8:55 am
Fri May 30, 2014

Republican Mo. Congressmembers to join push for "right to farm"

Credit wobble-san/Flickr

Several Missourians in the U.S. House are backing a proposed amendment to the state Constitution on farming.

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2:02 pm
Thu March 6, 2014

From Brooklyn to Boone County, and back again

Our Abbie Fentress Swanson (second from left) reported stories while hip-deep in water and on the road across the Midwest.
Credit Abbie Fentress Swanson/Harvest Public Media

When I was offered this job nearly two years ago, I jumped at the opportunity to move to Columbia, Mo., from Brooklyn, N.Y., to cover agriculture and food production in the Heartland.

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4:51 pm
Tue February 25, 2014

Missouri Farm Bureau holds annual Commodity Conference

Dan Manternack, Agricultural Services Director for Doane Advisory Services, speaks at Missouri Farm Bureau’s Commodity Conference and Legislative Briefing in Jefferson City on Tuesday Feb. 25. Missouri Farm Bureau holds the event yearly to inform farmers on farming issues and get them involved.
Credit Xiaosu Tian / KBIA

  The Missouri Farm Bureau’s annual Commodity Conference and Legislative Briefing brought over 200 Missouri farmers to Jefferson City Monday and Tuesday. Missouri Farm Bureau President Blake Hurst said the event is meant to help inform Missouri farmers of current issues in agriculture.

“Well we hope that they leave here both better prepared for the coming year to try and anticipate what the weather and markets might do, and also better informed about the policy issues that affect them, their farms and their local communities,” Hurst said.

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5:09 pm
Mon February 10, 2014

Columbia's Ronald McDonald House recieves food donations

Credit Hope Kirwan / KBIA

The Ronald McDonald House in Columbia received a donation of food from the Missouri Farm Bureau on Friday, February 7.

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8:13 am
Mon January 13, 2014

USDA figures show Missouri farmers grew more corn and soybeans last year

Credit Photo courtesy Andy Trupin

Missouri farmers appear to have grown more corn and soybeans last year than in 2012.

Figures from the U.S. Department of Agriculture show Missouri farmers produced an estimated 435 million bushels of corn last year, up 76 percent from 2012. Soybean production rose 25 percent to an estimated 197 million bushels.

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8:21 am
Mon December 30, 2013

MU seeks matching funds for teaching winery

Credit rustinpc / flickr

The University of Missouri  has raised half of the $3 million it needs to build a teaching winery.

The Columbia Missourian reports that the university now is seeking matching money from the state for the facility. Plans calls for a research building and wine and food education facility to be added in later phases.

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Science, Health and Technology
6:24 pm
Thu December 5, 2013

Scientists look for ways microbes can help farmers

Researchers at chemical company BASF are working to harness bacteria and microbes for beneficial purposes.
Credit Amy Mayer / Harvest Public Media

Farmers and scientists have long understood that what lives beneath the soil affects how crops grow. Often, they work to fight plant diseases—warding off infectious viruses and damaging fungi, for example. But now some microbiologists are focused on how to harness the good things microbes can do, with the goal of increasing farmers’ yields and diminishing their dependence on chemical inputs.

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2:47 pm
Mon December 2, 2013

Organic acreage continues its steady climb

Credit Flickr / Natalie Maynor

Walk into a grocery store these days and you’re likely to find whole sections devoted to organic foods. The organic label gives insight into how the food was produced, usually without the aid of synthetic chemicals, antibiotics and food additives.

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5:09 pm
Wed November 6, 2013

Rural areas face limited access to nutritious food

Credit File Photo / KBIA

Limited access to nutritious food is an issue facing rural communities in Missouri and the nation at large, according to University of Missouri specialists. 

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3:09 pm
Fri October 11, 2013

Government shutdown stops USDA data, leaves farmers guessing

Hog farmers are used to using vast amounts of USDA data to properly price their hogs, but the government shutdown has left them largely in the dark.
Credit Frank Morris/Harvest Public Media

Normally, Friday, Oct. 11, would be a big day for the commodity markets. The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s World Agricultural Supply and Demand Report is due, providing what is widely excepted to be the most trusted and complete snapshot of farm markets in the middle of harvest season.

But, with the government shut down the report is not coming out. In fact, farmers and ranchers aren’t getting any of the USDA information they rely on, and in this case, ignorance is not bliss.  

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3:04 pm
Wed September 25, 2013

House Speaker Tim Jones to go on agricultural tour

Credit /

Missouri House Speaker Tim Jones is planning a statewide tour that will focus on agricultural issues.

