Agriculture

New leader for MU soybean breeding efforts

Oct 24, 2014
Clay Masters / Harvest Public Media

This week Andrew Scaboo accepted a new position at the University of Missouri as Assistant Research Professor in soybean breeding.  

Monsanto will continue selling soybean seeds coated with pesticides that have been linked to honey bee deaths, even though the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency found the seeds do not improve yields.

The seeds in question are treated with a class of chemicals called neonicotinoids, which are chemically similar to nicotine.

 

Americans had to dig deep into their wallets to cover costs associated with foodborne illnesses, according to new estimates from the U.S. Department Agriculture.

U.S. farmers are bringing in what’s expected to be a record-breaking harvest for both corn and soybeans. But all that productivity has a big financial downside: plunging prices that have many Midwest farmers hoping to merely break-even on this year’s crop.

Flickr / Natalie Maynor

The Farm Bill was passed in February. But now, piece by piece, it’s taking effect. We’re beginning to see how parts of the farm bill are doing more to help farmers go small.

Heather Cescent / Flickr

A federal district court upheld a California law Friday that requires all eggs sold in the state to come from hens housed in more spacious cages.

Luke Runyon / Harvest Public Media

Voters in Colorado will decide whether or not they want the state to require labels on foods containing genetically modified ingredients, or GMOs. The 2014 ballot measure highlights a much larger national conversation about the safety and prevalence of genetically modified foods.

A recent Missouri law meant to protect farmers may be making it harder to report alleged animal abuse, as animal welfare organizations have feared.

The People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) on Wednesday asked law enforcement in Mercer County to investigate allegations of abuse at Murphy-Brown’s Badger-Wolf pig-breeding operation in northern Missouri. But PETA says it could not reveal who gave PETA the photos that captured the abuse, as the source of the information “is afraid of reprisals.”

Nowadays, when there's a killer heat wave or serious drought somewhere, people wonder: Is this climate change at work? It's a question scientists have struggled with for years. And now there's a new field of research that's providing some answers. It's called "attribution science" — a set of principles that allow scientists to determine when it's a change in climate that's altering weather events ... and when it isn't.

 

This is the fourth story in a series of stories by Harvest Public Media on food waste called Tossed Out: Food Waste in America.  

Grocery stores and restaurants serve up more than 400 billion pounds of food each year, but nearly a third of it never makes it to a stomach.

This is the third story in a series of stories by Harvest Public Media on food waste called Tossed Out: Food Waste in America.

The long line of semi-trucks waiting to get in the gates of the Farmland Foods plant could simply wait around for a few hours to head back, fresh products on board.

The trucks are loaded with hogs from several confinement operations near this factory in Milan, a small town in northeast Missouri. Within just 19 hours, those pigs will be slaughtered, butchered and boxed into cuts that consumers see in the grocery store and in restaurants.

But that effort will use only about half of the animal.

 

This is the second story in a series of stories by Harvest Public Media on food waste called Tossed Out: Food Waste in America. 

On a wet, grey day in Grinnell, Iowa, the rain beats a rhythm on the metal roof of a packing shed at Grinnell Heritage Farm. Crew member Whitney Brewer picks big bunches of kale out of a washing tank, lets them drip on a drying table and then packs them into cardboard boxes. 

Food waste weighing down U.S. food system

Sep 22, 2014
Pat Ayward / NET News

More from this series: Tossed Out – Food Waste in America

 

It’s a hot summer day outside of Lincoln, Neb., and Jack Chappelle is knee-deep in trash. He’s wading in to rotting vegetables, half-eaten burgers and tater tots. Lots of tater tots.

“You can get a lot of tater tots out of schools,” Chappelle says. “It doesn’t matter if it’s elementary, middle school or high school. Tater tots. Bar none.”

Chappelle is a solid waste consultant with Engineering Solutions & Design in Kansas City, Kan. Local governments hire his crew to literally sort through their garbage and find out what it’s made of. On this day, he’s trudging through Lincoln’s Bluff Road Landfill.

Missouri’s so-called right to farm amendment will be added to the state Constitution after a statewide recount confirmed the original election results. 

