Agriculture

Corn
jungmoon / Flickr

Recent data from the U.S. Department of Agriculture says that over 90 percent of U.S. field corn is genetically modified. That figure has nearly doubled over the past 10 years.

Most of the corn farmers plant has been embedded with a gene—usually from a bacteria—that protects the corn from pests or herbicides.

Ten years ago, less than half of the corn planted had a genetically modified trait. Today, 93 percent of all field corn does, up from 90 percent last year.

When U.S. Sen. Debbie Stabenow announced passage of the Farm Bill in February, she echoed a refrain from a car commercial.

“This is not your father’s Farm Bill,” she said.

Kristofor Husted / Harvest Public Media/KBIA

 

The head of the Environmental Protection Agency is touring farm country, trying to assure farmers that the agency isn’t asking for more authority over farmers and ranchers’ lands.

 


Grant Suneson

Missouri's Attorney General put his support behind a controversial amendment on the primary ballot. Chris Koster officially announced his endorsement of Amendment one, also known as the Right to Farm act.

In a short statement at the Missouri Farm Bureau in Jefferson City today, Koster cited the states reliance on agriculture, saying that failing to pass the measure could inhibit the success of Missouri farmers.

Abbie Fentress Swanson / Harvest Public Media

Former Missouri Lieutenant Governor Joe Maxwell says the ‘Right to Farm’ question before voters in August would give more protection to foreign corporations and take away from small farmers.

Maxwell, a Democrat, told reporters in Springfield Tuesday that Amendment 1 will give more liberty to corporations to buy and operate Missouri farmland.

dishfunctional / Flickr

Gov. Jay Nixon has vetoed legislation that would have shifted responsibility for regulating Missouri deer ranches to the Department of Agriculture instead of the Department of Conservation.

A growing number of Americans are buying raw milk. That's milk that has not been pasteurized to kill bacteria.

Peggy Lowe / Harvest Public Media

 

 

The largest association of U.S. physicians is calling for tighter rules on antibiotic use in livestock. 

Opponents of a proposed hog breeding operation in central Missouri are circulating petitions against the plan.

What's the most popular seafood in the U.S.? Shrimp. The average American eats more shrimp per capita than tuna and salmon combined. Most of that shrimp comes from Asia, and most of the salmon we eat is also imported. In fact, 91 percent of the seafood Americans eat comes from abroad, but one-third of the seafood Americans catch gets sold to other countries.

Drought hammers winter wheat across the Plains

Jun 27, 2014
Ariana Brocious / Harvest Public Media

 

Much of the Midwest and the Plains have been battling drought for years. And the current winter wheat crop looks like it will be one of the worst in recent memory, stressing farmers in the heart of the Wheat Belt – from Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas, Colorado and Nebraska.

In Nebraska, a full quarter of the winter wheat crop is rated poor to very poor, and Nebraska farmers are doing comparatively well. More than 40 percent of the wheat acres in Colorado are poor or worse; nearly 60 percent in Kansas and Texas; and an incredible 80 percent in Oklahoma.

Drought hammers winter wheat across the Plains

Jun 26, 2014
Ariana Brocious / Harvest Public Media

 

Much of the Midwest and the Plains have been battling drought for years. And the current winter wheat crop looks like it will be one of the worst in recent memory, stressing farmers in the heart of the Wheat Belt – from Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas, Colorado and Nebraska.

In Nebraska, a full quarter of the winter wheat crop is rated poor to very poor, and Nebraska farmers are doing comparatively well. More than 40 percent of the wheat acres in Colorado are poor or worse; nearly 60 percent in Kansas and Texas; and an incredible 80 percent in Oklahoma.

The Mexican town of Tequila in the western state of Jalisco is the heart of a region that produces the legendary spirit. Any bottle of tequila must be made from the Weber Blue species of agave, grown and distilled in this region.

Field after field of agave gives this land a blue hue, defining an economy and its traditions.

Grant Gerlock / Harvest Public Media

 

Drought is re-shaping the beef map and raising the price of steak. Ranchers are moving herds from California to Coloradoand from Texas to Nebraska seeking refuge from dry weather. And cattle producers in the Midwest are making the most of it.

drought farm field soybeans
Camille Phillips / Harvest Public Media

Opponents are planning to rally at the Missouri Capitol against a proposed amendment to the state Constitution establishing a "right to farm ."

The question on the state's Aug. 5 ballot asks voters whether the right "to engage in farming and ranching" should be "forever guaranteed" in the Missouri Constitution.

Critics contend the measure will lead to lawsuits over what farming practices are permitted, and to special protections for large agricultural special interests.

