Agriculture

Agriculture
2:06 pm
Fri July 19, 2013

Field Notes: Want to invest in farmland? Now, you can join the crowd

Charles Polanco's company allows investors to team up and invest in farmland.
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.

The new company Fquare is bringing crowd-sourcing to the increasingly lucrative market of investing in farmland.

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Agriculture
4:57 pm
Thu July 18, 2013

Food hubs try to grow local farms

Marty Travis, right, started the Stewards of the Land food hub in 2005. His son Will, left, helps him transport food from local farms to area restaurants.
Credit Sean Powers for Harvest Public Media

Restaurants across the country have jumped on the local food bandwagon. They’re trying to source more of their produce from nearby farms, but it's not easy. Enter: Food hubs.

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Agriculture
4:48 pm
Thu July 18, 2013

Agriculture groups caution ranchers over potentially toxic grass

Rancher Roger Zimmershied poses with some of his cattle on his ranch just south of Sweet Springs, Mo. Zimmershied recently switched from Kentucky 31 tall fescue to MaxQ tall fescue in two of his pastures.
Credit Jake Godin / KBIA

Feeding cattle on grass is supposed to help the animals thrive. But Missouri’s most popular grass for feeding cattle may be doing more harm than good.

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Agriculture
1:58 pm
Wed July 17, 2013

Metal thefts plague farm country

Mike Obermann was among the victims of a rash of metal thefts in rural Missouri. Since then, he has installed theft-protection measures on his farm.
Credit Payne Roberts / Harvest Public Media


Along the 1200 Road in Windsor, Mo., there is plenty of gravel and farmland. But one thing it is short of is people.

Miles of green fields separate the farms that occupy this area of Windsor, a rural town of 3,000, making area farms easy targets in a series of metal thefts that robbed farmers of the tools they needed to do their jobs.

Mike Obermann was among the victims. He owns a farm of row crops and cattle northwest of Windsor with his wife. In the theft, he lost $500-600 worth of fencing material and an aluminum boat.

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CoMo Explained
11:55 am
Wed July 17, 2013

Why does the water taste so funny in Columbia?

When it rains upstream, Fred Olmer of the Clarence Cannon Wholesale Water Commission, knows that he's got to start testing even more to see what got washed into the water supply.
Credit Abbie Fentress Swanson / Harvest Public Media

Actually we think it's pretty ok. But some people can't stand it! CoMo Explained investigates with guest host Abbie Fentress Swanson:

This week's CoMo Explained is about drinking water....and why it tastes so bad

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Agriculture
8:43 am
Tue July 16, 2013

What the 'farm-only' House farm bill means for nutrition programs

Credit Selbe B / flickr

The U.S. House of Representatives has passed its version of the farm bill, a version that excludes funding for nutrition assistance programs nationwide.  But most analysts believe the Democrat-controlled Senate won’t approve a version that does not include funding for programs like food stamps. 

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Agriculture
12:42 pm
Fri July 12, 2013

Retiring to the farm anything but quiet

Jim Schulte and his wife, Rita, bought their 450-acre farm near Columbia, Mo., in 1991, but didn’t start farming full time until Jim finished working in the mortgage business.
Abbie Fentress Swanson/Harvest Public Media

It’s not just lifelong farmers who feel the pull of the land as they get older. For some Americans, retirement is an opportunity to begin the farming dream.

“I wanted to be able to be active and have a pastime that ensured physical activity,” said beginning farmer Tom Thomas, who at 65 still has the physical fitness to wrestle and brand steers at his son’s ranch in Oklahoma.

Thomas retired two years ago after teaching exercise physiology for 35 years and he knew what he wanted to do next.

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Agriculture
3:43 pm
Wed July 10, 2013

Hog-farming cousins add aquaculture to mix

Catfish
Credit Wikimedia Commons

Americans eat millions of pounds of fish and seafood and government figures show that 80 percent of it is imported. But two cousins in Iowa are hoping to find a place in that market by investing in aquaculture in a part of the country where pork is king.

