Agriculture

Many beer aficionados are familiar with the rare breweries run by Trappist monks. The beer is highly sought after, but it's not the only food or drink made by a religious order. Many abbeys and convents have deep roots in agriculture, combining farm work with prayer.

Grant Gerlock / Harvest Public Media

CENTRALIA, Mo. (AP) — Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon is planning to hold a summit to brainstorm ways to beef up the state's cattle industry.

Nixon announced the summit during a Wednesday visit with Future Farmers of America members at Centralia High School. It's meant to find ways to expand the industry and spur economic development in rural Missouri.

Crop-dusting pilots are the adrenaline junkies of the agriculture world. They whiz through the air, flying under power lines to sow seeds or spread pesticides on farmers' fields.

It's a dangerous job, and now these pilots are facing a new challenge — short towers that can sprout up in fields overnight. These towers are used to gather data for wind energy companies.

Kristofor Husted / Harvest Public Media/KBIA

 

For the Midwest’s biggest crops, this harvest season was a big one. With winter setting in, the race is on for farmers to ship out their harvest so it’s not left out to spoil. But the giant harvest and a lack of available rail cars have created a traffic jam on the rails and the highways.

Usually, famers store their harvest in silos and grain bins, but this year, farmers brought in so much, there’s just no room.  Farmers in Missouri, Indiana, Illinois and South Dakota are all being hit particularly hard by the storage shortage.

  Missouri lawmakers say they're reviving a failed agricultural bill that could help dairy, cattle and crop farmers. 

wobble-san/Flickr

After jumping up in value over the past few years, farmland in many of the Plains states has slowed down in its appreciation.

A bumper crop, cheap prices for grain, and the lowest predicted farm income in five years have all taken a swipe at the value of farmland. Overall, states in the region, including Nebraska, Kansas, Missouri and Colorado, have farmland value hovering about 1 to 2 percent above its worth this time last year.

Scott Bauer, USDA/Wikimedia Commons

Missouri is known for its agricultural interest in cash crops, but some farmers are beginning to invest in something other than soybeans, corn and hogs. Missouri Business Alert’s Matt Zuzolo reports on niche specialty crops that are turning heads and making money for farmers.

Via the PlanetReuse website

Don’t waste what can be used to sustain—that’s the idea behind PlanetReuse, a Kansas City-based company that helps contractors exchange reclaimed construction materials that would otherwise be headed to the landfill. Missouri Business Alert’s Yizhu Wang sat down with founder and CEO Nathan Benjamin at Columbia’s Sustainapalooza to talk about the firm and what it means to be the self-described “go-to solution for reuse.”

Tax Credits / Flickr

 

Americans had to dig deep into their wallets to cover costs associated with foodborne illnesses, according to new estimates from the U.S. Department Agriculture.

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isnapshot / flickr

Opponents of Missouri’s Right to Farm bill filed suit against the state regarding the ballot language in the proposed constitutional amendment.

The amendment passed during the primary elections by 2,375 votes. A recount, the fourth in the past two decades in Missouri, affirmed the original result of the election.

Leslie Holloway, the director for regulatory affairs at the Missouri Farm Bureau, said the language in the ballot is consistent with other constitutional amendments.

Couresy PETA

A recent Missouri law meant to protect farmers may be making it harder to report alleged animal abuse, as animal welfare organizations have feared.

The People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) on Wednesday asked law enforcement in Mercer County to investigate allegations of abuse at Murphy-Brown’s Badger-Wolf pig-breeding operation in northern Missouri. But PETA says it could not reveal who gave PETA the photos that captured the abuse, as the source of the information “is afraid of reprisals.”

wobble-san/Flickr

Missouri’s so-called right to farm amendment will be added to the state Constitution after a statewide recount confirmed the original election results. 

Missouri is the second state after North Dakota to enshrine the right to farm in its constitution -- a move meant to protect farmers and ranchers from legislation that would change or outlaw practices they use.

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isnapshot / flickr

Missouri’s so-called right to farm amendment is expected to stand after preliminary recount results were posted on the Secretary of State’s website Friday. The controversial measure’s latest tally shows a slim change from the August primary results. 

Kristofor Husted / KBIA/Harvest Public Media

There will be a statewide recount on the narrow passage of a constitutional amendment creating a right to farm in Missouri.

The secretary of state on Monday was officially certifying the results of Missouri's Aug. 5 primary elections. Those include the approval of Constitutional Amendment 1 by fewer than 2,500 votes out of nearly 1 million cast.

USDA

Many farmers own guns. Yet the right to bear arms fared better than the right to farm in Missouri's recent elections.

Voters approved a constitutional amendment enhancing gun rights by 61 percent of the vote. A constitutional amendment creating a right to farm got just 50.1 percent support.

There was a general city-country divide. The gun and farm measures fared better in rural areas than in bigger cities.

Yet the reason for the closer margin on the farming amendment wasn't solely because of weaker support for it in suburban St. Louis and Kansas City.

Kyle Stokes / KBIA

Looks like Missouri’s “Right to Farm” amendment was nearly killed by urban voters. After advocates like the Farm Bureau poured more than $1 million into ads, voters Tuesday narrowly approved the ballot measure by just one quarter of a percent.

Sure, there's plenty you can do with leftovers: foist them on your office mates or turn them into casserole.

But if you're a big food waste generator like a hospital or a supermarket, your scraps usually go to the landfill to rot.

In Massachusetts, that's about to change, as the state prepares to implement the most ambitious commercial food waste ban in the U.S.

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isnapshot / flickr

Opponents of Missouri's Right to Farm constitutional amendment are weighing a recount request after the measure appeared to pass by the slimmest of margins.

The unofficial tally from Tuesday's election showed that Amendment 1 carried by a margin of 0.2 percent. The measure was favored in most rural counties, but opposition in the St. Louis, Kansas City, Springfield and Columbia areas was nearly enough to offset it.

Missouri law allows for a recount if the victory margin is 0.5 percent or less, but the losing side must request it.

Agriculture is a cornerstone of the Midwest economy. In some states, it may even become a right.

That's what unofficially happened in Missouri on Tuesday when voters approved the so-called "right to farm" in the form of an amendment to the state Constitution. (With less than a half of a percent vote differential, a recount is likely.) And the controversial provision could be a model for Constitutional additions in other big ag states.

Hope Kirwan / KBIA

    

  As Father Knute Jacobson of Calvary Episcopal Church in Columbia prays, farmers and their families bow their heads and press their hands to a big, green, John Deere combine.

The combine blessing was just one of the events at the Boone County Farm Bureau’s Safety Expo held in Columbia Saturday, August 2. It was the first time attendees had been invited to pray for the collective safety of farmers this upcoming harvest season.

In a night filled with anxiety and uncertainty, those that gathered for a watch party at the Missouri Farming Bureau Center in Jefferson City were relieved to see their hard work pay off as Missouri voters passed amendment one on Thursday night with an unofficial 50.13 percent of the vote.

Missouri Farming Bureau President Blake Hurst has been with the bureau for 35 years. He said he believes the Right to Farm amendment will protect Missouri farmers from restrictions that would limit the use of technology.

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