Ongoing Coverage:

drought 2012

6:00 am
Fri February 28, 2014

USDA predicts low corn prices here to stay

The price of corn, the mainstay of Midwest agricultural production, is expected to remain low in the coming years.
Credit dok1/Flickr

The days of record high corn prices are gone, at least for now, and they’re only going to continue their decline, according to projections released earlier this month by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. (PDF)

You can pin part of the blame on the 2012 drought, when corn hit an all-time high of $8.31 per bushel. The dry conditions made corn a limited commodity.

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6:00 am
Fri December 27, 2013

Field Notes: Popcorn and Ag Sec. Vilsack's trip to China

A Del’s Popcorn shop employee in Decatur, Ill., starts the vintage popcorn popper. Del’s relies heavily on holiday sales, but is struggling with the high price of popcorn.
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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6:00 am
Fri December 27, 2013

Sellers squeezed by high price of popcorn

Kemper Wilcutt II, who runs the Del’s in Decatur, has watched the price of kernels skyrocket.
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.

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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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8:34 am
Mon June 3, 2013

New MU website helps farmers track rainfall and nitrogen loss

Credit Adam Allington / St. Louis Public Radio

A University of Missouri plant scientist has launched a website that allows crop producers to track rainfall and the risk of nitrogen loss during the spring seasons. 

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5:47 pm
Wed April 10, 2013

The 'Big Tree' beckons

The Big Tree of Boone County, Mo. It’s 90-feet tall, has a 287-inch circumference, and a 130-foot limb spread.
Credit Peggy Lowe / Harvest Public Media

The first day of spring doesn’t feel that way as John Sam Williamson and Chris Starbuck meet up on a county road outside Columbia, Mo.

Temperatures are below freezing and a cold wind is whipping along the flat land here on the Missouri River bottoms. Williamson, a farmer whose family has owned this land for six generations, tugs at the bill of his John Deere cap and Starbuck, a retired University of Missouri plant scientist, pulls his Arborist Society stocking cap further down over his ears.

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10:22 am
Thu April 4, 2013

MU gets USDA grant to help farmers build resilience to drought

MU researchers measure soil water infiltration.
Photo courtesy of Tim Reinbott.

On Thursday, the U.S. Department of Agriculture will announce that it will fund a University of Missouri project focused on building drought resiliency through soil health.  

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5:01 pm
Mon March 11, 2013

Snowfall and rain reduce drought's impact

New UM System President Tim Wolfe spoke with reporters on his first official day in charge.

Climatologists say recent rain and snowstorms are slowly easing the grip of the worst U.S. drought in decades. But the wet weather also is creating some potential headaches.

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7:56 am
Fri February 1, 2013

Missouri ethanol plant to be idled due to high corn prices

Poet Biorefining's ethanol plant in Macon, Mo., looked greener back in April 2010. This file photo was taken the day President Barack Obama and Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack visited the plant.
Credit Photo courtesy of Poet Biorefining / KBIA

Seventeen ethanol plants nationwide have been idled since last June because of a scarcity of affordable corn due to the drought and a weak market for the corn-based fuel. On Friday, a plant in Macon, Mo., took the hit — and brought the number to 18. 

The northeast Missouri plant is temporarily halting operations as corn prices top $7 a bushel. It's one of 27 plants that Poet Biorefining owns nationwide, and was the first ethanol plant opened in Missouri in 2000. It has been producing 46 million gallons of ethanol per year since 2003.

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4:21 pm
Tue January 15, 2013

Corn, soybean production took hit in 2012

Farmer Eric Cress, left, shows Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack the drought damage to his corn crop on his farm near Center Point, IA in July 2012.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture's National Agricultural Statistics Service released its end-of-year Crop Production 2012 Annual Summary Friday.

Not surprisingly, the report revealed that corn and soy production took a beating last year due to the drought that is still ravaging farms all over the Midwest.

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5:01 pm
Tue January 8, 2013

2012 was record warm year in much of Missouri

Hot child in Missouri.
Credit jetsandzeppelins / Flickr

If you're a Missourian and felt hot under the collar last year, there is good reason.

The National Weather Service says 2012 was the warmest year on record in St. Louis and Columbia, and was among the warmest in other cities.

St. Louis recorded an average temperature of 61.2 degrees for last year, a full 1.1 degrees higher than the previous mark set in 1921.

In Columbia, the average temperature of 59.4 degrees topped the 1938 record.

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2:37 pm
Fri January 4, 2013

Field Notes: The year's top stories in agriculture

For the Harvest Network, the drought was the top story in agriculture in 2012. Here, a dry corn field outside Columbia, Mo. photographed in July 2012.
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.

For this edition of Field Notes — our first in 2013 — we decided to take a look back at last year’s biggest stories in agriculture.

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4:02 pm
Thu January 3, 2013

Holiday storms have limited impact on US drought

Rain and snow in the past few weeks hasn't alleviated the drought very much.
Credit File / KBIA

Holiday storms that pounded much of the nation with snow and rain did little to ease the overall grip of the worst U.S. drought in decades.

The weekly U.S. Drought Monitor report released Thursday shows that about 61 percent of the continental U.S. remained in some form of drought as of Tuesday, down less than a percentage point from the previous week. That number has been above 60 percent largely since July.

More than 21 percent of the lower 48 states are in extreme or exceptional drought, the two worst categories. That's down slightly from the previous week.

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2:48 pm
Thu January 3, 2013

Drought Puts The Squeeze On Already Struggling Fish Farms

Catfish swim in a tub outside the Osage Catfisheries office.
Kristofor Husted KBIA News

Originally published on Thu January 3, 2013 5:10 pm

This year's drought delivered a pricey punch to US aquaculture, the business of raising fish like bass and catfish for food. Worldwide, aquaculture has grown into a $119 billion industry, but the lack of water and high temperatures in 2012 hurt many U.S. fish farmers who were already struggling to compete on a global scale.

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Science, Health and Technology
10:40 am
Mon December 31, 2012

Turkey, quail and bees fared well in Mo. in 2012

Wild Turkey
Mr. Muskrat Flickr

2012 was a rough year for Missouri farmers battling severe drought and extreme heat, but some species of wildlife did well – specifically, turkeys, bobwhite quail and honeybees.

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