Agriculture

Agriculture
10:15 am
Thu December 6, 2012

How much is organic certification worth?

Schnuck’s produce manager Dave Guthrie says the store only carried two kinds of this organicgirl product back in 1995. Now, due to customer demand, they carry eight varieties of the organic Salinas County, Calif. greens.
Abbie Fentress Swanson/Harvest Public Media

The organic farming industry is booming. Since the U.S. Department of Agriculture launched its federal organic certification program in 2002, the number of organic farms has more than doubled. U.S. organic food sales have also grown from $1 billion in 1990 to $31.5 billion in 2011, according to the Organic Trade Association.  

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Agriculture
10:12 am
Wed December 5, 2012

Agriculture Sec. Vilsack: Farm Bill expiration affects exports

Ed Greiman, a cattle producer near Garner, Iowa, checks on his silage in this file photo.
Clay Masters for Harvest Public Media

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s latestOutlook for U.S. Agricultural Trade,” which was published on Nov. 29, forecasts American farm exports increasing and predicts they will come in at $145 billion in 2013. That's a 50 percent increase from 2009.

Such a high export number gave me pause, since the USDA is also predicting that in the coming year U.S. corn exports will be at a 40-year low because of a domestic corn shortfall caused by the drought.

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Agriculture
8:30 am
Mon December 3, 2012

Farmers hope five-year farm bill might put breaks on fiscal cliff

Credit File / KBIA

Missouri Farm Bureau delegates are gathering at the Lake of the Ozarks this week to set a lobbying agenda for the coming year.

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Agriculture
5:38 pm
Thu November 29, 2012

In the ag census even the smallest farms count

A head of broccoli ready to be picked in late November at Jones Produce near Crete, Neb.
Grant Gerlock Harvest Public Media

The U.S. Department of Agriculture updates its ag census every five years and is preparing to send farmers new surveys in December. One trend to watch is the growing number of small farms. They are easy to miss and some would rather not be counted.

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Agriculture
3:41 pm
Wed November 28, 2012

Christmas trees suffer through drought

Kris Kringle's Tree Farm owner Danny Moulds stands among the thousands of trees lost to the drought.
Credit Pat Blank / Iowa Public Radio

In the Dr. Seuss book, it was the Grinch who stole Christmas. But for some Midwest tree growers, it may be the drought that eventually steals the holiday.

Danny Moulds, who owns Kris Kringle’s Trees just north of Cedar Falls, Iowa, said the hot dry summer took a harsh toll on newly planted seedlings. “We did lose about 15,000 Christmas trees in a 46-acre farm,” Moulds said. “And with the fir trees we didn’t lose just the little ones we planted this year, we (also) lost last year’s.”

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Agriculture
4:53 pm
Tue November 27, 2012

Deer season a boost for business in Kirksville

Credit dishfunctional / Flickr

Northeast Missouri is popular this time of year for its deer hunting, but many local businesses worried the drought would have a negative effect on the deer population this year.

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Agriculture
3:30 pm
Mon November 26, 2012

Army Corps seeks public input on Table Rock Lake

Credit Christine Karim / Creative Commons

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers plans three meetings this week to hear the public's ideas for the future of Table Rock Lake.

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Agriculture
4:00 am
Fri November 23, 2012

Field Notes: Bearing witness to the Dust Bowl

Residents of Liberal, Kan. pose in gas masks in front of a Red Cross building in 1935. The masks were worn to protect their lungs from fine particles of blowing dust.
Courtesy kansasmemory.org, Kansas Historical Society

This is the latest installment of Harvest Public Media’s Field Notes, in which reporters talk to newsmakers and experts about important issues related to agriculture and food production.

For this edition of Field Notes, Harvest Public Media's Grant Gerlock spoke with Dayton Duncan, who wrote and co-produced the film "The Dust Bowl," which was directed by Ken Burns.

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Harvest Public Media
11:21 am
Thu November 22, 2012

The local-global food connection

“We need to produce as much to feed the world as we can, but also people like to eat locally grown foods, too, so there’s a case for both sides of agriculture,” says Greg Rinehart, a farmer in Boone County, Iowa.
Amy Mayer Harvest Public Media

The United States is the world’s leading producer and exporter of corn, which is used as livestock feed to support the increasing demand for meat in China, India and other countries with growing middle classes.

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Agriculture
4:07 pm
Wed November 21, 2012

Reports shows drought is getting worse

jetsandzeppelins Flickr

A new report shows that the nation's worst drought in decades is getting worse again, ending an encouraging five-week run of improving conditions.

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Agriculture
3:11 pm
Tue November 20, 2012

Drought spells tough times for US corn exporters

This 20-barge flotilla will be pushed by Ingram towboats from the Upper Mississippi River to the Gulf of Mexico before the corn and soybeans in the cover-top barges and the metallic ore and shredded rubber in the open barges will be exported overseas.
Abbie Fentress Swanson/Harvest Public Media

While the U.S. remains the world’s biggest supplier of corn, American farmers will lose a portion of the global corn market this year.

