harvest public media

Agriculture
5:37 pm
Thu April 25, 2013

Potato industry banks on 'Linda'

The U.S. Potato Board is spending about $4 million annually on a marketing campaign targeting shoppers.
Credit Luke Runyon / Harvest Public Media

At a Fort Collins, Colo., grocery store, Kristin Mastre paused for a minute in front a large bin of Russet and red potatoes. She picked out a few handfuls and continued on, her two boys, Carter, 4, and Logan, 7, in tow.

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Health & Wealth Blog
4:30 pm
Fri March 22, 2013

Rural Reads: On post offices, Common Core and county health

Every week, KBIA's Health & Wealth Desk curates the week's most interesting (or so we think) articles and reports on rural health, wealth and society issues. 

Rural post offices in crisis

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Health & Wealth Blog
6:02 pm
Fri March 15, 2013

Rural Reads: On osteopathic physicians and access to insurance

Every Friday, KBIA’s Health and Wealth Desk curates the week’s most interesting (or so we think) articles and reports on rural health, wealth and society issues.

Osteopathic Physicians: An Answer To Rural Health Care Needs?

It’s no secret the U.S. is facing a shortage of primary care physicians – especially in rural areas, which is home to some 20 percent of all Americans, but only has 9 percent of all physicians. Compared to specialized medicine such as surgery and cardiology, primary care does not pay as well – and the average student loan debt for med school graduates is $161,290. Only about 24 percent of MD graduates lean to primary care. That’s not the case with recent osteopathic medicine graduates, though.  

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Agriculture
9:09 am
Thu March 7, 2013

Health insurance unknowns loom for farmers as Affordable Care Act approaches

Marilyn Andersen, who raises angora goats and llamas for wool near Story City, Iowa, is one of many farmers and ranchers entering the individual health insurance marketplace.
Amy Mayer Harvest Public Media

Marilyn Andersen raises angora goats and llamas for wool that she spins and weaves in her studio at Two Cedars Weaving in Story City, Iowa. She also has a part-time job coordinating distribution of local produce through a service called Farm to Folk. Neither effort comes with health insurance.

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Agriculture
6:24 pm
Fri February 22, 2013

Seed science pushes toward higher yields

Researchers at DuPont Pioneer’s facility near Des Moines, Iowa, test these varieties of corn.
Credit Amy Mayer / Harvest Public Media

At an open house at DuPont Pioneer’s Dallas Center Corn Research Center near Des Moines, Iowa, retired corn breeder Bill Ambrose marveled at the tools available today to do the job he did for nearly 40 years.

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Agriculture
6:10 pm
Fri February 22, 2013

Generic seeds could have a short lifespan

Potted soybean plants line the tables in a research greenhouse at the University of Nebraska Lincoln. Researchers are trying to understand the ways different genes control plant growth.
Grant Gerlock Harvest Public Media

The patent rights on the first genetically modified seeds expire next year, but it’s not clear how the introduction of “generic” seeds fits into the science and business of GM crops.

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Agriculture
7:12 pm
Thu January 24, 2013

Drought takes head start into 2013

An aerial view of farmland affected by the drought in northeastern Colorado in July 2012. Green circles show irrigated crops next to yellowed, dryland wheat fields.
Lance Cheung USDA

 

2012 was a drought year for the record books. It was the warmest year ever recorded in Des Moines, IowaTopeka, Kan., and Columbia, Mo. and the driest ever in Grand Island, Neb. The question is whether 2013 will be any different.

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Business Beat
5:04 pm
Wed January 2, 2013

Checkoff beef and fiscal cliff (for now)

Credit File Photo / KBIA

Did you feel that pullback January 1st? That was Congress finally passing a compromise bill to prevent the country from careening off the fiscal cliff. In the early hours of 2013, the Senate passed the bill. And much later that day, the House passed it.

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Agriculture
4:30 pm
Wed January 2, 2013

Beef checkoff feud exposes divide within cattle industry

Allen Berry co-owns a cow-calf operation with his wife near Trenton, Mo. Like all other cow-calf operators, Berry pays into a fund that benefits the Cattlemen’s Beef Promotion and Research Board for each animal sold.
Credit 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.

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Under the Microscope
5:50 pm
Thu December 20, 2012

Problematic US horsemeat shows up in Europe

Silky Shark, a racehorse that earned over $100,000 during his racing career.
Courtesy Ken Terpenning

On this week’s show, we’ll hear about problematic US horsemeat showing up in Europe, and hear from one researcher about ways to convince people to lead a healthier lifestyle.

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Science, Health and Technology
5:40 pm
Thu December 20, 2012

Drugged-up horsemeat (from U.S.) showing up in Europe

Silky Shark, a racehorse that earned over $100,000 during his racing career.
Courtesy Ken Terpenning

 

Silky Shark was a beautiful animal and a successful race horse. Over the course of his career he earned over $100,000 for his Kentucky owner. But Silky Shark ended up as meat on someone’s plate – most probably somewhere in Europe.

