On agriculture and immigration

May 24, 2012

On this week's show, we'll hear about how immigrant populations are filling a gap in agricultural labor. Who is the farmer of the future?

That’s the question being posed by Harvest Public Media in a new series that explores how demographic, technological and cultural forces will shape America’s food producers into the next decade and beyond.

This week, we begin with a story from Kathleen Masterson, who reports that while much of the rural Midwest is hollowing out – some small regions are actually growing, largely due to immigration populations taking agricultural jobs that otherwise couldn't be filled by employers. Melding cultures can be tricky, but in communities like Sioux County, Iowa, there's a mutual reliance, and slowly members of the Latino community are changing the landscape of the rural Midwest.

Also, Judy Wall is an MU Professor in the Department of Biochemistry, and studies a certain kind of bacteria that converts one form of mercury into an environmental contaminant that accumulates in some wildlife. She took a moment to discuss her research.