Jeff and Mark Nelson have raised corn and hogs for years, but they were looking to diversify their operation. Farm raised fish in Iowa has been tried before but with limited success. It involved outdoor ponds and mostly catfish. The Nelsons’ have moved their venture inside.

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Agriculture
8:15 am
Wed July 10, 2013

Midwestern hog farmers contend with outbreak of porcine virus

Credit Jacob Fenston / KBIA

Hog farmers across the Midwest are battling a new virus this summer. It’s often fatal in very young piglets, and researchers are still trying to explain the outbreak.

Since mid-May, when Porcine Epidemic Diarrhea Virus or PEDV was first identified in this country, it has spread quickly, turning up in 15 states. Over 218 pigs have been diagnosed.

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Agriculture
2:39 am
Tue July 9, 2013

As Biotech Seed Falters, Insecticide Use Surges In Corn Belt

Crop consultant Dan Steiner inspects a field of corn near Norfolk, Neb.
Dan Charles NPR

Originally published on Wed July 10, 2013 1:56 pm

Across the Midwestern corn belt, a familiar battle has resumed, hidden in the soil. On one side are tiny, white larvae of the corn rootworm. On the other side are farmers and the insect-killing arsenal of modern agriculture.

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Agriculture
4:53 pm
Fri July 5, 2013

What Is Farm Runoff Doing To The Water? Scientists Wade In

Scientists with the U.S. Geological Survey sample water in Goodwater Creek, Mo., for pesticides and other chemicals that may have run off from the surrounding land.
Abbie Fentress Swanson Harvest Public Media

Originally published on Tue July 9, 2013 11:37 am

America's hugely productive food system is one of its success stories. The nation will export a projected $139.5 billion in agricultural products this fiscal year alone. It's an industry that supports "more than 1 million jobs," according to Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack.

But all that productivity has taken a toll on the environment, especially rivers and lakes: Agriculture is the nation's leading cause of impaired water quality, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

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Agriculture
4:37 pm
Wed July 3, 2013

Who wants biotech wheat?

Nebraska farmer Larry Flohr, squeezes out a kernel of unripened wheat.
Credit Grant Gerlock / Harvest Public Media

Many farmers say they would like to grow genetically engineered wheat to help them feed a hungry world, but it’s not what everyone’s hungry for. And now, with the mysterious appearance of Roundup Ready wheat in a farmer’s field in Oregon a few weeks ago, consumer resistance may grow even stronger.

Most of the corn and soybeans grown in the United States are genetically modified, but GMO wheat has never been approved for farming.

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Agriculture
5:31 pm
Wed June 26, 2013

Starting a farm, with an immigrant twist

Originally from Laos, Air Philavanh now farms 11 acres near Milo, Iowa. He’s built a shelter for his cattle out of a dilapidated barn.
Credit Amy Mayer / Harvest Public Media

Air Philavanh is a new farmer in central Iowa who came to this country from Laos as a refugee more than 30 years ago. Today, he’s living on an 11-acre farm in Milo, Iowa, about an hour from Des Moines.

Philavanh bought the place three years ago and he’s built a brand-new shelter for his four beef calves off the end of a decrepit old barn. He’s made many other improvements, too, as he gets his farm up and running. In addition to the cattle, he hopes to add ducks. It’s a far cry from his day job with Citigroup—and not what he initially imagined for himself.

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Agriculture
8:32 am
Tue June 25, 2013

Mid-Mo organizers call for organic agriculture to promote health, environment

Credit Flickr

A group of Columbia activists are promoting organic agricultural practices as a way to improve community health and the environment. The Columbia Climate Change Coalition met Thursday, June 20, to discuss ways to better the environment through organic agriculture.

The Columbia Climate Change Coalition is part of Peoples’ Visioning, which is a group that discusses climate, finance, energy, public health, education and transportation.

