Environment

Luke Runyon / Harvest Public Media

Local food is no longer just a novelty. Farmers markets are growing nationwide and farms that sell directly to consumers brought in $1.3 billion in 2012, up eight percent from just five years earlier.

Carl Mydans / Library of Congress

The Great Depression saw the U.S. arguably near rock bottom. Some of the economically hardest hit citizens were farmers and their families. Beginning in 1935, photographers hit the dusty back roads of the country. They were charged with documenting the effect of the depression on rural communities.

USDA

Missouri is offering grants to help get more locally produced food into school meals and snacks.

Peggy Lowe / Harvest Public Media

Missouri dairy farmers are urging lawmakers to override Gov. Jay Nixon's veto of legislation authorizing financial incentives for their industry.

The dairy cattle incentives are included in two broader agriculture bills that Nixon vetoed because they would shift regulation of deer farms from the Conservation Department to the Agriculture Department.

The deer provisions have dominated the public debate about the bills.

But the Missouri Dairy Association says the proposed industry incentives are important to keep farmers from closing their dairy operations.

United Soybean Board/Flickr

Farmers’ can anticipate a sharp drop in income this year, according to a new report from the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

In fact, the USDA predicts the $113 billion earned in 2014 will be the lowest amount of net farm income in five years. That’s equal to about a 14 percent fall from last year’s record amount, thanks mostly to a massive drop in crop prices.

Kristofor Husted / KBIA/Harvest Public Media

There will be a statewide recount on the narrow passage of a constitutional amendment creating a right to farm in Missouri.

The secretary of state on Monday was officially certifying the results of Missouri's Aug. 5 primary elections. Those include the approval of Constitutional Amendment 1 by fewer than 2,500 votes out of nearly 1 million cast.

Kristofor Husted / Harvest Public Media/KBIA

 

Late summer in the Midwest is tomato season. For tomato growers around that country, it’s time to pick their bounty and calculate their earnings.

Fishhawk via Flickr

The U.S. Department of Agriculture says Missouri farmers are on track to harvest record crops of corn and soybeans.

In an updated forecast Tuesday, the agency predicted Missouri's corn production this year will total 533 million bushels — the highest on record for the state and a 22 percent increase from last year.

Yields are now forecast at 160 bushels of corn per acre. The USDA said that would be the highest since 2004, when Missouri producers averaged 162 bushels per acre.

Corn
jungmoon / Flickr

Farmers will produce a record-breaking corn harvest this year, surpassing earlier expectations of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, which has revised upward its estimate of this year's corn harvest to 14 billion bushels.

That exceeds last year's 13.9 billion bushel record.

Soybean production also will set a new record at 3.8 billion bushels, beating the 2009 harvest of 3.4 billion bushels.

Kyle Stokes / KBIA

Looks like Missouri’s “Right to Farm” amendment was nearly killed by urban voters. After advocates like the Farm Bureau poured more than $1 million into ads, voters Tuesday narrowly approved the ballot measure by just one quarter of a percent.

Regional news coverage from the KBIA newsroom including:

  • Missouri Supreme Court cancels an execution and schedules a new one
  • Amendment 7 failed perhaps because of its placement on the August ballot
  • USDA predicts a record crop for Midwest farmers
  • Missouri will receive part of a $35 million settlement with Pfizer

Rastoney/Flickr

The nation's corn and soybean farmers are on track to produce record crops this year as a mild summer has provided optimum growing conditions.

Jessica Naudziunas / Harvest Public Media

Farmers and ranchers in southwest Missouri are being urged to monitor livestock after ergot, a fungus that can be deadly for cattle, has been spotted in several hayfields and pastures.

Sure, there's plenty you can do with leftovers: foist them on your office mates or turn them into casserole.

But if you're a big food waste generator like a hospital or a supermarket, your scraps usually go to the landfill to rot.

In Massachusetts, that's about to change, as the state prepares to implement the most ambitious commercial food waste ban in the U.S.

farm
isnapshot / flickr

Opponents of Missouri's Right to Farm constitutional amendment are weighing a recount request after the measure appeared to pass by the slimmest of margins.

The unofficial tally from Tuesday's election showed that Amendment 1 carried by a margin of 0.2 percent. The measure was favored in most rural counties, but opposition in the St. Louis, Kansas City, Springfield and Columbia areas was nearly enough to offset it.

