Agriculture

Kristofor Husted / KBIA/Harvest Public Media

 

Cotton fabric has been a staple in our closets for decades, but times are tough for farmers in the U.S. cotton belt who are caught in the middle of a storm of changing global demand.

Cotton acreage in the U.S. has been declining for years, with 2015 hitting the lowest mark in decades.  It has dropped from nearly 15 million acres to less than 9 million acres in just the past five years.

“One of the main issues facing the world cotton market is just a sluggish demand,” said Jody Campiche, vice president of economics and policy analysis at the National Cotton Council.

Amy Mayer / Harvest Public Media

 

 

Take a road trip through the Midwest during the growing season, and it feels like you’re moving through a sea of corn and soybeans grown largely for livestock feed or ethanol. But now, low grain prices and increasing pressure to clean up waterways may push some farmers to consider other options.

Corn and soybeans make up, incredibly, nearly 40 percent of what’s currently grown in 13 farm country states (Ohio, Michigan, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Indiana, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska and Colorado), according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.  So changes are likely to come slowly, if they come at all, and plenty of obstacles remain.

Marisanne Lewis-Thompson / for Harvest Public Media

 

Driving along rough and muddy gravel roads next to what was once a rich soybean field, farmer Adam Thomas gazes out on an upended mess of tubes, wheels and hoses from a nearby farmer’s irrigation system.

Nowadays, his farmland in Miller City, Illinois, looks like a scene from “Lawrence of Arabia.” Layer upon layer of sand as much as 4-feet deep covered nearly 100 acres. Large sand deposits, fallen trees and fragments of a damaged road wreaked havoc on his once fertile farm ground.

Kristin Bilyeu, a research molecular biologist for the United States Department of Agriculture’s Agricultural Research Service and an adjunct associate professor at the University of Missouri, has been researching soybean seed composition since 2003. Doug sits down with Bilyeu to discuss her research related to improving soybean oil quality.

Kristin Bilyeu, a research molecular biologist for the United States Department of Agriculture’s Agricultural Research Service and an adjunct associate professor at the University of Missouri, has been researching soybean seed composition since 2003. Doug sits down with Bilyeu to discuss her research related to improving soybean oil quality.

The Bradford Research Center has developed a closed-loop system where food waste from MU Campus Dining is converted into compost at the Research Center. Doug sits down with Tim Reinbott, who served as the Superintendent at Bradford from 2000-2015, to discuss how this system came about.

The Bradford Research Center has developed a closed-loop system where food waste from MU Campus Dining is converted into compost at the Research Center. Doug sits down with Tim Reinbott, who served as the Superintendent at Bradford from 2000-2015, to discuss how this system came about.

Insight is a production of the University of Missouri College of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources.

 

Grant Gerlock / Harvest Public Media

 

A major player in the U.S. ethanol market is filing for bankruptcy, following pressure from Midwest corn suppliers who say they’re owed millions of dollars and financial troubles for the Spain-based parent company at home.

 

Abengoa produces grain ethanol here in the Midwest and it also built a cellulosic ethanol plant in Kansas to make fuel from grasses and other bio-products. So-called advanced biofuel hasn’t truly hit the market and Abengoa’s financial trouble further stalls cellulosic fuel’s potential.

Doug sits down with Judy Wall, Curators Professor of Biochemistry, to talk about the harmful effects of methylmercury in the environment and the research that she and her colleagues have done in recent years to better understand the genetic composition of the neurotoxin.

Doug sits down with Judy Wall, Curators Professor of Biochemistry, to talk about the harmful effects of methylmercury in the environment and the research that she and her colleagues have done in recent years to better understand the genetic composition of the neurotoxin.

Luke Runyon / Harvest Public Media

 

The U.S. Department of Agriculture has reversed course on its organic certification of industrial hemp operations throughout the country.

A handful of hemp farms, including Colorado-based CBDRx, had secured or were in the process of securing, certifications from third-party auditors following a directive from the USDA's National Organic Program staff allowing hemp to be certified organic.

Alex Hanson / Flickr

 

Democratic presidential hopeful Sen. Bernie Sanders said Tuesday that he opposes federal measures that would bar states from requiring labels on food containing genetically modified ingredients.

The senator’s home state is also home to the nation’s first GMO labeling law, which is set to go into effect July 1. Kansas Sen. Pat Roberts, the Republican who serves as chair of the Senate Agriculture Committee, introduced a bill last week that would effectively bar states from enacting laws like Vermont’s and instead create a voluntary labeling system that food companies could opt-in to.

United States Department of Agriculture

If you’re unfamiliar with the show The Walking Dead, zombies (called "walkers" in the show universe) have taken over the landscape. Our cast of gun-toting survivors have been left holed up in a suburban compound surrounded by large walls.

This week, two main characters venture outside the compound on a scavenging mission equipped with a map to nearby agricultural supply stores.  Before they leave, a third character tells them to keep an eye out for sorghum. He says it will likely be untouched and it would make their farming situation “hunky dunky.”

A quick glance at Twitter and a few text messages from friends and family all asked me the same question: What is sorghum and why do our post-apocalyptic heroes -- and sometimes anti-heroes -- need it?