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Agriculture
7:50 am
Mon June 24, 2013

AgriMissouri conference comes to Jefferson City next month

Credit USDA

An agriculture conference in Jefferson City next month will include sessions about marketing, organizing a business and hiring employees.

The Missouri Department of Agriculture says the 2013 AgriMissouri Conference is scheduled for July 21-23. The event will feature panel discussions, speakers and workshops for individuals and businesses operating at farmers' markets, on the farm and through storefronts.

Attendees also will get the chance to visit several agritourism operations, including bed-and-breakfasts and wineries.

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Agriculture
7:27 am
Mon June 24, 2013

'Animal trespass' bill proposed

Credit Hilary Stohs-Krause / NET

A cattle producers' group wants Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon to sign legislation relaxing potential penalties when livestock get loose.

Livestock producers currently can be charged with misdemeanor animal neglect if they fail to provide adequate care or control resulting in substantial harm to an animal.

A bill pending before the governor would apply the animal neglect charge only to inadequate care — not poor control.

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Agriculture
9:00 am
Fri June 21, 2013

Field Notes: The historical impact of drought

Jeff Masters, meteorologist and co-founder of wunderground.com.
Credit Courtesy of wunderground.com

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.

Over the last three years, the Midwest has gone from flooding to drought and back to flooding. This is a case of “weather whiplash,” a term first used in April by Jeff Masters, a meteorologist and co-founder of the online weather forecasting site Weather Underground.

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Agriculture
2:40 pm
Thu June 20, 2013

House rejects farm bill

The farm bill encompasses all manor of food and agriculture policy.
Credit (tpsdav/pixabay)

In a stunning move, the U.S. House voted against approving farm bill legislation Thursday, leaving the bill's future up in the air.

The House rejected the farm bill on a final tally of 234-195 after a day of dramatic, tight votes on amendments to the bill.

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Agriculture
3:12 pm
Wed June 19, 2013

Why crop insurance subsidies are winning out

Kansas wheat farmer John Thaemert surveys his parched crop in this file photo from 2006.
Credit Frank Morris / Harvest Public Media

There is little doubt that crop insurance will emerge from the current farm bill process with hefty subsidies in place. If anything, the program will become a larger part of the farming safety net.

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Agriculture
8:33 am
Wed June 19, 2013

As US House prepares to vote on farm bill, Congressmembers weigh in

(Adam Allington/St. Louis Public Radio)

Originally published on Tue June 18, 2013 7:14 pm

Members of Missouri and Illinois' Congressional delegations are weighing in on the U.S. House version of the Farm Bill, which could be voted on before week's end.

Illinois Republican Rodney Davis told reporters today via conference call that the bill is a big improvement over the version passed by the Democrat-controlled U.S. Senate.

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Agriculture
4:16 pm
Tue June 18, 2013

Missouri moves to lift ban on foreign farm owners

Credit Amy Mayer / Harvest Public Media

A last-minute move by Missouri lawmakers could make it easier for a Chinese conglomerate to buy one of the biggest pork producers in the U.S.

Legislators agreed on their final day of work in May to remove a ban on foreign ownership of agricultural land in Missouri. That change sets a foreign ownership limit at 1 percent of the state's agricultural land, subject to approval by the Missouri Department of Agriculture.

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Agriculture
3:13 pm
Mon June 17, 2013

Scientists check Corn Belt waters for effects of ag runoff

One of the U.S. Geological Survey teams collecting water samples and checking cages for fish eggs in Missouri this summer: biologist Diana Papoulias, chemist Dave Alvarez, hydrologist Peter Van Metre, biologist Diane Nicks and toxicologist Don Tillitt.
Abbie Fentress Swanson/Harvest Public Media

Eleven miles northeast of Centralia, Mo., five U.S. Geological Survey scientists don waders and bright reflective life jackets to wade into Goodwater Creek. Plenty of fish live in the stream’s murky slow-moving waters, along with snakes, crayfish, mussels and snapping turtles. On this overcast morning, the team collects water samples and checks submerged cages of fathead minnows for eggs.

