business beat

Peggy Lowe / Harvest Public Media

There will be no farm bill until Congress returns in the New Year. But it turns out, dairy prices won’t surge on January 1st as some farm bill supporters have suggested. Harvest Public Media’s Grant Gerlock reports.

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack will travel to China this week. It’s a trade visit that happens every year, but this time there is added interest for American farmers. China has rejected 5 loads of corn from the U.S. in recent weeks. The corn contained an insect-resistant trait from the seed company, Syngenta, that’s approved in the U.S. but not China.

Grant Gerlock / Harvest Public Media

Coming up we’ll check in with some farm families about their surprising amount corn crop this year.

Amy Mayer / Harvest Public Media

It’s about that time of year when hog farmers begin the annual process of pumping a year’s worth of manure out of the pits under their barns. The nutrient-rich slurry will fertilize cropland. But there’s an ongoing problem in these pits: a mysterious foam that sometimes forms on the manure. As Harvest Public Media’s Amy Mayer explains, no one quite understands why gases get trapped in the pits, but the foam has been causing explosions. That’s right; this is a story about exploding manure pits.

columbia city hall
File Photo / KBIA

Columbia City Council members approved stricter requirements for a controversial potential housing development near Rock Bridge Memorial State Park. KBIA’s Kate Grumke reports dozens of residents spoke up about their concerns at Monday’s meeting.

Peggy Lowe / Harvest Public Media

When a group of small farmers in the southeastern U.S. banded together to sue a powerful dairy cooperative a few years ago, many hoped that the case would bring big changes to the milk industry.

But the recent settlement of the case involving Kansas City-based Dairy Farmers of America Inc., resulted in little long-term reform, even as the farmers received some monetary damages.

Lukas Udstuen / KBIA

The most recent U.S. census shows the nation’s population is in flux. While some cities across the country are growing, many small towns are dwindling. KBIA’s Lukas Udstuen takes us to Goss, one of the smallest towns in Missouri. You might miss it if it weren’t for a few road signs marking its location along Route 24 in Monroe County. And you’re most likely out of luck if you stop in Goss for directions because the 2010 Census reported the town has zero residents.

Check out more details about how Goss came about and see an audio slide show here.

Kathleen Masterson / Harvest Public Media

Later, we check in with a revised Environmental Protection Agency standard that could help some wastewater treatment facilities struggling to comply with part of the Clean Water Act’s deadline.

Kristofor Husted / KBIA

Coming up we’ll take a look at how the drought affected an outdoor industry completely dependent on water. But first, the United States Department of Agriculture is currently accepting claims from female and Hispanic farmers who believe the agency discriminated against them in farm loan or loan servicing programs. As Harvest Public Media’s Amy Mayer reports, the claims process is complex—but the payouts could be large.

Peggy Lowe / Harvest Public Media

This story on the American beef industry is part of a special reporting series from Harvest Public Media. Check out the rest of their stories at harvestpublicmedia.org.

When Allen Berry brought his 11 yearlings to the Green City Livestock Market in central Missouri last month, he paid into a fund that at first blush, seems a bargain.

Program teaches financial lessons to foster care youth

Dec 27, 2012
Money
File Photo / KBIA

Foster care can be difficult for many reasons: stress on the family, forced assimilation into a new environment for the child and a lack of resources can create problems for those in the system. But what you don’t always hear about is what happens to the kids who age out of the system at 18.

These teenagers are often thrown into an adult world with adult problems, including how to make ends meet. But, one St. Louis foundation is helping teach the former foster children the financial lessons to succeed after foster care.

images_of_money / Flickr

Had a hamburger lately? The cow it came from likely passed through a feedlot – a huge farm that fattens cattle before they’re slaughtered. The thousands of cattle housed at a feedlot produce tons and tons of waste. That manure can be used as a valuable fertilizer. But if it’s not properly disposed, it could lead to an environmental disaster. In Day 4 of Harvest Public Media’s series, America’s Big Beef, Jeremy Bernfeld reports.

Pat Blank / Iowa Public Radio

Now that Thanksgiving has passed, many people have begun to deck the halls, gorge on delectable dishes, and send out greeting cards. Well, that last one might become trickier for some rural residents soon. That’s because the United States Postal Service is moving ahead to reduce the hours of thousands of post offices across the country.  Jennifer Davidson has this report from a rural Ozarks community.

Rural post offices prepare for reduction of hours

Nov 28, 2012
Jennifer Davidson / KSMU

A tiny post office sits in Pomona, Mo. It’s a very small, white plaster concrete building with a flagpole to the side.

Pomona is in a rural area in south central Missouri.  This is one of the many post offices across the United States in an effort to save money by the US Postal Service.

“I think all of the smaller offices in this area—they’re all going to that, because, you know, there’s a lot of lag time,” says Anna Carnefix, the postmaster relief for the Pomona office.

Pat Blank / Iowa Public Radio

In the Dr. Seuss book, it was the Grinch who stole Christmas. But for some Midwest tree growers, it may be the drought that eventually steals the holiday.

