Wal-mart and the local farmer; Mississippi River and barge business

Jan 16, 2013

Mississippi River near Thebes, Ill.
Credit Jacob McCleland / KRCU

The lingering drought continues to keep the Mississippi River at historically low levels. But now the Army Corps of Engineers says the river will likely stay open for transportation at least through this month. But many grain and energy industries that send products up and down the river aren’t yet breathing a sigh of relief. Iowa Public Radio’s Clay Masters reports from the Corn Belt where a lot of grain begin its journey south down the Mississippi.

The world’s largest retailer is muscling in on one of the fastest growing segments of American agriculture -- local food. Wal-mart says 11 percent of the produce sold in its stores nationwide comes from local farms. That’s up from 4 percent two years ago. There’s no doubt this move has shaken up the food supply chain. But as Abbie Fentress Swanson reports for Harvest Public Media, small family farms aren’t necessarily seeing the benefits.