Peggy Lowe

Peggy Lowe joined Harvest Public Media in 2011, returning to the Midwest after 22 years as a journalist in Denver and Southern California. Most recently she was at The Orange County Register, where she was a multimedia producer and writer. In Denver she worked for The Associated Press, The Denver Post and the late, great Rocky Mountain News. She was on the Denver Post team that won the Pulitzer Prize for breaking news coverage of Columbine. Peggy was a Knight-Wallace Fellow at the University of Michigan in 2008-09. She is from O'Neill, the Irish Capital of Nebraska, and now lives in Kansas City. Based at KCUR, Peggy is the analyst for The Harvest Network and often reports for Harvest Public Media.

Agriculture
9:20 am
Tue July 15, 2014

Lobbyists Of All Kinds Flock To Farm Bill

Sen. Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich., (in green), watches as President Barack Obama signs the Farm Bill at Michigan State University on Feb. 7, 2014.

Originally published on Mon July 14, 2014 2:06 pm

When U.S. Sen. Debbie Stabenow announced passage of the Farm Bill in February, she echoed a refrain from a car commercial.

“This is not your father’s Farm Bill,” she said.

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Digital Life
6:27 pm
Wed May 14, 2014

In Kansas, Professors Must Now Watch What They Tweet

Originally published on Thu May 15, 2014 2:17 pm

The Kansas Board of Regents gave final approval Wednesday to a strict new policy on what employees may say on social media. Critics say the policy violates both the First Amendment and academic freedom, but school officials say providing faculty with more specific guidelines will actually bolster academic freedom on campus.

The controversial policy was triggered by an equally controversial tweet posted last September by David Guth, an associate journalism professor. Reacting to a lone gunman who killed 12 people at the Washington Navy Yard in Washington, D.C., he wrote:

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Politics
7:06 am
Mon April 14, 2014

ERA DOA? The Fight For Equal Rights Lives On In Missouri

One of the people who marched in the Equal Rights Action Day at the Missouri Capitol in Jefferson City on Tuesday

Originally published on Fri April 11, 2014 8:14 am

  It was a chant from a different era.

“ERA now! ERA now! ERA now!”

As much as it sounded straight out of the past, the rallying cry was used Tuesday as a coalition of women’s groups marched to the Missouri Capitol in Jefferson City on Equal Pay Day, the day marking how far into a new year it takes a woman to earn what a man took home last year.

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Agriculture
8:53 am
Thu April 10, 2014

Bill to bar GMO labeling unveiled

Anti-GMO protestors at a 2013 Denver, Colo., rally.
Credit Luke Runyon / Harvest Public Media

State efforts to label genetically-modified food would be outlawed under a bill unveiled by a Kansas congressman Wednesday – a plan immediately criticized as a “legislative Hail Mary” that won’t pass.

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Crime
8:24 am
Thu January 9, 2014

Going Public in the Maryville Rape Case To Spur Action

Paige Parkhurst, 15, seen here at her Albany, Mo., home, went public as a rape victim because she hoped it would spur authorities to look more seriously at the Maryville case. (Peggy Lowe/KCUR)

Originally published on Thu January 9, 2014 9:30 am

On a quiet Sunday morning last fall, Paige Parkhurst remembers being awakened by her mother, who was crying.

A newspaper story about the night two years ago that Paige was assaulted and her friend Daisy Coleman was allegedly raped was going viral. She and her mother, Robin Bourland, talked about how they had already been through so much. The minor boy who admitted to having sex with Parkhurst had been convicted and sentenced through the juvenile justice system.

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Agriculture
4:56 pm
Wed December 18, 2013

Suspended drug sales focuses attention on cattle-feeding additive

Some 6,500 Holsteins are “finished” at this 2,000-acre Ordway, Colo., feedlot, where the growth promotion drug Zilmax is no longer used because it was pulled from the market by its manufacturer.
Credit Peggy Lowe / Harvest Public Media

 

When the people from the drug company came out to visit Tyler Karney at Ordway Feedyard here on Colorado’s eastern plains, he was a little skeptical.

They said their product, Zilmax, could put another 30 pounds on an animal in the last days before slaughter. Then he started blending it into the feed for the 6,500 head of Holsteins at this huge feedlot.

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Agriculture
9:57 am
Wed October 30, 2013

Dreaming beyond the slaughterhouse

Binh Hua (left) and My Nguyen, both 18, work in the Garden City Community College chemistry lab. The two best friends graduated from high school in three years and after community college, plan to go on to universities.
Peggy Lowe/Harvest Public Media

In the Shadows of the Slaughterhouse, part 3: Since large meatpacking plants left big cities like Kansas City and Chicago, rural Midwestern towns have been dealing with a huge influx of immigrants and refugees and their children. Many of these kids are hoping to achieve the American Dream by moving out of the shadows and into a bright future.

