Field Notes

Fridays during All Things Considered; Mondays during Morning Edition

Field Notes is an opportunity for the Harvest Public Media team to dig even deeper into our coverage of food production through additional interviews, on-site reporting and audience feedback.  Each segment is produced and hosted by Abbie Fentress Swanson, at KBIA News in Columbia, MO.

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Agriculture
5:30 pm
Thu April 10, 2014

Vertical farming: towering vision, uncertain future

Large banks of fluorescent lamps provide the spectrum of light that keeps the floating beds of plants alive year-round in The Plant Chicago, a vertical farming facility.
Credit Peter Gray / Harvest Public Media

Farmers are making inroads supplying local food to hungry city foodies, but many producers are trying to grow more food inurban centers. City real estate is at a premium, so some producers are finding more space by using what’s called “vertical farming,” and going up rather than spreading out.

Growers across the country are heading indoors, using greenhouses and hydroponics – growing plants in a water and nutrient solution instead of soil and using lamps to replace sunlight. Vertical farming takes that to a new level.

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Agriculture
6:00 am
Fri March 21, 2014

Field Notes: A plan to prevent acts of food terrorism

Milk that Central Dairy delivers is kept behind doors secured with three-inch long padlocks.
Credit Abbie Fentress Swanson/Harvest Public Media

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

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Agriculture
6:00 am
Fri March 14, 2014

Field Notes: Putting a scare into the food system

A bioterror attack that introduced a virus like foot-and-mouth disease could devastate the U.S. livestock industry. Regulators are proposing new rules meant to protect the food system from terror attack.
Credit Jeremy Bernfeld/Harvest Public Media

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

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Agriculture
6:00 am
Fri February 28, 2014

Field Notes: More younger farmers and Low corn prices

Farmers received some gloomy news from the US Department of Agriculture earlier this month -- that lower corn prices are here to stay.
Credit Grant Gerlock/Harvest Public Media

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

Farmers received some gloomy news from the US Department of Agriculture earlier this month. As Harvest Public Media’s Luke Runyon reports in this week's Field Notes, the USDA is predicting that lower corn prices are here to stay. 

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Agriculture
6:00 am
Fri February 21, 2014

Field Notes: Hunting for mushrooms and myth at True/False

'The Vanquishing of the Witch Baba Yaga' uses animation and stunning scenes of everyday life in Eastern Europe -- including plenty of mushroom hunting -- to tell the Slavic fairytale of Baba Yaga.
Credit Courtesy of Jessica Oreck

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

For more than a decade, fans of documentary film have flocked to Columbia, Mo., for the annual True/False Film Fest. The screenings start on Thursday.

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Agriculture
6:00 am
Fri February 14, 2014

Field Notes: Booming dairy industry leaves small farms behind

Donnie Davidson decided to shut down his dairy in November after a roof on one of his barns collapsed from the winter’s snow. The roof would have cost $20,000 to rebuild. To keep the dairy going, he also would have had to hire help and upgrade a silo.
Credit Abbie Fentress Swanson/Harvest Public Media

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

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Agriculture
6:00 am
Fri February 7, 2014

Field Notes: Farm bill awaits a presidential signature

After more than two years of debate on Capitol Hill, a new farm bill is poised to become law after both the U.S. House and Senate approved it.
Credit andrewmalone/Flickr

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

President Obama is scheduled to sign the long-overdue Agriculture Act of 2014, the new farm bill, into law on Friday afternoon.

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Agriculture
6:00 am
Fri January 31, 2014

Field Notes: Senate to consider the Farm Bill as wheat prices dip

Should the Agricultural Act of 2014 become law, direct payments would end and the crop insurance program would become the bedrock of the U.S. farm safety net.
Credit wobble-san/Flickr

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

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Agriculture
6:00 am
Fri January 24, 2014

Field Notes: What does the future of ethanol hold?

Only about 2,500 gas stations offer E85 for flex fuel vehicles, primarily stations in the Midwest where most ethanol is produced.
Credit Grant Gerlock/Harvest Public Media

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

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Agriculture
6:00 am
Fri January 17, 2014

Field Notes: What exactly does 'sustainability' mean?

On his farm near Rocheport, Mo., Bill Heffernan raises these sustainable heritage St. Croix sheep. But what does "sustainable" actually mean?
Credit Abbie Fentress Swanson/Harvest Public Media

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

Retailers and restaurants like Whole Foods, Chipotle, Safeway, McDonald's and Wal-Mart are all providing information to consumers about how sustainably some of their foods were produced. But as I found doing this story, it's hard to know just what "sustainability" means and how to judge whether food was produced in a "sustainable" way. 

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Agriculture
6:00 am
Fri January 10, 2014

Field Notes: Snowmass wheat

Food companies want to capitalize on the growing market of white bread fans who want to eat whole wheat. A new variety of wheat makes that easier.
Credit Luke Runyon/Harvest Public Media

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

Consumers increasingly want the texture and taste of white bread but the nutritional benefits of whole grains. In this week's episode of Field Notes, Harvest Public Media's Luke Runyon reports on a new variety of wheat called Snowmass that could help meet that demand.

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Agriculture
11:23 am
Fri January 3, 2014

Field Notes: Top ag and food stories of 2013

The scarecrow, who appears in Chipotle's animated new online-only ad.
Credit YouTube, "Back to the Start."

