Ongoing Coverage:

Agriculture and Harvest Public Media

Agriculture and Harvest Public Media
5:00 am
Mon December 22, 2014

California Dairies Look to Midwest’s Greener Pastures

Dairy farmer Brian Azevedo plans to sell his dairy in Merced, Calif., and move to South Dakota.
Ezra David Romero for Harvest Public Media

California is branded as the state with happy cows, but increasingly, the dairy owners are not necessarily so happy. 

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Horticulture
2:10 pm
Fri December 19, 2014

Greenhouse Poinsettias Created with a Virus

poinsettia blooms grown in greenhouses in the United States
Wikimedia Commons

The poinsettia, traditionally given as a gift around the holidays, is native to Northern Guatemala and Northern Mexico. 

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Agriculture and Harvest Public Media
11:34 am
Fri December 19, 2014

Politics Dominates the Top Ag and Food Stories of 2014

The Jamie L. Whitten Building in Washington, home to the USDA.
Wikipedia

2014 was the year even the lunch ladies got political.

Harvest Public Media was created four years ago to report on agriculture and food production in the geographic area where the majority of that takes place – the Midwest. This year, my third of counting the top ag stories of the year, I find that the issues taking center stage were set not here, but in the politics, policies and processes of Washington D.C., state legislatures or the ballot box.

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Agriculture and Harvest Public Media
8:56 am
Thu December 18, 2014

At this Abbey, "The Lord is My Cowboy"

Sisters Ann, left, and Elizabeth tend to Yoda, a young water buffalo calf during his morning feeding at the Abbey of St. Walburga.
Sonja Salzburg for Harvest Public Media

Many beer aficionados are familiar with the rare breweries run by Trappist monks. The beer is highly sought after, but it’s not the only food or drink made by a religious order.

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Agriculture and Harvest Public Media
5:00 am
Wed December 17, 2014

What's Behind the "Non-GMO" Label?

In a lab at Food Chain ID in Fairfield, technician Tammy Raman works with samples that will be tested to determine if they contain any genetic modifications.
Amy Mayer/IPR

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

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Agriculture and Harvest Public Media
2:47 pm
Thu December 11, 2014

Report: Obama's Immigration Action Won't Help Agriculture Much

Harvesting produce is a seasonal job employing more immigrants in other regions than in the Midwest.
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.

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Agriculture and Harvest Public Media
5:00 am
Wed December 10, 2014

Grain Glut Clogs Railways, Rivers, Roads

An MFA Agriservices worker monitors the soybean chute as the barge fills up on the Missouri River in Glasgow, Mo.
Kristofor Husted/Harvest Public Media

For the Midwest’s major crops, this harvest season was a big one. With winter setting in, the race is on for farmers to ship out their harvest so it’s not left out to spoil.

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Agriculture and Harvest Public Media
6:13 pm
Fri December 5, 2014

Biodiesel Boost

Credit Iowa Biodiesel

  The U.S. House this week overwhelmingly passed a package of tax incentives retroactively for 2014. Among the incentives was the reinstatement of the $1 per gallon biodiesel blenders tax credit that expired on Dec.31, 2013.

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Horticulture
11:57 am
Fri December 5, 2014

‘Tis the Season… For Ordering Garden Seeds

seed packets on display
Wikimedia Commons

For the seasoned gardener, seed catalogs have already begun to arrive in the mail.

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

At USDA, Vilsack's Longest-Serving Secretary Since 1969

Tom Vilsack travels all over, but frequently returns to Iowa. He’s shown here in Ames in the summer of 2013 pushing for support of the farm bill.
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. 

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Agriculture and Harvest Public Media
7:56 am
Thu December 4, 2014

Food "Cluster" Hopes to Boost Local Food’s Economic Heft

Ashley Colpaart is the Northern Colorado Food Cluster's coordinator.
Luke Runyon/Harvest Public Media

More cities want to take eating local food from just a hip trend to an economic generator, but as in many grassroots movements, there can be some growing pains along the way. 

