Amy Mayer

Reporter

Amy Mayer is a reporter based in Ames. She covers agriculture and is part of the Harvest Public Media collaboration. Amy worked as an independent producer for many years and also  previously had stints as weekend news host and reporter at WFCR in Amherst, Massachusetts and as a reporter and host/producer of a weekly call-in health show at KUAC in Fairbanks, Alaska. Amy’s work has earned awards from SPJ, the Alaska Press Club and the Massachusetts/Rhode Island AP. Her stories have aired on NPR news programs such as Morning Edition, All Things Considered and Weekend Edition and on Only A Game, Marketplace and Living on Earth.  She produced the 2011 documentary Peace Corps Voices, which aired in over 160 communities across the country and has written for The New York Times,  Boston Globe, Real Simple and other print outlets. Since the spring of 2008, Amy has served on the board of directors of the Association of Independents in Radio.

Amy has a bachelor’s degree in Latin American Studies from Wellesley College and a master’s degree from the Graduate School of Journalism at the University of California, Berkeley.

Amy’s favorite public radio program is The World.

Ways To Connect

Photo by Amy Mayer/IPR file

Composting millions of euthanized birds affected by avian flu is arduous and some poultry producers say the process takes too long. The corn stover usually used for cellulosic ethanol may help the process.

Stover is comprised of stalks, cobs and other waste left after harvest. A combination of heat and carbon-rich corn waste accelerates decomposition and kills the virus. The leftover material provides farmers with a compost to spread on fields. 

Photo by Amy Mayer

The local food scene has exploded in recent years, which means there’s a lot more local produce on dinner tables. It also means that during the spring season as small farms start ramping back up, they have to work a bit harder to attract new customers.

Community Supported Agriculture, or CSAs, allow subscribers to connect directly with a farm, and remain a mainstay for local farmers looking to latch on to consistent revenue.

IPR file photo by Kathleen Masterson

As the number of farms hit with avian flu grows over 100 nationwide, regulators are implementing containment plans meant to stop the virus’ spread, spare millions of at-risk birds and thousands of poultry farms.

Farms in many states, including Iowa, Missouri and Kansas, are struggling to contain an active outbreak.

“A rapid response is extremely important in an infectious disease outbreak like this,” said Jim Roth, head of the Center for Food Safety and Public Health at Iowa State University’s College of Veterinary Medicine.

Photo by Amy Mayer

It’s planting time for Midwest farmers and much of the corn they grow will end up feeding livestock in China, which has become a huge importer of grain from the Corn Belt. That means the farmers can’t just select seeds based on which ones will get the best yield. They have to think about where their grain will be sold.

China has its own rules for the kind of crops it wants and when American farmers don’t comply, China can close off its market.

Amy Mayer/Iowa Public Radio file photo

Under pressure from the courts, the Environmental Protection Agency has issued a timeline for when it will finalize renewable fuel volume requirements. The agency has yet to finalize its 2014 proposed amounts, which disappointed many in corn country.

Corn growers and fuel manufacturers need to know what the government requires under the Renewable Fuel Standard. Two petroleum groups brought a lawsuit against the EPA because of missed deadlines for those announcements. The agency has now released its intended timelines for 2014, 2015 and 2016.

Amy Mayer/Iowa Public Radio

The U.S. Senate agriculture committee heard testimony today on the Environmental Protection Agency’s proposed Waters of the U.S. (WOTUS) rule.

Nearly a year ago, the EPA proposed a change to the Clean Water Act that it says would clarify its authority over certain wetlands and streams. But Iowa Republican Senator Chuck Grassley, who serves on the agriculture committee, says the proposal has met strong opposition in farm country.

Abby Wendle/Harvest Public Media

The monarch butterfly may soon find more of its food in Iowa.

Amy Mayer/IPR

Farmers face plenty of risk, including the unknowns of weather, global markets and the more predictable expenses of taxes and equipment costs.

Amy Mayer/IPR file photo

There’s a new stop on the Iowa campaign trail.

This weekend, many presidential hopefuls will be in Des Moines for the first Iowa Ag Summit. Republican donor Bruce Rastetter, who is the CEO of Summit Farms and president of the Iowa Board of Regents, is hosting the event.

Amy Mayer/IPR

The law that sets standards for school meals is up for reauthorization this year.

Amy Mayer/IPR

Three new natural gas-powered boilers are moving Iowa State University closer to compliance with new federal environmental regulations.

Amy Mayer/IPR

When farmers lose 15 to 25 percent of their crop, it hurts. And it’s not likely to be covered by crop insurance, which covers greater losses.

Amy Mayer/IPR

Children today are immersed in technology. Often, they are passive consumers. But in some schools, even kindergarteners are learning computer programming.

Amy Mayer/IPR file photo

Bacon and pork chops could become cheaper this year thanks, in part, to fewer pigs getting sick with the virus that devastated hog farms in 2014.

Amy Mayer/IPR file photo

In the budget President Obama is sending to Congress he’s asking for more than a billion dollars to combat antibiotic resistance, and some of that money would focus on animal agriculture.

Antibiotic resistance can make common medications ineffective, meaning sick people don’t get better and doctors have fewer options to treat bacterial infections.  

Amy Mayer/IPR

Since a highly contagious strain of bird flu was found in the U.S. in December, many countries have closed their doors to American poultry.

John Pemble/IPR

The annual State of the Union address last night offered a national spotlight for Iowa’s junior senator.

Amy Mayer/IPR file photo

A group representing many Iowa farmers is decrying the Des Moines Water Works’ decision to sue three Iowa counties over water quality.

Corey Seeman/Flickr

An ongoing labor dispute at the California ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach is starting to impact Iowa.

Amy Mayer/IPR

Demand for products that don’t contain genetically modified organisms, or GMOs, is exploding.  

Big Stock Photo

new report says President Obama’s executive action on immigration likely won’t have a huge impact on Midwest agriculture. 

Stephanie Mercier, who wrote the report for the Chicago Council on Global Affairs, says the presidential order does not address the needs of Midwest employers. They often want year-round temporary workers, something current law does not permit.

courtesy of Center for Bioplastics and Biocomposites

With cellulosic ethanol now being produced in Iowa, researchers at Iowa State University hope to convert some of the by-products into useful renewable materials. 

Amy Mayer/IPR

The U.S. Department of Agriculture touches Americans from the field to the cafeteria, with a bevy of programs that include subsidies for farmers and for school lunches. 

Amy Mayer/IPR file photo

Climate change could double losses to crops and property by the year 2100 according to a recent report from the non-partisan Government Accountability Office. 

Amy Mayer/IPR file photo

Several dozen tax provisions remain unsettled as Congress returns home for the Thanksgiving holiday.

Who Stole the Beans?

Nov 12, 2014
Amy Mayer/IPR file photo

It may not be a classic “Whodunnit” but the mystery of who stole soybeans from a field in western Illinois certainly has intrigue.

Amy Mayer/IPR

The Farm Bill enacted earlier this year was supposed to save taxpayers money, in part by reducing subsidy payments to farmers.

SD Dirk

Iowa's 1st Congressional District covers northeast Iowa, and includes the cities of Cedar Rapids, Dubuque and Waterloo.

Alan Light

Iowa City, Davenport, Burlington and Ottumwa are the major population centers in Iowa's 2nd Congressional District.   

Jason Mrachina

Iowa's 3rd Congressional District contains 16 counties in the southwest quadrant of the state. Its largest population centers are Des Moines and Council Bluffs.

Polling shows Democrat Staci Appel and Republican David Young, neck-and-neck for the open race. Republican Tom Latham is stepping down after 10 terms in Congress. 

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