The Affordable Care Act, often called “Obamacare,” takes a big step forward Oct. 1 when new health insurance marketplaces open for enrollment. Rural families are more likely to qualify for subsidized coverage, but reaching them to sign up will be part of the challenge.
This is an installment of the 2013 edition of My Farm Roots, Harvest Public Media’s series chronicling Americans’ connection to the land. Click here to explore more My Farm Roots stories and to share your own.
In 1986, Becky Doyle was helping her husband run the family’s hog farming operation. She also had a sidelight business of marketing gift baskets made from Illinois products. But that wasn’t enough: Doyle decided she would make a run for the Illinois House.
Howard Hill pulls his red Chevy pick-up truck up to a barn near Union, Iowa, that houses 1,000 of his hogs. In the truck’s bed is a 55-pound bag of Rumensin 90, a common antibacterial ingredient in cattle feed that helps reduce bloating. Pigs don’t eat it. Hill brought it here to dump into the manure pit under the hogs.
Hog producers and their veterinarians have a new tool to help with the fight against Porcine Epidemic Diarrhea Virus (PEDV).
The first cases of the fast-spreading disease in the United States were confirmed last spring, prompting researchers to leap into action. At this point, PEDV has been confirmed on nearly 600 farms in 17 states.
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.”
The farm bill is, once again, entering a critical stretch. As was the case last year, the current law expires at the end of September. There’s no election to dissuade elected officials from tackling the major piece of agriculture and nutrition policy—but Congress does have a pretty full plate, with the crisis in Syria, immigration reform and a measure to continue funding federal government programs all set to come to a head.
A federal judge has ruled that the meat industry must implement a new U.S. Department of Agriculture country-of-labeling rule, also known as COOL. The rule, which the USDA finalized in May, requires companies to label where animals were born, raised and slaughtered; and prohibits meat from two different animals from being comingled and sold in the same package.
When a new disease — known as PEDV —turned up in the U.S. hog industry in May and threatened to kill whole litters of piglets, the National Pork Board quickly responded with $450,000 in research funding.
Farmer Tim Smith stands by a creek that cuts through his property near the north-central Iowa town of Eagle Grove. He does several water quality conservation practices on his land including a bio-reactor, strip tilling and cover crops.
This summer, officials in Iowa have been asking farmers to voluntarily reduce the amount of fertilizer they use. That’s because the fertilizer contains nitrates that are being washed into state waterways and creating environmental concerns locally and nationally. The runoff has been particularly bad this year, and the outcry over typical crop practices is growing.