Agriculture

Agriculture
6:24 pm
Fri February 22, 2013

Seed science pushes toward higher yields

Researchers at DuPont Pioneer’s facility near Des Moines, Iowa, test these varieties of corn.
Credit Amy Mayer / Harvest Public Media

At an open house at DuPont Pioneer’s Dallas Center Corn Research Center near Des Moines, Iowa, retired corn breeder Bill Ambrose marveled at the tools available today to do the job he did for nearly 40 years.

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Agriculture
6:10 pm
Fri February 22, 2013

Generic seeds could have a short lifespan

Potted soybean plants line the tables in a research greenhouse at the University of Nebraska Lincoln. Researchers are trying to understand the ways different genes control plant growth.
Grant Gerlock Harvest Public Media

The patent rights on the first genetically modified seeds expire next year, but it’s not clear how the introduction of “generic” seeds fits into the science and business of GM crops.

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Agriculture
5:54 pm
Fri February 22, 2013

Winter storm could provide some short-term drought relief in Missouri

Marshall Griffin/St. Louis Public Radio

Originally published on Fri February 22, 2013 4:57 pm

The winter storm that dumped several inches of snow and ice across much of Missouri may bring some short-term relief to the state’s drought conditions.


Kelly Smith is Director of Marketing and Commodities for the Missouri Farm Bureau.  He says the winter storm arrived on the heels of recent rain events, helping saturate the soil.


“This snow is gonna slowly melt into the ground," Smith said.  "We will get some runoff from it in some areas because they got a 10 to 13-inch snow…we had areas in our state as high as 13, maybe even 15, inches up in north of (the) Kansas City area.”

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Agriculture
4:13 pm
Wed February 20, 2013

The seeds of genetic modification

Researchers at Monsanto chart the progression of a corn plant over 10 weeks: seed, immature plant, callus, early shoot, shoots, early rooting and advanced rooting. Monsanto fills growth chambers reflecting diverse climate conditions with myriad seed samples.
Credit Amy Mayer / Harvest Public Media

The vast majority of the corn and soybeans in United States grow from seeds that have been genetically modified. The technology is barely 30 years old and the controversy surrounding it somewhat younger. But how did it even become possible?

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Agriculture
4:19 pm
Mon February 18, 2013

What does Europe’s horsemeat scandal mean for the US?

The U.S. Food Safety and Inspection Service tests the meat that ends up on dinner tables all over the country.
artizone/Flickr

Consumers in Europe are still shocked and paralyzed after learning that ready-made meals advertised as beef products – lasagna, hamburger, salami – actually contained horsemeat. Authorities are still unpacking the extent of the deception, but the case has already touched at least a dozen countries.

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Agriculture
4:26 pm
Mon February 11, 2013

Safety concerns threaten growing market for raw milk cheese

Some consumers consider raw milk cheese more nutritious because pasteurization hasn’t killed living beneficial organisms in the milk. But not pasteurizing milk can also allow harmful bacteria to live. Raw milk cheese has sickened more than 500 people in t
Abbie Fentress Swanson/Harvest Public Media

Raw milk cheese — which is made from unpasteurized milk — has gathered a small but fervent following for its taste, nutritional benefits and freshness.

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Agriculture
5:56 pm
Mon February 4, 2013

What the temporary POET plant closure means for Macon

President Barack Obama visited the POET plant in Macon in April 2010.
Credit File photo / KBIA

One of the largest economic engines in Macon, Mo. has temporarily halted production. High corn prices forced the Macon POET Biorefining’s ethanol plant to temporarily close.

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Agriculture
10:36 am
Mon February 4, 2013

Small Farmers Aren't Cashing In With Wal-Mart

Wal-Mart claims that 11 percent of the produce in its stores now comes from local farms.
Abbie Fentress Swanson Harvest Public Media

Originally published on Tue February 5, 2013 7:21 am

When Wal-Mart calls, Herman Farris always finds whatever the retailer wants, even if it's yucca root in the dead of winter. Farris is a produce broker in Columbia, Mo., who has been buying for Wal-Mart from auctions and farms since the company began carrying fruits and vegetables in the early 1990s.

