Agriculture

Transportation
8:13 am
Thu August 2, 2012

Nixon says state observing river levels for shipping

The Missouri River near Rocheport, Mo.
aimeeorleans flickr

Governor Jay Nixon (D) says his administration is keeping tabs on river levels along the Missouri and Mississippi as drought conditions persist across the state.  He indicates that the Missouri River may be in worse shape.

“I think that the challenges on the Missouri are a little more significant than the Mississippi," Nixon said at a gathering Wednesday in Jefferson City.  "Minnesota has had a fair amount of rain in that part of the country, but we’re watching those issues very carefully.”

Agriculture
8:04 am
Thu August 2, 2012

Dragonflies migrate out of Missouri

Bob Gillespie
Jacob McCleland KRCU

Migratory dragonflies are leaving Missouri and Illinois for areas further south. It’s part of these great travelers' annual migration pattern.

The Wandering Glider and Spot-winged dragonfly typically pass through the region in July. By early August, they are on their way out.

Bob Gillespie is a natural history biologist at the Missouri Department of Conservation. He says, up until a few year ago, scientists knew very little about how they migrate.

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10:39 am
Wed August 1, 2012

Farm Bill Countdown: Day 59

Lead in text: 
It's August now and the Farm Bill will expire September 30th. Without a stable, federal policy on US agriculture, farmers are going to have a difficult time planning for the future. Our colleagues at Harvest Public Media are bringing us daily updates on the political wrangling that may or may not bring us the new legislation farmers need. We'll bring you these daily updates as we get them.
Facing the prospect of heading back to angry drought-ravaged farmers and ranchers during Congress’ August Recess, House Republicans stopped work on contentious farm bill legislation and started pushing a drought assistance bill.
Agriculture
5:29 pm
Tue July 31, 2012

USDA releases crops progress report

CraneStation Flickr

According to the USDA's crops progress report, which was released on Monday, in Missouri, 83 percent of the corn acreage and 72 percent of soybeans are in very poor or poor condition. Both figures are the worst for any major agricultural state. Optimism for a good corn yield is dwindling, but Southeast Missouri State University’s Michael Aide says there is still hope for soybeans.

Agriculture
8:19 am
Tue July 31, 2012

Missouri farmers, ranchers continue to apply for water help

Irrigation waters a field of soybeans at Bradford Research Center outside Columbia, Mo. on August 12, 2012.
Camille Phillips Harvest Public Media

As cattle were auctioned off at the Joplin Regional Stockyards, Governor Nixon met over coffee Monday at the stockyard’s café with local ranchers and farmers.  He listened to their stories about how the emergency water cost-share program has helped them and gave them an update on the program. 

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Intersection
5:15 pm
Mon July 30, 2012

The drought and its impact

Watch the show and join the conversation on the Intersection website.

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Floods
8:31 am
Mon July 30, 2012

Mo. county denied compensation for flood damage

The Birds Point-New Madrid Floodway after it was flooded.
U.S. Army Corps of Engineers

A southeast Missouri county has been told it won't be getting any money for damage caused by the activation of the Birds Point-New Madrid Floodway last year.

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Agriculture
6:00 pm
Fri July 27, 2012

How big is the agritourism industry? [graphic]

The impact of agritourism
Camille Phillips Harvest Public Media

Fully understanding the potential of agritourism in the Midwest and the country as a whole is hampered by two factors: the lack of an official definition of agritourism and the limited amount of economic data available.

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Agriculture
1:32 pm
Fri July 27, 2012

My Farm Roots: Making a home, out on the ranch

Nan Gardiner (front) with her husband Henry in Ashland, Kan.
Peggy Lowe Harvest Public Media

It’s not every day that a trip to the drug store can change your destiny.

For 20-year-old Nan Arnold, it was a day in 1956 in Ashland, a small, dusty dot on the open range of western Kansas near the Oklahoma border.

Nan had landed her first job as a music teacher at the Ashland school just a year before. She lived with the store’s owner because her parents thought she was too young to live alone.  

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Agriculture
1:25 pm
Fri July 27, 2012

Paying to do farm chores? It's called agritourism [slideshow]

Agritourism businesses in the Midwest come in many forms, everything from pick-your-own berry fields to animal barns.
Camille Philips Harvest Public Media

Picking fruit, tasting wine, petting a goat, roping a cow. When customers pay for the honor of taking on such farm chores ... or delights … it’s called “agritourism.”

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Drought
8:13 am
Fri July 27, 2012

Intense demand prompts Nixon to announce more water funding for farmers

(via Flickr/KOMUnews/Malory Ensor)

Originally published on Thu July 26, 2012 4:16 pm

More money is being put into an emergency program to aid farmers and ranchers battling water shortages in Missouri.