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

The drought was easily the biggest story on the farm beat in 2012. But this past year, many of the stories filed by Harvest Public Media reporters focused on food politics and the divide between large industry groups and proponents of organic, sustainable and local foods.

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Agriculture
6:00 am
Fri December 27, 2013

Field Notes: Popcorn and Ag Sec. Vilsack's trip to China

A Del’s Popcorn shop employee in Decatur, Ill., starts the vintage popcorn popper. Del’s relies heavily on holiday sales, but is struggling with the high price of popcorn.
Credit Peter Gray/Harvest Public Media

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

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Agriculture
6:00 am
Fri December 20, 2013

Field Notes: Antibiotics in meat and why Congress can't pass a farm bill

Leaders of the committee working on the farm bill announced they don't expect to pass a bill before they leave Washington for the year.
Credit andrewmalone/Flickr

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

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Agriculture
6:00 am
Fri December 13, 2013

Field Notes: Farms, coming to a suburb near you

In its plans, the Bucking Horse subdivision in Fort Collins, Colo. will support a 3.6 acre CSA farm, a plaza designed for a farmers market and an educational center where homeowners can take canning classes.
Credit Luke Runyon/Harvest Public Media

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

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Agriculture
6:00 am
Fri December 6, 2013

Field Notes: CAFOs and aid for veterans in the Farm Bill

Piglets in Iowa.
Credit Amy Mayer / Harvest Public Media

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

Thanks to tight competition, hog farmers all over the country are feeling a push to expand or get out of the business. That means indoor confined animal feeding operations – or CAFOs – are growing even in the most environmentally sensitive areas.

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Agriculture
6:00 am
Fri November 29, 2013

Field Notes: Where does our meat come from?

A new labeling rule that went into full effect Saturday requires meatpackers and retailers to provide consumers with more information about where their meat comes from.
Credit Abbie Fentress Swanson/Harvest Public Media

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

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Agriculture
6:00 am
Fri November 22, 2013

Field Notes: Midwest pumpkins on Thanksgiving plates

Ackerman Farms in Morton, Ill., boasts over 160 varieties of pumpkins and squash.
Credit Peter Gray/Harvest Public Media

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

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Agriculture
3:42 pm
Fri November 15, 2013

Field Notes: Farmer Joel Salatin on the local food movement

Joel Salatin on his farm in Virginia
Credit Creative Commons

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

Joel Salatin has become one of the rock stars of the local food movement. He’s written books, appeared in documentaries and schedules speaking engagements nationwide. Among foodies, he’s a celebrity.

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Agriculture
6:00 am
Fri November 8, 2013

Field Notes: Immigrant children share dreams beyond the slaughterhouse

In Noel, Mo., these Somali refugee children have dreams beyond the Tyson poultry plant where their parents work.
Credit Abbie Fentress Swanson/Harvest Public Media

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

For our special series “In the Shadows of the Slaughterhouse,” Reporter Peggy Lowe and I interviewed immigrant children in Noel, Mo., and Garden City, Kan., whose parents work for Tyson Foods poultry and beef plants.

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Agriculture
9:51 am
Fri August 30, 2013

Field Notes: Overhaul of meat labels on hold

From his vantage point, Ron Plain, a University of Missouri agricultural economist who focuses on the swine industry, believes the new COOL rule would be cumbersome for the food industry to implement.
Credit 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.

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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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Agriculture
11:57 am
Fri August 9, 2013

Field Notes: Allan Savory makes case for holistic grazing

Allan Savory, known as the godfather of holistic grazing, pitched his ideas at the Boulder Theater in Boulder, Colo., recently.
Credit Luke Runyon/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, Harvest Public Media's Luke Runyon spoke with Allan Savory, an activist and environmentalist who created a grazing practice known as “holistic management.”

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Agriculture
2:06 pm
Fri July 19, 2013

Field Notes: Want to invest in farmland? Now, you can join the crowd

Charles Polanco's company allows investors to team up and invest in farmland.
Credit 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.

The new company Fquare is bringing crowd-sourcing to the increasingly lucrative market of investing in farmland.

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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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Agriculture
9:23 am
Fri June 7, 2013

Field Notes: How are decisions made about projects that benefit rural America?

Doug O'Brien, acting undersecretary for the USDA's rural development program.
Credit Photo courtesy of the USDA.

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.  

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Agriculture
9:00 am
Fri May 24, 2013

Field Notes: Looking inside plants for answers to a changing climate

The 2013 Water for Food Conference featured speakers from around the globe discussing the impact of climate change on agriculture.
Credit Photo by Grant Gerlock/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.

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Agriculture
1:20 pm
Fri May 10, 2013

Field Notes: Marking the fifth anniversary of the Postville, Iowa raid

Filmmaker Luis Argueta discusses his documentary "AbUSed: The Postville Raid."
Credit Photo by 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.

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Agriculture
12:52 pm
Fri April 26, 2013

Field Notes: 'The Midwest Farmer's Daughter'

Kay Emerich and her daughters Amber and Natasha run a small dairy in Wheaton, Kan.
Kathleen Masterson/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, Harvest Public Media's Bill Wheelhouse spoke with Zachary Michael Jack, author "The Midwest Farmer's Daughter," about the shifting landscape of rural America.

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Agriculture
4:17 pm
Fri April 12, 2013

Field Notes: Using drones to capture a prairie burn in Missouri

Brendan Gibbons uses a drone to capture the controlled burn at Tucker Prairie near Kingdom City, Mo.
Scott Pham/KBIA

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.

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