harvest public media

Drought and heat? Some farmers try hydroponics

Oct 4, 2012
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.

Water resources are stretched

Oct 3, 2012
Water drop
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.

From pastime to passion

Sep 25, 2012
Hilary Stohs-Krause / Harvest Public Media

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

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.

Drought-resistant corn faces real-life test

Sep 12, 2012
cornfield
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.

Food stamps dividing support for farm bill

Sep 11, 2012
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.

cornfield
Peter Blanchard / Flickr

This week, we’ll see if there’s a connection between genetically modified food and allergies.

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.

Clay Masters / Harvest Public Media

Roy Pralle is an 85-year-old retired farmer from Latimer, Iowa. He spends most afternoons playing cribbage with other retired farmers at Dudley's Corner, a diner attached to a gas station in north-central Iowa.

Courtesy Jan Phillips

Ninety years ago this May, my grandfather, Ronald Merle Phillips, and his twin brother, Robert Earl, were born on a farm near Chetopa, Kan. His twin died of influenza before their second birthday, but my grandpa is still alive and well. To celebrate that fact, 150 family and friends gathered at the community center in Parsons, Kan. last month.

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.

Sarah McCammon / Harvest Public Media

Craig Rowles grew up on an Iowa farm, and like a lot of farm kids, he’s done his share of heavy lifting.

“I know what that means to carry feed in 5-gallon buckets through the mud and through the snow and through the heat,” he said. “And I understand what it takes to try to keep animals alive in those extreme kinds of temperatures.”

Frank Morris / Harvest Public Media

It’s hot and dry out in western Kansas in a good year. South of Dodge City, the native grass is tough. So are the ranchers. But this year is not a good year.

My Farm Roots: Just taking notes

Aug 3, 2012
Donna Vestal / Harvest Public Media

Sometimes farm roots don’t blossom into a farm life.

But those memories can still have a huge influence, perhaps even determining a career choice.

That’s the case for Tom Karst, a soft-spoken, well-respected journalist who’s been covering the fruit and vegetable industry for more than 25 years.

Peggy Lowe / Harvest Public Media

It’s not every day that a trip to the drug store can change your destiny.

For 20-year-old Nan Arnold, it was a day in 1956 in Ashland, a small, dusty dot on the open range of western Kansas near the Oklahoma border.

Nan had landed her first job as a music teacher at the Ashland school just a year before. She lived with the store’s owner because her parents thought she was too young to live alone.  

U-pick blackberry
Camille Philips / Harvest Public Media

Picking fruit, tasting wine, petting a goat, roping a cow. When customers pay for the honor of taking on such farm chores ... or delights … it’s called “agritourism.”

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.

Frank Morris / Harvest Public Media

Drought has set in early and hard across the Midwest, parching the Arkansas River basin. The river trickling out of the mountains is dry before it reaches some of the major agricultural uses downstream. And the drought is torching crops, sapping tourism and threatening supplies of drinking water.

Grant Gerlock / Harvest Public Media

As the dry conditions and excessive heat continue to bear down on Missouri, Governor Jay Nixon was in Springfield Tuesday to announce emergency assistance for farmers who need access to water.

Andrea Silenzi / Harvest Public Media

This is the first installment of My Farm Roots, Harvest Public Media’s new series chronicling Americans’ connection to the land.

Kate Edwards hasn’t always been a farmer. No, she came back to the farm after college, grad school and a stint as an environmental engineer.

Now, she farms a small one-acre plot near Solon, Iowa. On her small farm, she feeds 30 families through a Community Supported Agriculture project, a CSA. Edwards was drawn back to farming, she says, because of family memories.

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.

Heat stress? Now there's a cow app for that

Jul 18, 2012
Scott Pham / KBIA

When a cow is stressed from the heat, it affects a producer’s bottom line. The animal eats less, meaning less mass in beef cattle. For dairy farmers, the hurt comes in the form of a 10 to 20 percent loss in milk. Researchers at the University of Missouri think we can change this trend by putting information in the hands of producers. They’ve built a tool that can detect the threat of heat stress in specific animals before it starts.

Hoop barns becoming more common in Midwest

Jul 18, 2012
Rick Frederickson / for Harvest Public Media

Crops are not the only things wilting in the sweltering summer of 2012; cattle, the largest animals, on the farm are also under stress.

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.

Peggy Lowe / Harvest Public Media

LITTLE RIVER, Kan. – Before this town was here, before the railroads were here, before a post office was here, the Hodgsons were here.

In 1871, Hannah and Henry Clay Hodgson moved into a one-room dugout on the banks of the Little Arkansas, their view an Indian camp on the other side of the river. They arrived in central Kansas in November, in the midst of a blizzard, and it took them three days from the train stop in Salina to get the 60 miles south to this outpost.

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.

Farmers + Engineers = Farm Hack

Jul 4, 2012
Clare Roth / Harvest Public Media

"Hack” isn’t a word usually associated with agriculture, but that might be starting to change. A group of small farmers across the country has started to come together to pool their ideas for solutions to small-farming challenges, just like computer hackers working together to solve computer issues. They call it Farm Hack.

Clay Masters / Harvest Public Media

This week, we’ll hear about efforts to manage the Missouri River.

Clay Masters / Harvest Public Media

Along a vast stretch of the Missouri River, the floodwaters that ravished homes, businesses and farms last year are not a distant memory.

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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