Governor Jay Nixon (D) has added $5 million to the $2 million set aside for crop and livestock producers who want to drill new wells or deepen existing ones during the ongoing drought.  More than 600 applications have been sent in since the program’s announcement on Tuesday.

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Agriculture
5:34 pm
Thu July 26, 2012

Drought puts cows in Midwest at risk of nitrate poisoning

Junior Roberts’ cows near Billmore, Missouri, are lucky. The grass they’re grazing on just tested negative for high levels of nitrate. But Roberts says he’s not through testing his 1,400 acres, and he knows that many farmers are selling off their herds rather than pay for alternative foods for their cattle.

“You’d be better off to sell them then to turn them in on a field where they’re gonna lay down and die,” he says. “It’s a problem if that’s all they’ve got left to eat and it’s poison. It ain’t gonna do them no good. You’re gonna lose them plum completely.”

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Agriculture
8:06 am
Thu July 26, 2012

Mo. village offers free water to fight grass fires

Jenn Durfey flickr

Farmers and other property owners in a southwestern Missouri village are being offered free water to fight grass fires amid continuing heat and drought.

KOLR-TV reports the Lawrence County village of Freistatt announced plans Wednesday to provide water to anyone living within a three-mile radius. Those taking advantage of the offer must have a portable tank to hold 3,000 to 5,000 gallons.

The water can be used only to prevent or fight grass fires.

Agriculture
5:51 pm
Tue July 24, 2012

More water, faster for farmers under state drought measures

Grant Gerlock Harvest Public Media

As the dry conditions and excessive heat continue to bear down on Missouri, Governor Jay Nixon was in Springfield Tuesday to announce emergency assistance for farmers who need access to water.

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Agriculture
4:19 pm
Tue July 24, 2012

Army Corps to restore Birds Point-New Madrid floodway to original height

The Army Corps of Engineers announced Tuesday that it will restore the Birds Point-New Madrid Floodway to its original height by the end of this year.

The Mississippi River Commission made the decision last week, according to Army Corps spokesperson Jim Pogue: “Our level of confidence in our ability to finish this work this year is real high. We’ve had good weather, good river stages and assuming that the contractor continues to make good progress and our other work in the confluence area goes well, we’ll be right on track.”

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Agriculture
6:08 pm
Fri July 20, 2012

Nixon seeks to allow Mo. farmers to graze animals

KBIA File Photo

Gov. Jay Nixon is urging Missouri soil and water districts to allow farmers to briefly graze their animals on livestock exclusion areas.

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Agriculture
3:39 pm
Fri July 20, 2012

My Farm Roots: When you hail from farm country, roots run deep

Kate Edwards grew up helping her grandfather on his farm. Those memories are part of what spurred her to start her own farm.
Andrea Silenzi Harvest Public Media

This is the first installment of My Farm Roots, Harvest Public Media’s new series chronicling Americans’ connection to the land.

Kate Edwards hasn’t always been a farmer. No, she came back to the farm after college, grad school and a stint as an environmental engineer.

Now, she farms a small one-acre plot near Solon, Iowa. On her small farm, she feeds 30 families through a Community Supported Agriculture project, a CSA. Edwards was drawn back to farming, she says, because of family memories.

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Agriculture
8:55 am
Fri July 20, 2012

Engineers check on reconstruction following floods last year

USACE Public Affairs Flickr

The Army Corps of Engineers visited Cairo, Illinois on yesterday to check on reconstruction projects following last year’s devastating floods. The Corps will invest more than $100 million toward flood protection systems at the confluence of the Ohio and Mississippi Rivers.

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Agriculture
5:36 pm
Wed July 18, 2012

Heat stress? Now there's a cow app for that

The Thermal Aid mobile app, on an iPhone.
Scott Pham KBIA

When a cow is stressed from the heat, it affects a producer’s bottom line. The animal eats less, meaning less mass in beef cattle. For dairy farmers, the hurt comes in the form of a 10 to 20 percent loss in milk. Researchers at the University of Missouri think we can change this trend by putting information in the hands of producers. They’ve built a tool that can detect the threat of heat stress in specific animals before it starts.

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Agriculture
5:15 pm
Wed July 18, 2012

Hoop barns becoming more common in Midwest

Brent Bryant, managing director of Beef Hoop Systems, keeps cattle under a hoop barn at his company's research farm
Rick Frederickson for Harvest Public Media

Crops are not the only things wilting in the sweltering summer of 2012; cattle, the largest animals, on the farm are also under stress.

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Agriculture
12:42 pm
Tue July 17, 2012

Entire state of Mo. now federal agricultural disaster area

Originally published on Tue July 17, 2012 4:29 pm

Updated with comments from McCaskill conference call.

The entire state of Missouri is now a federal agriculture disaster area.

Seventeen of the state's counties, mostly in the Bootheel, had already received that declaration. Today's announcement from the U.S. Department of Agriculture extends that declaration to the other 97 counties and the city of St. Louis.

