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
4:46 pm
Fri March 29, 2013

Field Notes: The aftermath of a grain explosion

Bartlett Grain Co. rebuilt the greain elevator that exploded in 2011 in Atchison, Kan.
Jeremy Bernfeld/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.

Who knew storing grain could be so dangerous?

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Agriculture
3:29 pm
Fri March 15, 2013

Field Notes: Missouri farmer lands starring role

Chris Chinn, of Clarence, Mo., was chosen as one of the U.S. Farmers and Ranchers Alliance's 'Faces of Farmers and Ranchers.'
Photo courtesy of USFRA

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.

Missouri farmer Chris Chinn is taking on a high-profile role as one of the U.S. Farmers and Ranchers Alliance’s “Faces of Farming and Ranching.” 

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True/False: Conversations
12:00 pm
Wed February 20, 2013

'The Moo Man' casts light on challenges facing small dairies

A still from 'The Moo Man,' showing Steve Hook and some of the Holstein-Friesian cows in his herd.
Credit Courtesy of Trufflepig Films

This story is part of True/False Conversations, a series of in-depth interviews with the filmmakers of this year’s True/False Festival.  Find the rest of them here or download the podcast on iTunes.

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Agriculture
1:05 pm
Fri February 1, 2013

Field Notes: How Wal-Mart's local foods push is playing out in the Midwest

A customer shops for produce at a Wal-Mart in Columbia, Mo. The retailer claims 11 percent of its produce sold in its stores nationally comes from local farms.
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
9:38 am
Fri January 18, 2013

Field Notes: How nitrogen fertilizer killed crop rotation

John Pesek spent 42 years with the agronomy department at Iowa State University, retiring in 1992. He said no amount of nitrogen fertilizer allowed for continuous corn production.

 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
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
10:19 am
Sat December 22, 2012

Field Notes: Drought will continue to haunt beef industry

Kevin Good talks to ranchers about the drought's impact on the beef industry at the Missouri Cattlemen's Association's 2012 convention.
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, I spoke with Kevin Good, an analyst for the agriculture research firm CattleFax, about how the ongoing drought will affect the beef industry in 2013 and 2014. Good was one of the speakers at this year's Missouri Cattlemen's Association convention.

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Agriculture
1:21 pm
Fri December 7, 2012

Field Notes: Have land-grant institutions lost their sense of social mission?

Chuck Hassebrook is a member of the University of Nebraska Board of Regents. He is critical of corporate funding for research at land-grant universities.
Facebook

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
4:00 am
Fri November 23, 2012

Field Notes: Bearing witness to the Dust Bowl

Residents of Liberal, Kan. pose in gas masks in front of a Red Cross building in 1935. The masks were worn to protect their lungs from fine particles of blowing dust.
Courtesy kansasmemory.org, Kansas Historical Society

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 agriculture and food production.

For this edition of Field Notes, Harvest Public Media's Grant Gerlock spoke with Dayton Duncan, who wrote and co-produced the film "The Dust Bowl," which was directed by Ken Burns.

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Agriculture
12:44 pm
Fri October 26, 2012

Field Notes: Making the most of cover crops

The green shoots of young cover crops come up through corn residue on a field in Boone County, Iowa.
Amy Mayer/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 Amy Mayer spoke with Tom Kaspar, a plant physiologist at the National Lab for Agriculture and the Environment, about the importance of cover crops in how our food is grown.

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Agriculture
2:36 pm
Fri October 12, 2012

Field Notes: Farm bill delay no surprise for former ag secretary

The Farm Bill is still on the agenda for lawmakers on Capitol Hill.
katieharbath Flickr

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 Grant Gerlock spoke with Clayton Yeutter, a former agriculture secretary, about the difficulty in getting a farm bill passed.

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Agriculture
12:13 pm
Fri September 28, 2012

Field Notes: Fractionated dairy ingredients may be ingredient of profit

Fractionated dairy ingredients are derived from milk and cheese.
SerialK/Flickr

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 week’s Field Notes, reporter Justine Greve spoke with Dr. Stephanie Clark, an associate professor of Food Science at Iowa State University about a segment of the dairy industry we’re all familiar with but probably don’t know much about.