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Global Journalist
5:36 pm
Thu June 13, 2013

Jordanian authorities block access to nearly 300 news sites

Jordanian journalists protest in front the House of Parliament, symbolically wearing tape over their mouths, as they protest over proposed changes to the anti-corruption law they believe will muzzle press freedoms, in Amman, Jordan.
Credit Mohammad Hannon / Associated Press

In Jordan this week, dozens of journalists demonstrated near the royal palace in Amman. They were protesting against the government’s decision to block access to about 300 of the country’s 400 local news websites.

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Agriculture
3:00 pm
Wed June 12, 2013

Grillers beware: Drought driving beef prices up

Credit artizone/Flickr

If you've experienced sticker shock shopping for ground beef or steak recently, be prepared for an entire summer of high beef prices.

Multi-year droughts in states that produce most of the country's beef cattle have driven up costs to historic highs. Last year, ranchers culled deep into their herds — some even liquidated all their cattle — which pushed the U.S. cattle herd to its lowest point since the 1950s.

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Agriculture
5:20 pm
Tue June 11, 2013

My Farm Roots: In hip Brooklyn, Missouri native connects with farm past

On the Brooklyn rooftop garden she helps maintain, Missouri native Monica Johnson says she's not afraid to show her farm roots.
Abbie Fentress Swanson/Harvest Public Media

This story is part of the 2013 edition of My Farm Roots, a series from KBIA Radio's partner Harvest Public Media that chronicles Americans’ connection to the land. Click here to explore more My Farm Roots stories and to share your own.

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Agriculture
7:08 pm
Mon June 10, 2013

Senate passes farm bill

File photo

The U.S. Senate approved a new comprehensive farm bill Monday, its plan for everything from food and nutrition assistance to disaster aid for livestock producers to crop insurance for farmers. But before you go popping champagne corks and celebrating the creation of five-years of agricultural policy, know this: The U.S. House has yet to weigh in.

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Agriculture
5:07 pm
Mon June 10, 2013

Mo. department of agriculture warns against spread of pine shoot beetles

The pine beetle is a destructive, invasive species of that feeds on the shoots of pine trees.
Credit Wikimedia Commons

  The Missouri Department of Agriculture has announced an expansion of a quarantine area on pine products to Adair and Clark counties. The quarantine prohibits the distribution of pine products as an attempt to reduce the spread of the Pine Shoot Beetles.  

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Agriculture
9:23 am
Fri June 7, 2013

Field Notes: How are decisions made about projects that benefit rural America?

Doug O'Brien, acting undersecretary for the USDA's rural development program.
Credit Photo courtesy of the USDA.

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
4:46 pm
Thu June 6, 2013

Agricultural lenders at MU symposium discuss industry changes

Credit Hilary Stohs-Krause / NET

The two-day Emerging Issues in Agricultural Lending Symposium at MU ended Thursday. This is the second year for the symposium, which gathered a variety of agricultural lenders such as loan officers, credit analysists, regulators and board members.

The symposium brought in experts to speak to lenders on challenges the agriculture industry is currently facing and possible solutions.

Symposium Director Joe Horner says the symposium gives an opportunity for experts to share changes with lenders and for lenders to have a chance to share their ideas.

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Agriculture
4:38 pm
Thu June 6, 2013

Picture this: Sustainabilty in action

Lexicon of Sustainability founder Douglas Gayeton photographs Ames High sophomore Will Weber photographing a high tunnel at Berry Patch Farm in Nevada, Iowa.
Credit Amy Mayer / Harvest Public Media

Inside a high tunnel at Berry Patch farm near Nevada, Iowa, strawberry baskets hang overhead and tomato plants stand tall already laden with fruit. Farm manager Lee Matteson picks several zucchini. Then, he stands there, holding the fresh squash while Will Weber, a sophomore environmental science student from Ames High School, takes a series of photographs.  Beside Weber, and holding another impressive-looking camera, Douglas Gayeton also takes pictures—and issues advice and suggestions to Weber.

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