Kristofor Husted

Harvest Public Media Reporter

Before joining KBIA in July 2012, Kristofor Husted reported for the science desk at NPR in Washington. There, he covered health, food and environmental issues. His work has appeared on NPR’s health and food blogs, as well as with WNYC, WBEZ and KPCC, among other member stations. As a multimedia journalist, he's covered topics ranging from the King salmon collapse in Northern California to the shutdown of a pollution-spewing coal plant in Virginia. His short documentary, “Angela’s Garden,” was nominated for a NATAS Student Achievement Award by the Television Academy.

Husted was born in Napa, Calif., and received his B.S. in cell biology from UC Davis, where he also played NCAA water polo. He earned an M.S. in journalism from Medill at Northwestern University, where he was honored as a Comer scholar for environmental journalism. 

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Pat Blank / Iowa Public Radio

Now that Thanksgiving has passed, many people have begun to deck the halls, gorge on delectable dishes, and send out greeting cards. Well, that last one might become trickier for some rural residents soon. That’s because the United States Postal Service is moving ahead to reduce the hours of thousands of post offices across the country.  Jennifer Davidson has this report from a rural Ozarks community.

Energy House
File Photo / KBIA

New housing figures for Columbia are showing that the number of homes sold so far in 2012 has already surpassed the yearly total from the year 2011. Thanks to the 117 homes sold in October, this year’s tally of sold homes has already bested that 2011 amount by more than 100. The Columbia Board of Realtors says that 1,629 homes have been sold between January and October.

Now that it’s Thanksgiving, the eating season has begun. Coming up we’ll take a look at how the U.S. helps feed the world, but first, let’s take a look in our own back yard. The local food banks, pantries, shelters and soup kitchens have picked up in business. KBIA’s Ben Mahnken reports that volunteerism and donations are up this year.

Regional news coverage from the KBIA newsroom, including:

  • Missouri forms bipartisan group to urge Congress to work together to solve fiscal issues
  • MU professor dies in car accident
  • Columbia City Council to hear parking permit pitch

selbstfotografiert / Wikimedia Common

With a looming so-called fiscal cliff and a split of control in Congress, President Barack Obama and federal legislators are under pressure to come to a quick solution. But Missouri’s senators have taken sides over a tax hike in the President’s plan.

When it comes to solving the fiscal cliff problem, the biggest disagreement between Republicans and Democrats in Congress deals with raising the tax rate on the wealthiest Americans. Missouri’s two senators have fallen in line with their parties and sit in opposite corners on the issue.

Kristofor Husted, Scott Pham / KBIA

With the election in the rearview mirror, the national parties have spent the last week poring through the results and voter demographic data. Turns out women, young people and Latino voters matter a lot in a presidential race.

Here in Missouri, the results for the U.S. Senate race displayed some similarities.

Money
401K / Flickr

Missouri’s unemployment rate held steady at 6.9 percent in October, according to new data from the Missouri Department of Economic Development. That’s one full point below the national average of 7.9 percent.

Kristofor Husted / KBIA

U.S. Representative Vicky Hartzler held on to the U.S. 4th District in what turned out to be a fairly decisive victory over Democrat Teresa Hensley.

Republican incumbent Vicky Hartzler defeated her Democratic challenger Teresa Hensley with 63 percent of the votes. Hensley, a Cass County prosecutor, earned 35.5 percent.

Claire McCaskill
Kristofor Husted / KBIA

KBIA’s Kristofor Husted interviews Sen. Claire McCaskill, who is challenging Rep. Todd Akin to keep her seat in the U.S. Senate in the November 6 election.

In the interview (which took place before McCaskill’s mother died), the senator talks about the difference between her and Akin when it comes to women’s issues including equal pay for women and access to emergency contraception. She talks about what she would say to women who have backed Akin after his controversial comment on pregnancy and rape. McCaskill also discusses her plan to make sure small business continues to grow in the state and her stance on keeping federal loans and grants available to students who depend on them.

Kristofor Husted / KBIA

By most accounts, Missouri is a pink state.

Not red. Not blue. Pink.

But, when thousands of small business owners in Missouri were asked which candidate was more supportive of small business, 35 percent chose President Barack Obama, 24 percent picked Gov. Mitt Romney, and 41 percent said they were unsure. (That’s from a recent George Washington University and Thumbtack poll.)

Kristofor Husted / KBIA

Countdown to Election Day is upon us.

And while business development continues to surge as a hot topic this campaign season, the expired farm bill seems to have disappeared off candidates' radars completely. Harvest Public Media’s Amy Mayer has this report on just how much candidates are talking farm policy...in farm country.

By most accounts, Missouri is a pink state.

Not red. Not blue. Pink.

Fighting for food

Oct 24, 2012
Produce aisle of grocery store
File Photo / KBIA

When it comes to the business of food, there’s a rivalry around every corner. You’ve got fights for prime farmland, wars over water use, even buying food at the grocery store has its competition with household bills encroaching on family budgets for the shopping list.

kander
KBIA

KBIA’s Kristofor Husted interviews Missouri state Rep. Jason Kander, who is challenging Republican Shane Schoeller for the secretary of state office in the November 6 election.

In the interview, Kander talks about how he would help build up small business in Missouri by making registration information and services more easily available and accessible. He also discusses his big difference from Schoeller when it comes to combating election fraud, namely campaign finance reform and ethics reform. Kander says his time in the Missouri House and in the Army conducting anti-corruption investigations gives him a strong foundation to fight election fraud. And – with what’s been a hot issue for the current secretary of state, Robin Carnahan – Kander addresses his ideas on the importance of clear ballot language. 

