Agriculture

Clay Masters / Harvest Public Media

Several days of rain brought some relief to farmers in the nation's midsection as they contend with the worst drought in the U.S. in decades.

USGS / Wikimedia Commons

Attorneys for Premium Standard Farms and hundreds of northern Missouri residents have reached a settlement of lawsuits over odors from large hog operations.

Abbie Fentress Swanson/Harvest Public Media

Thousands of farmers from the heartland braved the 97-degree heat in Boone, Iowa on Wednesday for the 2012 Farm Progress Show.

A Missouri program to improve the water supplies of drought-stricken farmers could end up costing nearly 15 times the original estimate.

Gov. Jay Nixon announced a $2 million program a month ago in which the state would cover 90 percent of the cost for farmers to drill or deepen wells or expand their irrigation systems. But demand far exceeded expectations, and the governor expanded the program.

Abbie Fentress Swanson/Harvest Public Media

Brandt Dairy sits on Swan Creek at the end of a meandering gravel road in Linn, Missouri. The farm is bucolic with its twin silos, red barn and black-and-white Holstein cows. But the brown pastures, dry river bed and burnt corn fields are a reminder that there have been less than two inches of rain here in the last two months.

Jessica Naudziunas / Harvest Public Media

A former central Missouri man has been sentenced to nine years in federal prison for a pair of cattle fraud schemes that cost investors nearly $8 million.

Abbie Fentress Swanson/Harvest Public Media

Thirty-five farmers and agricultural workers applauded at the site of Missouri Sen. Claire McCaskill’s big blue RV pulling up to the back of AGRI Services on Wednesday. The campaign stop at the massive granary and fertilizer distributor on the banks of the Missouri River in Brunswick, Mo. is part of the Democratic incumbent senator’s "Fighting for our Farmers" project.

jetsandzeppelins / Flickr

Missouri has approved more than 4,900 requests from farmers for help in improving their water supplies amid Missouri's extreme drought.

The Missouri Department of Conservation has been working to rid its lands around the state of feral hogs.

Clay Masters / Harvest Public Media

Roy Pralle is an 85-year-old retired farmer from Latimer, Iowa. He spends most afternoons playing cribbage with other retired farmers at Dudley's Corner, a diner attached to a gas station in north-central Iowa.

Adam Allington / St. Louis Public Radio

A University of Missouri veterinary professor says farmers need to be careful when feeding drought-damaged corn to their livestock.

shattomilk.com

A northwest Missouri dairy has resumed operations less than a week after some of its products were recalled by the state Department of Agriculture.

Missouri's Milk Board on Tuesday reinstated the plant permit for Shatto Dairy of Osborn after tests showed its pasteurization process was working.

Agriculture officials temporarily suspended the dairy's operations Aug. 8 after test results showed some of its milk products may have been unpasteurized or improperly pasteurized.

drought farm field soybeans
Camille Phillips / Harvest Public Media

The recent break from Missouri's oppressive summer heat has done little to help crops and pastures.

In its weekly update, the Agricultural Statistics Service reported Monday that supplies of topsoil and subsoil moisture were just 1 percent adequate — with the 1 percent due to irrigation in southeastern Missouri.

Ninety-eight percent of pastures throughout Missouri were ranked in poor to very condition, and livestock producers are still coping with massive shortages of stock water.

Courtesy Jan Phillips

Ninety years ago this May, my grandfather, Ronald Merle Phillips, and his twin brother, Robert Earl, were born on a farm near Chetopa, Kan. His twin died of influenza before their second birthday, but my grandpa is still alive and well. To celebrate that fact, 150 family and friends gathered at the community center in Parsons, Kan. last month.

Sarah McCammon / Harvest Public Media

Craig Rowles grew up on an Iowa farm, and like a lot of farm kids, he’s done his share of heavy lifting.

“I know what that means to carry feed in 5-gallon buckets through the mud and through the snow and through the heat,” he said. “And I understand what it takes to try to keep animals alive in those extreme kinds of temperatures.”

Frank Morris / Harvest Public Media

It’s hot and dry out in western Kansas in a good year. South of Dodge City, the native grass is tough. So are the ranchers. But this year is not a good year.

Grant Gerlock / Harvest Public Media

Gov. Jay Nixon says Missouri officials have approved more than 3,700 applications totaling $18.7 million to help drought-stricken farmers and ranchers get more water.

The emergency program provides for the state to pay 90 percent of the cost of drilling or deepening a well or expanding an irrigation system. The state's match is capped at $20,000 per project.

Nixon announced the program in late June. Monday was the deadline for farmers and livestock producers to apply.

So says Brent Boydston, vice president of the Colorado Farm Bureau. Congress takes a 5-week break and meanwhile, the clock ticks down on the Farm Bill. It's Day 57 and our colleagues at Harvest Public Media are on the watch:

Drought affects Mo. elk herd

Aug 3, 2012
Missouri Department of Conservation

Drought and stressful moving conditions are killing off some reintroduced elk in the Missouri Ozarks.

dishfunctional / Flickr

Officials have scheduled a series of open houses in north-central Missouri to discuss a disease that's fatal to deer.

The Missouri Department of Conservation will hold six public meetings this month in towns near areas where chronic wasting disease has been found. The events will include presentations on the disease and actions that have been taken to prevent its spread.

Adam Allington / St. Louis Public Radio

Corn prices surged to a new record high on Monday, as the worst drought in more than 50 years continues to plague more than half the country.

Peggy Lowe / Harvest Public Media

Farmers growing crops have insurance to ward off the financial failure of their season during this terrible drought. But there’s no safety net like that in place for livestock producers. And any emergency aid is tied up in Washington politics.

The rock and the hard place where Stacey McCallister now sits looks like this:

Rock: McCallister’s herd of 200 dairy cattle in south central Missouri have feed for about the next 60 days.

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.”

Dragonflies migrate out of Missouri

Aug 2, 2012
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.

Farm Bill Countdown: Day 59

Aug 1, 2012

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.

USDA releases crops progress report

Jul 31, 2012
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.

drought farm field soybeans
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. 

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

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.

How big is the agritourism industry? [graphic]

Jul 27, 2012
agritourism chart
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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