Not yet 9 a.m. on a warm fall day, freshmen Binh Hua and My Nguyen are in protective goggles, long hair pulled back, ready for their chemistry class in a Garden City Community College lab.

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Agriculture
6:13 am
Tue October 29, 2013

Garden City: Tending to a cultural crossroads in Kansas

Sister Janice Thome at a local Garden City school. Thome teaches several classes, including a teen parenting class at the Garden City alternative high school.
Peggy Lowe/Harvest Public Media

In the Shadows of the Slaughterhouse, part 2: Immigrant communities have sprung up around the meatpacking plant in Garden City, Kan., and while change hasn't been easy, city leaders have built a strong grassroots network supporting and embracing the town’s cultural evolution and its youngest citizens.

GARDEN CITY, Kan. — Sister Janice Thome’s office is a 2003 brown Ford Focus with a backseat piled high with paperwork and a prayer book.

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Around the Nation
4:54 pm
Thu October 17, 2013

Nearly Two Years Later, A Controversial Rape Case Is Reviewed

Daisy Coleman, now 16, looks at trophies and other awards she's won for beauty pageants, dancing and sports. She has attempted suicide at least twice since waking up in freezing temperatures on her doorstep.
Peggy Lowe KCUR

Originally published on Thu October 17, 2013 8:55 pm

Nearly two years after allegations of a sexual assault rocked a small Missouri town, the case may be reopened.

A county prosecutor in Maryville, Mo., has requested that an independent attorney look at accusations of rape and other charges against two former high school athletes — despite his earlier decision to drop the case.

The Internet activist group Anonymous, which crusaded for another high-profile rape case, is taking credit for this turnaround.

The Events

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Agriculture
6:04 pm
Fri August 16, 2013

Field Notes: Howard Buffett on organic and biological farming

Howard Buffett stands in front of a lab being built on his research farm in southeastern Arizona
Credit Peggy Lowe / Harvest Public Media

This is the latest installment of Harvest Public Media’sField Notes, in which reporters talk to newsmakers and experts about important issues related to food production.

A Midwestern farmer with a well-known last name has set out to fight hunger on a global scale. 

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The Salt
4:45 pm
Fri August 9, 2013

Did Tyson Ban Doping Cows With Zilmax To Boost Foreign Sales?

A pen at a feedlot in central Kansas that houses 30,000 cattle. Feedlots are where cattle are "finished" before slaughter, often with the use of growth-promoting drugs like zilpaterol.
Peggy Lowe Harvest Public Media

Originally published on Fri August 9, 2013 5:36 pm

Tyson Foods Inc. announced this week that it would soon suspend purchases of cattle that had been treated with a controversial drug, citing animal welfare concerns.

But many in the industry wonder if the real reason is the battle for sales in other countries, where certain drugs that make livestock grow faster are banned.

"I really do think this is more of a marketing ploy from Tyson to raise some awareness so they can garner some export business from our overseas export partners," says Dan Norcini, an independent commodities broker.

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Agriculture
9:00 am
Fri June 21, 2013

Field Notes: The historical impact of drought

Jeff Masters, meteorologist and co-founder of wunderground.com.
Credit Courtesy of wunderground.com

This is the latest installment of Harvest Public Media’s Field Notes, in which reporters talk to newsmakers and experts about important issues related to food production.

Over the last three years, the Midwest has gone from flooding to drought and back to flooding. This is a case of “weather whiplash,” a term first used in April by Jeff Masters, a meteorologist and co-founder of the online weather forecasting site Weather Underground.

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The Salt
5:07 pm
Wed June 12, 2013

As Drought Turns To Flood, Farmers Get 'Weather Whiplash'

A central Illinois farmer plants corn seed into the evening in Farmingdale, Ill.
Seth Perlman AP

Originally published on Wed June 12, 2013 5:20 pm

As Chris Webber checked the 40 acres of muddy field he wanted to plant on a recent morning, he worried about getting more rain, even as he worried about the lack of it.

"The drought is over at the moment," he says. "But in Missouri, we tend to say that in 10 days or two weeks, we can be in a drought again. That's how fast it can get back to dry."

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The Salt
2:07 am
Thu May 30, 2013

Will Chinese Firm Bring Home The Bacon With Smithfield Deal?

Smithfield Foods, makers of ham products under a variety of brand names, is being purchased by Chinese food maker Shuanghui International for $4.72 billion.
AP

Originally published on Thu May 30, 2013 8:38 am

There were questions Wednesday about whether U.S. regulators will approve the takeover of Smithfield Foods Inc., the company that sells all-American hams, hot dogs and bacon, by China's Shuanghui International.

