Agriculture

Agriculture
6:00 am
Fri December 6, 2013

Field Notes: CAFOs and aid for veterans in the Farm Bill

Piglets in Iowa.
Credit Amy Mayer / 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.

Thanks to tight competition, hog farmers all over the country are feeling a push to expand or get out of the business. That means indoor confined animal feeding operations – or CAFOs – are growing even in the most environmentally sensitive areas.

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Agriculture
6:00 am
Fri December 6, 2013

CAFO concerns in environmentally sensitive areas

Winneshiek County, Iowa, is renowned for its cold water trout streams. Some fear that expanding hog facilities could put those streams in environmental danger.
Credit Clay Masters for Harvest Public Media

Thanks to tight competition, hog farmers are feeling a push to expand or get out of the business. That means indoor confined animal feeding operations, or CAFOs, are growing, even in the most environmentally sensitive areas.

The hog industry’s impact on the water supply is worrying many residents of northeast Iowa’s Winneshiek County, near Decorah.

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Agriculture
3:11 pm
Mon December 2, 2013

Rural areas worry about food stamp cuts

The town of Sandoval, Ill., was born along U.S. Route 51, which runs north-south from Kentucky to the state of Wisconsin. Once a booming corridor, this area in southern Illinois now sees extreme poverty.
Credit Peter Gray / Harvest Public Media

Listen to Peter Gray's story here.

The next farm bill is all but certain to contain cuts to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), more commonly known as food stamps.

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Agriculture
2:47 pm
Mon December 2, 2013

Organic acreage continues its steady climb

Credit Flickr / Natalie Maynor

Walk into a grocery store these days and you’re likely to find whole sections devoted to organic foods. The organic label gives insight into how the food was produced, usually without the aid of synthetic chemicals, antibiotics and food additives.

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Agriculture
6:00 am
Fri November 29, 2013

Field Notes: Where does our meat come from?

A new labeling rule that went into full effect Saturday requires meatpackers and retailers to provide consumers with more information about where their meat comes from.
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
5:20 pm
Wed November 27, 2013

Pheasants losing habitat to farmland

Farm-raised pheasants like this one, wearing blinders so it doesn't fight other birds, are being transported to areas that used to be known for pheasant hunting in order to prop up declining population.
Credit Grant Gerlock / Harvest Public Media

 

    

As farmers across the Midwest have simplified the landscape and plowed up grassland to grow more corn and soybeans, habitat for pheasants, quail and other grassland birds has become increasingly scarce and their numbers are falling.

In Nebraska, wild pheasant concentrations have fallen 86 percent since their peak in the 1960s. The pheasant harvest during hunting season in Iowa is off 63 percent from the highs reached in the 1970s. In areas that used to be overrun, you’ll struggle to find a pheasant now.

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Agriculture
8:23 am
Mon November 25, 2013

Mississippi farmers denied new trial in Monsanto suit

Credit stevecadman / Flickr

A federal judge has denied a motion for a new trial from a north Mississippi company sued by Missouri-based Monsanto for saving seeds from one harvest and planting them the following season.

U.S. District Judge Michael Mills ruled this week that Mitchell and Eddie Scruggs owe Monsanto Co. $6.3 million damages as a jury found in 2010. Prejudgment interest dating back to 2000 has increased the amount to $8.9 million.

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Agriculture
6:00 am
Mon November 25, 2013

New labeling rules could give consumers more info about their meat

A customer examines the beef selection at one of the Hyvee grocery stores in Columbia, Mo. The new country-of-labeling rules force meatpackers to detail where much of this meat was born, raised and slaughtered.
Credit Abbie Fentress Swanson/Harvest Public Media

A new labeling rule that went into full effect Saturday requires meatpackers and retailers to provide consumers with more information about where their meat comes from.

The country-of-origin labeling mandate (COOL) forces retailers and meatpackers to list where the livestock from which that meat came was born, raised and slaughtered. It applies to certain cuts of beef, veal, chicken, pork, lamb and goat sold in the supermarket. Processed, deli and ground meats are exempt from the new rules.

