Agriculture

Agriculture
5:30 pm
Thu March 6, 2014

How climate change could benefit some invasive plants

Ellen Nelson has battled invasive plants that out-compete native grasses on her grass-fed beef ranch near Bellvue, Colo. Some climate studies suggest that fight will worsen in the coming decades.
Credit Luke Runyon / Harvest Public Media

Most climate models paint a bleak picture for the Great Plains a century from now: It will likely be warmer and the air will be more rich with carbon dioxide. Though scientists don’t yet know how exactly the climate will change, new studies show it could be a boon to some invasive plant species.  

A growing problem

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Agriculture
3:52 pm
Thu March 6, 2014

Five more states join in fight against California egg law

Credit heathervescent / Flickr

  Five other states are joining Missouri's fight against a California egg law that would prohibit the sale of eggs produced by hens kept in cages that don't meet California's size and space requirements.

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Agriculture
3:30 pm
Thu March 6, 2014

MU agroforestry prof named to USDA council

Shibu Jose, University of Missouri's director for the Center of Agroforestry, was recently appointed to the Forestry Research Advisory Council.
Credit Margaux Henquinet / KBIA

Shibu Jose is the H.E. Garrett Endowed Chair Professor in agroforestry at MU’s School of Natural Resources. He is also director of the Center for Agroforestry at MU.

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Agriculture
2:02 pm
Thu March 6, 2014

From Brooklyn to Boone County, and back again

Our Abbie Fentress Swanson (second from left) reported stories while hip-deep in water and on the road across the Midwest.
Credit Abbie Fentress Swanson/Harvest Public Media

When I was offered this job nearly two years ago, I jumped at the opportunity to move to Columbia, Mo., from Brooklyn, N.Y., to cover agriculture and food production in the Heartland.

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Agriculture
9:07 am
Tue March 4, 2014

Cold winter killing fish in Missouri lakes

Credit File Photo / KBIA

Missouri's cold winter is killing off more fish than usual in ponds and lakes.

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Agriculture
6:00 am
Fri February 28, 2014

Young farmers wait for their opportunity

Eric Brockmann and his family moved back to his hometown of West Point, Neb. to pursue his passion for farming.
Credit Grant Gerlock/Harvest Public Media

The average age of American farmers has been climbing for decades, and many say rural towns are at-risk without new blood. There are enough people who want to farm, but there’s trouble connecting beginning farmers and the communities that need them.

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Agriculture
6:00 am
Fri February 28, 2014

USDA predicts low corn prices here to stay

The price of corn, the mainstay of Midwest agricultural production, is expected to remain low in the coming years.
Credit dok1/Flickr

The days of record high corn prices are gone, at least for now, and they’re only going to continue their decline, according to projections released earlier this month by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. (PDF)

You can pin part of the blame on the 2012 drought, when corn hit an all-time high of $8.31 per bushel. The dry conditions made corn a limited commodity.

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Agriculture
6:00 am
Fri February 28, 2014

Field Notes: More younger farmers and Low corn prices

Farmers received some gloomy news from the US Department of Agriculture earlier this month -- that lower corn prices are here to stay.
Credit Grant Gerlock/Harvest Public Media

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

Farmers received some gloomy news from the US Department of Agriculture earlier this month. As Harvest Public Media’s Luke Runyon reports in this week's Field Notes, the USDA is predicting that lower corn prices are here to stay. 

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Agriculture
4:51 pm
Tue February 25, 2014

Missouri Farm Bureau holds annual Commodity Conference

Dan Manternack, Agricultural Services Director for Doane Advisory Services, speaks at Missouri Farm Bureau’s Commodity Conference and Legislative Briefing in Jefferson City on Tuesday Feb. 25. Missouri Farm Bureau holds the event yearly to inform farmers on farming issues and get them involved.
Credit Xiaosu Tian / KBIA

  The Missouri Farm Bureau’s annual Commodity Conference and Legislative Briefing brought over 200 Missouri farmers to Jefferson City Monday and Tuesday. Missouri Farm Bureau President Blake Hurst said the event is meant to help inform Missouri farmers of current issues in agriculture.

