Farm Bill

Agriculture and Harvest Public Media
10:00 am
Wed April 16, 2014

What You Should Know about Our Food System

Despite certainty on the farm bill finally coming down from Washington, Midwest farmers still face plenty of unknowns.
Luke Runyon/Harvest Public Media file photo

Food doesn’t just come from a grocery store. Millions of farmers spend their lives producing the crops and raising the livestock that we eat and use.

So it makes sense: If you’re interested in what’s on your plate, you’re interested in what’s going on in the field.

With that in mind, here are four things you should know about today’s food system:

The new farm bill became law in February

Read more
Agriculture and Harvest Public Media
3:12 pm
Fri February 7, 2014

President Signs New Farm Bill

President Obama signs the Agriculture Act of 2014 as members of Congress and the Cabinet look on.
Credit Courtesy Stephen Carmody/Michigan Radio

  President Barack Obama signed the new farm bill into law Friday at Michigan State University in East Lansing, ending years of negotiations and wrangling.

With farm equipment, hay bales and crates of apples setting the stage, the president told the crowd that this farm bill –officially called the Agriculture Act of 2014 – will save taxpayer dollars while also offering support to farmers and ranchers. And he says that helps the whole country.

Read more
Agriculture and Harvest Public Media
5:00 am
Fri February 7, 2014

The Uneasy Marriage of Food Stamps and Farm Policy

For decades, government agriculture policy has tied farm programs to federal food aid. Grocery displays like this one were common in the wake of the creation of the Federal Surplus Relief Corporation in the 1930s.
Courtesy National Archives

When President Obama signs the long-overdue Agriculture Act of 2014 – the new farm bill – into law Friday, both farmers and food stamps advocates will be sighing in relief. This farm bill process was fraught with ups and downs and the loose coalition tying nutrition and farm programs seemed barely able to survive.

Read more
News Buzz
1:06 pm
Fri January 31, 2014

You Have Neanderthal Genes

Neanderthal Mother (detail of diorama) in Anthropos Pavilion, Brno, Czech Republic
Jaroslav A. Polák

For our weekly news buzz program, we get a review of the pending U.S. farm bill that is moving through Congress, how businesses are dealing with the Affordable Care Act, modern humans have a surprising amount of genes that come from Neanderthals, an important piece of art is returning to Iowa, a new  smartphone app designed in Iowa with which users can hear and see how to pronounce certain foreign language sounds, and we hear from a couple mayors of towns on this year’s RAGBRAI route. 

Read more
Agriculture and Harvest Public Media
7:48 am
Thu January 30, 2014

Farm Bill Compromise Passes House

ISU agricutltue economist Chad Hart says the cost of farm programs will fluctuate more under the 2014 farm bill than the last one.
Amy Mayer/IPR

It’s getting so close now… Wednesday morning the U.S. House passed the Agriculture Act of 2014, the new farm bill. The Senate is expected to take it up soon.

Read more
Agriculture and Harvest Public Media
5:00 am
Mon December 30, 2013

“Dairy cliff” not quite imminent

Cows at Terry Van Maanen's farm in Sioux County, Iowa, wait to be milked.
File: Kathleen Masterson/Iowa Public Radio

No need to hoard milk and ice cream over New Year’s Day. Turns out, the “dairy cliff” isn’t as steep as we may have once thought.

For over a year, farm bill watchers have warned that the milk prices would balloon to $7-8 per gallon if the farm bill expires without a replacement – sending us over what has been termed the “dairy cliff.”

Read more
News Buzz
2:22 pm
Fri December 13, 2013

Cameras, Compromise, 'Codone, 'The Catch,' and Cold

A snow angel
Alan Light

In this 'News Buzz' edition of River to River, hear about new rules for traffic cameras in Iowa, a stopgap farm bill passed in the U.S. House, a new hydrocodone-related drug which is meeting opposition from Iowa's Attorney General, the Hawkeyes will meet LSU, and what's with the early bout of cold weather?

Read more
Agriculture and Harvest Public Media
5:00 am
Fri December 13, 2013

Another farm bill deadline passes without a deal

Iowa State University political scientist David Peterson says the farm bill is a victim of polarization and gridlock in Washington.

