Grant Gerlock

Harvest Public Media's reporter at NET News, where he started as Morning Edition host in 2008. He joined Harvest Public Media in July 2012. Grant has visited coal plants, dairy farms, horse tracks and hospitals to cover a variety of stories. Before going to Nebraska, Grant studied mass communication as a grad student at Miami University in Oxford, Ohio, and completed his undergrad at Buena Vista University in Storm Lake, Iowa. He grew up on a farm in southwestern Iowa where he listened to public radio in the tractor, but has taken up city life in Lincoln, Neb.

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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Agriculture and Harvest Public Media
9:35 am
Thu October 2, 2014

Farm Bill Programs Target Aid for Smaller Farms

The new farm bill includes more money to promote local food and farmers markets.
Peggy Lowe/Harvest Public Media file photo

The Farm Bill was passed in February. But now, piece by piece, it’s taking effect. We’re beginning to see how parts of the farm bill are doing more to help farmers go small.

The Farm Bill contains about half a trillion dollars in spending over five years. The vast majority of that pays for huge programs like food stamps and subsidized crop insurance. But this time around, Congress carved out a little more room for local and organic foods, and it’s starting to show.

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

Food Waste Weighing Down U.S. Food System

Jack Chappelle sorts through garbage to inform cities and states what goes into their landfills. He sorts through a lot of food.
Pat Aylward/NET News

It’s a hot summer day outside of Lincoln, Neb., and Jack Chappelle is knee-deep in trash. He’s wading in to rotting vegetables, half-eaten burgers and tater tots. Lots of tater tots.

“You can get a lot of tater tots out of schools,” Chappelle says. “It doesn’t matter if it’s elementary, middle school or high school. Tater tots. Bar none.”

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Agriculture and Harvest Public Media
10:01 am
Thu July 31, 2014

My Farm Roots: Coming Home to Roost

The poultry farm Dan Hromas started near York, Neb., since returning from military service in Iraq, has helped him re-integrate in to civilian life.
Grant Gerlock/Harvest Public Media

When they heard Dan Hromas’ truck rolling in, the chickens came strutting. The auburn-feathered Rhode Island Reds stood out, even in the tall, green brome grass of Hromas’ rented 3-acre pasture outside of York, Neb.

The pasture is the center of Hromas’ new farming enterprise. For a little over a year he’s been selling farm eggs to local restaurants, grocery stores, and direct to customers in southeast Nebraska.

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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
8:12 am
Thu May 8, 2014

Farmers Take Missouri River Flood Worries to Court

Scott Olson of Tekamah, Neb., walks along the edge of his field that was flooded in 2011. Most of the field can be farmed, but parts may never be reclaimed after the river replaced fertile topsoil with fine, sandy silt.
Credit Grant Gerlock / Harvest Public Media

The Missouri River burst out of its banks in epic fashion three years ago. The flood covered thousands of acres of land and dredged up old debates about how the river should be run. Now, flooded landowners are suing the Army Corps of Engineers, saying the agency isn’t protecting their land.

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Agriculture and Harvest Public Media
8:52 am
Wed March 26, 2014

Hog Farmers Differ on Packer-Owned Pigs

A proposal in the Nebraska Legislature would allow meatpacking companies operating in the state to own hogs from birth to slaughter, a change that some say would take market share from farmers.
Grant Gerlock/Harvest Public Media

 

Nebraska hog farmers aren’t seeing eye-to-eye on a proposal that would allow meatpacking companies more control over the state’s hog industry. And farmers all over the country are watching.

Currently, a 1998 state law bans meatpacking companies from owning and raising the hogs the process. But lawmakers have proposed an end to the ban, which would allow for more vertical integration of the hog industry.

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Agriculture and Harvest Public Media
8:59 am
Tue March 4, 2014

Report Says U.S. Wastes Nearly One Third of Food Produced

Americans wasted an estimated 133 billion pounds of food in 2010, according to a USDA study.
petrr/Flickr

 

Nearly a third of the food available to be eaten in the U.S. is thrown out instead. And all of that wasted food comes with a steep price tag.

According to a new report from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Americans wasted an estimated 133 billion pounds of food in 2010, the most recent year data is available. That’s 31 percent of the food sold at grocery stores and served in restaurants. The study does not include food wasted prior to the retail level.

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

Young Farmers Wait for Their Opportunity

Eric Brockmann and his family moved back to his hometown of West Point, Neb. to pursue his passion for farming.
Grant Gerlock/Harvest Public Media

The average age of American farmers has been climbing for decades, and many say rural towns are at-risk without new blood. There are enough people who want to farm, but there’s trouble connecting beginning farmers and the communities that need them.

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Agriculture and Harvest Public Media
5:00 am
Tue February 18, 2014

Farmers Worry About Sharing Big Data

This laptop is an essential tool on Dave Beck’s farm. He uses it to design maps to apply different doses of seed, water, and fertilizer on his fields.
Grant Gerlock/Harvest Public Media

When it comes to keeping data secure, farmers are worried about some of the same issues as the rest of us. Precision data from the farm could help drive new levels of productivity, but farmers have to decide just how much they want to share.