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The Salt
4:16 pm
Thu May 23, 2013

Oprah Winfrey's Latest Venture Is Farming In Hawaii

The June issue of The Oprah Magazine includes an article with details on Oprah Winfrey's new farm in Hawaii.
The Oprah Magazine

Originally published on Wed May 29, 2013 2:48 pm

The local food movement has a powerful new poster girl.

More glowing than American Gothic, Oprah Winfrey and her pal, Bob Greene, appear on the cover of the June issue of The Oprah Magazine, standing in what looks to be a field of kale.

"Oprah's New Farm!" reads the headline splashed across the pair's checkered shirts. "How She's Growing Healthier — and You Can Too."

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Weather
5:47 pm
Wed April 10, 2013

The 'Big Tree' beckons

The Big Tree of Boone County, Mo. It’s 90-feet tall, has a 287-inch circumference, and a 130-foot limb spread.
Credit Peggy Lowe / Harvest Public Media

The first day of spring doesn’t feel that way as John Sam Williamson and Chris Starbuck meet up on a county road outside Columbia, Mo.

Temperatures are below freezing and a cold wind is whipping along the flat land here on the Missouri River bottoms. Williamson, a farmer whose family has owned this land for six generations, tugs at the bill of his John Deere cap and Starbuck, a retired University of Missouri plant scientist, pulls his Arborist Society stocking cap further down over his ears.

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Around the Nation
2:43 pm
Tue April 2, 2013

In Missouri, Days Of Drought Send Caretakers To One 'Big Tree'

This bur oak, called "The Big Tree" by Missouri locals, has been around for centuries. When a drought hit the state last year, the community came together to offer help and water for the iconic tree.
Courtesy of Christopher Starbuck

Originally published on Thu April 4, 2013 9:52 am

The devastating drought in the Midwest last summer is a story often told by the numbers, with statistics on large crop failures, days without rain and thousands of parched acres.

This story is also about a tree — a bur oak in rural Columbia, Mo., that everyone calls "The Big Tree." Although it's survived all kinds of punishments during its 350 years on the prairie, last year's record drought was especially tough.

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Agriculture
5:30 pm
Wed February 27, 2013

Dairy settlement doesn't deliver reform

airy cows on a Missouri farm are fed early one December morning.
Credit Peggy Lowe / Harvest Public Media

When a group of small farmers in the southeastern U.S. banded together to sue a powerful dairy cooperative a few years ago, many hoped that the case would bring big changes to the milk industry.

But the recent settlement of the case involving Kansas City-based Dairy Farmers of America Inc., resulted in little long-term reform, even as the farmers received some monetary damages.

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The Salt
2:33 am
Wed January 23, 2013

Farmers And Their Cooperative Settle Lawsuit On Fixing The Price Of Milk

This 5-foot plexiglass piece of art resembling a freshly poured glass of milk sits near the door at Dairy Farmers of America headquarters in Kansas City, Mo.
Peggy Lowe/Harvest Public Media

Originally published on Wed January 23, 2013 8:01 am

Farmers who had hoped to get some answers on why prices for their raw milk went into free fall a decade ago were disappointed Tuesday by the settlement of a case accusing Dairy Farmers of America Inc. of creating a milk monopoly in the Southeast.

Dairy farmers and industry observers had hoped for their day in court after years of delays in the large class-action suit. But the day before the trial was to start in federal court in Tennessee, DFA announced a $158.6 million deal, saying it didn't want to risk going to trial.

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Agriculture
2:37 pm
Fri January 4, 2013

Field Notes: The year's top stories in agriculture

For the Harvest Network, the drought was the top story in agriculture in 2012. Here, a dry corn field outside Columbia, Mo. photographed in July 2012.
Abbie Fentress Swanson/Harvest Public Media

This is the latest installment of Harvest Public Media’s Field Notes, in which reporters talk to newsmakers and experts about important issues related to food production.

For this edition of Field Notes — our first in 2013 — we decided to take a look back at last year’s biggest stories in agriculture.

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Agriculture
4:30 pm
Wed January 2, 2013

Beef checkoff feud exposes divide within cattle industry

Allen Berry co-owns a cow-calf operation with his wife near Trenton, Mo. Like all other cow-calf operators, Berry pays into a fund that benefits the Cattlemen’s Beef Promotion and Research Board for each animal sold.
Credit Peggy Lowe / Harvest Public Media

This story on the American beef industry is part of a special reporting series from Harvest Public Media. Check out the rest of their stories at harvestpublicmedia.org.