Silky Shark’s story isn’t unusual. Over 100,000 American horses – race horses, ranch horses, teaching stable horses - are eaten abroad every year.

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Under the Microscope
6:35 pm
Thu December 13, 2012

On fuel and fellowships

Equipment innovations such as this corn stover baler have helped make harvesting of biomass more practical.
Amy Mayer Harvest Public Media

On this week's show, we’ll hear about changes in the ethanol industry and talk to the recipient of a prestigious science fellowship.

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Agriculture
5:44 pm
Thu December 13, 2012

Cellulosic ethanol is coming, future uncertain

Corn stover, baled in the field after the grain has been harvested, provides feedstock for cellulosic ethanol.
Amy Mayer Harvest Public Media

About a decade ago, concerns about energy independence, greenhouse gas emissions and the need to boost rural economies led Congress to launch policies in support of biofuels  – corn ethanol, most notably. But the idea was that eventually more U.S.-produced fuel would be cellulosic – derived from corn residue, wheat straw or other biomass.

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Agriculture
5:38 pm
Thu November 29, 2012

In the ag census even the smallest farms count

A head of broccoli ready to be picked in late November at Jones Produce near Crete, Neb.
Grant Gerlock Harvest Public Media

The U.S. Department of Agriculture updates its ag census every five years and is preparing to send farmers new surveys in December. One trend to watch is the growing number of small farms. They are easy to miss and some would rather not be counted.

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Harvest Public Media
11:21 am
Thu November 22, 2012

The local-global food connection

“We need to produce as much to feed the world as we can, but also people like to eat locally grown foods, too, so there’s a case for both sides of agriculture,” says Greg Rinehart, a farmer in Boone County, Iowa.
Amy Mayer Harvest Public Media

The United States is the world’s leading producer and exporter of corn, which is used as livestock feed to support the increasing demand for meat in China, India and other countries with growing middle classes.

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Under the Microscope
5:36 pm
Thu November 15, 2012

Dust Bowl memories offer present warning

A dust cloud rises over an unspecified town on the southern Plains.
Photo courtesy kansasmemory.org, Kansas Historical Society

The Dust Bowl of the 1930s left an indelible mark on the Midwest and on history. It is the drought against which all others are measured. And it was a man-made disaster that could still offer lessons today.

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Health & Wealth Desk
5:42 pm
Tue November 13, 2012

Farm bill is more than subsidies and food stamps

These tomato and salvia plants are growing in bio-renewable pots in a greenhouse at Iowa State University, which received a grant through the Farm Bill to study replacements for petroleum-based plastic pots.
Amy Mayer Harvest Public Media

Beyond subsidies and food stamps, what’s in the farm bill?

With the election over, lawmakers are now returning to Washington for the final weeks of the 112th Congress. Their schedule is packed, but House majority leader Eric Cantorhas said addressing the expired Farm Bill is on the agenda.

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Science, Health and Technology
6:22 pm
Thu November 8, 2012

Embracing healthy food: First steps

Kansas City, Kan., resident Judith Smith says Juniper Gardens changed her perspective on food.
Credit Elana Gordon / Harvest Public Media

In recent years, there has been a concerted push at the local and national levels to make healthy food more widely available, particularly in low-income areas. This is one focus of Food Day, which food groups and advocates celebrated across the U.S Wednesday. But while programs and systems are gradually putting fresh food front and center, changing eating habits can be even more complicated.

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Agriculture
5:12 pm
Wed October 31, 2012

Even in farm country, campaigns not focusing on farm policy

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.

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Science, Health and Technology
4:29 pm
Thu October 25, 2012

Slimmer school lunches struggle to fit in

Tracy Zeorian, of Manley, Neb., is packing lunch most days for her two daughters in high school after they complained of being hungry after eating the new school lunches.
Credit Grant Gerlock / Harvest Public Media

Lunch is served in a small gymnasium that doubles as the cafeteria at Elmwood-Murdock High School, a small, rural school in eastern Nebraska. After the period bell rings, a line quickly forms at the service window where trays are loaded with fish patties on whole wheat buns and small piles of curly fries.

With the emphasis on small.

Because at Elmwood-Murdock, like at other schools across the country, students this year have been put on a new diet.

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Agriculture
4:41 pm
Wed October 24, 2012

Roundup resistance leading to more chemicals, study finds

Water hemp in this soybean field was not killed by Roundup.
Bob Hartzler Iowa State University

Farmers and weeds are in a constant competition.

But with Monsanto’s introduction of Roundup herbicide and genetically engineered Roundup Ready crops in the mid-1990s, farmers gained a clear edge. The seeds, which were able to tolerate the herbicide, were adopted quickly. By 2011, more than 90 percent of soybeans and cotton, and more than 70 percent of corn were planted with Roundup Ready seeds.

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Business Beat
4:23 pm
Wed October 24, 2012

Fighting for food

This lucky lot of produce beat its weed nemeses back at the farm.
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.

