harvest public media

Agriculture
5:30 pm
Thu April 10, 2014

Vertical farming: towering vision, uncertain future

Large banks of fluorescent lamps provide the spectrum of light that keeps the floating beds of plants alive year-round in The Plant Chicago, a vertical farming facility.
Credit Peter Gray / Harvest Public Media

Farmers are making inroads supplying local food to hungry city foodies, but many producers are trying to grow more food inurban centers. City real estate is at a premium, so some producers are finding more space by using what’s called “vertical farming,” and going up rather than spreading out.

Growers across the country are heading indoors, using greenhouses and hydroponics – growing plants in a water and nutrient solution instead of soil and using lamps to replace sunlight. Vertical farming takes that to a new level.

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Agriculture
8:56 am
Tue April 8, 2014

Federal rule could dry up brewer-rancher relationship

Credit Ben Harris-Roxas / flickr

Few people connect craft breweries with cattle feed. But passing along the spent grains from the brewing process, like barley and wheat, to livestock ranchers is a common practice. Although now, that relationship could be in jeopardy.

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Agriculture
5:30 pm
Thu March 6, 2014

How climate change could benefit some invasive plants

Ellen Nelson has battled invasive plants that out-compete native grasses on her grass-fed beef ranch near Bellvue, Colo. Some climate studies suggest that fight will worsen in the coming decades.
Credit Luke Runyon / Harvest Public Media

Most climate models paint a bleak picture for the Great Plains a century from now: It will likely be warmer and the air will be more rich with carbon dioxide. Though scientists don’t yet know how exactly the climate will change, new studies show it could be a boon to some invasive plant species.  

A growing problem

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Agriculture
2:02 pm
Thu March 6, 2014

From Brooklyn to Boone County, and back again

Our Abbie Fentress Swanson (second from left) reported stories while hip-deep in water and on the road across the Midwest.
Credit Abbie Fentress Swanson/Harvest Public Media

When I was offered this job nearly two years ago, I jumped at the opportunity to move to Columbia, Mo., from Brooklyn, N.Y., to cover agriculture and food production in the Heartland.

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Health & Wealth Update
7:00 am
Wed March 5, 2014

Midwest Amish look to food hub helpers for tech support

Restaurants, schools and other big buyers are looking for local food year-round.  And many of them are connecting with small farms on the Internet.  But not all local producers are on the cutting edge… or even on the power grid.  Harvest Public Media’s Peter Gray reports on a community of Amish in Illinois, as they work out how to merge tradition with technology to sell the food they grow.

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Agriculture
8:09 am
Tue January 7, 2014

USDA one step closer to approving new herbicide resistant crops

Water hemp is one of several weeds building resistance to Roundup herbicide.
Credit 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.

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Health & Wealth Update
7:00 am
Wed January 1, 2014

My Farm Roots: Community counts

Matt Pauly, far left, and his family near Lake of the Ozarks (Courtesy of Matt Pauly)

This is an installment of the 2013 edition of My Farm Roots, Harvest Public Media’s series chronicling Americans’ connection to the land. Click here to explore more My Farm Roots stories and to share your own.

Matt Pauly has traveled the world  – he’s lived in New York, Paris, South Korea – but he’s still a farm boy at heart.

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Health & Wealth Update
7:00 am
Wed December 25, 2013

My Farm Roots: Born to farm

Despite suffering from Guillain-Barre syndrome, Steve Quandt still farms outside Grand Island, Neb.
Credit Grant Gerlock / Harvest Public Media

This is an installment of the 2013 edition of My Farm Roots, Harvest Public Media’s series chronicling Americans’ connection to the land. Click here to explore more My Farm Roots stories and to share your own.

One sign that you have strong farm roots is when your rural road is named for your family.

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Agriculture
2:47 pm
Mon December 2, 2013

Organic acreage continues its steady climb

Credit 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.

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Health & Wealth Update
7:00 am
Wed November 20, 2013

My Farm Roots: Winning respect

Danelle Myer grew up on a conventional farm, but now runs a small, local vegetable farm outside Logan, Iowa.
Credit Amy Mayer / Harvest Public Media

This is the an installment of the 2013 edition of My Farm Roots, Harvest Public Media’s series chronicling Americans’ connection to the land. Click here to explore more My Farm Roots stories and to share your own.

