usda

farmer
Robert S. Donovan / Flickr

 

 

 

When people think of the United States Department of Agriculture, they of course think about things related to agriculture - farms, crops, livestock.

But Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack said the USDA is about much more than that. It’s really about improving the quality of life in rural areas.  

“It's important I think because of the people who live in rural America and the contributions they make to the rest of the country," Vilsack said.

Tasting the future of elderberry juice

Oct 20, 2014
David~O / Flickr

  MU researchers should start preparing their taste buds for a new study comparing different kinds of elderberry juices. The researchers received a grant from the US Department of Agriculture to examine the different juices and find “off” flavors in certain varieties of elderberries.

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.

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 / 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.

Hope Kirwan / KBIA

 

  Zane Volkman has been riding for as long as he can remember.

From the steer he would ride through his family’s pasture, to a donkey and finally to his grandpa’s horse, Volkman was already an experienced rider when he started training colts for a local rancher at age 12.

But an accident in the summer before his senior year of high school made it unclear if Volkman would be able to continue his career on a horse. While working at a livestock market in Kingdom City, Mo., a routine dismount caused Volkman to break his back and sustain three brain bleeds.

agriculture secretary Tom Vilsack
Amy Mayer / Harvest Public Media

Recognizing that the demand for local food is growing to between $5 and 7 billion a year, the U.S. Department of Agriculture announced a new effort Thursday aimed at connecting farmers with urban shoppers. 

Luke Runyon / Harvest Public Media

Most climate models paint a bleak picture for the Great Plains a century from now. Scientists say it’ll be warmer, and the air will be more rich with carbon dioxide. To what degree is still unclear. But even small fluctuations in climate throw farmland ecosystems out of whack. A new study shows certain invasive plant species will not only be able to withstand climate change, but thrive. Harvest Public Media’s Luke Runyon has more.

Shibu Jose is the director of the Center for Agroforestry at the University of Missouri Columbia.

MU agroforestry prof named to USDA council

Mar 6, 2014
Margaux Henquinet / KBIA

Shibu Jose is the H.E. Garrett Endowed Chair Professor in agroforestry at MU’s School of Natural Resources. He is also director of the Center for Agroforestry at MU.

Lincoln University to receive funds from USDA

Feb 26, 2014
Lincolnu.edu

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced Wednesday new grants totaling more than $35 million to support research, teaching and Extension activities at 1890 Historically Black Land-Grant Colleges and Universities. The grant comes from the U.S Department of Agriculture's National Institute of Food and Agriculture. Ohio House Representative Marcia Fudge brought up the program with the Department of Agriculture.

Vilsack said the Universities use the grants in multiple ways:

Peggy Lowe / Harvest Public Media

 

When the people from the drug company came out to visit Tyler Karney at Ordway Feedyard here on Colorado’s eastern plains, he was a little skeptical.

They said their product, Zilmax, could put another 30 pounds on an animal in the last days before slaughter. Then he started blending it into the feed for the 6,500 head of Holsteins at this huge feedlot.

horse
gnuru / Flickr

An order barring a return to domestic horse slaughter has expired. And an attorney for plants in New Mexico and Missouri says they are preparing to open.

Blair Dunn, who represents Valley Meat Co. in Roswell, N.M., and Rains Natural Meats of Gallatin, Mo., says a temporary restraining order in a lawsuit by animal protection groups trying to block the plants expired Thursday night without a ruling from a federal judge in Albuquerque.

Some MU groups limping after shutdown fiasco

Oct 17, 2013
selbstfotografiert / Wikimedia Common

Now that the federal government shutdown has ended, agencies that were affected by the closure are trying to get back up and running.

University of Missouri extension’s Family and Nutrition program has had its budget cut because of the temporary lack of funding. The program provides educational material to 130,000 Missouri food stamp recipients, as well as classes on how to prepare the meals, what foods to eat and how to budget out a grocery bill.

An outbreak of salmonella linked to raw chicken is spreading across the country. But, the partial government shutdown could make it tougher to track.

More than 270 people have been sickened across 18 states. But when you call the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s food safety information office, you hear a recorded message saying: “Hello, you have reached the congressional and public affairs staff. We are not in the office at this time. We are on furlough due a lapse in federal government funding.”