If it seems like Congress just can’t get the farm bill done, well… that’s because it can’t. All year long, Washington lawmakers have been saying they want to pass a full five-year farm bill. But even though leaders of the House-Senate conference committee say they are close, they have acknowledged it just won’t get done this year. They’re pushing it off until January.

Read more
River to River
2:13 pm
Fri November 22, 2013

News Buzz: Ethanol and Harvest Wrap Up

Nearly all gasoline sold in the U.S. contains up to 10 percent of ethanol—a corn-based liquid often added to gasoline.
Stefanie Seskin

Nearly all gasoline sold in the U.S. contains up to 10 percent of ethanol—a corn-based liquid often added to gasoline. As a renewable fuel ethanol reduces the amount of petroleum-based gasoline on the market and many farmers receive subsidies to grow corn for the biofuel. But now the Environmental Protection Agency is considering a reduction in the required amount of ethanol for the country's gasoline supply.  Harvest Public Media's Ames-based reporter Amy Mayer and host Ben Kieffer discuss the future of ethanol in the U.S.

Read more
Agriculture and Harvest Public Media
7:51 am
Tue October 1, 2013

Farm bill expires, leaves farmers in limbo--again

Ames farmer Jeff Longnecker says the farm bill should provide a safety net.
Amy Mayer/IPR

The farm bill expired at midnight on Monday, leaving farmers and ranchers across the country guessing at what federal farm policy will look like when they next put their crops in the ground.

Of course, they’re used to uncertainty, as this is the second straight year Congress has let the farm bill expire. Last year, farmers were set adrift for three months before lawmakers passed a nine-month extension of older policy in January.

Read more
Agriculture and Harvest Public Media
5:00 am
Mon September 9, 2013

Congress still playing the farm bill game

In the Facebook game Farmville 2, players create their own farms. Like real farmers, players plan their moves based on policy.
courtesy of Zynga

The farm bill is, once again, entering a critical stretch. As was the case last year, the current law expires at the end of September. There’s no election to dissuade elected officials from tackling the major piece of agriculture and nutrition policy—but Congress does have a pretty full plate, with the crisis in Syria, immigration reform and a measure to continue funding federal government programs all set to come to a head.

Read more
River to River
3:02 pm
Thu September 5, 2013

U.S. Rep. Dave Loebsack and the Digital Divide

Representative Dave Loebsack (D-IA) and Representative Mazie Hirono (D-HI) share a comment while listening to debate on the America's Affordable Health Choices Act.
House Committee on Education and the Workforce Democrats Flickr

Host Ben Kieffer sits down with Congressman Dave Loebsack from Iowa’s 2nd District to discuss his thoughts on a potential a military strike on Syria, the stalled Farm Bill, immigration reform, and the next debt ceiling.

Read more
Business and Economy
5:43 am
Mon July 15, 2013

Iowa Business Beat: Shakeups in Agribusiness

Credit Sarah McCammon / IPR

This week Clay and Sarah discuss big news in agribusiness and how the industry is reacting. The U.S. House passed a farm bill that strips the nutrition portion out of the legislation, breaking up the rural/urban coalition of lawmakers. Also, a deadly pig virus is causing pork producers to be even more cautious with how they operate their business. And a deadly train accident in Quebec has people in the United States looking at how the country transports oil. 

Read more
River to River
4:13 pm
Wed July 10, 2013

County Partisanship and Other Politics

Iowa's county partisanship mapped out
Credit Chris Larimer, UNI / http://diymaps.net/ia.htm

Think you know which of Iowa's counties is most democratic, or most republican?  University of Northern Iowa Associate Professor of Political Science Chris Larimer crunched the numbers. 

http://addins.kwwl.com/blogs/decision2012/2013/06/exploring-county-level-partisanship

Read more
River to River
4:37 pm
Wed June 26, 2013

Politics Day: Supreme Court Decisions

cool revolution / flickr

On Politics Wednesday on River to River, guest host Dean Borg talks about recent U.S. Supreme Court decisions.  Guests include political analysts Donna Hoffman, Professor and Chair of Political Science at University of Northern Iowa and Tim Hagle, Associate Professor of Political Science at University of Iowa.  Iowa Congressman Steve King also gives his reaction to the rulings and gives an update on the Farm Bill from Washington D.C.