 

Danelle Myer owns a small vegetable farm and like many other small farmers, she’s passionate about the kind of operation she wants to grow: a small, local business.

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Health & Wealth Update
1:37 pm
Wed November 6, 2013

Reporting project shines light on immigrant workers' children

At the primary school in rural Noel, Mo., teachers and staff function as educators and de facto social workers.
Credit Abbie Fentress Swanson / Harvest Public Media

 

Listen to my interview with KBIA's Harvest Public Media reporter Abbie Fentress Swanson.

While doing research for the Harvest Public Media series “In the Shadows of the Slaughterhouse,” reporters Abbie Fentress Swanson and Peggy Lowe called roughly two dozen institutions to get statistics about the children of immigrant and refugee workers at American meatpacking plants. Swanson said she called federal agencies, researchers, unions, and immigration advocacy groups. But she couldn't find anyone who kept data on how many of these children live in the U.S., not to mention their health, education or economic status.

“They’re not on anyone’s radar,” Swanson said. “They’re not being tracked or followed, they’re kind of an invisible population in this country.”

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Agriculture
2:35 pm
Wed September 25, 2013

My Farm Roots: Providing from the land

As a child Robert Harris Jr. worked picking cotton. Now, he’s back out in the fields, this time growing produce for the needy. (Jacob McCleland for Harvest Public Media)

This is an installment of the 2013 edition of My Farm Roots, Harvest Public Media’s series chronicling Americans’ connection to the land. Click here to explore more My Farm Roots stories and to share your own.

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Agriculture
5:09 pm
Wed September 18, 2013

My Farm Roots: Always a farmer

As secretary of agriculture, Beck Doyle and Gov. Jim Edgar, center, ride through the 1991 Illinois State Fair. (Courtesy State Journal-Register)

This is an installment of the 2013 edition of My Farm Roots, Harvest Public Media’s series chronicling Americans’ connection to the land. Click here to explore more My Farm Roots stories and to share your own.

In 1986, Becky Doyle was helping her husband run the family’s hog farming operation. She also had a sidelight business of marketing gift baskets made from Illinois products. But that wasn’t enough: Doyle decided she would make a run for the Illinois House.

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Agriculture
5:03 pm
Mon September 16, 2013

New test could help quell spread of hog disease

Pork producers are worried about a virus that has the potential to wipe out entire litters of piglets.
Credit Amy Mayer / Harvest Public Media

Hog producers and their veterinarians have a new tool to help with the fight against Porcine Epidemic Diarrhea Virus (PEDV). 

The first cases of the fast-spreading disease in the United States were confirmed last spring, prompting researchers to leap into action. At this point, PEDV has been confirmed on nearly 600 farms in 17 states.

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Agriculture
12:29 pm
Thu September 12, 2013

Congress Still Playing The Farm Bill Game

Farmville players build and care for their own Facebook farm. Like real-life farmers, players plan their moves based on policy.
courtesy of Zynga

 

The farm bill is, once again, entering a critical stretch. As was the case last year, the current law expires at the end of September. There’s no election to dissuade elected officials from tackling the major piece of agriculture and nutrition policy—but Congress does have a pretty full plate, with the crisis in Syria, immigration reform and a measure to continue funding federal government programs all set to come to a head.

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Agriculture
10:15 am
Tue September 10, 2013

Is there a tilt in Pork Board-funded research?

John Mabry, an animal science professor at Iowa State University, has a grant from the National Pork Board to study nutrition in Berkshire hogs.
Credit Amy Mayer / Harvest Public Media

  

When a new disease — known as PEDV —turned up in the U.S. hog industry in May and threatened to kill whole litters of piglets, the National Pork Board quickly responded with $450,000 in research funding.

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Agriculture
8:02 am
Wed September 4, 2013

My Farm Roots: Looking back fondly

Horel, middle, still has fond memories of playing around the farm with his brothers and other neighborhood kids. (Courtesy Paul Horel)

 

This is an installment of the 2013 edition of My Farm Roots, Harvest Public Media’s series chronicling Americans’ connection to the land. Click here to explore more My Farm Roots stories and to share your own.

