Ongoing Coverage:

Harvest Public Media

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.

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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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River to River
3:16 pm
Tue January 28, 2014

The Renewable Fuel Standard

E Energy in Adams, Neb., takes in corn from local farms to make 65 million gallons of ethanol each year.
Grant Gerlock/Harvest Public Media

A decade ago ethanol was touted as an eco-friendly biofuel that would not only decrease U.S. dependence on foreign oil, but also boost the Midwest's economy. Today however, ethanol’s future is a matter of debate.

The Environmental Protection Agency recently proposed reducing the ethanol mandate for the nation’s fuel supply. Many Iowa and around Midwest believe a reduction to the RFS would be economically devastating. 

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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

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Agriculture and Harvest Public Media
8:53 am
Mon August 26, 2013

E85 Popularity up in Iowa.

Credit Dean Borg / IPR

 Iowa’s ultra-high ethonal, E-85, fuel pumps are increasingly popular. Iowa Public Radio’s Dean Borg reports.

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Agriculture and Harvest Public Media
7:09 am
Tue July 9, 2013

Dining on Nettles, Milkweed and Dandelions

Forager Adam Hintz said knowing how to find food in nature gives him a sense of food security, knowing that even if a natural catastrophe disrupts the food production chain, he can still feed his family.
Credit Hilary Stohs-Krause / Harvest Public Media

 

 It’s a humid, windy day in southeast Nebraska, and Adam Hintz is hunting for morels. The mushroom, which kind of looks like a shrunken brain, is known for being elusive, and so far, nothing’s turned up.

But lots of other edibles have.

“This is a common milkweed,” Hintz said, eying a patch of knee-high green plants with veiny leaves. “You can eat it in three different forms throughout the year.”

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Talk of Iowa
1:30 pm
Wed June 19, 2013

The Future of Crop Insurance and CRP

The U.S. House of Representatives has made over 100 amendments to the Senate's Farm Bill.
Todd Elhers Flickr

As the Farm Bill is debated in the U.S. House of Representatives, host Charity Nebbe digs into the politics of farm policy in a special joint broadcast with KCUR in Kansas City and Harvest Public Media.  What's the future of crop insurance and the Conservation Reserve Program?  What's at stake for farmers large and small?  And also, how will what happens on the farm affect the rest of the country?

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Agriculture and Harvest Public Media
9:28 am
Thu March 14, 2013

Ethanol Plants Caught in 'Blend Wall'

In Atkinson, Neb., a semi rolls past the NEDAK plant, which shut down when corn prices peaked during the summer of 2012 and new demand from E15 failed to materialize.
Credit Grant Gerlock / Harvest Public Media

On Highway 20 outside of Atkinson in north-central Nebraska, semis with trailers full of corn roll past the NEDAK ethanol plant.

The plant, which was built by local investors in 2008, has been offline since June 2012 when the drought pushed corn prices to new highs. When operating, the plant made 44 million gallons of ethanol per year from 17 million bushels of corn.

“We had corn coming in as far as 130 miles out,” said Jerome Fagerland, NEDAK's president and general manager.

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Talk of Iowa
2:55 pm
Wed February 20, 2013

Science of the Seed

Corn plants grow in a roof-top greenhouse at Monsanto's Chesterfield Village Research Facility
Amy Mayer/IPR

People have been cross-breeding plants for thousands of year… Manipulating traits in agricultural crops from generation to generation. When scientists discovered that they could actually modify the genes of these plants in a laboratory the landscape of agriculture changed dramatically and fast. Host Charity Nebbe, explores the science of seeds, as a continuation of the Harvest Public Media series.

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Agriculture/Harvest Public Media
5:00 am
Fri January 25, 2013

Farm bill extension doesn’t sit well with many organic farmers

Liz Graznak, who runs Happy Hollow Farm in Jamestown, Mo., is one of many farmers who say they may not be able to afford the cost of organic certification without federal support.
Abbie Fentress Swanson/Harvest Public Media

Shoppers looking for organic food may have to look a bit harder this year.

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Agriculture/Harvest Public Media
6:03 pm
Wed November 21, 2012

Oh Christmas Tree

Kris Kringle's Tree Farm owner Danny Moulds stands among the thousands of trees lost to the drought
Pat Blank

Danny Moulds owns Kris Kringle’s Trees just north of Cedar Falls. He says the hot dry summer took a harsh toll on newly planted seedlings. He says he lost around 15 thousand Christmas  trees on his 46 acre farm.

