Ongoing Coverage:

Farming

River to River
3:40 pm
Mon November 17, 2014

The Modern Harvest: Managing "by the square foot instead of by the field"

Jim Sladek and Ben Kieffer on the combine
Emily Woodbury

This year, U.S. farmers are bringing in what is expected to be a record breaking harvest. On this edition of River to River - the modern day harvest.

Read more
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. 

Read more
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.

Read more
Farm Transfer
5:33 pm
Wed September 17, 2014

"Buying the Farm" and Buying the Farm

The concept of 'the eldest son inheriting the land' is an outdated one, and families without a coherent and explicit will may leave their descendants a mess of trouble after their deaths.
Christiane Tas Wikimedia Commons

Inheritance of any family business is a sticky issue. But when that family business doubles as your childhood home, emotions run even higher.

Read more
Encore
12:54 pm
Tue September 16, 2014

Kristi Ruth Talks About Nearly Losing Her Arm in a Farm Accident

Courtesy of Iowa State University Extension

In 2007, Kristi Ruth nearly lost her arm in a farm accident. It’s just once example of the hazards of agricultural work.

Read more
Agriculture and Harvest Public Media
10:00 am
Wed August 27, 2014

USDA Predicts Drop in Farm Income

Expectations of a bumper crop of corn has caused both prices and farm profit expectations to drop.
Amy Mayer/IPR file photo from harvest 2012

Farmers’ can anticipate a sharp drop in income this year, according to a new report from the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

In fact, the USDA predicts the $113 billion earned in 2014 will be the lowest amount of net farm income in five years. That’s equal to about a 14 percent fall from last year’s record amount, thanks mostly to a massive drop in crop prices.

Read more
Agriculture and Harvest Public Media
8:40 am
Wed August 27, 2014

Everything Agriculture on Display at Farm Progress Show

Yellow hay rakes drew attention to the New Holland exhibit at the Farm Progress Show in Boone Tuesday.
Amy Mayer/IPR

A burst of colorful farm machinery is surrounded by demonstration fields at the Central Iowa Expo in Boone this week. The Farm Progress Show is attracting thousands of farmers, agronomists and agribusiness representatives. It’s an annual trade event that alternates between the Iowa site and Decatur, Illinois.  

Read more
Soil Erosion
4:22 pm
Tue August 26, 2014

Combating Climate Change Through Soil Science

Much of Iowa's soil is eroded due to certain farming practices
Lynn Betts Wikimedia Commons

Iowa is nestled in the center of America’s breadbasket; one of our most precious resources is beneath our feet. But it’s a resource in jeopardy.

Read more
Agriculture and Harvest Public Media
5:00 am
Thu August 14, 2014

Art Tangoes Over Time with Ag

Beekeeper Julia McGuire fits a veil on photographer Marji Guyler-Alaniz before they approach a hive.
Amy Mayer/IPR

  In a living room converted to a theater for the evening, Ethan Peterson and Madeleine Russell portray the characters from Mary Swander’s play, “VANG.” In it, the actors share the emotional stories of four immigrant couples who farm in Iowa. Swander used transcriptions of conversations with Hmong, Mexican, Sudanese and Dutch farmers to create the play.

Read more
Encore
11:26 am
Fri August 8, 2014

Women on the Farm: An Evolving Role

Women have worked in agriculture since agriculture began, but for many years they were limited to supporting roles. Talk of Iowa seeks out women's voices in agriculture, through history and today.  Jenny Barker-Devine, author of "On Behalf of the Family Farm: Iowa Farm Women's Activism since 1945" discusses how the roles of farm women changed during the 20th century.

Read more
Agriculture and Harvest Public Media
9:09 am
Mon August 4, 2014

‘Right to Farm’ Pits Farmer Against Farmer

Farmer Jeff Jones and his daughters feed grain to their foraging cattle once a day in Callaway County, Mo. They’re concerned about the health and environmental effects a potential hog farm next door might have.
Kris Hustead/Harvest Public Media

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

In Missouri, the so-called “right to farm” is on the ballot in the form of an amendment to the state Constitution. And the controversial provision could be a model for Constitutional additions on other ag-heavy states.

Though the “right to farm” provision is focused on agriculture, it has pitted farmer against farmer with some worried that the results could change the face of farming in the Midwest.

Accountability concerns

Read more
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.