Peggy Lowe / Harvest Public Media

A referendum on raising the fees cattle farmers pay has cleared its first legal challenge, though a final court decision still remains weeks away.

A Cole County court has scheduled a hearing for March 21 on whether to halt the April election. Judge Patricia Joyce on Thursday declined to issue a temporary restraining order that would have stopped election preparations.

Insight – A Balanced Approach

Feb 17, 2016

Doug sits down with Peter Scharf, a professor in the Division of Plant Sciences and an MU Extension soil scientist, to talk about the financial and environmental benefits of area corn farmers using vehicle-mounted crop sensors to apply the precise amount of nitrogen to their fields.

Doug sits down with Peter Scharf, a professor in the Division of Plant Sciences and an MU Extension soil scientist, to talk about the financial and environmental benefits of area corn farmers using vehicle-mounted crop sensors to apply the precise amount of nitrogen to their fields.

 

Farm Income Declining in Region

Feb 11, 2016
farmland
File / KBIA

 The Federal Reserve says farm income continued to decline during the fourth quarter in Midwestern and Western states, so farmers are borrowing more.

But the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City, Missouri, said Thursday that bankers report few problems with farmers failing to make loan payments.

Farm income is down because prices have declined for cattle, soybeans, wheat and corn.

The value of farmland continues to decline. The value of non-irrigated land declined 4 percent in the fourth quarter, and irrigated land values slipped 2 percent from the previous year.

Doug sits down with Anne McKendry, an associate professor of wheat breeding and genetics in the Division of Plant Sciences. Since arriving at MU nearly 30 years ago, McKendry has become of the country’s most successful wheat breeders, heaving sent out several lines out to the Missouri and national markets – all of which have a very high resistance to the deadly Fusarium head blight fungus.

Doug sits down with Laura McCann, a professor of agricultural and applied economics, to talk about a unique field study she did a few years back and Columbia’s City Hall building in regards to toilet use in relation to human behavior and behavioral economics.

Doug sits down with Laura McCann, a professor of agricultural and applied economics, to talk about a unique field study she did a few years back and Columbia’s City Hall building in regards to toilet use in relation to human behavior and behavioral economics.

Courtesy Office of the U.S. Trade Representative

 

The U.S. is formally part of the biggest global trade partnership in history after the countries involved in the Trans-Pacific Partnership symbolically signed the deal in New Zealand. For President Obama, now comes the hard work.  

Twelve countries bordering the Pacific Ocean negotiated for years to hammer out the TPP. Though the deal is expected to open up new markets for American agricultural exports, especially soybeans and beef, it remains controversial.

Amy Mayer / Harvest Public Media

 

 

For almost a year, presidential candidates have been crisscrossing Iowa, wooing voters in a state that relies on agriculture for about one-third of its economy. But even here, most voters live in cities or suburbs and don’t have a first-hand connection to the farm.

The Greenley Research Center near Novelty, Mo., uses drainage water management in an effort to generate and regulate the amount of water in its fields. Kelly Nelson (left) and Dana Harder join Doug to discuss this system and how beneficial it has been at Greenley.

Insight is a production of the University of Missouri College of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources.

 

 

The Greenley Research Center near Novelty, Mo., uses drainage water management in an effort to generate and regulate the amount of water in its fields. Kelly Nelson (left) and Dana Harder join Doug to discuss this system and how beneficial it has been at Greenley.

 

Courtesy Bur-Wall Registered Holsteins

 

Once a generation, a diva is crowned. She earns a reputation for being independent, polished, fearless and of limitless talent, unreachable by us normal folk. After years of climbing the ladder, she claims her crown.

Holsteins of the world have their new queen, and her name is Gigi.

The monarch butterfly population has seen a decline in the last 20 years. Doug sits down with Dusty Walter, director of natural resources for the Agricultural Experiment Station and the superintendent of the Wurdack Research Center, to discuss what has led to that decline. Walter will also discuss what the University of Missouri College of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources Research Centers are doing to help support the monarch population.

Insight is a production of the University of Missouri College of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources.

Doug sits down with Peter Sutovsky. As a professor both of reproductive physiology and obstetrics, gynecology and women’s health, Sutovsky has devoted his career to researching the collective ties between the fertility issues that affect both humans and livestock animals. He will talk about some of those shared characteristics that has helped guide his research.

Doug sits down with Peter Sutovsky. As a professor both of reproductive physiology and obstetrics, gynecology and women’s health, Sutovsky has devoted his career to researching the collective ties between the fertility issues that affect both humans and livestock animals. He will talk about some of those shared characteristics that has helped guide his research.

Insight is a production of the University of Missouri College of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources.

 

    

    

The massive Trans Pacific Partnership, or TPP, trade deal could require some countries to accept more genetically engineered crops.

The TPP is the largest free trade agreement in history, and while not yet approved by Congress, includes the U.S. and 11 other countries along the Pacific Ocean. 

Here’s how genetically engineered crops figure into the equation:

Doug sits down and chats with Pat Market, professor of atmospheric science, about preparing for the upcoming winter weather. The two also discuss thundersnow, a snowstorm featuring thunder and lightning.

Pages