Agriculture and Harvest Public Media

Agriculture and Harvest Public Media
3:29 pm
Mon July 21, 2014

Fresh Yogurt, Really Fresh

An observation window in the store allows customers to watch while yogurt is being made
IPR's Pat Blank
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Agriculture and Harvest Public Media
5:00 am
Thu July 17, 2014

My Farm Roots: Farm Life Anything But Quiet

Jack and Diane Aaron spent years in Kansas City, Kan., but have embraced their new rural life in Raymore, Mo.
Suzanne Hogan for Harvest Public Media

Jack and Diane Aaron lived in Strawberry Hill in Kansas City, Kan., for decades. They loved their neighborhood and it was close to family. But when a friend passed away and left them land on a farm, they decided to take a chance on country living.

While farm life is different, they found it’s anything but quiet.

“Out here we’ve got, just different sounds. We have birds that will wake us up. A cat that likes to wake me up at six because he wants to eat,” Diane Aaron said. “It’s peaceful, but it doesn’t make you crazy,”

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Agriculture and Harvest Public Media
3:25 pm
Wed July 16, 2014

Acres of GMO Corn Nearly Double in a Decade

The USDA reports that 93 percent of the corn planted in the United States contains a genetically modified trait.
Amy Mayer/IPR

Recent data from the U.S. Department of Agriculture says that over 90 percent of U.S. field corn is genetically modified, meaning the seeds have been embedded with a gene—usually from a bacteria—that  protects the corn from pests or herbicides.

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Agriculture and Harvest Public Media
5:00 am
Tue July 15, 2014

Out of Public Eye, a Costly, Bitter Farm Bill Fight

K Street in Washington D.C. has long been known as the home to powerful lobbyists. Hundreds of companies and groups lobbied to influence the 2014 Farm Bill.
Creative Commons

The “who” part of the Farm Bill is pretty clear.

With trillions dollars of government spending up for grabs,lobbyists from all ends of the spectrum – representing environmental interests, biotech companies, food companies, farmers – flocked to Capitol Hill to find their piece of the Farm Bill pie.

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Agriculture and Harvest Public Media
8:04 am
Mon July 14, 2014

Lobbyists of All Kinds Flock to Farm Bill

Sen. Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich., (in green), watches as President Barack Obama signs the Farm Bill at Michigan State University on Feb. 7, 2014.
Courtesy David Kosling/USDA

When U.S. Sen. Debbie Stabenow announced passage of the Farm Bill in February, she echoed a refrain from a car commercial.

“This is not your father’s Farm Bill,” she said.

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Agriculture and Harvest Public Media
5:11 pm
Thu July 10, 2014

Got Goats?

Ensign Hollow trout stream obscured by vegetation
IPR's Pat Blank

A herd of goats are the newest employees of the Iowa Department of Natural Resources.  64 of them will be eating their way through a 7 acre patch in  Ensign Hollow Wildlife Management Area in Northeast Iowa's Clayton County.  There's dense vegetation there that's preventing hikers, bird watchers and anglers from using the area as much as they could.  That dense vegetation is also a challenge for traditional heavy mowing equipment because of the steep terrain. The goats have with them a pair of chocolate colored miniature donkeys who will run off any would be predators.

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Agriculture and Harvest Public Media
2:00 pm
Thu July 10, 2014

EPA Promotes Water Rule to Farmers

EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy speaks to reporters at Heffernan Farm in Missouri this week.
Kris Hustead/Harvest Public Media

   

The head of the Environmental Protection Agency is touring farm country, trying to assure farmers that the agency isn’t asking for more authority over farmers and ranchers’ lands.

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Agriculture and Harvest Public Media
5:00 am
Thu July 10, 2014

My Farm Roots: Touch the Ground

Though he grew up without designs on farm life, Elisha Pullen has embraced rural living on his farm near Bell City, Mo.
Jacob McCleland for Harvest Public Media

As a young man, Elisha Pullen never imagined he would spend his days on the farm.

Growing up near rural Bell City in southeastern Missouri’s “Bootheel” region, Pullen longed to leave the farm and get an education.

“I grew up in the day and time when we had to do a lot of chopping and stuff like that. Hard labor,” Pullen said. “I’m going to college, I’m getting my degree and I’m going to work in the air conditioning.”