Read more
Agriculture and Harvest Public Media
5:59 am
Fri June 21, 2013

House rejects farm bill

The Farm Bill rejected by the House would have cut $2 billion from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), or food stamps. Many Republicans were hoping for more cuts, while many Democrats thought the cuts too onerous.
Credit tpsdav/pixabay

In a stunning move, the U.S. House voted against approving farm bill legislation Thursday, leaving the bill's future up in the air.

The House rejected the farm bill on a final tally of 234-195 after a day of dramatic, tight votes on amendments to the bill.

Read more
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?

Read more
Talk of Iowa
3:38 pm
Tue June 18, 2013

The Future of SNAP

Pictured above are food coupon artifacts from the National Museum of American History. Upon purchase, grocers provided receipts of their own design, which costumers used for the next purchase.
the National Museum of American History--Smithsonian Institution Flickr

The farm bill is legislation is worth more than $90 billion. It deals with everything from farm subsidies to crop insurance; but over 80% of this massive outlay goes to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP,) which was once called food stamps.  More than 45 million people depend on SNAP, especially since the economic downturn.  However, in the current versions of the bill both Democrats and Republicans are discussing cutting funds from the program. 

Read more
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.

Read more
Agriculture/Harvest Public Media
5:00 am
Mon November 12, 2012

Farm bill is more than subsidies and food stamps

Iowa State University researcher Kenny McCabe tends to tomatoes and salvia growing in bio-renewable pots in a greenhouse in Ames.
Amy Mayer/IPR

With the election over, lawmakers now return to Washington for the final weeks of the 112th Congress. Their schedule is packed, but House majority leader Eric Cantor has said addressing the now expired Farm Bill is on the agenda. With Harvest Public Media, Iowa Public Radio’s Amy Mayer reports that it’s not just farmers facing the challenge of planning for an unknown future.

Read more
Farm bill and the elections
1:38 pm
Fri October 26, 2012

Why Campaigns Aren't Focusing on the Farm Bill

U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack speaks with Greene County farmer Mike Holden at a campaign event for Vilsack's wife, Christie, the Democratic candidate in the 4th Congressional District.
courtesy photo

When Congress recessed for the election season without passing a new farm bill, many observers thought farmers would demand explanations as campaign trails blazed through small towns. In conjunction with Harvest Public Media, Iowa Public Radio’s Amy Mayer has this look at how the farm bill is playing on the stump.

Read more
Talk of Iowa
11:08 am
Tue October 9, 2012

Farm Bill 2012

Kevin Dooley / Flickr

The Farm Bill is the primary agricultural and food policy tool of the federal government. The comprehensive bill is passed every five years in Congress. Recently, Congress decided to postpone action on the new bill until after the November elections.

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
3:53 pm
Thu September 13, 2012

Which presidential candidate is best for agriculture?

Former Iowa Lieutentant Governor Patty Judge debates Nebraska Republican Senator Mike Johanns in front of State Secretaries of Agriculture from across the country.
Sandhya Dirks

Despite a devastating drought Iowa has weathered a rough economy thanks to its agricultural base. On Wednesday night Ag leaders from across the country gathered in Des Moines for a forum on agriculture. The question up for debate? Which presidential candidate is best for farmers.  As Iowa Public Radio’s Sandhya Dirks reports, the answer to that question could decide the election.  

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
1:10 am
Thu July 5, 2012

Farmers question farm bill restrictions

Marc Benson stands in one of his corn fields near Winfield, Iowa.
Clay Masters IPR

Next week the farm bill makes its way to the House. That’s the big piece of legislation that sets food and agriculture policy for the next 5 years. How does this impact the average Iowan that isn’t on the farm?  Iowa State Agriculture economist Bruce Babcock says for the most part it doesn’t… except for one thing. 

"Are the taxpayer dollars being well spent subsidizing really well managed farms, very smart farmers and very wealthy farmers?" he said.