Precision agriculture started with satellite-guided tractors and maps recording pinpoint levels of grain yields during harvest. But farmers like Dave Beck are taking the next step. 

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Agriculture and Harvest Public Media
7:08 am
Tue January 21, 2014

Up Against Blend Wall, Ethanol's at a Crossroads

E Energy in Adams, Neb., takes in corn from local farms to make 65 million gallons of ethanol each year. The company also makes distillers grains for livestock feed; corn oil, which can be made into biodiesel; and CO2 for soft drinks.
Grant Gerlock/Harvest Public Media

A steady stream of semi-trailers rolls across the scales at the E Energy ethanol plant near the town of Adams in southeast Nebraska. The smokestack behind the scale house sends up a tall plume of white steam. The sweet smell of fermenting corn is in the air.

E Energy buys 65 million bushels of corn each day from area farmers and turns it into 65 million gallons of ethanol each year.

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Agriculture and Harvest Public Media
5:00 am
Tue January 7, 2014

US beef herd poised for growth

It’s not just consumers who are paying more for beef. Craig Uden says recent prices to buy calves from ranchers for his feedlot are among the highest he’s ever seen.
Grant Gerlock/Harvest Public Media

For the first time in nearly 10 years, the nation’s beef herd may be poised for growth, which could mean relief from rising meat prices. But with the fewest cattle in the beef supply since the 1960s, slow growth won’t cut prices anytime soon.

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Agriculture and Harvest Public Media
9:40 am
Mon January 6, 2014

USDA one step closer to approving new herbicide resistant crops

Water hemp is one of several weeds building resistance to Roundup herbicide.
Bob Hartzler/Iowa State University

New herbicide-resistant corn and soybeans are a step closer to reaching farm fields in the U.S. They would help farmers control weeds that are no longer killed by the popular herbicide, Roundup.

Roundup resistant crops dominate corn, soybean and cotton production in the U.S. But the list of weeds that have evolved to withstand Roundup is growing, and as a result, farmers are using more chemicals to keep up.

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Agriculture and Harvest Public Media
5:00 am
Wed November 6, 2013

Disaster aid for livestock producers on hold

An early blizzard in October killed thousands of cattle in Nebraska, South Dakota and Wyoming. It came at a bad time because the government program that provides disaster relief is ineffective until Congress passes a new farm bill.
Grant Gerlock/Harvest Public Media

Highway 2/71 north of Crawford, in the Nebraska Panhandle, is a ribbon of pavement in a vast rolling grassland broken by the occasional tree covered butte. It runs through an area rancher Dave Moody calls the “gumbo,” thanks to the thick mud that develops after a long rain.

In recent years, the gumbo has seen a string of disasters. Drought dried up the pastures. Wildfires seared the pine forests. Then, in October, an early blizzard piled on.

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Agriculture and Harvest Public Media
5:00 am
Thu October 24, 2013

Farmers plowing up more and more of the prairie

The Christen family grazes cattle year-round on native prairie pastures in southeast, Neb. Rod Christen calls big bluestem their “Cadillac grass.”
Grant Gerlock/Harvest Public MediaI

In recent years, farmers in the Midwest have transformed millions of acres of prairie grass to rows of corn. High crop prices are a big motivation, but some also believe crop insurance is encouraging farmers to roll the dice on less productive land.

Rod Christen and his sister Kay farm corn, soybeans and wheat on their land near the small town of Steinauer, Neb. But their main crop is grass.

“Big bluestem is our big producer,” said Rod Christen. “It’s kind of our Cadillac grass.”

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The Salt
9:34 am
Tue October 15, 2013

Farm Families Pick Massive Corn Harvest As Prices Shrink

Curt Friesen is a fourth-generation farmer in central Nebraska.
Grant Gerlock for NPR

Originally published on Tue October 15, 2013 1:39 pm

Corn prices are down and the farm bill is stalled in Congress. So there's a lot of uncertainly in the air as harvest season gets into full swing across the Midwest. But this is a time of year when farm families like the Friesens in Henderson, Neb., come together to focus on the big task at hand: the corn harvest.

Everyone in the family has a job to do.

"Like my dad — he drives auger wagon," Curt Friesen says. "He drives auger wagon only. That's all he's done since 1976, I think. ... My wife, Nancy, she drives the combine; that's her job."

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Around the Nation
3:50 am
Tue October 15, 2013

Harvest Brings Farm Families Together, Redefines Commitment

Originally published on Tue October 15, 2013 4:36 am

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

Now, here's a reality about farming. From the earliest days of this country, it's been an uncertain business, and for many decades, national policies have been designed to smooth out that risk. But, of course, the risk never entirely goes away. You can never control the rain, for example, and lately the uncertainty has been growing. Corn prices are down. The farm bill is stalled in Congress and there's a sense that good times may be fading.

From Nebraska, Grant Gerlock of NET News brings us his report.

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