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Agriculture and Harvest Public Media
5:00 am
Tue July 8, 2014

Palmer Amaranth Begins March Through Iowa

In Muscatine County, farmer Roger Hargrafen is doing all he can to eradicate the Palmer amaranth that emerged on his farm last year.
Amy Mayer/IPR

A fast spreading, crop destroying weed may be coming to the farms near you.

Palmer amaranth, which has plagued southern farms for decades, has been marching across the Midwest. It can decimate a crop. It can withstand many common herbicides. And it can cost farmers millions.

Roger Hargrafen, a farmer in Muscatine County, Iowa, is on the front lines in the battle against Palmer amaranth. His is one of four Iowa farms confirmed as having it.

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Agriculture and Harvest Public Media
5:00 am
Fri July 4, 2014

Mutton busting a rodeo tradition for rough and tumble kids

Navaeha Salgado, 6, peers through a fence at the Greeley Stampede to scope out the sheep she'll soon be latching onto and riding around the arena.
Luke Runyon/Harvest Public Media

A furry beast, a brave rider and a roaring crowd make up the list of ingredients for the Western rodeo tradition known as “mutton busting.” Think of it as bull-riding, but for 6-year-olds, and the furry beast is actually a wooly sheep.

Mutton busting has its roots in Colorado, where it was first introduced in the 1980s at the National Western Stock Show in Denver. The crowd-pleaser is now a favorite at many rodeos and county fairs across the Midwest and Great Plains.

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Agriculture and Harvest Public Media
5:00 am
Thu July 3, 2014

My Farm Roots: Smells Like Home

Growing up in Nebraska, Kari Williams spent many vacations visiting her family’s farms.
Luke Runyon/Harvest Public Media

Most family vacations are remembered for endless car rides, packed tourist beaches and a string of poorly decorated hotel rooms.

But not former Nebraskan and current Coloradan Kari Williams. Her family vacation memories center on smells of cow manure, adventures on horseback and roosters with bad attitudes on farms in central Nebraska.

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Agriculture and Harvest Public Media
5:00 am
Wed July 2, 2014

Chef Camp Teaches Basics of Food Production

Farmer Marty Travis shows off one of his fields to the chef campers on June 8, 2014.
Sean Powers for Harvest Public Media

With farm to table restaurants springing up left and right, cooks are having to go beyond the grocery store. That’s why about a dozen chefs from Chicago and central Illinois recently gathered for a two-day crash course on where their food comes from – the farm.

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Agriculture and Harvest Public Media
7:54 pm
Tue July 1, 2014

FFA Chapter "Beefs Up" Its Investments

Lime Springs Beef LLC owner Jesse Stevens
IPR's Pat Blank

  Students at Crestwood High School FFA are making a 20 thousand dollar investment in a soon to be opened beef processing facility near Lime Springs in North Iowa. They're using some of the 90 thousand dollars they had in the bank after selling some land a few years ago. Initially the FFA chapter was unable to take advantage of the opportunity because state law did not allow investment of taxpayer money in a private enterprise.  State lawmakers assisted the group in introducing the Entrepreneurial Funds for Student Organizations and Clubs Act.

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Agriculture and Harvest Public Media
5:00 am
Mon June 23, 2014

Hunger Help from the Heartland

Kurt Rosentrater keeps bins of various types of feed in his lab at Iowa State. Characteristics such as size and sponginess tell him what type of diet the feed is for, while the smell hints at the ingredients.
Amy Mayer/IPR

Global hunger has no easy answer.

But as part of a partnership with the federal government called Feed the Future, researchers at land-grant universities are trying new approaches to the decades-old dilemma.

“The world’s poorest people, and hungriest people, generally, the majority of them are small farmers living in rural areas,” said Tjada D’oyen McKenna, deputy coordinator for development for Feed the Future. “And agriculture is the most effective means of bringing them out of poverty and under-nutrition.”

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Pink Slime Returns
1:10 am
Tue June 17, 2014

Controversial Hamburger Product Returns

Photo by pointnshoot

A much-maligned beef product that’s sometimes added to  hamburger is making a comeback after a sharp decline  two years ago.    Processors cut back  on the production of  what they call finely textured beef when a nasty  nickname “pink slime” caught on in the media.   Now  demand for the product is on the rise because of high beef prices.   

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Agriculture and Harvest Public Media
6:57 pm
Fri June 13, 2014

A New Way To Raise Beef ?