Missouri law allows for a recount if the victory margin is 0.5 percent or less, but the losing side must request it.

Agriculture is a cornerstone of the Midwest economy. In some states, it may even become a right.

That's what unofficially happened in Missouri on Tuesday when voters approved the so-called "right to farm" in the form of an amendment to the state Constitution. (With less than a half of a percent vote differential, a recount is likely.) And the controversial provision could be a model for Constitutional additions in other big ag states.

Jessica Naudziunas / KBIA

Food prices are up, but the U.S. Department of Agriculture isn’t forecasting a drastic surge. In spite of price spikes in the meat aisle, grocery prices are not rising any faster than they have historically.

Kristofor Husted / KBIA/Harvest Public Media

 

The agriculture industry is a cornerstone of the Midwest economy. In some states, it may even become a right.

In Missouri, the so-called “right to farm” is on the ballot in the form of an amendment to the state Constitution. And the controversial provision could be a model for Constitutional additions on other ag-heavy states.

Though the “right to farm” provision is focused on agriculture, it has pitted farmer against farmer with some worried that the results could change the face of farming in the Midwest.

Accountability concerns

Photo courtesy Andy Trupin

Corn farmers in southeast Missouri are expecting high yields — but low profits.

A tour of the Ben & Jerry's factory in Waterbury, Vt., includes a stop at the "Flavor Graveyard," where ice cream combinations that didn't make the cut are put to rest under the shade of big trees.

Spencer Thomas / Flickr

Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon traveled to Iowa to get a personal look at the latest methods in ethanol production.

KBIA / KBIA

 

Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations, or CAFOs, are prevalent in Missouri’s agriculture industry. The large farms are very controversial, and many have concerns about the environmental impact of the farms and humane treatment of animals living there. In Callaway County, plans for a new CAFO have prompted very vocal opposition. But CAFOs are also a mainstay of the agriculture industry, and are legal if maintained correctly.On this Intersection we addressed CAFOs in-depth: about what they are, how they’re used in Missouri, about the controversy surrounding them, and about the future of the operations in the state.

Ethanol pump detail
File Photo / KBIA

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in November proposed a reduction in the amount of ethanol made from corn in the nation’s gas supply, much to the dismay of Corn Belt farmers. The agency has twice postponed its ruling, and the delay is vexing many Midwest farmers and politicians.

The EPA wants to reduce the amount of corn-based ethanol in the nation’s fuel supply—though the exact amount of this reduction hasn’t been decided.

Corn
jungmoon / Flickr

Recent data from the U.S. Department of Agriculture says that over 90 percent of U.S. field corn is genetically modified. That figure has nearly doubled over the past 10 years.

Most of the corn farmers plant has been embedded with a gene—usually from a bacteria—that protects the corn from pests or herbicides.

Ten years ago, less than half of the corn planted had a genetically modified trait. Today, 93 percent of all field corn does, up from 90 percent last year.

When U.S. Sen. Debbie Stabenow announced passage of the Farm Bill in February, she echoed a refrain from a car commercial.

“This is not your father’s Farm Bill,” she said.

Kristofor Husted / Harvest Public Media/KBIA

 

The head of the Environmental Protection Agency is touring farm country, trying to assure farmers that the agency isn’t asking for more authority over farmers and ranchers’ lands.

 


Grant Suneson

Missouri's Attorney General put his support behind a controversial amendment on the primary ballot. Chris Koster officially announced his endorsement of Amendment one, also known as the Right to Farm act.

In a short statement at the Missouri Farm Bureau in Jefferson City today, Koster cited the states reliance on agriculture, saying that failing to pass the measure could inhibit the success of Missouri farmers.

Abbie Fentress Swanson / Harvest Public Media

Former Missouri Lieutenant Governor Joe Maxwell says the ‘Right to Farm’ question before voters in August would give more protection to foreign corporations and take away from small farmers.

Maxwell, a Democrat, told reporters in Springfield Tuesday that Amendment 1 will give more liberty to corporations to buy and operate Missouri farmland.

dishfunctional / Flickr

Gov. Jay Nixon has vetoed legislation that would have shifted responsibility for regulating Missouri deer ranches to the Department of Agriculture instead of the Department of Conservation.

A growing number of Americans are buying raw milk. That's milk that has not been pasteurized to kill bacteria.

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