Jennifer Brdarâ€™s dream job was to be a meat inspector for the U.S. Department of Agriculture, watching out for unwary consumers and making sure the meat on their dinner tables was clean and disease-free.
After earning an associateâ€™s degree in meat science, BrdarÂ was hired in March as a temporary federal meat inspector at a big beef packing operation just up the road in Liberal, Kan.
She lasted barely a month, walking away in frustration.
Iowaâ€™s school districts spent six percent of their food budgets buying from local farms in the 2011-2012 school year, according to the U.S. Department of Agricultureâ€™s Farm to School Census. That means efforts to fill cafeteria trays with local foods have plenty of room to grow.
A lot of Iowa farmers use a two-year rotation of corn one year and soybeans the next. But what if a longer rotation could yield better crops and was good for the soil? Host Charity Nebbe talks with researchers from Iowa State University whose research found longer crop rotations improved theÂ crops and reduced fertilizer runoff.
Across the Corn Belt, farmers are hoping this fallâ€™s harvest could be one for the record books. With planting season already off to a roaring start, farmers say theyâ€™re putting in more acres of corn than they have since the Great Depression.