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Under the Microscope
Thu August 2, 2012
Rethinking crop insurance
This week, we'll hear a report about taxpayer subsidized crop insurance, and find out how a guano harvest could help some penguins.
Unlike their cold-weather relatives, Humboldt penguins live only in South America, along the rocky Pacific coast of Chile and Peru. The Saint Louis Zoo’s Michael Macek has been monitoring the penguins there, tracking their health and numbers. Macek is back in Peru again, in a coastal reserve called Punta San Juan, where Humboldt penguins nest by the thousands.
Before he left, he told St. Louis Public Radio's Véronique LaCapra that this time he’s helping to lead a sustainable guano harvest.
Also, corn prices surged to a new record high earlier this week, as the worst drought in more than 50 years continues to plague more than half the country. Despite the drought many crop farmers are expected to emerge largely unscathed thanks to taxpayer-subsidized crop insurance.
As Congress moves to make the program even more generous, St. Louis Public Radio’s Adam Allington reports that some are beginning to question if the subsidies are necessary at all.
Science, Health and Technology