Missouri is the second state after North Dakota to enshrine the right to farm in its constitution -- a move meant to protect farmers and ranchers from legislation that would change or outlaw practices they use.

bottlerocketprincess / Flickr

Can there be too much of a good thing?

When money is concerned probably not, but corn on the other hand is certainly a yes.

farm
isnapshot / flickr

Missouri’s so-called right to farm amendment is expected to stand after preliminary recount results were posted on the Secretary of State’s website Friday. The controversial measure’s latest tally shows a slim change from the August primary results. 

Luke Runyon / Harvest Public Media

Local food is no longer just a novelty. Farmers markets are growing nationwide and farms that sell directly to consumers brought in $1.3 billion in 2012, up eight percent from just five years earlier.

The Great Depression saw the U.S. arguably near rock bottom. Some of the economically hardest hit citizens were farmers and their families. Beginning in 1935, photographers hit the dusty back roads of the country. They were charged with documenting the effect of the depression on rural communities.

Missouri is offering grants to help get more locally produced food into school meals and snacks.

Missouri dairy farmers are urging lawmakers to override Gov. Jay Nixon's veto of legislation authorizing financial incentives for their industry.

The dairy cattle incentives are included in two broader agriculture bills that Nixon vetoed because they would shift regulation of deer farms from the Conservation Department to the Agriculture Department.

The deer provisions have dominated the public debate about the bills.

But the Missouri Dairy Association says the proposed industry incentives are important to keep farmers from closing their dairy operations.

Farmers’ can anticipate a sharp drop in income this year, according to a new report from the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

In fact, the USDA predicts the $113 billion earned in 2014 will be the lowest amount of net farm income in five years. That’s equal to about a 14 percent fall from last year’s record amount, thanks mostly to a massive drop in crop prices.

There will be a statewide recount on the narrow passage of a constitutional amendment creating a right to farm in Missouri.

The secretary of state on Monday was officially certifying the results of Missouri's Aug. 5 primary elections. Those include the approval of Constitutional Amendment 1 by fewer than 2,500 votes out of nearly 1 million cast.

 

Late summer in the Midwest is tomato season. For tomato growers around that country, it’s time to pick their bounty and calculate their earnings.

Fishhawk via Flickr

The U.S. Department of Agriculture says Missouri farmers are on track to harvest record crops of corn and soybeans.

In an updated forecast Tuesday, the agency predicted Missouri's corn production this year will total 533 million bushels — the highest on record for the state and a 22 percent increase from last year.

Yields are now forecast at 160 bushels of corn per acre. The USDA said that would be the highest since 2004, when Missouri producers averaged 162 bushels per acre.

Corn
jungmoon / Flickr

Farmers will produce a record-breaking corn harvest this year, surpassing earlier expectations of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, which has revised upward its estimate of this year's corn harvest to 14 billion bushels.

That exceeds last year's 13.9 billion bushel record.

Soybean production also will set a new record at 3.8 billion bushels, beating the 2009 harvest of 3.4 billion bushels.

Kyle Stokes / KBIA

Looks like Missouri’s “Right to Farm” amendment was nearly killed by urban voters. After advocates like the Farm Bureau poured more than $1 million into ads, voters Tuesday narrowly approved the ballot measure by just one quarter of a percent.

Regional news coverage from the KBIA newsroom including:

  • Missouri Supreme Court cancels an execution and schedules a new one
  • Amendment 7 failed perhaps because of its placement on the August ballot
  • USDA predicts a record crop for Midwest farmers
  • Missouri will receive part of a $35 million settlement with Pfizer
Rastoney/Flickr

The nation's corn and soybean farmers are on track to produce record crops this year as a mild summer has provided optimum growing conditions.

Jessica Naudziunas / Harvest Public Media

Farmers and ranchers in southwest Missouri are being urged to monitor livestock after ergot, a fungus that can be deadly for cattle, has been spotted in several hayfields and pastures.

Sure, there's plenty you can do with leftovers: foist them on your office mates or turn them into casserole.

But if you're a big food waste generator like a hospital or a supermarket, your scraps usually go to the landfill to rot.

In Massachusetts, that's about to change, as the state prepares to implement the most ambitious commercial food waste ban in the U.S.

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