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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Carolyn Scherf, a farmhand from the Iowa City-area; Troy Washam, co-owner of a small farm near DeWitt, Iowa; and Grant Schultz, co-director of Farm Hack Iowa, stand in the University of Iowa Garden at the conclusion of the first Midwestern Farm Hack.
"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.