More than once while I was listening to Paul Horel's stories about farm life in Iowa, I felt like I was at a family reunion. With his glasses and balding head, mild Midwestern accent, and talk about plowing and politics, he could easily have been my uncle.  

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Politics
7:44 am
Fri August 30, 2013

Senator Blunt touts bill reducing 'Starbucks of the petroleum business,' or boutique fuels

U.S. Senator Roy Blunt was in Cape Girardeau, Thursday, Aug. 29, touting legislation to reduce 'boutique' fuels.
Credit Jacob McCleland / KRCU

U.S. Senator Roy Blunt was in Missouri on Thursday to promote legislation that would reduce the number of so-called "boutique" fuels.

Under the Clean Air Act, different cities use different blends of fuel. Blunt's bill reduces the number of boutique fuels and broadens the ability of the Environmental Protection Agency to give a waiver to a city to use whichever fuel they want in times of supply disruption.

At gas station in Cape Girardeau, the Republican Senator says before the Clean Air Act, the refineries were not the profit centers of the oil industry.

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Agriculture
11:39 am
Wed August 28, 2013

My Farm Roots: Hardwired for hard work

Amy Konishi has lived in Fort Collins, Colo., her entire life. In the 1980s, a local newspaper profiled her and her husband’s long connection to the area. (Luke Runyon/Harvest Public Media)

This is an installment of the 2013 edition of My Farm Roots, Harvest Public Media’s series chronicling Americans’ connection to the land. Click here to explore more My Farm Roots stories and to share your own.

Amy Konishi says when her obituary is written it’ll read, “All she knew was work.”

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Health & Wealth Update
11:10 am
Wed August 21, 2013

My Farm Roots: Wings

Kelly Hagler left her family’s farm in northwest Missouri for the bright lights of Chicago, but her family and the farm are never far from her thoughts. (Jeremy Bernfeld/Harvest Public Media)

This is an installment of the 2013 edition of My Farm Roots, Harvest Public Media’s series chronicling Americans’ connection to the land. Click here to explore more My Farm Roots stories and to share your own.

Kelly Hagler, 25, is among the millions of young people who have left rural communities for the bright lights of the city, in this case Chicago.

But Hagler has not left completely.

Here’s what she told us last year when we asked people to share their “My Farm Roots” stories through the Harvest Network:

“The drought and fear of not making contract yields, mixed with the pressure of new house expenses, is aging my already Old Man,” she wrote. “It's also so strange to be detached from them. It's something that few other non-farming families have to deal with: The guilt of leaving behind older parents to work the farm, all because you're trying to make your own living where more opportunities exist.”

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Agriculture
2:36 pm
Wed August 14, 2013

Legislators not giving up hope for farm bill

Credit /

With Congress in its August recess, the farm bill is stalled and many are pessimistic about getting a new bill passed before the current extension expires on Sept. 30. Still, farm country legislators aren’t exactly giving up hope.

Republican Illinois Congressman Aaron Schock was asked about the farm bill at a town hall style meeting in in his district this week.
He said that he thinks the most likely outcome is that the House will pass a “food stamp bill,” to go along with a agriculture portion it passed in June. That could put the farm bill back on track.

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Science, Health and Technology
8:24 am
Mon August 5, 2013

FDA launches new gluten free rules

Credit File Photo / KBIA

Walk down a grocery store aisle or open a restaurant menu.

Gluten-free labels are everywhere.

Gluten is a starchy protein compound found in products made from wheat, barley and rye. It’s what gives dough a chewy texture. But up until this point, there has been little oversight on what qualifies as gluten-free and what doesn’t.

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Agriculture
12:11 pm
Wed July 31, 2013

My Farm Roots: A cowboy at heart

Once an average suburban Colorado kid, Trent Johnson spent years ranching and now owns storied cowboy outfitter Greeley Hat Works.
Credit Luke Runyon / Harvest Public Media

 This is an installment of the 2013 edition of My Farm RootsHarvest Public Media’s series chronicling Americans’ connection to the land. Click here to explore more My Farm Roots stories and to share your own.
  