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Agriculture and Harvest Public Media
6:45 pm
Tue December 2, 2014

Diesel Dilemma

Diesel prices are nearly a dollar more expensive than gasoline

  Drivers of diesel-powered vehicles may be wondering why they aren't enjoying the same low prices as those who fill up with gasoline. 

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Agriculture and Harvest Public Media
5:00 am
Mon December 1, 2014

Climate Change Could Send Cost of Crop Insurance Soaring

Taxpayers subsidize crop insurance for farmers, and the expense is predicted to soar by mid-century as the climate changes.
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. 

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Agriculture and Harvest Public Media
4:00 pm
Wed November 26, 2014

Turkey Economics, Plus Fun Facts and a Recipe on the Side

According to farmer Ann Knowles, turkeys can change the color of their waddles at a moment's notice, flushing from pale pink to candy-apple red.
Abby Wendle/Harvest Public Media

Farmers raised fewer turkeys this year than they have in the past three decades - about 235 million gobblers, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Ann Knowles raised 70 broad breasted bronze and white turkeys on her small farm in western Illinois.

She coops up the plump birds at night to guard against predators, but lets them roam freely during the day.

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Agriculture and Harvest Public Media
3:00 pm
Wed November 26, 2014

Deere Tractor & Engine Museum to open in Waterloo

The John Deere Tractor & Engine Museum in Waterloo opens to the public on Tuesday, December 2nd.
Credit Deere and Company

The John Deere Tractor and Engine Museum in Waterloo opens to the public next Tuesday, Dec. 2.

Project  Manager Dawn Hendershot says it took four years to plan and renovate the structure which features 19 tractors from different eras and more than two dozen “hands-on “ interactive exhibits. She says “they’ll get to see examples of tractors, the engine design and manufacturing and how the tractors here have had a global impact.”

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Agriculture and Harvest Public Media
11:17 am
Wed November 26, 2014

Deere Decline

Credit IPR's Pat Blank

Quad Cities based Deere and Company is reporting fourth-quarter earnings and revenue that beat expectations.

The agricultural and construction equipment manufacturer says earnings per share were $1.83 on revenue of $8.9 billion. That topped predictions of $1.57 on $7.75 billion in sales. 

But when compared with the previous year, the company's earnings and revenue both declined.  Deere officials say they don’t expect that trend to improve in 2015.

Deere expects sales to decline in  both its agriculture and turf equipment lines.

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Agriculture and Harvest Public Media
5:00 am
Mon November 24, 2014

Crop Dusting Pilots Navigate Dangerous Airspace

A pilot for Earl’s Flying Service sprays chemicals on a field in southeastern Missouri.
Courtesy of Mike Lee

Mike Lee steers his plane over the Missouri-Arkansas state line, checking out a checkerboard of green and brown fields of rice, cotton, corn and soybeans.

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Agriculture and Harvest Public Media
3:48 pm
Fri November 21, 2014

Ag Groups Mixed on Immigration Plan

Immigrants often work on farms where fruits and vegetables are grown. Dairies also often employ immigrants.
Peggy Lowe/Harvest Public Media file photo

After spending years pushing for immigration reform, the agriculture sector has mixed reviews on changes to the immigration system that President Obama announced Thursday.

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Agriculture and Harvest Public Media
1:03 pm
Fri November 21, 2014

EPA: No Final Ethanol Rules This Year

Ethanol plants, like this one in Adams, Neb., use corn from Midwest farms to pump out millions of gallons of biofuel.
Grant Gerlock/Harvest Public Media file photo

The Environmental Protection Agency said Friday that it won’t release rules for how much ethanol oil refiners have to mix in to our gasoline supply this year.

The ethanol rules, called the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS), are meant to prop up the U.S. biofuels industry by creating demand for ethanol. Without the rules, both oil companies and the biofuel sector will be left in the dark as to what the demand for ethanol will be.