“Well we hope that they leave here both better prepared for the coming year to try and anticipate what the weather and markets might do, and also better informed about the policy issues that affect them, their farms and their local communities,” Hurst said.

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Agriculture
6:00 am
Fri February 21, 2014

Field Notes: Hunting for mushrooms and myth at True/False

'The Vanquishing of the Witch Baba Yaga' uses animation and stunning scenes of everyday life in Eastern Europe -- including plenty of mushroom hunting -- to tell the Slavic fairytale of Baba Yaga.
Credit Courtesy of Jessica Oreck

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

For more than a decade, fans of documentary film have flocked to Columbia, Mo., for the annual True/False Film Fest. The screenings start on Thursday.

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True/False Conversations
6:00 am
Fri February 21, 2014

Hunting for mushrooms and myth in 'The Vanquishing of the Witch Baba Yaga'

Many of this year’s True/False films are set in big cities -- like Cairo, Rome and New York. But several works also focus on rural life, like Jessica Oreck’s 'The Vanquishing of the Witch Baba Yaga,' which uses animation and stunning scenes of everyday life in Eastern Europe to tell the Slavic fairytale of Baba Yaga.
Credit Courtesy of Jessica Oreck

This story is part of True/False Conversations, a series of in-depth interviews with the filmmakers of this year’s True/False Fest.  Find the rest of them here or download the podcast on iTunes.

For more than a decade, fans of documentary film have flocked to Columbia, Mo., for the annual True/False Film Fest. The screenings start on Thursday.

Many of this year’s films are set in big cities -- like Cairo, Rome and New York. But several works also focus on rural life. "Rich Hill" follows three teenagers growing up in a small Missouri community south of Kansas City.  Jessica Oreck’s "The Vanquishing of the Witch Baba Yaga" uses animation and stunning scenes of everyday village life in Eastern Europe to tell the Slavic fairytale of Baba Yaga. The film is shot in Super 16.

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Agriculture
4:51 pm
Thu February 20, 2014

Farmers worry about sharing Big Data

This laptop is an essential tool on Dave Beck’s farm. He uses it to design maps to apply different doses of seed, water, and fertilizer on his fields.
Credit Grant Gerlock / Harvest Public Media

When it comes to keeping data secure, farmers are worried about some of the same issues as the rest of us. Precision data from the farm could help drive new levels of productivity, but farmers have to decide just how much they want to share.

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Agriculture
6:00 am
Fri February 14, 2014

Field Notes: Booming dairy industry leaves small farms behind

Donnie Davidson decided to shut down his dairy in November after a roof on one of his barns collapsed from the winter’s snow. The roof would have cost $20,000 to rebuild. To keep the dairy going, he also would have had to hire help and upgrade a silo.
Credit Abbie Fentress Swanson/Harvest Public Media

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

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Agriculture
5:30 pm
Wed February 12, 2014

Spike in propane price worries Midwest farmers

The barn at Borgic Farms in Nokomis, Ill., where piglets are weaned must be kept warm year-round. In the winter, that means using a bank of propane-fueled heaters.
Credit Peter Gray / Harvest Public Media

 

    

Residents across the Midwest are struggling with tight propane supplies, especially in this bitterly cold, snowy winter. But it’s not just homes in rural counties that are lacking adequate heating fuel. Farms that put bacon and eggs on your breakfast plate are also feeling the supply pinch. 

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Agriculture
5:24 pm
Wed February 12, 2014

Missouri curtailing diesel fuel inspections

Credit KBIA File Photo

 

Missouri is curtailing inspections aimed at people who may illegally use farm diesel fuel in their over-the-road vehicles.