You may not know what a “fractionated dairy ingredient” is, but I can almost guarantee you've eaten one.

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Field Notes
4:22 pm
Fri September 14, 2012

Talking science, decision-making and the Green Revolution with Dr. Roger Pielke Jr.

Dr. Roger Pielke Jr. speaks to a group on the campus of the University of Missouri in Columbia, Mo.
Abbie Fentress Swanson/Harvest Public Media

Field Notes is a regular feature by Harvest Public Media, in which reporters talk to newsmakers and experts about important issues related to food production.

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Agriculture
1:49 pm
Fri March 23, 2012

Fake meat from Missouri

The "soy chicken" product designed by University of Missouri food scientists, front, looks a lot like real chicken, back. (Jeremy Bernfeld/Harvest Public Media)

While only 2 or 3 percent of people in the U.S. are vegetarians, more than 40 percent of Americans age 18-29 choose to eat meatless once a week, according to market research firm Innova Insights.

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Field Notes
12:16 pm
Tue February 21, 2012

Translating science into news

Shari Freyermuth teaches science to non-science majors at the University of Missouri. She attended the workshop designed to help her communicate her research clearly.
Jessica Naudziunas Harvest Public Media

Scientists researching complex topics often come up empty-handed when it comes time to explain their findings. It’s hard to distill years of intricate, complex research into tiny bytes a layman can understand.

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Field Notes
12:59 pm
Tue February 7, 2012

Just what do food additives add?

Packaged foods contain several additives and preservatives to keep them shelf-stable and freezable.
dno1967b Flickr

Ever looked at the labels on the back of your packaged food?

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Harvest Public Media
1:35 pm
Mon January 23, 2012

Victorious vegetarian eating in the heartland

Are most Midwest dinner tables filled with rows and rows of iceberg lettuce?
benketaro Flickr

Did you know the most common fresh produce in Kansas City and in the Midwest is iceberg lettuce? Yes, the green that is mostly water is apparently the best get in fly-over country. At least, the New York Times thinks so.

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Agriculture
2:20 pm
Tue January 10, 2012

Putting nutrition scores to the test

Scott Pham studies the nutrition facts on a container of 100 percent juice.
Jessica Naudziunas Harvest Public Media

There's more to grocery shopping these days because of nutritional ratings, on-label claims and even in-store dieticians. 

On this episode of Harvest Public Media’s Field Notes,  grocery shopping with a guy who doesn’t really think about nutrition, and along the way we dissect the nutritional rating system NuVal

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Harvest Public Media
1:28 pm
Wed January 4, 2012

2011: A year in the life of farm and food

Whether it was thanks to the Farm Bill, MF Global's bankruptcy, vicious flooding or high land prices, farmers were in the headlines throughout the Midwest in 2011.

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Agriculture
12:40 pm
Mon December 26, 2011

River flooding planned topic for state Governor's Conference on Agriculture

File Photo

River flooding is expected to be a major topic at the upcoming Missouri Governor's Conference on Agriculture. (AP)

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Harvest Public Media
12:00 am
Tue December 6, 2011

Grab an ear, then give it a twist and a jerk

Hand-harvested popcorn from Maytag Dairy Farms.
Iowa Public Radio

The Maytags, one of Iowa’s most famous pioneer families, are at it again.

But this time, they’re ignoring modern technology. And the surprising product is … popcorn.

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Harvest Public Media
12:00 am
Wed November 30, 2011

'Natural' food labels lack regulation, naturally

The "All Natural" label can mean different things for different products.
Blue Bunny Ice Cream Flickr

What does it take for a food product to be labeled "Natural"?

Not much, it seems.

While that big "Natural" label on a package of meat has nothing to do with how an animal was raised, it at least has a definition: "minimally processed with no artificial ingredients.”  When "Natural" shows up on other food products -- everything from granola bars to dressings, and even soda --   the meaning is less certain.