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Horticulture
12:39 pm
Fri November 21, 2014

Caring for Holiday Houseplants

Poinsettia blooms
Wikimedia Commons

Poinsettia are beautiful holiday plants, but if you’re given one as a host or hostess or pick up one in the store, how do you care for it after the holidays?  

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Agriculture and Harvest Public Media
5:00 am
Fri November 21, 2014

Women Have Always Farmed; Now They’re Being Counted

The co-owner of a dairy near Fort Morgan, Colo., Mary Kraft says the skills needed to be a successful farmer have changed in recent years.
Luke Runyon/Harvest Public Media

When farmer Sondra Pierce had her first child, she decided to forgo daycare. During harvest on her sugar beet farm in rural Boulder County, Colo., she’d buckle him up in the seat right next to her.

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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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Horticulture
5:13 pm
Fri November 14, 2014

Preserving the Nests of Bald-Faced Hornets

Monika Schnell IPR Listener, Iowa City

If you look closely at the trees right now, you can see things previous hidden, like the nests of bald-faced hornets.

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News Buzz
2:29 pm
Fri November 14, 2014

Do Pesticides Cause Depression?

Seven pesticides commonly used by farmers may be linked to depression.
jetsandzeppelins Flickr

Mining 20 years of data, a new study by the National Institutes of Health has found a link between some pesticides and depression. 

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Agriculture and Harvest Public Media
5:00 am
Fri November 14, 2014

Tougher Times Put Young Farmers' Dreams on Hold

Like many beginning farmers, Grant Curtis wants to invest in his operation but expectations of low prices are tying his hands.
Abby Wendle/Harvest Public Media

Grant Curtis remembers the day he went shopping for his first tractor. “It was an eye opening experience,” he said.

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Agriculture and Harvest Public Media
11:23 am
Wed November 12, 2014

Who Stole the Beans?

A farmer harvests soybeans in 2013. This year, an unknown driver combined 18 acres of an Illinois soybean field without permission. A criminal investigation is ongoing.
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.

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Agriculture and Harvest Public Media
5:39 am
Tue November 11, 2014

Premium Processing

Iowa Premium Beef CEO Jeffrey Johnson stands outside the new 200, 000-square- foot beef processing plant in Tama
IPR's Pat Blank

Central Iowa is about to get a much needed economic shot in the arm as a long awaited beef processing plant opens its doors providing hundreds of new jobs. 

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Agriculture and Harvest Public Media
5:00 am
Fri November 7, 2014

Promised Farm Bill Savings Look Elusive Today

Paul Sauter pulls two wagons full of corn into the Heartland Coop elevator in Alleman.
Amy Mayer/IPR

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

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Agriculture and Harvest Public Media
5:00 am
Thu November 6, 2014

Colorado's Growing Marijuana Industry Creates Real Estate Rush

Commercial real estate agent Jason Thomas connects clients with possible marijuana grow locations in the Denver metro area.
Luke Runyon/Harvest Public Media

The showing starts inside an empty office building, the kind you’d see in any humdrum workplace sitcom, stripped of its cubicles and ceiling tiles, leaving just a bare, dusty shell.

Jason Thomas with Avalon Realty Advisors, a commercial real estate firm that deals with the marijuana industry’s entrepreneurs, shows off the building’s features: a fully operational HVAC system, fire sprinklers, heavy duty warehouse doors, equipped with locks.

It’s a blank slate for a marijuana grower, ready to be outfitted with thousands of lights and complex water delivery systems.

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Agriculture and Harvest Public Media
12:13 pm
Tue November 4, 2014

Grain farming gets more expensive

Grain farmers face slim margins this harvest. Some farms might lose money in 2015, experts say.
Abby Wendle/Harvest Public Media

 

Farming has gotten more expensive, according to data from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). 

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