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Agriculture
6:00 am
Fri November 22, 2013

Field Notes: Midwest pumpkins on Thanksgiving plates

Ackerman Farms in Morton, Ill., boasts over 160 varieties of pumpkins and squash.
Credit Peter Gray/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
6:00 am
Fri November 22, 2013

Midwest farmers put the pumpkin in your Thanksgiving pie

Food giant Nestle owns the Libby’s Pumpkin label. Located in Morton, Ill., it’s the biggest reason why locals call Morton the “Pumpkin Capital of the World.”
Credit Peter Gray/Harvest Public Media

This Thanksgiving, hungry families all over the country will finish off their holiday meal with a little slice of the Midwest. That’s because the vast majority of all pumpkin that comes from a can and winds up in a pie got its start on a vine in Illinois.

Pumpkin patches are popular destinations for families seeking fall fun, and you’ll find roadside farm stands all over the country. But this is big business in Illinois, where farmers feed canning factories hungry for special kind of pumpkin that looks nothing like those you see on Halloween.

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Agriculture
8:47 am
Mon November 18, 2013

Macon County food pantry opens in new location

Credit Martin Cathrae / Flickr

A Macon county community food pantry is set to open up shop in a new spot Tuesday. 

The larger space for Macon County Ministries Emergency Food Pantry and Monthly Food Distribution should make it possible for the organization to store a wider variety of food, including fresh produce, for its growing number of clients. Emergency Food Pantry Coordinator Linda Truitt says the new facility and its amenities will give clients more choices.

“We’re going to be able to offer much better food, a better quality, more nutritious, better variety and all of the above,” Truitt said. 

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Agriculture
3:42 pm
Fri November 15, 2013

Field Notes: Farmer Joel Salatin on the local food movement

Joel Salatin on his farm in Virginia
Credit Creative Commons

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

Joel Salatin has become one of the rock stars of the local food movement. He’s written books, appeared in documentaries and schedules speaking engagements nationwide. Among foodies, he’s a celebrity.

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Agriculture
6:00 am
Fri November 8, 2013

Field Notes: Immigrant children share dreams beyond the slaughterhouse

In Noel, Mo., these Somali refugee children have dreams beyond the Tyson poultry plant where their parents work.
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.

For our special series “In the Shadows of the Slaughterhouse,” Reporter Peggy Lowe and I interviewed immigrant children in Noel, Mo., and Garden City, Kan., whose parents work for Tyson Foods poultry and beef plants.

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Agriculture
6:57 pm
Thu November 7, 2013

Consumers often lost in the middle of scientific food battles

Panelists, including Frances Moore Lappe (second from left), speak to a symposium at the World Food Prize in Des Moines, Iowa
Credit Amy Mayer / Harvest Public Media

Hot-button food issues of the day, such as the use of genetically modified organisms or the treatment of livestock, tend to pit large industries against smaller activist groups. Often, both sides will claim the science supports what they are saying. That can leave consumers, most of whom aren’t scientists, in a bit of a bind.

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Agriculture
5:09 pm
Wed November 6, 2013

Rural areas face limited access to nutritious food

Credit File Photo / KBIA

Limited access to nutritious food is an issue facing rural communities in Missouri and the nation at large, according to University of Missouri specialists. 

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Agriculture
4:30 pm
Fri November 1, 2013

Temporary order against horse slaughter expires

Credit gnuru / Flickr

An order barring a return to domestic horse slaughter has expired. And an attorney for plants in New Mexico and Missouri says they are preparing to open.

Blair Dunn, who represents Valley Meat Co. in Roswell, N.M., and Rains Natural Meats of Gallatin, Mo., says a temporary restraining order in a lawsuit by animal protection groups trying to block the plants expired Thursday night without a ruling from a federal judge in Albuquerque.

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Agriculture
4:22 pm
Thu October 31, 2013

Cattlemen say Mo. agriculture chief made threats

Photo via Delta Regional Authority.

Officials at the Missouri Cattlemen's Association say the state's former agriculture director made threats toward them after he was displeased with a magazine article.