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Agriculture
8:23 am
Tue July 17, 2012

Mo. governor to tour drought-stricken areas

Governor Jay Nixon
File Photo KBIA

Gov. Jay Nixon is traveling the state to survey damage from Missouri's hot, dry summer.

Nixon planned to meet with farmers and local officials Tuesday in Lewis County in northeast Missouri, in Atchison County in northwest Missouri and in Polk County in southwest Missouri. The governor is to be joined by the state's agriculture director.

Agriculture
9:18 am
Mon July 16, 2012

Mo. officials use Facebook to share drought info

Kecko Flickr

Missouri agriculture officials are using social media to share information about this summer's lack of rain, extreme heat and wildfires.

The University of Missouri Extension is encouraging people and groups to post on a Facebook page devoted to the drought. It's the latest effort to use Facebook to respond to disasters.

Facebook pages also were set up after last year's flooding and the tornados in Joplin and Branson.

Agriculture
9:09 am
Mon July 16, 2012

Missouri's elk population settling in

A juvenile elk - one of the first to be held in Missouri.
Missouri Department of Conservation

Missouri’s elk population appears to be settling into their new home state, according to state conservation officials.

Dr. Joseph Millspaugh updated the Missouri Conservation Commission Friday on the state’s elk herd, which he said seems to be doing well.

“Evidence of survival rates [and] reproductive rates that are average to high, we see diet quality certainly within the range of what we would expect…the stress response:  nothing there that is indicative of a problem,” said Millspaugh.

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Agriculture
2:34 pm
Fri July 13, 2012

Crop duster plane crashes in Randolph County

A crop duster plane has crashed in north-central Missouri, killing the pilot.

The Columbia Daily Tribune reports that the crash occurred Friday morning in Randolph County when the small plane crashed into a corn field north of Huntsville.

Randolph County Sheriff Mark Nichols says the victim's name hasn't been released.

Nichols says a witness told deputies the small plane appeared to have clipped a tree top before crashing.

Agriculture
9:25 am
Fri July 13, 2012

Farmers talk drought at MU field day

Irrigation waters a field of soybeans at Bradford Research Center outside Columbia, Mo. on August 12, 2012.
Camille Phillips Harvest Public Media

Missouri is in the midst of the worst drought since 1988 – that was the buzz on the MU campus yesterday, as more than 200 farmers and researchers gathered for the annual Pest Management Field Day. Although they came to learn about the latest research on pesticides and herbicides, conversation frequently turned to the bone-dry conditions on Missouri's farms.

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Agriculture
11:09 am
Thu July 12, 2012

The Man Who Roped Investors Into A Cattle Con

Sheriff Charlie Polson, who runs a bare-bones police force in Fayette, Mo., kept a handwritten list with the names of the people across several states who raised an alarm about Kevin Ray Asbury.
Jessica Naudziunas for NPR

Originally published on Thu September 8, 2011 9:37 pm

What do you get if you combine the Ponzi-scheme of Bernie Madoff with a wily Midwestern rancher?

While Madoff's mastermind plan was becoming clear in New York, out in tiny Howard County, Mo., there was another crook who was swindling dozens of farmers across the country.

For two years, mustachioed and smooth-talking Kevin Ray Asbury ran a racket that went a little something like this: He lured customers with top-shelf Angus cattle. They would buy into the herd, or sell their own for breeding.

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Agriculture
5:53 pm
Wed July 11, 2012

The lasting heritage of the Homestead Act

Kendall Hodgson, left, and Ed Hodgson, first cousins, in front of the Hodgson homestead near Little River, Kan.
Peggy Lowe Harvest Public Media

LITTLE RIVER, Kan. – Before this town was here, before the railroads were here, before a post office was here, the Hodgsons were here.

In 1871, Hannah and Henry Clay Hodgson moved into a one-room dugout on the banks of the Little Arkansas, their view an Indian camp on the other side of the river. They arrived in central Kansas in November, in the midst of a blizzard, and it took them three days from the train stop in Salina to get the 60 miles south to this outpost.

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Agriculture
4:25 pm
Wed July 11, 2012

USDA streamlines drought disaster assistance

bionicteaching Flickr

The U.S. Department of Agriculture is streamlining the process for farmers to apply for government disaster help as crops in many states burn up in the widest drought in nearly 25 years.

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Agriculture
4:25 pm
Tue July 10, 2012

Drought conditions prompt disaster declaration request

Originally published on Tue July 10, 2012 1:27 pm

Gov. Jay Nixon has asked the federal government to declare 114 Missouri counties agriculture disaster areas because of drought conditions.

Nixon's office says in a release that if the counties are designated as agriculture disasters, farmers in those counties would be able to receive assistance from the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Farm Service Agency. The federal aid would also include emergency loans for losses to crops and livestock from the ongoing drought.

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