby, Future Farmers of America
  • Alex Haun, young farmer, Trenton, Missouri

Andrea Tudhope / KCUR

It's Saturday morning and Sherry's Place, the only bar in Keytesville, Missouri, is full of life. Kids are playing pool as adults enjoy beers at the bar.

But just outside, the street is desolate. The only sounds are caused by an eerie breeze — the waving of an American flag and the creaking of sheet metal patched over a missing window.

Andrea Tudhope / KCUR

Research into income mobility across US counties inspires Central Standard to take a roadtrip, talk to an economist and hear from locals with their own research and experience to share. Is the "land of opportunity" created by individuals or their environments?

Guests:

Heartland, Missouri

Jul 14, 2015
Abigail Keel / KBIA

Heartland, Missouri is an intentional Christian community several miles north of Columbia. A rehabilitation center, a Christian school, a dairy farm -- Heartland is many things. Some people say it changed their lives; others say it was their own living hell.

500 People In The Middle Of A Missouri Cornfield? 'Welcome To Heartland'

Jul 14, 2015

Editor's Note: The following is an excerpt from "Heartland, Missouri," a reporting project from KBIA, a public radio station in Columbia, Missouri. 

Frank Morris / KCUR

This story was rebroadcast as part of our best-of 2015 series. It was originally reported in May 2015.

Just a few years ago, downtown Hamilton, Missouri, looked a lot like many other forgotten, rural towns. Abandoned, forlorn buildings marred the main drag.

But in recent years, an explosively fast-growing startup business in rural northwestern Missouri has shaken up a staid industry, producing a YouTube star and revitalizing a town with a proud retail history.

That's why Dean Hales, who has lived here 77 years, is so delighted now.

George Hodgman is a writer and editor who's lived in New York and worked for places like Vanity Fair and Simon & Schuster.

After a childhood spent dreaming of New York and an adulthood caught up in the whirlwind of an intense career, he came home to Missouri to care for his ailing mother. Still, people from the small towns of his youth still think of him as the guy who went to New York.

So when he wrote a memoir, Bettyville, not about the glitzy social engagements in New York but about his childhood in Missouri, that meant something to people.

Just last week, he returned to Madison, Missouri — which had 554 residents as of the 2010 census — and gave a talk in a church basement. He regaled the town with stories about itself.

A New York writer's journey home sheds light on family, keeping secrets, and the state of small-town Missouri. Plus, how one Missouri town might vote itself out of existence.

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