Agriculture and Harvest Public Media

Agriculture and Harvest Public Media
8:02 am
Mon October 27, 2014

Like food, yarn goes local, too

Lorrae Moon of Yampa Valley Fiberworks coils alpaca fiber into a neat stack.
Luke Runyon/Harvest Public Media

 

Northwestern Colorado has a rich heritage of raising sheep – either for their meat or for wool.

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Hort Day
12:16 pm
Fri October 24, 2014

How Many Spiders Do You Swallow in Your Sleep?

Wolf spiders are one of the largest and most commonly seen spiders in Iowa.
Roadsidepictures Flickr

The answer is: probably zero. ISU entomologist Donald Lewis says fears and myths about spiders are overblown.

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Horticulture Day
3:09 pm
Fri October 17, 2014

Autumn Plant Harvest: Pumpkins, Squashes, and Gourds

Usually Melancholy / flickr

They are easy to grow, decorative and delicious.

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Agriculture and Harvest Public Media
8:00 am
Fri October 17, 2014

Farmers Gear Up for Record Harvest, Brace for Lower Prices

Nationwide, farmers are expected to harvest record-breaking amounts of corn and soybeans this year.
Grant Gerlock/Harvest Public Media

U.S. farmers are bringing in what’s expected to be a record-breaking harvest for both corn and soybeans. 

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Agriculture and Harvest Public Media
9:56 pm
Thu October 16, 2014

Vilsack Fustrated With Beef Industry

Cattle in Rowntree, MI.

For several years, the beef industry has struggled over how and whether to collect additional funds for industry promotion and research. The money is part of a program called the Beef checkoff.   

Last month U. S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack proposed a second, supplementary checkoff, implemented by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

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Agriculture and Harvest Public Media
2:00 pm
Thu October 16, 2014

Get Ready for Cheaper Meat at the Grocery Store

Agriculture economist Chris Hurt said in 2007, the average pork price was $2.87 a pound. Now, we're paying a record high price of $4.20 a pound on average.
Amy Mayer/IPR file photo

Farmers are harvesting a record corn and soybean crop this year causing the price of grain commodities to tumble, which is great news for livestock producers and people who love bacon.

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Agriculture and Harvest Public Media
9:39 am
Thu October 16, 2014

Food Security Since Ebola

A woman drys cocoa beans in Liberia, 10/25/2010.
Laura Elizabeth Pohl

West African leaders attending the World Food Prize symposium in Des Moines discussed steps to prevent a food crisis in Ebola-affected countries, Wednesday.

President of the International Fund for Agricultural Development Kanayo Nwanze said 40 percent of farms in affected areas have been abandoned, thus dramatically harming food production.

"I think the regional trade is going to be very, very serious," Nwanze said.  "Like any other situation...where you have a crisis you should begin to plan for the aftermath."

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Food
4:59 pm
Wed October 15, 2014

PBS New Show “Food Forward” Features Iowa “Food Rebels”

Bison roaming on Bob Jackson's farm near Promise City
Screenshot

There are lots of opinions about how to eat and grow healthy food. The new PBS show Food Forward takes a look at some of them. 

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Agriculture and Harvest Public Media
4:00 pm
Wed October 15, 2014

Foodborne Illnesses Could Cost Us $15 billion a Year

Pathogens that can cause foodborne illness are often ingested by incorrectly cooked meat.
taryn/Flickr

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

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Agriculture and Harvest Public Media
12:41 pm
Wed October 15, 2014

Ag Careers an Opportunity Few Latinos Pursue

High school senior Melissa Garcia Rodriguez has managed the barn at the Des Moines ag campus for the past two summers.
Amy Mayer/IPR

In a dimly-lit lab on the Des Moines public schools’ agricultural science campus, students in aprons, safety goggles and plastic gloves poke and probe chicken wings. About 15 girls and just one boy in this vet careers class are looking for ligaments, tendons, cartilage and other features of this animal part that teenagers more often experience cooked and covered in barbecue sauce.

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Agriculture and Harvest Public Media
5:00 am
Wed October 15, 2014

At Harvest, These Corn Huskers Still Pick By Hand

Competitor Harlan Jacobson races to pick rows of corn at the annual Illinois State Corn Husking Competition in September.
Abby Wendle/Harvest Public Media

Dick Humes squinted and sweat as he moved down a row of corn. He sliced through the husk with a metal hook in his right hand, snapped the ear from its stalk with his left, and threw it over his shoulder into a wagon rolling alongside him.

Every other second, the corn hit the floor of the wagon with a thud. Humes was setting a steady pace for the men’s 50-and-older division at the 34th annual Illinois State Corn Husking Competition.

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Agriculture and Harvest Public Media
2:14 pm
Tue October 14, 2014

Humanitarian Recognized at Iowa Hunger Summit

Governor Terry Branstad presents Merry Fredrick with the Robert D. Ray Iowa SHARES Humanitarian Award at the Iowa Hunger Summit on 10/14/2014.
Sarah Boden Iowa Public Radio

Merry Fredrick was awarded the second annual Robert D. Ray Iowa SHARES Humanitarian Award, Tuesday in Des Moines at the Iowa Hunger Summit.