The Eureka Republican will make about a half-dozen stops Oct. 15-17 with visits to farms, agricultural products plants and bioenergy facilities. Jones wants to talk with farmers and gather information for the 2014 legislative session.

Communities on the schedule include California and Sedalia.

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9:11 am
Mon September 23, 2013

Columbia forum highlights conflict between consumers and farmers

Chipotle’s controversial animated “The Scarecrow” video, which casts a dim eye on industrial agriculture, was criticized during a panel discussion at the Food Dialogues event in Columbia, Mo.
Credit Jeremy Bernfeld/Harvest Public Media

The disconnect between consumers wanting to know more about where their food comes from and farmers producing that food is nothing new to Harvest Public Media.

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8:54 am
Mon September 16, 2013

USDA projects 'flash drought' will lower crop yields

Credit Camille Phillips / Harvest Public Media

The driest August across northern Missouri since 1984 has the United States Department of Agriculture revising crop yield projections downward for the upcoming harvest.  In addition, a continued drought plagues the northern part of the state, with 20 counties affected by what the National Weather Service calls a “severe drought”.

“Drought has and always will be a part of the Missouri landscape,” said University of Missouri Climatologist Pat Guinan.  However, he characterizes the last few weeks as a flash drought, and a “drought on steroids.”

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12:00 pm
Tue August 27, 2013

Environmental group says drought losses avoidable

Farmer and rancher Gabe Brown in North Dakota cups a spade of his healthy soil.
Credit Credit Chad Sawyer/The SAWYER Agency (Courtesy of NRDC)

Farmers across the country received more than $17 billion in federal crop insurance payouts after last year’s drought. A report released on Tuesday by an environmental group blames farmers for not doing enough to shield the soil against the heat. 

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5:35 pm
Thu August 22, 2013

Farmers look to do more with less water

Tom Trout, a researcher at the U.S. Department of Agriculture who focuses on efficient and effective irrigation methods, checks sunflowers on a USDA research plot in Weld County, Colo.
Credit Luke Runyon / Harvest Public Media

The future of agriculture across the Great Plains hinges on water. Without it, nothing can grow.

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7:35 am
Mon August 19, 2013

MU Extension warns of danger to crops

Credit USDA

The University of Missouri Extension is warning that recent wet weather increases the chances of diseases developing in corn and soybeans.

Agronomy specialist Jill Scheidt says rain carries funguses in the air, making it easier for the funguses to spread. She says diseases like rust, gray leaf spot, northern corn leaf blight, brown spot, crazy top and stalk and ear rots develop best in wet and humid conditions.

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Health & Wealth Update
3:18 pm
Wed August 14, 2013

A postcard from the Missouri State Fair

Marlys Peck and her family have sold corn dogs on under this tree at the Missouri State Fair since 1972. At the time, the dogs cost 50 cents, Marlys's father Earl said.
Credit Harum Helmy / KBIA News

This week for the show, I went to the Missouri State Fair and all you’re getting is this audio postcard.

First, I talked to Marlys Peck, who, along with her family, has been selling corn dogs at the fair for more than 41 years. Every year, Peck and her parents spend the state-fair week under the same tree near the historic Womens Building. 

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6:20 pm
Mon August 12, 2013

Vilsack Says Immigration Reform Critical For Agriculture

Originally published on Mon August 12, 2013 2:54 pm

Comprehensive immigration reform is critical to sustaining the Midwest’s role as a global leader in agriculture.

That’s the message from U.S. Department of Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack.

Vilsack told St. Louis Public Radio today that moving forward with the immigration reform plan recently passed by the U.S. Senate is key to retaining international talent that comes to this country to study in the plant sciences.

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10:14 am
Mon August 5, 2013

WTO ruling could boost US chicken exports

Last year, the US poultry industry exported a record 8.1 billion pounds of chicken, including chicken feet, which are considered a delicacy in China.
Credit Credit: DanBruell/Flickr

The nation’s poultry industry exported a record 8.1 billion pounds of chicken last year, according to the USA Poultry and Egg Export Council. But a recent decision from the World Trade Organization in the latest skirmish between the US and China could drive up that number dramatically. It’s the latest volley in the export battle between the world’s top two economic superpowers.

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8:17 am
Tue July 23, 2013

Agriculture Secretary pushes for farm bill

U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack says farm and nutrition policy belong together in a food, farm and jobs bill.
Credit Amy Mayer / Harvest Public Media

U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack is continuing to push Congress to send a farm bill to President Obama’s desk. And he says dwindling farmer numbers mean coupling agricultural policy with nutrition programs is essential.