In response to concerns from lawmakers, acting Revenue Department Director John Mollenkamp said Wednesday that his agency would stop proactively looking for violations of the diesel fuel law and only respond to requests from law enforcement officials.

Missouri imposes a 17-cent tax on diesel fuel. But that tax is not charged on diesel used only for farming purposes. To distinguish between the two uses, farm diesel fuel is mixed with a dye.

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Agriculture
6:00 am
Mon February 10, 2014

Meat labeling advocates back new farm bill

The USDA's new COOL rule went into full effect in November. It requires labels to list where animals were born, raised and slaughtered.
Credit Abbie Fentress Swanson/Harvest Public Media

Proponents of a new labeling rule that gi­ves consumers more information about where their meat comes from say they are pleased with the new farm bill President Obama signed into law on Friday. That’s because the bill does not include any significant changes to current country-of-origin labeling rules, known as COOL.

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Agriculture
4:37 pm
Fri February 7, 2014

Years in the making, new farm bill becomes law

President Obama signs the Agriculture Act of 2014 as members of Congress and the Cabinet look on.
Credit Courtesy Stephen Carmody / Michigan Radio

President Barak Obama signed the new farm bill into law Friday at Michigan State University in East Lansing, ending years of negotiations and wrangling.

With farm equipment, hay bales and crates of apples setting the stage, the president told the crowd that this farm bill – officially called the Agriculture Act of 2014 – will save taxpayer dollars while also offering support to farmers and ranchers. And he says that helps the whole country.

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Agriculture
6:00 am
Fri February 7, 2014

Field Notes: Farm bill awaits a presidential signature

After more than two years of debate on Capitol Hill, a new farm bill is poised to become law after both the U.S. House and Senate approved it.
Credit andrewmalone/Flickr

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

President Obama is scheduled to sign the long-overdue Agriculture Act of 2014, the new farm bill, into law on Friday afternoon.

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Agriculture
6:00 am
Fri February 7, 2014

The uneasy marriage of food stamps and the farm bill

For decades, government agriculture policy has tied farm programs to federal food aid. Grocery displays like this one were common in the wake of the creation of the Federal Surplus Relief Corporation in the 1930s.
Credit Courtesy National Archives

When President Obama signs the long-overdue Agriculture Act of 2014 – the new farm bill – into law Friday, both farmers and food stamps advocates will be sighing in relief. This farm bill process was fraught with ups and downs and the loose coalition tying nutrition and farm programs seemed barely able to survive.

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Agriculture
5:39 pm
Thu February 6, 2014

Why cutting the ethanol mandate may not ruin the rural economy

Just outside of Central City, Neb., is the Green Plains Energy ethanol plant, a facility that can produce 100 million gallons of ethanol each year.
Grant Gerlock Harvest Public Media

The EPA wants to roll back the amount of ethanol mixed into the fuel supply for 2014, worrying farmers across the Corn Belt. Ethanol supporters warn that if the EPA follows through, the rural economy will take the fall. But many economists predict a soft landing.

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Agriculture
4:55 pm
Thu February 6, 2014

Changing dairy industry leaves some farmers in the dust

Donnie Davidson turns off the lights in his dairy parlor. His family has been producing grade A milk in Holden, Mo., since the 1930s.
Abbie Fentress Swanson/Harvest Public Media

Donnie Davidson’s family has been producing bottled milk in Holden, Mo., since the 1930s. But the 63-year-old farmer decided to sell his herd of 50 milking cows in November after the roof on one of his barns collapsed from last winter’s snow.

Rebuilding the barn would have cost about $20,000. Then there were the costs of renovating a silo and paying for hired help since Davidson’s children won’t be taking over the business. It made financial sense to close the dairy, and grow crops and build a herd of beef cattle instead.

