Agriculture

Photo courtesy Andy Trupin

Missouri farmers appear to have grown more corn and soybeans last year than in 2012.

Figures from the U.S. Department of Agriculture show Missouri farmers produced an estimated 435 million bushels of corn last year, up 76 percent from 2012. Soybean production rose 25 percent to an estimated 197 million bushels.

Luke Runyon/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.

Consumers increasingly want the texture and taste of white bread but the nutritional benefits of whole grains. In this week's episode of Field Notes, Harvest Public Media's Luke Runyon reports on a new variety of wheat called Snowmass that could help meet that demand.

Luke Runyon/Harvest Public Media

A new wheat variety may have cracked the code to marry the fluffiness of white bread with whole grain nutrition.

For a long time, American bread makers have been in a bind. Many consumers like the texture and taste of white bread, but want the nutritional benefits of whole grains.

Abbie Fentress Swanson/Harvest Public Media

Consumers are increasingly willing to pay more for foods they believe were sustainably produced, like free-range chicken, fair-trade coffee and pesticide-free wine. But what does “sustainable” actually mean?

Bob Hartzler / Iowa State University

New herbicide-resistant corn and soybeans are a step closer to reaching farm fields in the U.S. They would help farmers control weeds that are no longer killed by the popular herbicide, Roundup.

Roundup resistant crops dominate corn, soybean and cotton production in the U.S. But the list of weeds that have evolved to withstand Roundup is growing, and as a result, farmers are using more chemicals to keep up.

Kevin Dooley / Flickr

Two longtime leaders of the Missouri Soybean Association are out of jobs as part of a shakeup at the prominent agricultural group.

The changes come after an audit of how the Missouri Soybean Merchandising Council managed millions of dollars collected annually from farmers for marketing and research on soybeans.

Longtime Executive Director Dale Ludwig and Field Services Manager J.P. Dunn both resigned under pressure Dec. 19. They deny any wrongdoing.

YouTube, "Back to the Start."

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

The drought was easily the biggest story on the farm beat in 2012. But this past year, many of the stories filed by Harvest Public Media reporters focused on food politics and the divide between large industry groups and proponents of organic, sustainable and local foods.

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.

Peter Gray/Harvest Public Media

U.S. popcorn sellers took a big hit from the 2012 drought, which caused one of the worst popcorn harvests in recent memory. Crops not irrigated were decimated and low supplies continue to force local candy shops and giant movie theater chains alike to pay high prices for the golden grain, biting into their profit margin.

farmland
File / KBIA

For the second straight year, farmers are heading into a new year without a farm bill. The massive package provides government support for farmers and ranchers. Divisions in Congress, including over the nutrition programs that make up the bulk of the spending, have kept it from the president’s desk.

swanksalot/Flickr

The FDA plans to revise two controversial food safety rules, according to a statement regulators issued Thursday.

The rules, originally released in January, are aimed at preventing outbreaks of foodborne illness and at improving food safety in the produce industry. The FDA said it plans to revise the rules and issue another draft of them this summer.

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.

FDA pushing to limit livestock antibiotics

Dec 20, 2013
Bill Wheelhouse/Harvest Public Media

The FDA wants to phase out antibiotics in meat.

Regulators released a broad plan earlier this month, designed to prevent meat producers from using drugs that are also used to treat sick humans. That means some changes Midwest farmers and ranchers will have to get used to.

Courtesy House Agriculture Committee/Facebook

If it seems like Congress just can’t get the farm bill done, well… that’s because it can’t.

All year long, Washington lawmakers have been saying they want to pass a full five-year farm bill. But even though leaders of the House-Senate conference committee say they are close, they have acknowledged it just won’t get done this year. They’re pushing it off until January.

Courtesy of the Office of Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon

Gov. Jay Nixon today named Richard Fordyce, of Bethany, as the new director of the Missouri Department of Agriculture. Fordyce and his wife, Renee, grow soybeans and corn and raise beef cattle on the family farm in Harrison County. Since 2008, Fordyce has served as chairman of the Missouri State Soil & Water Districts Commission.

Peggy Lowe / Harvest Public Media

 

When the people from the drug company came out to visit Tyler Karney at Ordway Feedyard here on Colorado’s eastern plains, he was a little skeptical.

They said their product, Zilmax, could put another 30 pounds on an animal in the last days before slaughter. Then he started blending it into the feed for the 6,500 head of Holsteins at this huge feedlot.

Grant Gerlock/Harvest Public Media

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack will travel to China this week to ask Chinese regulators to get on the same page as the U.S. when it comes to evaluating genetically modified crops.

Luke Runyon/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.

Luke Runyon/Harvest Public Media

For decades, housing developments in the suburbs have come complete with golf courses, tennis courts, strip malls and swimming pools. But make way for the new subdivision amenity: the specialty farm.

A new model for suburban development is springing up across the country that taps into the local food movement. Farms, complete with livestock, vegetables and fruit trees, are serving as a way to entice potential buyers to settle in a new subdivision.

Water demands forcing farmers to become more efficient

Dec 11, 2013
Ariana Brocious / Harvest Public Media

Scott Ford’s center pivot irrigation system in his south-central Nebraska field can draw water from the Platte River. But this year, the third-generation corn and soybean producer said he relied more on pumping groundwater.

“Last year, three-quarters of the water through that pivot was surface water,” Ford said. “This year, with allocations and continued drought, it was the other way around.”

Those allocations were reductions in Platte River water from Central Nebraska Public Power and Irrigation District.

Photo courtesy of AquaBounty.

A controversial genetically engineered salmon, known to its detractors as the “Frankenfish,” has moved a step closer to being sold on the U.S. market.

That’s because AquaBounty Technologies, Inc., recently got the green light from Canada’s environmental regulatory agency to commercially produce eggs for its genetically engineered salmon at a hatchery on Prince Edward Island. Previously the hatchery, which produces sterile female eggs, had only been allowed to operate as a research facility.

andrewmalone/Flickr

Congress won’t pass a farm bill before early next year.

That was the message from Washington Tuesday, when the principal farm bill players emerged from negotiations and announced they won’t have a full bill ready before the House adjourns for the year on Friday.

This story comes to us from Harvest Public Media, a public radio reporting project that focuses on agriculture and food production issues. You can see more photos and hear more audio from the series here. Wednesday, we'll have a story from a meatpacking plant in Garden City, Kan., which takes a proactive stance toward its newest immigrants.

funadium/flickr

According to a recent Food and Drug Administration report, FDA regulators inspected less than two percent of the food shipments that were imported to the U.S. in the 2012 fiscal year.

FDA inspectors are responsible for all domestic and imported food except meat, poultry and eggs, which fall under U.S. Department of Agriculture purview.

David Stonner / Missouri Department of Conservation

A report released on Friday by the Missouri auditor's office says the state continued to overspend on its elk restoration project, even after a 2011 audit found it was way over budget.

The current audit found the Missouri Department of Conservation spent close to $3.4 million to bring 129 elk into the state. Only an estimated 115 elk have survived.

But conservation department Deputy Director Tom Ripperger says those figures are misleading.

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.

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.

Peter Gray / Harvest Public Media

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

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.

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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