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Agriculture
4:03 pm
Wed October 10, 2012

On marginal land, these grasses may be greener (VIDEO)

Wayne Vassar grows native grasses for biofuel as part of the federal Biomass Crop Assistance Program.
Kristofor Husted KBIA

In the parched, rolling hills of western Missouri, you might expect to see a desolate scene after this summer’s drought. But in this field, hip-high native grass sways across the landscape like seaweed in the ocean.

Wayne Vassar is growing these native plants for biofuel.

“They’ve had corn or soy on (this land) in the past,” he said, “and what’s happened was when you have these kinds of slope it erodes pretty rapidly and you lose a lot of your fertility as the top soil goes down the hill.”

Farmland experts call this kind of land “marginal land.” The hills make it difficult for the soil to hold onto the topsoil nutrients. And along the rivers and other flood plains, frequent flooding can deprive plants the oxygen they need to survive. It all adds up to an estimated 116 million acres in the central U.S.

Land like this might only produce a profitable harvest with traditional crops, like corn or soybeans, once or twice every five years. That’s quite a financial risk for farmers. So how can farmers avoid that risk factor and make sure such soils provide a consistent economic return?

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Politics
12:26 pm
Wed October 10, 2012

Farmers put aside differences for farm bill, to no avail

Farmer Brad Moeckly climbs into his combine on his fields near Boone, Iowa. Moeckly attended farm bill lobbying efforts in Washington D.C. in mid-September.
Amy Mayer Harvest Public Media

The farm bill expired at the end of September and lawmakers didn’t pass a new one, thanks largely to election-year politics. Despite the partisan bickering in Washington, though, many in farm country are working together to keep their concerns on the front burner.

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Agriculture
12:07 pm
Thu October 4, 2012

Drought and heat? Some farmers try hydroponics

Ule Summersted is the manager of Garden Fresh Vegetables' hydroponic greenhouse in O'Neill, Neb.
Hilary Stohs-Krause Harvest Public Media

Marv Fritz runs a 24-acre greenhouse in O’Neill, Neb., in the north-central part of the state. The 7-year-old greenhouse produces about 250,000 pounds of tomatoes a week during the height of summer.

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Agriculture
4:19 pm
Wed October 3, 2012

Water resources are stretched

Water levels are down in some reservoirs thanks to a drought that forced farmers to heavily irrigate their crops.
File Photo KBIA

Nebraska irrigates more acres of farmland than any other state in the nation. Kansas is also near the top.

And that Irrigation infrastructure came in handy this summer. A University of Nebraska Lincoln studyfound the drought could shrink corn yields by 40 percent this year in dryland fields in Iowa. But yields for irrigated corn in Nebraska may end up only 8 percent lower than expected.

“We’ve been hearing reports over 200 (bushels/acre). Probably a lot of guys are hoping for 185-200. That’d be very good,” said Gib Kelly, who traveled from the north -central Nebraska town of Page to look at the newest irrigation equipment at the annual Husker Harvest Days farm show in Grand Island, Neb.

But irrigation has its limits. There were times over the hot summer months when Mark Scott’s groundwater wells couldn’t keep up.

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My Farm Roots
11:53 am
Tue September 25, 2012

From pastime to passion

Aaron Troester farms about 5,000 irrigated acres in north-central Nebraska.
Hilary Stohs-Krause Harvest Public Media

Aaron Troester’s life both did, and didn’t, turn out exactly the way he planned.

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Agriculture
11:35 am
Wed September 19, 2012

Debate this: Which presidential candidate is better for agriculture?

Former Iowa Lt. Gov. Patty Judge (left) and Nebraska Sen. Mike Johanns stand in for the presidential candidates in a Presidential Forum on Agriculture in Des Moines in mid-September.
Sandhya Dirks Iowa Public Radio

The presidential candidates have yet to meet in a face-to-face debate. But last week in Des Moines, Iowa, ag leaders witnessed a preview of sorts during a Presidential Forum on Agriculture held in advance of the annual meeting of the National Association of State Departments of Agriculture.

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Agriculture
3:21 pm
Wed September 12, 2012

Drought-resistant corn faces real-life test

Corn has had a tough time thriving in this summer's drought. A new hybrid strain might solve that problem.
Peter Blanchard Flickr

The sub-par corn harvest of 2012 is coming in early, after the worst growing conditions in more than 2 decades.

“We’ve been really dry all summer," farmer Bill Simmons says. "I talked to an older gentleman some time ago that said he had taken  47 crops off of his farm and this was about the worst that he’d ever seen it."

Simmons is combining 13-hundred acres of corn on the Clan Farm outside Atlantic, Iowa. Multiple varieties were planted, but one field turned out to be especially interesting: a 300-acre section devoted to AQUAmax, a new drought-resistant product from DuPont Pioneer.

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Agriculture
6:01 pm
Tue September 11, 2012

Food stamps dividing support for farm bill

Margo Rush goes to FoodNet in the basement of the Lakeview Methodist Church in Lincoln, Neb., to make her budget and SNAP benefits last through the month.
Grant Gerlock Harvest Public Media

With Congress going back into session, farm groups are demanding action on a new farm bill. The current law expires at the end of September. But an issue that goes beyond the farm is edging in on the debate.

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