Jon Hagler was replaced earlier this month as head of the Agriculture Department with little explanation from Gov. Jay Nixon. The move came one day after another high-ranking employee, Beth Ewers, resigned while distributing a letter saying Hagler created a work environment of "hostility, disrespect, intimidation and fear."

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Agriculture
5:19 pm
Wed October 30, 2013

Learning English key for slaughterhouse workers

Sudanese refugees who work at the Tyson plant get English language instruction.
Abbie Fentress Swanson/Harvest Public Media

Three days a week, First Baptist Church in Noel, Mo., becomes a school for about 100 immigrants and refugees who work at the Tyson poultry plant. English language and citizenship classes are held in four small rooms in a building behind the church. One of the youngest students here, Soe Soe, is an 18-year-old Burmese refugee who debones chicken at the plant from 4:30 PM until 2 or 3 each morning.

“I really don’t like it. I’d like to go to school and learn more English. But I have problems, like nobody working in my house, nobody paying for rent,” he said.

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Harvest Public Media
4:43 pm
Wed October 30, 2013

Largest slaughterhouses mostly in rural communities

Two students in a “newcomer” class at Florence Wilson Elementary School in Garden City, a Somali girl (left), and a Hispanic boy.
Credit Peggy Lowe / Harvest Public Media

The largest slaughterhouses in the US were once located in major metropolitan areas. But they have relocated. Now many remote rural communities are struggling to serve the needs of new immigrant and refugee populations who are the backbone of America's meatpacking plants.

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Agriculture
9:57 am
Wed October 30, 2013

Dreaming beyond the slaughterhouse

Binh Hua (left) and My Nguyen, both 18, work in the Garden City Community College chemistry lab. The two best friends graduated from high school in three years and after community college, plan to go on to universities.
Peggy Lowe/Harvest Public Media

In the Shadows of the Slaughterhouse, part 3: Since large meatpacking plants left big cities like Kansas City and Chicago, rural Midwestern towns have been dealing with a huge influx of immigrants and refugees and their children. Many of these kids are hoping to achieve the American Dream by moving out of the shadows and into a bright future.

Not yet 9 a.m. on a warm fall day, freshmen Binh Hua and My Nguyen are in protective goggles, long hair pulled back, ready for their chemistry class in a Garden City Community College lab.

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Agriculture
6:13 am
Tue October 29, 2013

Garden City: Tending to a cultural crossroads in Kansas

Sister Janice Thome at a local Garden City school. Thome teaches several classes, including a teen parenting class at the Garden City alternative high school.
Peggy Lowe/Harvest Public Media

In the Shadows of the Slaughterhouse, part 2: Immigrant communities have sprung up around the meatpacking plant in Garden City, Kan., and while change hasn't been easy, city leaders have built a strong grassroots network supporting and embracing the town’s cultural evolution and its youngest citizens.

GARDEN CITY, Kan. — Sister Janice Thome’s office is a 2003 brown Ford Focus with a backseat piled high with paperwork and a prayer book.

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Agriculture
10:54 am
Mon October 28, 2013

Noel, Mo.: Schools build safety net for immigrant children

At the primary school in rural Noel, Mo., teachers and staff function as educators about as often as they do de facto social workers.
Abbie Fentress Swanson/Harvest Public Media

In the Shadows of the Slaughterhouse, part 1: Attracted to stable jobs in the meatpacking industry, communities of immigrants are springing up across rural America. Many small, rural towns, however, struggle to provide much more than instruction.

It’s almost 9 a.m., and Noel Primary School teacher Erin McPherson is helping a group of Spanish-speaking students complete English language exercises. But it’s tough going.

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Agriculture
5:30 pm
Wed October 23, 2013

Farm families follow drought with record harvest

The Friesens of Henderson, Neb., have 1,100 acres of corn to harvest, part of 97 million acres of corn to be picked across the country.
Credit Grant Gerlock / Harvest Public Media

 

Nancy Friesen sat nervously at the controls of a giant John Deere combine that made the corn stalks look like match sticks. It was her second day in the driver’s seat of the giant machine and she normally works in the garden, not the field. But during harvest time, everyone in the family pitches in.