Trent Johnson didn’t grow up on a farm, but he was always enamored with the cowboy lifestyle.

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Business Beat
5:30 pm
Wed July 24, 2013

How to revive soil for agriculture

William Burnidge, left, an ecologist with the Nature Conservancy, is working with rancher Nathan Andrews to test out a different method of grazing.
Credit Luke Runyon / Harvest Public Media

The world’s soil is in trouble, even in the fertile Midwest. Some experts warn that if degradation continues unchecked, topsoil could be gone in 60 years—with implications for agriculture and the broader environment. Farmers feel the pressure of feeding a growing global population and protecting the soil necessary to do that—all while operating a viable business.  Harvest Public Media considers two possible ways to improve the soil. The first--planting strips of prairie grass alongside farm fields. Amy Mayer reports.

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Health & Wealth Update
12:30 pm
Wed July 24, 2013

My Farm Roots: A song in her heart

Retired professor Jackie Dougan Jackson lives in Springfield, Ill., but devotes a lot of time reflecting on her childhood growing up on a farm near Beloit, Wis.
Bill Wheelhouse Harvest Public Media

This is an installment of the 2013 edition of My Farm Roots, Harvest Public Media’s series chronicling Americans’ connection to the land. Click here to explore more My Farm Roots stories and to share your own.

Jackie Dougan Jackson keeps a pretty thorough log of her life. The 85-year-old retired college professor lives in Springfield, Ill., and has lived there for more than 40 years. However, she has devoted a lot of time to her first 22 years, when she lived on a family farm near Beloit, Wisc.

Jackson has written a couple of books of what she calls “creative nonfiction,” which she calls the “Round Barn” series, based on a distinctive feature on the family farmstead.  In those books she relates tales from the farm life of her childhood, from her “grama’s” depression to tall tales told at the dinner table.

“I feel as if I’m a native Turtle Township, (Wis.,) person,” Jackson said. “I began collecting stories (about the farm) actively in 1967, I have them in handwriting and transcribed.  I’ve been writing about farming in Wisconsin from 1900-1972”.

Jackson’ family owned both a dairy farm, starting in 1911, and then got into growing seed corn when hybrid corn was developed in the 1930s.

Along with saving stories from the past, she keeps items from the past as well. She is glad to show you a milk bottle and a milk cap from Dougan’s Dairy, her father’s early-century operation, which eventually closed as home delivery phased out.  She can also display a bag of Dougan’s Hybrid Corn from the old days when seed corn was groundbreaking ag technology. 

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Agriculture
8:17 am
Tue July 23, 2013

Agriculture Secretary pushes for farm bill

U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack says farm and nutrition policy belong together in a food, farm and jobs bill.
Credit Amy Mayer / Harvest Public Media

U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack is continuing to push Congress to send a farm bill to President Obama’s desk. And he says dwindling farmer numbers mean coupling agricultural policy with nutrition programs is essential.

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Politics
7:13 am
Fri July 12, 2013

House passes farm-only farm bill

Many farmers are resigned to being unable to depend on rock-solid federal farm policy.
Credit Frank Morris / Harvest Public Media

The U.S. House passed its version of farm bill legislation Thursday. The revamped bill strips out funding for food aid and deals only with farm policy, exposing a hefty rift in decades-old alliances between urban and rural legislators and between food aid and farm policy interests.

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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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Science, Health and Technology
5:48 pm
Thu June 20, 2013

Scientists check for effects of ag runoff; can a CSA ever be too big?

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.
Credit Abbie Fentress Swanson / Harvest Public Media

On this week's show, we'll discuss ag runoff and community supported agriculture.

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Science, Health and Technology
5:38 pm
Thu June 20, 2013

When it comes to CSAs, how big is too big?

Andy Grant walks among chickens that will provide eggs for a new CSA effort, Six Dog Farms.
Credit Grace Hood / Harvest Public Media

 

Last year, one of the country’s largest Community Supported Agriculture share providers went bankrupt. Grant Family Farms in Northern Colorado launched an organic CSA back in 2007 with 127 members and peaked with more than 5,000 in 2012.

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