The Midwest drought devastated the normally robust corn harvest, which has led to higher corn prices and plummeting corn stocks. In a normal year, the U.S. exports more than 1 billion bushels of corn to markets worldwide, but with low domestic supply it’s a tough year for corn exporters – the USDA predicts U.S. corn exports will be at a 40-year low this year.

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Agriculture
3:15 pm
Fri November 16, 2012

Barging in on a global story

Harvest Public Media reporter Abbie Fentress Swanson pauses on the fourth floor of a tug pushing a load that's almost a quarter mile long down the Mississippi River.
Photo taken by Ed Henleben

I left my house in Columbia, Mo., at 5:30 a.m. Thursday to make it to the Ingram Barge Co.'s Upper Mississippi River office by 8:30 am. I knew the three-hour drive had been worth it when I pulled up to the barge company’s office because the sturdy grey structure actually sits IN the Mighty Mississippi. I walked across an anchor barge that doubles as a pedestrian bridge to enter the office and passed by the R. Clayton McWhorter, a 45-foot tall, 140-foot long towboat with four decks.

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Agriculture
2:00 pm
Wed November 14, 2012

MU veterinarian reports rise in equine pigeon fever

Nitzan Brumer FLICKR

The lengthy drought this past summer in Missouri not only affected crops, but it's affecting horses, too.

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Agriculture
3:54 pm
Thu November 8, 2012

Corn Belt Farmland: The Newest Real Estate Bubble?

This field is part of a 160-acre tract in Saline County, Mo., that sold for $10,700 per acre in February — double what it would have gone for five years ago.
Abby Fentress Swanson Harvest Public Media

Originally published on Thu November 8, 2012 5:02 pm

Howard Audsley has been driving through Missouri for the past 30 years to assess the value of farmland. Barreling down the flat roads of Saline County on a recent day, he stopped his truck at a 160-acre tract of newly tilled black land. The land sold in February for $10,700 per acre, double what it would have gone for five years ago.

Heading out into the field, Audsley picked up a clod of the dirt that makes this pocket of land some of the priciest in the state.

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Agriculture
11:25 am
Wed November 7, 2012

Will the defeat of Prop 37 lead to a national food labeling push?

A poster in support of Prop 37.
Nuclear Winter/flickr

California voters defeated Proposition 37 [PDF] on Tuesday night, the ballot measure that would have required labels to indicate the presence of genetically modified foods. At the polls, 53 percent of Californians voted against the proposition, while 47 percent voted for it. 

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Agriculture
12:27 pm
Tue November 6, 2012

South American farmers may benefit from US drought

With U.S. corn prices high thanks to the drought, some buyers are looking elsewhere for corn.
Rastoney/Flickr

Corn prices hit record highs this past August when they soared to over $8 a bushel, in large part because the drought hammering U.S. farms decimated corn stocks. Such prices were a windfall for Midwest farmers who actually had corn to sell. But could high corn prices hurt farmers if they drive buyers looking for cheaper grain and feed to South American farms?

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Agriculture
3:51 pm
Mon November 5, 2012

Missouri turkey hunters report bird population improvement

bbum Flickr

Missouri turkey hunters report taking nearly 8,500 birds last month, a 20 percent increase from October 2011.

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Agriculture
1:30 pm
Thu November 1, 2012

Investors angle for a piece of precious farmland

This field is part of a 160-acre tract in Saline County, Missouri that sold for $10,700 last year. Now this land is selling for around $13,000.
Abbie Fentress Swanson/Harvest Public Media

  Howard Audsley, who wears dark glasses and has his hair cut short in a crew cut, has been driving his Toyota truck through the state of Missouri for the past 30 years to assess the value of farmland. Barreling down the flat roads of Saline County, Mo., on a recent day, Audsley stopped his truck at a 160-acre tract of newly tilled black land. The land sold for $10,700 an acre last February, double what it would have gone for five years ago.

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Agriculture
5:12 pm
Wed October 31, 2012

Even in farm country, campaigns not focusing on farm policy

Kathleen Masterson Harvest Public Media

When Congress recessed for the election season without passing a new farm bill, many observers thought farmers would demand explanations as campaign trails blazed through small towns. But despite its importance in farm country, the farm bill and farm policy are largely being overshadowed by other campaign issues.

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Agriculture
10:09 am
Wed October 31, 2012

Why is farmland so expensive?

A clod of soil and some corn from some of the priciest land in Missouri: Saline County.
Abbie Fentress Swanson/Harvest Public Media

On Friday, I left the rolling hills of Columbia, Mo., and headed northwest, to the flat farmland of Saline County. The purpose of the drive was to get a look at the priciest cropland in Missouri for a story I'm doing on how investors with no connection to farmland are increasingly interested in buying acreage in the Midwest. I had heard from farmers and real estate brokers that cropland values were at all-time highs in the Corn Belt, and incredibly many of the tracts of land are being paid for in cash.