Danny Moulds, who owns Kris Kringle’s Trees just north of Cedar Falls, Iowa, said the hot dry summer took a harsh toll on newly planted seedlings. “We did lose about 15,000 Christmas trees in a 46-acre farm,” Moulds said. “And with the fir trees we didn’t lose just the little ones we planted this year, we (also) lost last year’s.”

Holiday season yields more volunteering in Columbia

Nov 16, 2012
Yiqian Zhang / KBIA

With the holidays quickly approaching, people are busier than ever trying to help feed others in need during the holiday season.

Kristofor Husted / KBIA

By most accounts, Missouri is a pink state.

Not red. Not blue. Pink.

But, when thousands of small business owners in Missouri were asked which candidate was more supportive of small business, 35 percent chose President Barack Obama, 24 percent picked Gov. Mitt Romney, and 41 percent said they were unsure. (That’s from a recent George Washington University and Thumbtack poll.)

Kristofor Husted / KBIA

Countdown to Election Day is upon us.

And while business development continues to surge as a hot topic this campaign season, the expired farm bill seems to have disappeared off candidates' radars completely. Harvest Public Media’s Amy Mayer has this report on just how much candidates are talking farm policy...in farm country.

By most accounts, Missouri is a pink state.

Not red. Not blue. Pink.

Kathleen Masterson / Harvest Public Media

When Congress recessed for the election season without passing a new farm bill, many observers thought farmers would demand explanations as campaign trails blazed through small towns. But despite its importance in farm country, the farm bill and farm policy are largely being overshadowed by other campaign issues.

Fighting for food

Oct 24, 2012
Produce aisle of grocery store
File Photo / KBIA

When it comes to the business of food, there’s a rivalry around every corner. You’ve got fights for prime farmland, wars over water use, even buying food at the grocery store has its competition with household bills encroaching on family budgets for the shopping list.

Samantha Sunne / KBIA

Water use has become a hot issue among Midwest farmers after this summer's drought. Nebraska irrigates more acres of farmland than any other state in the nation. Kansas is also near the top. And that Irrigation infrastructure helped some farmers keep the drought at bay this year. Their fields stayed green long after others withered away. But as Grant Gerlock reports for Harvest Public Media, using so much water now may force some farmers to use less water in the future.

Lukas Udstuen / KBIA

As a 5-piece band wound its way through an acoustic set of music, guests slowly shuffled into the “Inside the Walls” festival at the Missouri State Penitentiary. To the southwest, the main entrance to the prison towered over the festival.

Charles Vaughan used to live in a house across the street. He remembers the 1954 riots, which were the worst in the history of the penitentiary. Vaughan remembers his dad and brother were on top of a nearby building with guns.

“There was a big fire going on," he said. "My mom was keeping me in the house which upset me because I wanted to get on the roof and my mom was piling furniture right in front of the front door.”

But now the penitentiary looks much lonelier. Its paint peels. Some of its buildings have been torn down. In fact — of those that remain, some parts are even off limits to tours – this is due to a process Steve Picker calls “demolition by neglect.” He’s the former executive director of the Jefferson City Convention and Visitor’s Bureau.

Currently, the USDA expects the prices of beef, pork, poultry and dairy to shoot up five percent next year. You can blame the drought for a lot of that increase as this summer a lot of small livestock producers are struggling just to stay in business. A version of this story ran on KBIA's Business Beat, a weekly program about business and economics in mid-Missouri.

Clay Masters / Harvest Public Media

This week on the show, what would happen if Congress doesn’t pass a farm bill? Plus, a quick check in on the new student-oriented bus route in Columbia, that started running this week; and what it might mean for the city’s overall transit system.

Sarah McCammon / Harvest Public Media

This week: North America’s largest food distributor is phasing out its use of gestation crates in pork production. Plus, a story about the drought’s impact on ranchers in the Midwest.

maria figueroa armijos
University of Missouri

Microsoft, Staples, and SouthWest Airlines.

What do these companies have in common? Yes, they're big companies, they employ a lot of people and they're successful. But here's one more thing--all of these companies were created in a period of economic downturn.  The Fortune 500 is littered with stories like this.

Business Beat spoke with Maria Figueroa-Armijos who's one of the authors of a new study which suggests that certain types of entrepreneurs are on the rise and it’s not in spite of the recession--it’s because of it.

Frank Morris / Harvest Public Media

This week on the show: Harvest Public Media’s Frank Morris follows the river to show the impact of this year’s drought.

Scott Pham / KBIA

It’s going to seem like this week’s show is all about keeping cows cool, and it kind of is, but keep in mind this is a serious threat to agriculture in Missouri, and thus, the overall economy in the state.

Dave Oster / Rockupied

This week: an app may help the Columbia Transit system deal with an unengaged ridership. Plus, Harvest Public Media looks at the lasting impact of the Homestead Act.

Jeremy Bernfeld / Harvest Public Media

Visits from foreign buyers play a role in sustaining certain agriculture markets in the Midwest. Plus, educators, designers and engineers team up to try to fund the next big innovation for small farms.

Grant Gerlock / for Harvest Public Media

This week on the show: an enzyme factory aims to be a big part of the ethanol industry, and a business incubator in Columbia lands a state tax credit.

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