Supporters of the proposal say their goal is to protect and promote agriculture.

Frank Morris/Harvest Public Media

Some residents of central Missouri's Callaway County say they're exploring legal strategies to fight a proposed indoor hog farm near Kingdom City.

Eichelberger Farms of Iowa plans to buy 20 acres from a private owner just south of Interstate 70 for a 10,000-hog confined animal feeding operation.

Residents who oppose the project tell the Columbia Missourian they will "explore all legal options available to protect our health, lifestyles and property rights."

MU researchers develop soybean database

Jun 18, 2014
Carol Von Canon / Flickr

Researchers at the University of Missouri have developed a new all-inclusive web database for collecting soybean information.

The Soybean Knowledge Base is a public database that will store and integrate information on a variety of soybean topics, such as genes and genomes.  Although the ability to collaborate information was important, the University mostly developed the database to store their own information.

It seems that everybody, going back at least to Thomas Jefferson, loves small family farms.

Yet those beloved small farms are becoming increasingly irrelevant. Big farms are taking over.

According to the latest census of American agriculture, released this year, there are two million farms in America. But just four percent of those farms account for two-thirds of all agricultural production.

Timber is big business in Tennessee. About $1 billion worth of the state's tree products is shipped abroad every year. But within the industry, there is concern that there may soon be too few loggers to keep the profession going.

The Redfern family has been working the state's forests for four generations, but it isn't sure it will see a fifth.

Michael Redfern, 57, runs a three-man operation with his two sons on a 25-acre property in Cedar Hill, near Tennessee's northern border with Kentucky.

Abbie Fentress Swanson / Harvest Public Media

The wording of a proposed amendment to Missouri's Constitution that would guarantee residents' right to "engage in agricultural production and ranching practices" is leading to questions from both sides of the issue – including a question of whether the amendment would have any impact at all.

Supporters of the so-called "right to farm" measure on the August ballot say it gives farmers more legal standing to challenge unfair regulations. Opponents fear it could unravel environmental and animal welfare laws.

A residential development under construction near Rock Bridge State Park in Boone County is being challenged in court by environmental groups that say the project threatens water quality and wildlife.

The Parkside Estates subdivision south of Columbia is on 35 acres next to the state park. Developer Southside Trails Estates is clearing land for 76 homes on the site.

We Americans love our fried shrimp, our sushi and our fish sticks. And a lot of other people around the world count on fish as a critical part of their diet, too. According to the Food and Agriculture Organization, fish now accounts for almost 17 percent of the world's intake of protein — in some coastal and island countries it's as high as 70 percent.

Kristofor Kusted / KBIA

U.S. Congress members are throwing their support behind a proposed “right to farm” amendment in Missouri’s constitution. But critics are pointing to the measure’s ambiguous language as problematic.

wobble-san/Flickr

Several Missourians in the U.S. House are backing a proposed amendment to the state Constitution on farming.

MDC seeks input on deer population

May 13, 2014
secondtree / Flickr

When the Conservation Department was started in 1936, there were only a few thousand deer in Missouri.  The 1980s and 90s saw a rapid growth in the state’s deer population, and regulations were set to try to stabilize that growth.Now, the Missouri Department of Conservation wants to know what you think about the state’s deer population.  The Department is hosting public meetings around the state this summer.  Jason Sumners, a resource scientist with the Conservation Department, says the regulations have reduced deer numbers in many places, and it’s time now to assess the situation.  That’s

agriculture secretary Tom Vilsack
Amy Mayer / Harvest Public Media

Recognizing that the demand for local food is growing to between $5 and 7 billion a year, the U.S. Department of Agriculture announced a new effort Thursday aimed at connecting farmers with urban shoppers. 

bottlerocketprincess / Flickr

A government report says the nation's corn growers should have banner production this year despite lesser acreage devoted to the grain. But corn prices later in the year may suffer a bit.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture has released its first World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates report of the year.

The report estimates that corn producers will harvest 165.3 bushels of corn per acre, up 6.5 bushels from the previous year. Corn acreage is expected to slip to 91.7 million acres, from 95.4 million acres.

field
Amy Mayer / Harvest Public Media

The White House’s new climate change report predicts threats to agriculture, including severe weather, more pests and greater demands for water and energy.

farm
isnapshot / flickr

The number of farms in the U.S. is shrinking, according to the latest Census of Agriculture, released Friday. The census is taken every five years and shows the changing landscape for farmers.

On April 30, the Etiwanda Fire ignited in the San Bernardino National Forest in Southern California, then quickly grew to more than 2,000 acres before crews were able to contain it.

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