Check back every day as we continue to film interviews with Missouri candidates ahead of the 2012 election.

Amber Luckey / Flickr

Flip on the TV, boot up the computer or switch on the radio and you’re destined to hear about a recall of tainted food – often due to E. coli or salmonella.

Regional news coverage from the KBIA newsroom, including:

  • Dave Spence sues Gov. Jay Nixon for defamation
  • Columbia teachers elect union representation
  • Sickle cell center opens in Columbia

Kristofor Husted / KBIA

Remember in the film Night of the Living Dead when the protagonist, Barbra, is running through the grassy hills to the forlorn farmhouse to escape her lumbering zombie of a brother?

Well, while recently reporting for Harvest Public Media, I spent time on farmland that looked eerily similar to the backdrop of George Romero's black and white magnum opus.

Kristofor Husted / KBIA

In the parched, rolling hills of western Missouri, you might expect to see a desolate scene after this summer’s drought. But in this field, hip-high native grass sways across the landscape like seaweed in the ocean.

Wayne Vassar is growing these native plants for biofuel.

“They’ve had corn or soy on (this land) in the past,” he said, “and what’s happened was when you have these kinds of slope it erodes pretty rapidly and you lose a lot of your fertility as the top soil goes down the hill.”

Farmland experts call this kind of land “marginal land.” The hills make it difficult for the soil to hold onto the topsoil nutrients. And along the rivers and other flood plains, frequent flooding can deprive plants the oxygen they need to survive. It all adds up to an estimated 116 million acres in the central U.S.

Land like this might only produce a profitable harvest with traditional crops, like corn or soybeans, once or twice every five years. That’s quite a financial risk for farmers. So how can farmers avoid that risk factor and make sure such soils provide a consistent economic return?

Regional news coverage from the KBIA newsroom, including:

  • Clair Willcox rehired as editor-in-chief of the MU Press
  • Lt. Peter Kinder loses case against Affordable Care Act
  • Mo. ranks at bottom of 'Energy Efficiency Economy' list

Samantha Sunne / KBIA

Water use has become a hot issue among Midwest farmers after this summer's drought. Nebraska irrigates more acres of farmland than any other state in the nation. Kansas is also near the top. And that Irrigation infrastructure helped some farmers keep the drought at bay this year. Their fields stayed green long after others withered away. But as Grant Gerlock reports for Harvest Public Media, using so much water now may force some farmers to use less water in the future.

Kristofor Husted / KBIA

While the tables may be turning for U.S. Rep. Todd Akin as he regains some GOP support in his race for the U.S. Senate, the Democratic Party has filed ethics complaints against the congressman.  At Thursday's campaign stop in Columbia, the congressman remained positive about his campaign but vague about his definition of earmarks.

The complaints -- filed Wednesday -- allege Akin reversed his stance on earmarks to receive money from a Super PAC. Akin says he has never changed his position.

Abbie Fentress Swanson/Harvest Public Media

To dock or not to dock? That is the question.

Well, that’s the question some Midwest dairy farmers are debating now that the National Milk Producers Federation has taken a stand against the widespread practice of cutting off cow tails -- or tail docking. It started decades ago as a method to stop the spread of disease because the tails often becomes slimed with manure. Recent studies suggest the practice isn't necessarily effective, but many dairy farmers still employ the technique to avoid a face full of slimy cow tail.

Pumping gas
File Photo / KBIA

There’s a new kind of gas on the market, with more ethanol in it than the gas we usually put in our cars. That’s beneficial for corn farmers who grow the corn that ethanol is made from and want more of it in your gas. But while the ethanol industry fought for years to bring this fuel to the market, now that they’ve won… good luck finding it. Even in Corn Country, pickings are slim.

Kristofor Husted / KBIA

UPDATE: 3:00 pm, Tuesday September 18:

Former Mamtek CEO Bruce Cole was arrested at his home in Dana Point, California on Tuesday after the Missouri Attorney General charged him with theft and fraud.

Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster told reporters that Bruce Cole -- the former CEO of the now defunct company Mamtek -- has been charged with stealing and four counts of securities fraud.

CraneStation / Flickr

Growing across the Midwest is a strain of hybrid corn that should perform well under the driest conditions. Harvest Public Media’s Rick Fredericksen says this summer’s parched farmland is providing an ideal test.

Ladies, if the thought of showing up at a party or a picnic with a box of wine seems a little gauche, there's now a product for you: Vernissage's "bag-in-a-bag" of wine. It's boxed wine, shaped like a handbag.

Regional news coverage from the KBIA newsroom, including:

  • West Nile Virus strikes Mo. again
  • Sen. McCaskill visits MU to talk student loans
  • MU invests $2.5 million in online education

jeremy.wilburn / Flickr

Students in the Columbia Public School system who took Advanced Placement exams in 2012 outscored their peers across Missouri. Some of the district’s highest scores came in Psychology and Biology.

Regional news coverage from the KBIA newsroom, including:

  • Sen. McCaskill roots out wasteful wartime spending
  • More Mo. youth covered by health insurance
  • Planned Parenthood supporters deliver petition to Rep. Akin

Adam Procter / Flickr

Updated 8/29/12 3:00 p.m.

The University of Missouri says it will keep its academic publishing business open and drop plans for a new reimagined publishing operation.

Regional news coverage from the KBIA newsroom, including:

  • New state laws take effect Tuesday
  • Rep. Akin reiterates stance on abortion, Sen. McCaskill talks veteran affairs
  • First Mo. death from West Nile

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