When Allen Berry brought his 11 yearlings to the Green City Livestock Market in central Missouri last month, he paid into a fund that at first blush, seems a bargain.

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Agriculture
4:52 pm
Wed December 12, 2012

Public research for private interests

Dr. Dan Thomson, a Kansas State veterinary professor and director of the Beef Cattle Institute, holds a “Beef Quality Assurance” training at the Beef Fest in Emporia, Kan., in August. The BQA is a National Beef Cattlemen Association training that is aimed at improving consumer confidence in beef.
Credit Peggy Lowe / Harvest Public Media

This story on the American beef industry is part of a special reporting series from Harvest Public Media.  Check out the rest of their stories at harvestpublicmedia.org.

Agricultural colleges in the top five beef-producing states have become quasi-arms of the cattle industry, selling science to corporate bidders who set the research agenda with their dollars.

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Agriculture
8:50 am
Thu August 2, 2012

Livestock farmers seek safety net, while Washington politics delay aid

Peggy Lowe Harvest Public Media

Farmers growing crops have insurance to ward off the financial failure of their season during this terrible drought. But there’s no safety net like that in place for livestock producers. And any emergency aid is tied up in Washington politics.

The rock and the hard place where Stacey McCallister now sits looks like this:

Rock: McCallister’s herd of 200 dairy cattle in south central Missouri have feed for about the next 60 days.

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Agriculture
1:32 pm
Fri July 27, 2012

My Farm Roots: Making a home, out on the ranch

Nan Gardiner (front) with her husband Henry in Ashland, Kan.
Peggy Lowe Harvest Public Media

It’s not every day that a trip to the drug store can change your destiny.

For 20-year-old Nan Arnold, it was a day in 1956 in Ashland, a small, dusty dot on the open range of western Kansas near the Oklahoma border.

Nan had landed her first job as a music teacher at the Ashland school just a year before. She lived with the store’s owner because her parents thought she was too young to live alone.  

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Agriculture
5:53 pm
Wed July 11, 2012

The lasting heritage of the Homestead Act

Kendall Hodgson, left, and Ed Hodgson, first cousins, in front of the Hodgson homestead near Little River, Kan.
Peggy Lowe Harvest Public Media

LITTLE RIVER, Kan. – Before this town was here, before the railroads were here, before a post office was here, the Hodgsons were here.

In 1871, Hannah and Henry Clay Hodgson moved into a one-room dugout on the banks of the Little Arkansas, their view an Indian camp on the other side of the river. They arrived in central Kansas in November, in the midst of a blizzard, and it took them three days from the train stop in Salina to get the 60 miles south to this outpost.

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The Salt
2:25 am
Thu June 28, 2012

Unlike Chicken And Pork, Beef Still Begins With Small Family Ranches

Barbara and Norman Roux stand in front of cattle pens on their farm outside of Moundridge, Kan., where she has raised cattle for nearly 70 years.
Peggy Lowe Harvest Public Media

Originally published on Thu June 28, 2012 6:47 pm

In the chicken and pork industries, nearly every aspect of the animals' raising has long been controlled by just a handful of agriculture conglomerates. But the cattle industry is still populated by mom-and-pop operations, at least at the calf-raising level.

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Science, Health and Technology
4:41 pm
Thu June 14, 2012

Who are you calling a corporate farmer?

Chris Boeckmann grows turkeys for Cargill on his Loose Creek, Mo., farm. But he also raises grass-fed all-natural beef for his private label.
Peggy Lowe Harvest Public Media

A surprising thing happens while touring Chris Boeckmann’s turkey farm, where 50,000 birds are grown each year for Cargill Inc.

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Business
3:49 pm
Fri April 6, 2012

Farmers Support Illegal Immigrant Work Program

T.J. Curtis, a western Kansas farmer, traveled to the state capitol in support of a bill that would establish a state-sanctioned program to assist undocumented workers gets jobs.
Peggy Lowe Harvest Public Media

It’s a long way from Forget-Me-Not Farms to the Kansas State Capitol in Topeka.

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Shots - Health Blog
3:29 pm
Thu February 2, 2012

How One Hospital Entices Doctors To Work In Rural America

Dr. Dan Shuman (right), who was recruited to the Ashland Health Clinic as part of its mission-focused medicine program, consults with a patient about smoking cessation.
Peggy Lowe Harvest Public Media

Originally published on Thu February 2, 2012 8:04 pm

Recruiting doctors to live and work in rural America is a chronic problem. Most health centers try to attract workers with big salaries and expensive homes.

Shots previously reported that one center in Maine was trying to lure medical students to the countryside for their final two years with the hope that they stick around.

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