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Agriculture
2:57 pm
Wed February 5, 2014

White House Creates 'Climate Hubs' To Help Rural Towns, Farmers

Farmers in Iowa are among those around the country who will get help coping with climate change through a new federal program.
Charlie Neibergall AP

Originally published on Thu February 6, 2014 12:00 pm

The White House on Wednesday rolled out a high-profile plan to help farmers and ranchers adjust to climate changes that have already begun to upend growing seasons and threaten livestock.

The "climate hub" initiative was praised by environmentalists, though they were quick to warn President Obama that it would not provide him cover on another environmental issue in the headlines: the Keystone XL pipeline.

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Agriculture
11:32 am
Fri January 31, 2014

2014 farm bill would change U.S. ag policy

More than two years in the making, the farm bill process has been a long slog for lawmakers on Washington D.C.’s Capitol Hill and farmers alike.
Credit greetarchurchy / Flickr

It’s getting so close now… Wednesday morning the U.S. House passed the Agriculture Act of 2014, the new farm bill. The Senate is expected to take it up soon. President Obama’s signature could be on it in the coming days and then…boom!

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Agriculture
11:27 am
Fri January 31, 2014

Global bumper wheat crop brings lower prices

Countries like Russia, Australia and Canada are producing more wheat, leading to a global overabundance of the crop and subsequent lower prices.
Credit jayneadd/Flickr

Talk to any corn farmer and he or she will likely lament the dropping price of corn. But corn growers are not alone. Farmers who grow wheat are beginning to feel the same pinch.

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Agriculture
6:00 am
Fri January 31, 2014

Field Notes: Senate to consider the Farm Bill as wheat prices dip

Should the Agricultural Act of 2014 become law, direct payments would end and the crop insurance program would become the bedrock of the U.S. farm safety net.
Credit wobble-san/Flickr

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

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Agriculture
10:15 am
Wed January 29, 2014

New farm bill may be in sight

Should the Agricultural Act of 2014 become law, direct payments would end and the crop insurance program would become the bedrock of the U.S. farm safety net.
Credit wobble-san/Flickr

House and Senate negotiators emerged Monday with a new compromise farm bill, which means the end of the two-year farm bill writing saga may finally be in sight.

The U.S. House approved what's called the Conference Report -- the farm bill negotiated by House and Senate Agriculture Committee leaders -- Wednesday. If it were to pass the Senate, as is expected, the bill would head to President Obama’s desk.

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Agriculture
8:18 am
Mon January 27, 2014

Farming ballot measure campaign heats up

Credit File / KBIA

Opposition is starting to form around a ballot measure that would enshrine a "right to farm" in Missouri's Constitution.

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Agriculture
2:43 pm
Fri January 24, 2014

Virus continues to rip through hog farms

Experts estimate Porcine Epidemic Diarrhea virus has already killed about 1 million baby pigs and the disease shows no sign of abating.
Credit Amy Mayer / Harvest Public Media

Pork producers across the country are continuing to grapple with a virus that’s killing their piglets. Experts estimate Porcine Epidemic Diarrhea (PED) virus has already killed about 1 million baby pigs and the disease shows no sign of abating.

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Agriculture
6:30 am
Fri January 24, 2014

More than 1 in 7 Americans receive food stamp benefits

The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program remains the most controversial issue for negotiators working on a new farm bill.
Credit USDA

Fifteen percent of Americans received federal food stamp benefits in the 2013 fiscal year, according to a U.S. Department of Agriculture report released in early January.

In the Harvest Public Media network, that includes about 936,000 people in Missouri; 420,000 in Iowa; 2 million in Illinois; 179,000 in Nebraska, 507,000 in Colorado, 316,000 in Kansas; and 926,000 in Indiana.

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Agriculture
6:00 am
Fri January 24, 2014

Field Notes: What does the future of ethanol hold?

Only about 2,500 gas stations offer E85 for flex fuel vehicles, primarily stations in the Midwest where most ethanol is produced.
Credit Grant Gerlock/Harvest Public Media

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

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