Government shutdown slows USDA

Oct 3, 2013
USDA Headquarters
brittreints / Flickr

  The U.S. Department of Agriculture was forced to send home tens of thousands of employees because of Tuesday’s government shutdown.

Kristi Bonney / flickr

Federal officials are seeking public comment on proposals for protecting several endangered animals and plants in Missouri's Mark Twain National Forest.

A report released Wednesday by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) shows the number of Missouri households threatened by hunger has grown over the past three years.

Abbie Fentress Swanson/Harvest Public Media

This is the latest installment of Harvest Public Media’s Field Notes, in which reporters talk to newsmakers and experts about important issues related to food production.

Regional news coverage from the KBIA Newsroom, including:

  • Doubts raised over Columbia teen curfew
  • USDA announces new school nutrition standards
  • Nixon signs bill against pharmacy requirements
  • Kirksville considers new anti-discrimination ordinance

USDA announces new school nutrition standards

Jun 27, 2013
Beau Wade / Wikimedia Commons

The U.S. Department of Agriculture announced new federal nutrition standards for schools Thursday. The new rule targets food sold in vending machines, snack bars and school stores.

Photo courtesy of the USDA.

This is the latest installment of Harvest Public Media’s Field Notes, in which reporters talk to newsmakers and experts about important issues related to food production.  

Regional news coverage from the KBIA Newsroom, including:

  • USDA releases labeling rule for meat
  • E. coli levels high in 3 SW Mo. waterways
  • Deadline looms to request Mo. absentee ballots
  • Replacing damaged Mo. bridge estimated at $3M
Peggy Lowe / Harvest Public Media

Consumers may soon know more about where their meat comes from because of a long-debated change made by the US Department of Agriculture on Thursday.

Photo courtesy of Tim Reinbott.

On Thursday, the U.S. Department of Agriculture will announce that it will fund a University of Missouri project focused on building drought resiliency through soil health.  

With the Rural Reads series, we’re trying something new. Every Friday, KBIA’s Health and Wealth Desk curates the week’s most interesting (or so we think) articles and reports on rural issues.

What’s in a definition? The eligibility for federal grants

In February, the U.S. Department of Agriculture released a report that recommends defining ‘rural’ as areas with 50,000 or fewer residents - a number that's getting some strong reactions. The rural definition determines eligibility for USDA’s rural grants and programs. 

The excellent online news service The Daily Yonder is publishing a series of opinion pieces in response to USDA’s newest recommendation. Last week, Aletta Botts, a legislative staffer who helped draft the 2008 Farm Bill, wrote that the 50,000 size limit is too large and would hurt smaller communities that can’t compete with larger towns to win federal grants.  

Kathleen Masterson / Harvest Public Media

Later, we check in with a revised Environmental Protection Agency standard that could help some wastewater treatment facilities struggling to comply with part of the Clean Water Act’s deadline.

Courtesy of Whistleblower.org

Retired federal inspector Phyllis McKelvey spent 44 years looking for blemishes and other defects on chicken carcasses. She started as an inspector’s helper, worked her way up, and in 1998, became part of a U.S. Department of Agriculture trial.

“I was one of the first group of inspectors ever put on HIMP,” she said in an interview from her home in north Alabama.

A new beef labeling rule that has the support of food safety advocates has been under review for months by the White House Office of Management and Budget.

The Kansas City Star reports that the U.S. Department of Agriculture has proposed requiring labels on steaks and other beef products that have been mechanically tenderized. The process uses automated needles or knives that can drive deadly pathogens deep into the interior of the meat.

Kristofor Husted / KBIA

Coming up we’ll take a look at how the drought affected an outdoor industry completely dependent on water. But first, the United States Department of Agriculture is currently accepting claims from female and Hispanic farmers who believe the agency discriminated against them in farm loan or loan servicing programs. As Harvest Public Media’s Amy Mayer reports, the claims process is complex—but the payouts could be large.

USDA

The U.S. Department of Agriculture is currently accepting claims from female and Hispanic farmers who believe the agency discriminated against them in farm loan or loan servicing programs. The claims process is complex—but the payouts could be large.

After the courts rejected a class action lawsuit from the farmers, USDA agreed to a voluntary settlement process with women and Latinos.

Claimants must submit a 16-page claims package plus additional evidence, and then a third-party will review and determine eligibility.

Pages