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Harvest Public Media
12:00 am
Wed November 30, 2011

Healthy score cards create (more) confusion

Really?
Peggy Lowe Harvest Public Media

 

The constant barrage of nutrition messages is so confusing it makes me want to go on a BBQ-potato-chip bender.

So when Harvest reporter Jessica Naudziunas pitched a story on those nutritional scores in grocery stores, I listened.    

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Harvest Public Media
12:00 am
Mon November 28, 2011

Midwest farmland values continue to soar

Agricultural land value continues to soaring in the Midwest, according to two new surveys released by the Kansas City and Chicago Federal Reserves.

Nebraska has experienced exceptionally strong gains due to bumper crops, with a roughly 40 percent rise in farmland prices from one year ago, CNN Money reported.

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Harvest Public Media
12:00 am
Sat November 26, 2011

USDA: Locally grown food a $4.8 billion business

Wheatsfield Cooperative Grocery in Ames, Iowa, makes an effort to purchase food grown by local farmers in addition to their other products.
Kathleen Masterson Harvest Public Media

A new U.S. Department of Agriculture report says sales of "local foods," whether sold direct to consumers at farmers markets or through intermediaries such as grocers or restaurants, amounted to $4.8 billion in 2008. That's a number several times greater than earlier estimates, and the department predicts locally grown foods will generate $7 billion in sales this year, The Associated Press reported.

While there's plenty of evidence local food sales have been growing, it has been hard to say by how much because governments, companies, consumers and food markets disagree on what qualifies as local.(Check out Harvest Public Media's reporting on this.)

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Harvest Public Media
12:00 am
Fri November 25, 2011

Natural questions about meat labels

Meat that’s raised with antibiotics, growth promoters, and fed animal by-products could be labeled “Natural” under the current USDA definition of the term. That’s because the label only refer to how the meat was processed after slaughter.
Kathleen Masterson Harvest Public Media

At a grocery store in Ames, Iowa, Lavern Ackerman peered at a package of ground beef.  He was mostly interested in the percent leanness, but he took a stab at deciphering what the big "Natural" sticker on the package meant.

"I thought it was that they just grass-raised them," Ackerman said.

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Harvest Public Media
12:00 am
Thu November 24, 2011

Agriculture banks are outperforming their peers

That is, at least, better than their counterparts without an agriculture focus.

The Federal Reserve Bank in St. Louis this fall reported that agriculture banks, like Zions Agricultural Finance in Ames, Iowa, have outperformed community banks that depend on clients who are employed outside of the farm sector.  A bank is defined as an agriculture bank if the combined agricultural production and farmland loans account for 25 percent or more of its total loans.

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Harvest Public Media
12:00 am
Wed November 23, 2011

Drought pushes the limits of irrigation

In Kansas, irrigation accounts for more water usage than municipal and industrial uses combined:
Kansas Department of Agriculture (2009)

 

Most farmers in western Kansas can’t just look to the skies for water to nourish their crops -- they have to dig down to the Ogallala Aquifer to supplement Mother Nature. They use an impressive amount of water, with irrigation often accounting for 85 percent of the water used in the entire state.

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Harvest Public Media
12:00 pm
Tue November 22, 2011

Failure of budget deficit process scuttles farm bill

 

Phillip Brasher, reporter for the Des Moines Register, reports that the failure of the congressional super committee to come up with a plan to reduce the federal budget deficit throws in doubt the future of federal crop subsidies after next year.

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Agriculture
12:00 am
Fri November 18, 2011

New farm bill details emerge

The package of agriculture and food policy that's called the farm bill is reauthorized by Congress every five years. This year, however, things are a bit different for this historically lengthy and debate-rich process. The federal budget deficit that's been hanging around for months has pushed the farm bill into overdrive, and the legislation is now on the fast track straight to the Congressional Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction, otherwise known as the super committee.

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