Fredrick is the former executive director of Self-Help International.  The Waverly-based organization helps farmers in Ghana and Nicaragua grow high protein maize.

"I'm very humbled by the award," said Fredrick, who hopes the award will heighten Self-Help International's profile so that it may grow and eventually end hunger. 

Self-Help International also provides micro-credit loans to women for starting small-scale businesses.

Agriculture and Harvest Public Media
10:58 am
Tue October 14, 2014

Young Immigrants Search for Home on the Farm

Dutch immigrant Teun Boelen works with his family on a dairy farm they bought after selling the family land in The Netherlands.
Amy Mayer/IPR

Bear Creek Dairy in Brooklyn, Iowa, is home to more than 1,100 cows, who provide about 100,000 pounds of milk each day.

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Agriculture and Harvest Public Media
5:00 am
Tue October 14, 2014

Mule Jumping: The County Fair Tradition You Didn’t Know You Loved

Competitor Becky Manees leads a mule at the East Perry Community Fair in Altenburg, Mo.
Jacob McCleland for Harvest Public Media

 

Fair-goers pack the stands at the East Perry Community Fair in Altenburg, Mo., on a warm, sunny Saturday afternoon. 

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Agriculture and Harvest Public Media
4:00 pm
Mon October 13, 2014

EPA Holds Meetings with Farmers to Quell Fears Over Water Rule

A proposed change to the Clean Water Act has some farmers worried they'd be subject to more regulation. (Amy Mayer/IPR file photo)

Proposed changes to the Clean Water Act have some Midwest farmers worried that, if enacted, they could be subject to additional regulation. 

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Agriculture and Harvest Public Media
3:12 pm
Fri October 10, 2014

Don't Blame the Farmers

  An Iowa energy expert says farmers are often unfairly blamed when propane supplies are low and prices are high. Farmers use LP to dry their corn before it's stored to avoid spoilage. Harold Hommes with the State Department of Agriculture says  farm use is only part of the picture. He says international customers also draw down supplies, " we now export around 400 thousand barrels a day and probably will for the foreseeable future.

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Agriculture and Harvest Public Media
6:11 pm
Thu October 9, 2014

Less Pain for Propane

Credit IPR's Pat Blank

   State agriculture and energy officials are working together in the event that there's high demand for liquid propane this harvest season. Iowa Propane Gas Association Executive Director Deb Grooms says customers were asked to top off their tanks this summer. She says farmers got the same message from Ag Secretary Bill Northey.

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Agriculture and Harvest Public Media
2:47 pm
Thu October 9, 2014

USDA to Ask Corn Growers about Fertilizer, Pesticide Use

The Agricultural Resource Management Survey will soon poll about 300 Iowa corn growers on their use of chemical inputs.
Amy Mayer/IPR file photo

Several hundred Iowa corn farmers will soon be asked to share their fertilizer and pesticide use with the US Department of Agriculture. 

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Agriculture and Harvest Public Media
5:00 am
Tue October 7, 2014

Produce Premium

Any leftover pumpkins from this commercial grower near Shell Rock can be donated to a registered food bank for a tax credit
Credit IPR's Pat Blank

Iowa farmers and gardeners harvesting a bumper crop of produce can now get a tax credit when they make a donation to their local food bank.

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Agriculture and Harvest Public Media
11:32 am
Mon October 6, 2014

Court Dismisses Lawsuit on California Hen Cages

Egg producers are worried about California's cage requirements.
Will Curran/Flickr

A federal district court has upheld a California law requiring eggs sold in the state to come from hens housed in more spacious cages.

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Agriculture and Harvest Public Media
1:31 pm
Fri October 3, 2014

Report of Animal Cruelty Possibly Slowed by "Ag Gag" Law

This is a partial shot of one of the photos PETA submitted to law enforcement in Mercer County, Missouri depicting alleged cruelty.
courtesy of 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.”

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Agriculture and Harvest Public Media
9:35 am
Thu October 2, 2014

Farm Bill Programs Target Aid for Smaller Farms

The new farm bill includes more money to promote local food and farmers markets.
Peggy Lowe/Harvest Public Media file photo

The Farm Bill was passed in February. But now, piece by piece, it’s taking effect. We’re beginning to see how parts of the farm bill are doing more to help farmers go small.

The Farm Bill contains about half a trillion dollars in spending over five years. The vast majority of that pays for huge programs like food stamps and subsidized crop insurance. But this time around, Congress carved out a little more room for local and organic foods, and it’s starting to show.

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Agriculture and Harvest Public Media
3:18 pm
Tue September 30, 2014

Grassley: Waters of the US factor in Iowa Senate Race

US Senator Chuck Grassley opposes an EPA proposal that he says would expand the reach of the Clean Water Act onto some farm fields. The EPA says the rule will help streams, like this one in Boone County.
Amy Mayer/IPR file photo

U.S. Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, says the proposed Waters of the United States rule could influence voters in November's midterm elections. The Environmental Protection Agency wants to expand the Clean Water Act, to the protests of many in agriculture.