Had those young trees survived they would have been ready for harvest in 2019. Because the drought was so widespread, Iowa Department of Natural Resources District Forester Mark Vitosh says it may be harder to find the more popular varieties in the future.

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Agriculture/Harvest Public Media
4:58 pm
Tue November 20, 2012

In the food wars, opposing sides take their message across the aisles

Farmer Paul Willis at his free range hog farm in Thornton, Iowa.
Credit Sandhya Dirks / IPR

Debate surrounding what we eat and how it’s made is nothing new, but in this year of outcry over pink slime, criticism regarding gestation crates and questions about the value of organic food, the various sides are reaching out in new ways and new places. Even when the opposing camps actually speak with each other, though, middle ground is still proving hard to find.

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Roundup Resistant Weeds
7:25 am
Wed October 17, 2012

Roundup resistance leading to more chemicals, study finds

Water hemp in this soybean field was not killed by Roundup. (Courtesy Bob Hartzler/Iowa State University)

Farmers and weeds are in a constant competition. When the herbicide called Roundup came along, farmers got a clear edge. But now weeds are beginning to catch up. Grant Gerlock of Harvest Public Media has more on how Roundup-resistant weeds are changing the game.

Drought Resistant Corn Yields
8:30 am
Thu October 4, 2012

Drought Resistant Corn Yields

Syngenta's drought resistant corn just before harvest in Maxwell, IA.
Amy Mayer/Iowa Public Radio

After the dry summer, this harvest offers a good look at what drought resistant corn can do. In conjunction with Harvest Public Media, Iowa Public Radio’s Amy Mayer reports the big companies may soon be touting their results, but farmers may not rush to plant drought resistant seed next year. 

Agriculture/Harvest Public Media
7:00 am
Wed September 26, 2012

My Farm Roots: Nathan Dorn

Nathan Dorn stands in front of the feedlot on his family’s farm in Adams, Neb.
Camille Phillips Harvest Public Media

Down a stretch of rural highway and country roads lined with fields, about an hour south of Lincoln, Neb., lies the Dorn family farm. That’s where Nathan Dorn grew up, where his grandfather farmed before him and where his father, uncles and cousin now farm beside him.

Dorn’s strong ties to the land made the decision to continue the family tradition of farming an easy one. But it also leaves him feeling misunderstood by the average American.

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Farm Bill
1:47 pm
Tue September 25, 2012

Coalescing around the Farm Bill

Back in Iowa after the Farm Bill Now rally in Washington, D.C., Brad Moeckly tends to his combine.
Amy Mayer

The current farm bill expires at the end of September and lawmakers won’t have a new one passed, thanks largely to election-year politics. Despite the partisan bickering in Washington, many in farm country are working together to keep their concerns on the front burner.

Agriculture/Harvest Public Media
7:22 am
Wed September 12, 2012

My Farm Roots:Rose Alderson

Rose Alderson and her husband Loren have farmed outside of Nickerson, Kan., for decades.
Frank Morris Harvest Public Media

This is the tenth installment of My Farm Roots, Harvest Public Media’s series chronicling Americans’ connections to the land. Click here to explore more My Farm Roots stories and to share your own.

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Agriculture/Harvest Public Media
8:28 am
Fri July 27, 2012

Livestock Producers Caught Without Safety Net

Clint Alley / flickr

Farmers growing crops have insurance to ward off the financial failure of their season during this terrible drought. But there’s no safety net like that in place for livestock producers. They are being turned away from government offices when they ask for help. What’s the holdup? Harvest Public Media’s Peggy Lowe reports that aid for livestock producers is tied up in Washington politics. 

Agriculture/Harvest Public Media
6:54 am
Thu May 24, 2012

Who are you calling a corporate farmer?

Chris Boeckmann grows turkeys for Cargill on his Loose Creek, Mo., farm. But he also raises grass-fed all-natural beef for his private label.
Peggy Lowe Harvest Public Media

A surprising thing happens while touring Chris Boeckmann’s turkey farm, where 50,000 birds are grown each year for Cargill Inc.

After seeing the huge brooder barn, after looking into a second enormous facility for the older birds and after spying the Cargill sign, the obvious conclusion is that this is a corporate farm.

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Talk of Iowa
3:49 pm
Wed May 23, 2012

Farmers of the Future

The 2007 U-S Census of Agriculture reveals these trends… the percentage of women and Hispanic farmers is growing.  And farmers are getting older.  For today's Talk of Iowa, in cooperation with Harvest Public Media, we talk with Farmers of the Future.  Young farmers trying to break into the business tell us how they’re overcoming obstacles and planning for changes in agriculture.