Amy Mayer


Amy Mayer is a reporter based in Ames. She covers agriculture and is part of the Harvest Public Media collaboration. Amy worked as an independent producer for many years and also  previously had stints as weekend news host and reporter at WFCR in Amherst, Massachusetts and as a reporter and host/producer of a weekly call-in health show at KUAC in Fairbanks, Alaska. Amy’s work has earned awards from SPJ, the Alaska Press Club and the Massachusetts/Rhode Island AP. Her stories have aired on NPR news programs such as Morning Edition, All Things Considered and Weekend Edition and on Only A Game, Marketplace and Living on Earth.  She produced the 2011 documentary Peace Corps Voices, which aired in over 160 communities across the country and has written for The New York Times,  Boston Globe, Real Simple and other print outlets. Since the spring of 2008, Amy has served on the board of directors of the Association of Independents in Radio.

Amy has a bachelor’s degree in Latin American Studies from Wellesley College and a master’s degree from the Graduate School of Journalism at the University of California, Berkeley.

Amy’s favorite public radio program is The World.


Agriculture/Harvest Public Media
1:46 pm
Thu December 6, 2012

Cellulosic ethanol is coming, but future is uncertain

DuPont Industrial BioSciences President Jim Collins speaks to supporters at the site of the company's new cellulosic ethanol plant in Nevada.
Amy Mayer/IPR

The Environmental Protection Agency’s Renewable Fuel Standard calls for one billion gallons of ethanol produced from non-food plant matter rather than grain next year. It’s a goal industry is woefully unprepared to meet.  But as Iowa Public Radio and Harvest Public Media’s Amy Mayer reports, with several plants in the works, cellulosic ethanol is poised to hit the commercial market sometime in 2013. 

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Temple Grandin
3:59 pm
Wed December 5, 2012

Animal welfare expert addresses Farm Bureau

Animal welfare expert Temple Grandin addresses the Iowa Farm Bureau annual meeting.
Amy Mayer/IPR

A leader in animal welfare is encouraging Iowa farmers to continue improving their livestock operations. Iowa Public Radio’s Amy Mayer reports. 

Agriculture/Harvest Public Media
4:06 pm
Wed November 21, 2012

Midwest meals reach millions

People of all ages, from as young as 5 years old, filled Hy-Vee Hall to prepare meal packages that are provided to food banks in Des Moines, the United States and around the world.
courtesy of Meals from the Heartland

Iowa volunteers are turning regional ingredients into worldwide food assistance. Iowa Public Radio’s Amy Mayer reports.

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Agriculture/Harvest Public Media
12:54 pm
Wed November 21, 2012

How Midwest farmers help feed the world

Boone County farmer Greg Rinehart uses a high tunnel for vegetables he sells locally. He also grows row crops.
Amy Mayer/IPR

The United States is the world’s leading corn producer and exporter, supporting the increasing demand for meat in China, India and other countries with growing middle classes.  Those countries import livestock feed made from Midwestern grain. But as Iowa Public Radio’s Amy Mayer reports with Harvest Public Media, feeding the world will take more than shipping protein overseas. 

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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.

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In-person voting
4:03 pm
Tue November 6, 2012

In-person voting still has appeal

The Heartland Baptist Church in Ames is where Chris Johnson cast his ballot on Election Day.
Amy Mayer

Nearly one-third of Story County voters requested ballots for early voting. But as Iowa Public Radio’s Amy Mayer reports, many people remain loyal to in-person voting on Election Day.

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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.

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NPR Story
3:39 am
Wed October 17, 2012

Farmers Cautious Of Drought-Resistant Seeds

Originally published on Wed October 17, 2012 7:31 am



Here in the United States, the corn harvest is nearly complete. It was earlier and much smaller than in recent years, which means stockpiles are lower and prices will likely be higher. Now, while this summer's drought is largely to blame, the dry weather did offer perfect conditions to test drought-resistant corn. As Iowa Public Radio's Amy Mayer reports, seed companies and farmers are now crunching the yield numbers to see what these new varieties could mean in coming years.

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Cover Crops
2:18 pm
Fri October 12, 2012

Cover Crops Use Expanding

Jeff Longnecker's cows will graze next spring on rye planted now.
Amy Mayer

While many farmers were bringing in this year’s harvest, they also were planting.  Cover crops—like oats and winter rye—are becoming more popular, despite the time and expense involved in growing green fields that won’t ever make money—directly.  Together with Harvest Public Media, Iowa Public Radio’s Amy Mayer explains why.

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.