Read more
Talk of Iowa
2:18 pm
Mon June 30, 2014

Prairie Silence

When Melanie Hoffert returned home to help with harvest, she decided to try driving a grain truck.
Melanie Hoffert melaniehoffert.com

Melanie Hoffert grew up on a farm in North Dakota.  Like so many others, she left.  But now she feels torn between the land and people she loves and the freedom to live an authentic life.  Host Charity Nebbe talks with Hoffert about her memoir Prairie Silence: A Rural Ex-Patriot's Journey to Reconcile, Home, Love and Faith.  In that book, she describes the month she returned to her family farm to help her father and brother during harvest.  They also discuss what it was like to grow up as a gay woman in rural North Dakota.

Read more
News Buzz
12:47 pm
Fri June 20, 2014

World Class Auctioneers Compete in Des Moines This Weekend

An auction at the Knoxville Regional Livestock Auction
Courtesy of Knoxville Regional Livestock Auction

If Russele Sleep wins this year’s World Livestock Auctioneering Championships, he says it would be a huge honor. “I used to go to markets with my dad and watch the auctioneers sell calves. I loved it… winning would be like getting my super bowl ring.”

Read more
Agriculture
1:06 pm
Mon June 16, 2014

Farm Workers Far More Likely to Die of Suicide, Why?

A century farm in Polk County, Iowa
Wikimedia Commons

In January of 2011 when Ginnie Peters retired from the Perry Public Library, she was looking forward to spending more time with her husband, Matt, but she never really got the chance. He died of suicide in May of that year.  “One day he told me he had torment in his head, and then the next day he was gone," she says. 

The two farmed 1500 acres between Perry and Panora, Iowa for most of their lives. Today, Peters blames the stress of planning for the future of her husband’s century farm for what happened.

“One day he told me he had torment in his head, and then the next day he was gone."

Read more
River to River: From the Archives
11:43 am
Mon June 16, 2014

An Unexpected History of Carnivore America

The deli counter at Hy-Vee
Emily Woodbury

The battle surrounding meat and livestock production ranks among the longest-waged and hardest fought in American history. Today on River to River, Ben Kieffer talks with historian and author, Maureen Ogle. Her new book is titled In Meat We Trust.

Read more
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

    

    

Read more
Agriculture
2:14 pm
Thu May 8, 2014

An Annual $1 Billion Loss From Soil Erosion & What an Iowa Farmer is Doing About It

A storm cell rolls in while Johnson County farmer Jim Sladek is planting corn
Ben Kieffer

The spring planting season is upon us and farmers are racing to get crops in the ground.

So yesterday morning, host Ben Kieffer hopped aboard a tractor with Jim Sladek, of JCS Family Farms in Johnson County, to get his perspective on the start of a new season and the challenges he faces, including soil erosion. Jim also demonstrated the amazing amount of technology that can be used in farming today.

Read more
River to River
1:45 pm
Fri March 21, 2014

News Buzz: All-Vet, Farm Fatalities, Drones

Jen Hamilton-Emery

Today on News Buzz Ben Stanton fills in as host.  He tackles Iowa's All-Vet designation, farm accident fatalities and the use of drones in agriculture.

Read more
Agriculture and Harvest Public Media
7:43 am
Mon February 10, 2014

For Farmers Who Rent, 2014 Could Be a Tough Year

With the price of corn down, farmers that rent land risk big losses if they don’t tread carefully.
fishhawk/Flickr

With the price of farmland at record levels across the Corn Belt, many farmers have been renting acres to plant. Now, with the price of corn and soybeans in freefall, farmers that depend on renting risk big losses if they’re unable to negotiate lower rents.

Read more
Food
4:10 pm
Thu January 9, 2014

An Unexpected History of Carnivore America

Emily Woodbury

The battle surrounding meat and livestock production ranks among the longest-waged and hardest fought in American history. Today on River to River, Ben Kieffer talks with historian and author, Maureen Ogle. Her new book is titled In Meat We Trust.

Read more
Agriculture and Harvest Public Media
6:50 pm
Thu December 19, 2013

Shrimp Harvest in Iowa

Matt Weichers shows off one of the Pacific white shrimp
IPR's Pat Blank

A Cedar Falls man, his wife and brother have launched the state's second shrimp farm. Matt Weichers, his wife Jen and brother John Gielau are raising thousands of Pacific white shrimp in a warehouse near UNI. The building once housed the university's white rat lab used for behavioral research. Now it's filled with 30 blue "hot tubs" and thousands of the critters ready for sale this week.  