Grassley says the record of Democratic senate candidate Bruce Braley, who currently serves in the U.S. House, may hinder his chances.

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Agriculture and Harvest Public Media
1:51 pm
Tue September 30, 2014

Caustic Cucumbers

Wild and burr cucumber varieties are having a very good year.
Credit Courtesy photo

Along with Iowa' s more traditional crops, two species of cucumber vines are having a bumper year.  You won't find them at the farmer's market though, because they're weeds. The light green vines can grow as long as 30 feet and will coil around anything they touch. They've been showing up in windbreaks in Iowa, Wisconsin and Minnesota.  Iowa State University Agronomy professor Bob Hartzler says the vines are very aggressive and will return year after year.

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Agriculture and Harvest Public Media
5:00 am
Mon September 29, 2014

Curbside Composting Puts Food Waste to Good Use

In Portland, Ore., commercial food waste from restaurants and businesses gets separated and sent to a methane digester that extracts gas from the food and uses it to make electricity.
Cassandra Profita for Harvest Public Media

Wasting about 40 percent of all the food produced in the U.S. certainly has its drawbacks: It's not feeding people in need, it's expensive and it does a lot of environmental damage.

But across the country, cities, towns and companies are finding food waste doesn't have to be a total loss. In fact, it can be quite valuable – in making fertilizer, electricity or even fuel for cars, trucks and buses.

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Agriculture and Harvest Public Media
3:34 pm
Fri September 26, 2014

Sprouts and Scholars

Davenport Central's backyard garden
Credit Courtesy photo

  The student organization Sprouts and Scholars at Davenport Central High School has planted an organic vegetable garden and is now harvesting their first crops.  They are enjoying a bumper crop of tomatoes, peppers, herbs, and onions. The group secured grants from both Hy-Vee and Lowe's to help offset the cost of the project. As they've discovered, part of the reward of having a garden is being able to share the bounty with others. So they've allowed the cafeteria staff to have the ingredients for salsa and soup and they recently presented Mayor Bill Gluba with a basket of tomatoes.

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Agriculture and Harvest Public Media
5:00 am
Fri September 26, 2014

Choices Can Slice School Food Waste

Gloria Restrepo, a teacher’s assistant at Harris Bilingual Elementary School in Fort Collins, Colo., helps students choose their lunch.
Luke Runyon/Harvest Public Media

Lunch time at Harris Bilingual Elementary School in Fort Collins, Colo., displays all the usual trappings of a public school cafeteria: Star Wars lunch boxes, light up tennis shoes, hard plastic trays and chocolate milk cartons with little cartoon cows. It’s pizza day, the most popular of the week, and kids line up at a salad bar before receiving their slice.

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Agriculture and Harvest Public Media
5:00 am
Thu September 25, 2014

Grocery Stores Waste Tons of Food as They Woo Shoppers

Nearly one-third of the more than 400 million pounds of food available at grocery stores and restaurants is never eaten.
Kristofor Husted/Harvest Public Media

Grocery stores and restaurants serve up more than 400 million pounds of food each year, but nearly a third of it never makes it to a stomach.

With consumers demanding large displays of un-blemished, fresh produce or massive portion sizes, many grocery stores and restaurants end up tossing a mountain of perfectly edible food. Despite efforts to cut down on waste, the consumer end of the food chain still accounts for the largest share of food waste in the U.S. food system.  

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Agriculture and Harvest Public Media
5:00 am
Wed September 24, 2014

Manufacturers Cut Food Waste to Build Bottom Line

Todd Scherbing, Smithfield Foods’ senior director of rendering, holds a tray of pituitary glands that are cut from hogs on the line in the Farmland Foods plant in Milan, Mo. Pituitary glands are used to make insulin.
Peggy Lowe/Harvest Public Media

The long line of semi-trucks waiting to get in the gates of the Farmland Foods plant could simply wait around for a few hours to head back, fresh products on board.

The trucks are loaded with hogs from several confinement operations near this factory in Milan, a small town in northeast Missouri. Within just 19 hours, those pigs will be slaughtered, butchered and boxed into cuts that consumers see in the grocery store and in restaurants.

But that effort will use only about half of the animal.

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Agriculture and Harvest Public Media
5:00 am
Tue September 23, 2014

Technology, Infrastructure Reduce Food Waste on the Farm

On-farm and post-harvest loss accounts for about 40 percent of food waste in the developing world, according to the U.N. But it is credited with relatively small levels of waste in most industrialized countries.
Amy Mayer/IPR

On a wet, grey day in Grinnell, Iowa, the rain beats a rhythm on the metal roof of a packing shed at Grinnell Heritage Farm. Crew member Whitney Brewer picks big bunches of kale out of a washing tank, lets them drip on a drying table and then packs them into cardboard boxes.  

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