Matt (left) and John Schneider
IPR's Pat Blank

    

    

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Agriculture and Harvest Public Media
7:48 am
Thu June 12, 2014

Midwest: A Cattle Paradise as Drought Stretches Beef Country

Terry Van Housen takes a handful of feed from the bunk at his feedlot near Stromsburg, Neb. Lower feed costs give Nebraska an advantage in the cattle feeding industry.
Credit Grant Gerlock / Harvest Public Media

 

Drought is re-shaping the beef map and raising the price of steak. Ranchers are moving herds from California to Coloradoand from Texas to Nebraska seeking refuge from dry weather. And cattle producers in the Midwest are making the most of it.

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Agriculture and Harvest Public Media
8:19 am
Tue June 10, 2014

Drought Hammers Winter Wheat Across the Plains

Farmer Jim Haarberg of Imperial, Neb., compares the heads of wheat from two different stalks to demonstrate the stunting effects of drought.
Credit Ariana Brocious / Harvest Public Media

  Much of the Midwest and the Plains have been battling drought for years. And the current winter wheat crop looks like it will be one of the worst in recent memory, stressing farmers in the heart of the Wheat Belt – from Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas, Colorado and Nebraska.

In Nebraska, a full quarter of the winter wheat crop is rated poor to very poor, and Nebraska farmers are doing comparatively well. More than 40 percent of the wheat acres in Colorado are poor or worse; nearly 60 percent in Kansas and Texas; and an incredible 80 percent in Oklahoma.

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Agriculture and Harvest Public Media
4:16 pm
Wed May 28, 2014

Congress OKs River System Improvement Bill

Farmers are hopeful improvements are coming to the Midwest river system, which is crucial for shipping grain, in the form of the Waterways Resource Reform and Development Act (WRRDA).

After years of work on the bill, Congress recently smashed together separate bills passed by each chamber and sent the White House a new $12.3 billion water infrastructure bill with bipartisan support. President Obama has yet to state whether he plans to sign the bill.

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Agriculture and Harvest Public Media
5:05 am
Fri May 23, 2014

"Fed Up" Links Obesity Epidemic to Sugar, Industry and Government

A shot from the movie "Fed Up".
Courtesy RADiUS-TWC

Just who’s to blame for the childhood obesity epidemic? Over the years, the finger has been pointed at parents, video games and vending machines, to name a few.

To the makers of the new activist documentary, “Fed Up,” the bottom line of blame lies with a simple substance poured into our diets every day: sugar. And the pushers of what this film calls a drug and “the new tobacco” are the food industry and our own government.

“What if our whole approach to this epidemic has been dead wrong?” the film’s narrator, TV journalist Katie Couric, says in the film’s open.

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Agriculture and Harvest Public Media
9:36 am
Wed May 21, 2014

Flour Milling Merger Moves Forward

Ardent Mills would control about a third of the American flour milling market.
Wikimedia Commons

Federal regulators Tuesday gave the final go-ahead for two of the country’s largest flour milling companies to merge.

Food giants ConAgra and Cargill said last year they wanted to put their flour mills under one roof in a new company called Ardent Mills. But a chorus of antitrust watchdogs said the deal would further consolidate an already concentrated industry.

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Agriculture and Harvest Public Media
5:05 am
Wed May 21, 2014

Treated Seeds May Contribute to Honeybee Losses

Cherokee, Iowa farmer Nathan Anderson wears beekeeping gear to protect himself when he opens or closes the pollen traps on the hives on his farm. He’s allowed researchers to place three pairs of hives on his fields.
Amy Mayer/IPR

Nathan Anderson stops his red pick-up truck alongside a cornfield on his farm near Cherokee, Iowa. The young farmer pulls on a heavy brown hoodie, thick long, sturdy yellow gloves and a beekeeper’s hat with a screened veil. He approaches a pair of hives sitting on the edge of a field recently planted with corn.

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Agriculture and Harvest Public Media
5:00 am
Tue May 20, 2014

Canada Jonesing for Piece of American (Hemp) Pie

Canada legalized hemp in 1998 and many companies there are anxiously awaiting cultivation in the U.S. At Centennial Seeds in Colorado, growers have started planting.
Luke Runyon/Harvest Public Media

 

The U.S. market for foods and beauty products that containhemp is growing, but American manufacturers that use hemp have their hands tied. The crop is still illegal to cultivate, according to federal laws, which means the current American hemp industry, estimated at $500 million per year, runs on foreign hemp.

