Agriculture

Grant Gerlock / Harvest Public Media

CENTRALIA, Mo. (AP) — Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon is planning to hold a summit to brainstorm ways to beef up the state's cattle industry.

Nixon announced the summit during a Wednesday visit with Future Farmers of America members at Centralia High School. It's meant to find ways to expand the industry and spur economic development in rural Missouri.

Crop-dusting pilots are the adrenaline junkies of the agriculture world. They whiz through the air, flying under power lines to sow seeds or spread pesticides on farmers' fields.

It's a dangerous job, and now these pilots are facing a new challenge — short towers that can sprout up in fields overnight. These towers are used to gather data for wind energy companies.

Goats are having a moment, and we're not just saying that because our blog is called Goats and Soda.

There are nearly 900 million goats in the world today, up from 600 million in 1990. The reason for this goat spurt is the growing popularity of goat cheese, goat milk and goat meat.

Kristofor Husted / Harvest Public Media

  On this week's Under the Microscope, traffic jams caused by a large harvest. 

Kristofor Husted / Harvest Public Media/KBIA

 

For the Midwest’s biggest crops, this harvest season was a big one. With winter setting in, the race is on for farmers to ship out their harvest so it’s not left out to spoil. But the giant harvest and a lack of available rail cars have created a traffic jam on the rails and the highways.

Usually, famers store their harvest in silos and grain bins, but this year, farmers brought in so much, there’s just no room.  Farmers in Missouri, Indiana, Illinois and South Dakota are all being hit particularly hard by the storage shortage.

Flickr / Natalie Maynor

More cities want to take eating local food from just a hip trend to an economic generator, but as in many grassroots movements, there can be some growing pains along the way. Northern Colorado advocates are trying a new model to spur growth and they’re borrowing ideas from the tech sector.

COLUMBIA, Mo. (AP) — The state has issued a permit for a large hog-breeding farm in central Missouri that had been strongly opposed by neighbors.

 

The permit from the Missouri Department of Natural Resources will allow Callaway Farrowing to build a farm raising 10,000 hogs on 20 acres in western Callaway County near Kingdom City.

 

Neighbors held meetings in opposition of the farm and submitted a petition with 1,400 signatures asking the state to reject it.

People live for — and die because of — the "Viagra of the Himalayas."

That's the nickname for one of the weirdest fungi around.

It starts with the larva of the ghost moth — a caterpillar that lives underground. A fungus invades the larva, kills it and consumes the body. Just the outer skeleton remains.

Eventually, a small brown stalk erupts from the dead caterpillar's head. In the spring, the pinkie-size stalk pokes an inch or two from the earth. That's when people across the Tibetan Plateau head to the high-alpine meadows to harvest the crazy-looking creature.

Mike Lee

Mike Lee steers his plane over the Missouri-Arkansas state line, checking out a checkerboard of green and brown fields of rice, cotton, corn and soybeans. Lee is the owner of Earl’s Flying Service, a crop dusting business in Steele, Mo., and he’s scouting some farm fields that his pilots will treat later in the day.

wobble-san/Flickr

After jumping up in value over the past few years, farmland in many of the Plains states has slowed down in its appreciation.

A bumper crop, cheap prices for grain, and the lowest predicted farm income in five years have all taken a swipe at the value of farmland. Overall, states in the region, including Nebraska, Kansas, Missouri and Colorado, have farmland value hovering about 1 to 2 percent above its worth this time last year.

Amy Mayer / Harvest Public Media

The Missouri Department of Natural Resources held a public hearing last night at Hatton-McCredie Elementary School to allow residents of Callaway County to bring up concerns about a controversial hog farming operation. 

Frank Morris/Harvest Public Media

Callaway Farrowing is looking to build a facility that would bring 10,000 hogs to Callaway County.

The Iowa-based industrial livestock feeding operation filed an application for the facility to the Missouri Department of Natural Resources on July 31, 2014. Family farmers and members of the group Friends of Responsible Agriculture met Wednesday to discuss their concerns with the proposal. Lifelong farmer Terry Spence said the meeting at the Missouri Rural Crisis Center in Columbia identified environmental issues resulting from corporate farming operations.

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.

Tax Credits / Flickr

 

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.

Couresy PETA

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.

Kristofor Husted / Harvest Public Media/KBIA

 

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.

Peggy Lowe / Harvest Public Media

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.

Amy Mayer / Harvest Public Media

 

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.

wobble-san/Flickr

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.

Carl Mydans / Library of Congress

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.

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