Read more
News
5:01 am
Mon October 21, 2013

Farmers carry mixed feelings over wind energy transmission line

In O'Brien County, Jay Hofland has agreed to sell part of his farm to Clean Line for a converter station, which would become the beginning of a high voltage, direct current transmission line traversing the state.
Durrie Bouscaren Iowa Public Radio

One of the companies banking on Iowa’s wind energy industry is Clean Line Energy Partners, a Houston-based operation with plans to build five large-scale high voltage transmission lines in the country. As Iowa Public Radio’s Durrie Bouscaren reports, one of those lines would traverse Iowa, and it starts in the northwest corner of the state. 

Read more
Talk of Iowa
3:16 pm
Wed October 16, 2013

Feeding the World

International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center

Today is World Food Day.  Observed every year since 1981, it focuses on the problem of hunger around the globe.  Also, this week is the World Food Prize Symposium in Des Moines and some of the most innovative thinkers in the fight against hunger have come to Iowa.

Read more
Talk of Iowa
2:59 pm
Tue October 15, 2013

How Americans Eat with Tracie McMillan

I-5 Design & Manufacture

Recent movements addressing the obesity epidemic or industrial agriculture's dominance attempt to change how Americans eat.  Tracie McMillan sets out to understand the American food system from the bottom-up in  her book, “The American Way of Eating: Undercover at WalMart, Applebees, Farm Fields and the Dinner Table.”  Host Charity Nebbe asks McMillan where our food comes from and how we can eat healthier. 

Read more
River to River
2:27 pm
Thu August 29, 2013

The Farm Progress Show and The Nixon Tapes

The last group of secret recordings President Richard Nixon made while in the White House have been released by the Nixon Presidential Library and Museum. The new recordings include new 94 tapes comprising 340 hours of recordings.
Trevor Manternach Flickr

Host Ben Kieffer discusses this year's Farm Progress Show with Harvest Public Media reporter Bill Wheelhouse, Iowa State University Professor horticulturalist Kathleen Delate and organic farmer Grant Schultz.   Also, this month the last group of secret recordings Richard Nixon made while president were rele

Read more
Agriculture and Harvest Public Media
2:32 pm
Tue July 30, 2013

Going Going Gone

Credit Courtesy photo

A new report out Tuesday shows millions of wetland acres and highly erodible grassland and prairie are being plowed under and planted into row crops. This in turn causes intense soil erosion especially in a wet spring like this year. The four year, multi state study was conducted by Environmental Working Group. http://www.ewg.org/research/going-going-gone.

Read more
River to River
4:05 pm
Fri June 28, 2013

The Farm Crisis

Farmers from across America marched for the second year in a row to protest against the U.S. Department of Agriculture in Washington, D.C. on February 5, 1979. An old tractor is burned in effigy in protest.
USDA / National Archives and Records Administration

The farm crisis of the 1980s meant high interest rates; it’s estimated that farmland values dropped nearly 60 percent in some areas of the Midwest during the early '80s.  But it was not just an economic disaster.  A new documentary also tries to capture the personal stories. Guest host Ben Stanton talks with the producer of "The Farm Crisis" Laurel Bower Burgmaier.  Later in the show is an update to the flood-related weather outlook for Iowa, and hear about NPR's programing changes now in effect and how they will affect Iowa Public Radio.

Read more
Talk of Iowa
2:54 pm
Wed June 5, 2013

What's Happening at Iowa Farmers' Markets

Downtown Farmers' Market in Des Moines, July 2011
Photo by Phil Roeder

Many farmers' markets in Iowa have grown over the last couple decades.  Host Charity Nebbe talks with market directors from around the state to hear about why that has happened.  She hears from Director of the Downtown Farmers' Market in Des Moines Kelly Foss, Cedar Falls Farmers' Market Master Joe Bohr, and Washington Farmers' Market Master Bob Shepherd.  Also, get to the heart of the matter with author of "Farmers' Markets of the Heartland" Janine MacLachlan, who traveled to eight Midwestern states to document her farmers' market tour.

Read more
Talk of Iowa
1:57 pm
Mon May 13, 2013

Women on the Farm: An Evolving Role

Flickr / cwwycoff1

Women have worked in agriculture since agriculture began, but for many years they were limited to supporting roles. Talk of Iowa seeks out women's voices in agriculture, through history and today.  Jenny Barker-Devine, author of "On Behalf of the Family Farm: Iowa Farm Women's Activism since 1945" discusses how the roles of farm women changed during the 20th century.

Read more

Pages