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Agriculture and Harvest Public Media
5:00 am
Mon May 19, 2014

Now Appearing: Hemp, for the First Time in Decades

At Centennial Seeds in Lafayette, Colo., Ben Holmes is testing hemp varieties. Holmes made his name distributing and breeding strains of medical and recreational marijuana, but recently has become a prominent figure in Colorado’s fledgling hemp industry.
Luke Runyon/Harvest Public Media

 

A handful of farmers is set to plant the country’s first hemp crop in decades, despite federal regulations that tightly restrict the plant’s cultivation.

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Agriculture and Harvest Public Media
8:12 am
Thu May 8, 2014

Farmers Take Missouri River Flood Worries to Court

Scott Olson of Tekamah, Neb., walks along the edge of his field that was flooded in 2011. Most of the field can be farmed, but parts may never be reclaimed after the river replaced fertile topsoil with fine, sandy silt.
Credit Grant Gerlock / Harvest Public Media

The Missouri River burst out of its banks in epic fashion three years ago. The flood covered thousands of acres of land and dredged up old debates about how the river should be run. Now, flooded landowners are suing the Army Corps of Engineers, saying the agency isn’t protecting their land.

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Agriculture and Harvest Public Media
6:03 pm
Mon May 5, 2014

Planting with the *Clouds*

Farmers are working around the clock to take advantage of dry weather to plant their corn
Credit IPR's Pat Blank

  This week's crop report from the USDA shows  Iowa farmers spent very little time in the field planting corn last week. Only 23 percent of the expected corn acreage is in the ground. That's nine days ahead of last year but 10 days later than the five year average. The cool wet spring is improving soil moisture reserves with only two percent of the state's topsoil now considered short of moisture.

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Agriculture and Harvest Public Media
5:00 am
Wed April 30, 2014

Chinese Market Could Help Rid Rivers of Invasive Asian Carp

Recently processed Asian carp hang in rack at the Two Rivers fish processing plant in Wickliffe, Ky. The fishing industry hopes demand from China can both create a market for, and help rid U.S. rivers of, the invasive species.
Jacob McCleland for Harvest Public Media

Water experts worried about Asian carp may have new hope. They’re turning their eyes to China, where a carp-hungry populace may be the key for stemming the tide of the invasive fish.

Asian carp are taking over U.S. waterways, including the Mississippi River and tributaries like the Illinois and Missouri Rivers, where they out-compete native fish.

In China, carp is cheap and a common meal-time fixture. Now, a carp fishing industry is springing up along carp-infested U.S. waters and processors are exporting the U.S. problem fish to Chinese diners.

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Agriculture and Harvest Public Media
5:00 am
Fri April 25, 2014

Robust System Can Grow Local Market

In the kitchen at Decorah High School, Chad Elliott ladels out tomato soup. The school system sources many ingredients locally.
Amy Mayer/IPR

The smell of baking dinner rolls fills the kitchen at Decorah High School in northeast Iowa. As two kitchen workers mix a fresh broccoli salad, another, Chad Elliott, ladles tomato soup from a large metal pot on the stove into white plastic buckets for delivery to the town’s elementary schools.

Elliott says most of the food served in the district is made from scratch and many ingredients come from local farms and dairies.

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Agriculture and Harvest Public Media
5:00 am
Thu April 24, 2014

Farmers Try to Tap Bigger Local Markets

Samara Davis shops at the small Harvest Learning Center market in the basement of her Kansas City, Mo., church. It’s part of an effort for local farmers to expand their customer base.
Jeremy Bernfeld/Harvest Public Media

Farm stands and farmers markets remain really important for many local farmers, but U.S. consumers barely buy any food directly from farms. That’s why local farmers are trying to crack in to the big institutional markets such as grocery stores, work cafeterias, schools and hospitals.

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Agriculture and Harvest Public Media
5:00 am
Wed April 23, 2014

Public, Private Partners Key to Local Food Success

Ashley Turk is a member of Food Corps, a service program that supports local food systems. In northeast Iowa, Turk and other organizers maintain a robust network that connects growers with clients.
Credit Amy Mayer/IPR

As Food Corps service member Ashley Turk navigates her way through a brand-new greenhouse in the courtyard at Waukon High School in the northeast corner of Iowa, she points to a robust supply of red and green lettuce leaves growing neatly in rows.

“It’s huge,” she says. “We cut it off and it just keeps growing.”

The greenhouse lettuce is among the offerings in the school’s salad bar. And students will soon be growing carrots, tomatoes and other vegetables, Turks says.

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