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7:27 am
Mon July 22, 2013

Farm, safety groups oppose sale of Smithfield Foods

A coalition of farm and food safety groups wants federal regulators to quash the proposed sale of Smithfield Foods to a Chinese conglomerate in what would be the largest such takeover of a U.S. business.

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that the 17 groups are asking the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States to oppose the pork processor's sale to Shuanghui International Holdings Ltd.

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4:57 pm
Thu July 18, 2013

Food hubs try to grow local farms

Marty Travis, right, started the Stewards of the Land food hub in 2005. His son Will, left, helps him transport food from local farms to area restaurants.
Credit Sean Powers for Harvest Public Media

Restaurants across the country have jumped on the local food bandwagon. They’re trying to source more of their produce from nearby farms, but it's not easy. Enter: Food hubs.

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8:43 am
Tue July 16, 2013

What the 'farm-only' House farm bill means for nutrition programs

Credit Selbe B / flickr

The U.S. House of Representatives has passed its version of the farm bill, a version that excludes funding for nutrition assistance programs nationwide.  But most analysts believe the Democrat-controlled Senate won’t approve a version that does not include funding for programs like food stamps. 

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7:13 am
Fri July 12, 2013

House passes farm-only farm bill

Many farmers are resigned to being unable to depend on rock-solid federal farm policy.
Credit Frank Morris / Harvest Public Media

The U.S. House passed its version of farm bill legislation Thursday. The revamped bill strips out funding for food aid and deals only with farm policy, exposing a hefty rift in decades-old alliances between urban and rural legislators and between food aid and farm policy interests.

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8:15 am
Wed July 10, 2013

Midwestern hog farmers contend with outbreak of porcine virus

Credit Jacob Fenston / KBIA

Hog farmers across the Midwest are battling a new virus this summer. It’s often fatal in very young piglets, and researchers are still trying to explain the outbreak.

Since mid-May, when Porcine Epidemic Diarrhea Virus or PEDV was first identified in this country, it has spread quickly, turning up in 15 states. Over 218 pigs have been diagnosed.

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7:50 am
Mon June 24, 2013

AgriMissouri conference comes to Jefferson City next month

Credit USDA

An agriculture conference in Jefferson City next month will include sessions about marketing, organizing a business and hiring employees.

The Missouri Department of Agriculture says the 2013 AgriMissouri Conference is scheduled for July 21-23. The event will feature panel discussions, speakers and workshops for individuals and businesses operating at farmers' markets, on the farm and through storefronts.

Attendees also will get the chance to visit several agritourism operations, including bed-and-breakfasts and wineries.

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7:27 am
Mon June 24, 2013

'Animal trespass' bill proposed

Credit Hilary Stohs-Krause / NET

A cattle producers' group wants Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon to sign legislation relaxing potential penalties when livestock get loose.

Livestock producers currently can be charged with misdemeanor animal neglect if they fail to provide adequate care or control resulting in substantial harm to an animal.

A bill pending before the governor would apply the animal neglect charge only to inadequate care — not poor control.

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8:34 am
Mon June 3, 2013

New MU website helps farmers track rainfall and nitrogen loss

Credit Adam Allington / St. Louis Public Radio

A University of Missouri plant scientist has launched a website that allows crop producers to track rainfall and the risk of nitrogen loss during the spring seasons. 

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8:51 am
Wed May 8, 2013

It's tough going right now for Missouri, Illinois corn growers

(via Flickr/Dodo-Bird)

Originally published on Wed May 8, 2013 7:54 am

Farmers in Missouri, Illinois and much of the Midwest are having a tough time getting their corn planted.

The US Department of Agriculture says in Illinois just 7 percent of the corn crop is in the ground; while in Missouri it’s 22 percent.

Usually, nearly half of the nation’s corn has been planted by this time.

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9:00 am
Mon March 4, 2013

Exploring our global food system at the Natural History Museum

“Our Global Kitchen: Food, Nature, Culture,” on view now at the American Museum of Natural History, explores how our food is produced, distributed and eaten.
Mansoor Khan for Harvest Public Media

Can a watermelon be grown in the shape of a square? What do Olympic athletes like Michael Phelps eat for breakfast? Which island nation produces the most lamb in the world? Consumers interested in pulling back the curtain on our food system will get these and many other questions answered at “Our Global Kitchen: Food, Nature, Culture.” The exhibition, on view now at the American Museum of Natural History, explores how our food is produced, distributed and eaten.

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