During the summer and fall, nearly everything Farris delivers is grown in Missouri. That's Wal-Mart's definition of "local" — produce grown and sold in the same state. In winter, it's a bit tougher to source locally.

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Agriculture
1:05 pm
Fri February 1, 2013

Field Notes: How Wal-Mart's local foods push is playing out in the Midwest

A customer shops for produce at a Wal-Mart in Columbia, Mo. The retailer claims 11 percent of its produce sold in its stores nationally comes from local farms.
Credit Abbie Fentress Swanson/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.

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Agriculture
7:56 am
Fri February 1, 2013

Missouri ethanol plant to be idled due to high corn prices

Poet Biorefining's ethanol plant in Macon, Mo., looked greener back in April 2010. This file photo was taken the day President Barack Obama and Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack visited the plant.
Credit Photo courtesy of Poet Biorefining / KBIA

Seventeen ethanol plants nationwide have been idled since last June because of a scarcity of affordable corn due to the drought and a weak market for the corn-based fuel. On Friday, a plant in Macon, Mo., took the hit — and brought the number to 18. 

The northeast Missouri plant is temporarily halting operations as corn prices top $7 a bushel. It's one of 27 plants that Poet Biorefining owns nationwide, and was the first ethanol plant opened in Missouri in 2000. It has been producing 46 million gallons of ethanol per year since 2003.

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Agriculture
12:34 pm
Thu January 31, 2013

Now That Beef With Japan Is Over, Missouri's Economy Stands To Gain

Veronique LaCapra/St. Louis Public Radio

Originally published on Thu January 31, 2013 11:45 am

Japan's decision to ease restrictions on U.S. beef imports will provide a boost to the American meat industry, but tight supplies may limit how much exports can grow this year.

Beef producers hope to restore Japanese sales to where they were before the first case of mad cow disease was found in the United States in 2003.

Democratic Senator Claire McCaskill commended Japan’s decision to ease restrictions on U.S. beef imports, saying it will be a boost for Missouri's economy.

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Agriculture
12:07 pm
Wed January 30, 2013

Modernizing poultry inspection is no easy matter

Retired federal chicken inspector Phyllis McKelvey worked with Change.org and Whistleblower.org to gather signatures on a petition opposing the proposed new poultry slaughter rule. She delivered over 177,000 signatures to the U.S. Department of Agriculture office in Washington, D.C. last fall.
Credit Courtesy of Whistleblower.org

Retired federal inspector Phyllis McKelvey spent 44 years looking for blemishes and other defects on chicken carcasses. She started as an inspector’s helper, worked her way up, and in 1998, became part of a U.S. Department of Agriculture trial.

“I was one of the first group of inspectors ever put on HIMP,” she said in an interview from her home in north Alabama.

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Agriculture
4:26 pm
Mon January 28, 2013

Beef labeling rule is caught in bureaucratic limbo

Was that meat mechanically tenderized? Soon, a label might be required to let you know.

A new beef labeling rule that has the support of food safety advocates has been under review for months by the White House Office of Management and Budget.

The Kansas City Star reports that the U.S. Department of Agriculture has proposed requiring labels on steaks and other beef products that have been mechanically tenderized. The process uses automated needles or knives that can drive deadly pathogens deep into the interior of the meat.

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Agriculture
4:00 am
Mon January 28, 2013

Missouri next battleground state for GMO labeling

A 'No GMOs' label.
Timothy Valentine/flickr

When legislation mandating genetically-modified food labels was proposed in California, Oregon and Washington, I wasn't necessarily surprised. But the recent news that GMO labeling is being considered in Missouri was a little bit of a shock. The bill, Senate Bill 155, was sponsored by a Democratic senator from St. Louis named Jamilah Nasheed. If passed, it would go into effect on Sept.

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Agriculture
7:12 pm
Thu January 24, 2013

Drought takes head start into 2013

An aerial view of farmland affected by the drought in northeastern Colorado in July 2012. Green circles show irrigated crops next to yellowed, dryland wheat fields.
Lance Cheung USDA

 

2012 was a drought year for the record books. It was the warmest year ever recorded in Des Moines, IowaTopeka, Kan., and Columbia, Mo. and the driest ever in Grand Island, Neb. The question is whether 2013 will be any different.

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