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Agriculture
4:23 pm
Wed October 23, 2013

Hunters urged to take caution to combat Chronic Wasting Disease

Credit File Image / KBIA News

Conservation officials in Missouri want deer hunters to take precautions this fall in order to prevent the spread of Chronic Wasting Disease. CWD cases are so far limited to a containment zone in north central Missouri, with the state’s first documented case occurring three years ago.

Joe Jerek with the state Conservation Department said hunters should wear latex gloves when field-dressing a deer.

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Agriculture
9:01 am
Wed October 23, 2013

Cantaloupe farmers plead guilty to criminal charges for listeria outbreak

Cantaloupe
Credit News21 / flickr

Two Colorado farmers admitted to causing the deadliest foodborne illness outbreak in a decade Tuesday. Jensen Farms, located in Colorado, was the source of the outbreak that killed 33 people nationwide and sickened seven in Missouri.

In front of a federal judge, brothers Eric and Ryan Jensen pleaded guilty for the listeria outbreak linked back to their cantaloupe farm. A sentencing hearing is scheduled for January. 

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Agriculture
2:17 am
Wed October 23, 2013

Why arborists are providing TLC for the 'Big Tree'

The Big Tree, a 300 year old Bur Oak, has become a Mid-Missouri landmark.
Kate Grumke KBIA

Arborists and tree lovers from across Missouri joined together Tuesday to care for the famous "Big Tree," just South of Columbia, a Bur Oak that is hundreds of years old- and starting to show its age.

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Agriculture
4:41 pm
Wed October 16, 2013

Ranchers turn to guard donkeys to fend off predators

Charlotte Clifford-Rathert says donkeys bond with sheep and goats and become like their “family.” This is important in the effectiveness of the donkey’s ability to guard them from predators.
Credit Heather Adams / KBIA

Wild dogs, coyotes and bobcats have always been a threat to farmers who raise sheep and goats. Traditionally, people think of getting dogs to protecting these flocks. But there is another option that’s becoming more popular among farmers -- guard donkeys.

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Agriculture
4:33 pm
Wed October 16, 2013

Farmers plowing up more and more of the prairie

The Christen family grazes cattle year-round on native prairie pastures in southeast, Neb. Rod Christen calls big bluestem their “Cadillac grass.”
Credit Grant Gerlock / Harvest Public Media

In recent years, farmers in the Midwest have transformed millions of acres of prairie grass to rows of corn. High crop prices are a big motivation, but some also believe crop insurance is encouraging farmers to roll the dice on less productive land.

Rod Christen and his sister Kay farm corn, soybeans and wheat on their land near the small town of Steinauer, Neb. But their main crop is grass.

“Big bluestem is our big producer,” said Rod Christen. “It’s kind of our Cadillac grass.”

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Agriculture
5:44 pm
Tue October 15, 2013

Government shutdown creates backlog of ag chemicals used in pesticides

Millions of dollars worth of chemicals used to make pesticides are being held at U.S. ports because the EPA personnel that normally inspect the shipments are furloughed during the government shutdown.
Credit flickr/ingridtaylar

The government shutdown is creating a backlog of chemicals needed to produce the steady supply of herbicides, fungicides and insecticides American farmers count on to keep pests from destroying their crops.

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Agriculture
3:11 pm
Mon October 14, 2013

City of Columbia hosts Hinkson Clean Sweep

More than 130 residents volunteered at this year's Hinkson Clean Sweep.
Credit Kyle Winker / KBIA

Golf balls, beer cans, plastic bottles and caps. 

The list goes on and on.

These are just a few of the popular items volunteers removed from local streams during the City of Columbia’s annual Hinkson Clean Sweep project on Saturday.  The City of Columbia’s Stormwater Education and Outreach Program has put on the event for the past 10 years. 

Volunteers were stationed at five different local streams in Columbia, all of which flow into the Hinkson Creek. 

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