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Agriculture
10:08 am
Wed October 31, 2012

The priciest farmland in Missouri [infographic]

A screenshot of KBIA's interactive map
Charles Minshew KBIA

Each July, the University of Missouri Extension sends out a survey to lenders, rural land appraisers and real estate brokers in the state to get a sense of average values for farmland. This past year, the counties with the most valuable farmland in the state -- those that average more than $5,000 per acre -- include Stoddard, Butler, Mississippi, New Madrid, Pemiscot, Dunklin, Saline, Carroll, Chariton, Pettis, Howard, Boone, Audrain, Callaway, Cooper, Scotland, Clark, Lewis, Marion and Ralls. 

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Agriculture
8:23 am
Tue October 30, 2012

Hunters clash with Dept. of Conservation over Chronic Wasting Disease

File Image KBIA News

Missouri hunters disagree over The Department of Conservation’s actions to combat Chronic Wasting Disease, or CWD, a neurological disease that affects deer.

Many free-range hunters support the actions, yet some breeders and preserve operators say they are being unnecessarily targeted for the spread of CWD. Former President of the MO Big Game Association and preserve operator Sam James said the Department of Conservation is blaming CWD on them because they do not like gaming preserves.

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Agriculture
1:55 pm
Mon October 29, 2012

Hunters could help fight hunger

Missouri hunters can fight hunger this hunting season. The Missouri Department of Conservation and the Conservation Federation of Missouri sponsor the Share the Harvest program, which helps fight hunger by allowing hunters to donate their deer meat to approved meat processors. The meat is then distributed to several food banks and local food pantries and given to those in need.

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Agriculture
5:49 pm
Fri October 26, 2012

MU College of Agriculture receives grant for new laboratory

Illinois’ agricultural processing company Archer Daniels Midland, or ADM, has given one million dollars to the University of Missouri’s College of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources.

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Agriculture
12:44 pm
Fri October 26, 2012

Field Notes: Making the most of cover crops

The green shoots of young cover crops come up through corn residue on a field in Boone County, Iowa.
Amy Mayer/Harvest Public Media

This is the latest installment of Harvest Public Media’s Field Notes, in which reporters talk to newsmakers and experts about important issues related to food production.

For this edition of Field Notes, Harvest Public Media's Amy Mayer spoke with Tom Kaspar, a plant physiologist at the National Lab for Agriculture and the Environment, about the importance of cover crops in how our food is grown.

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Agriculture
3:29 pm
Thu October 25, 2012

Work progressing on Mississippi River projects

Missouri Flooding
Credit Tech. Sgt. Oscar Sanchez USDA / Flickr

Flood protection projects are progressing on both sides of the Mississippi River in southeast Missouri and southern Illinois.

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Agriculture
4:41 pm
Wed October 24, 2012

Roundup resistance leading to more chemicals, study finds

Water hemp in this soybean field was not killed by Roundup.
Bob Hartzler Iowa State University

Farmers and weeds are in a constant competition.

But with Monsanto’s introduction of Roundup herbicide and genetically engineered Roundup Ready crops in the mid-1990s, farmers gained a clear edge. The seeds, which were able to tolerate the herbicide, were adopted quickly. By 2011, more than 90 percent of soybeans and cotton, and more than 70 percent of corn were planted with Roundup Ready seeds.

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Agriculture
12:47 pm
Wed October 17, 2012

Boonville livestock auction barn to re-open next week

File Photo KBIA

Boonville’s livestock auction barn will re-open as the Missouri Valley Commission Company Tuesday, Oct. 23, under new ownership.

Jon Angell of Centralia owns the soon-to-be opened auction farm with his brother, Justin, and business partner, Mike VanMaanen.  Angell said with the previous owner, the company sold up to 60,000 head of cattle a year.

“There’s quite a need in this area to have a local barn for the cattlemen and farmers of the area to sell their livestock,” Angell said.

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Agriculture
11:21 am
Tue October 16, 2012

Favorable weather leads to good urban deer hunting season

File Image KBIA News

According to Missouri Department of Conversation, hunters had a good harvest in the urban firearms deer hunting season, which took place from Oct. 5 - 8.

This year’s urban deer hunt had a harvest of more than 1,100 deer statewide, almost double the figure from last year.

Joel Porath, wildlife regional supervisor for the Missouri Department of Conservation, said because the urban season is so short, the harvest is almost exclusively tied to weather.

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Agriculture
9:51 am
Tue October 16, 2012

The struggle to trace produce from farm to table

The 62-year-old trucker Del Smith has survived rodeos, Vietnam and an industrial accident in Texas. But he never expected he'd meet his next brush with death in this very truck by eating a cantaloupe he bought in July at an Illinois farm stand.
Abbie Fentress Swanson/Harvest Public Media

When he’s on the road, Del Smith’s home is his blue-and-silver 18-wheeler. The tidy cab has everything that Smith, who is a slight mustachioed man, needs for a long haul: a fridge for his iced tea, a bunk made with a blanket decorated with cowboy boots, a first-aid kit. In his 62 years of life, Smith’s survived near-death experiences riding rodeo, flying helicopters in Vietnam and, most recently, an industrial accident in Texas. He never thought his next brush with death would take place right here in his truck, after buying a cantaloupe in July from a Byron, Ill., farm stand.

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