Amy Mayer

Harvest Public Media Reporter

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. Amyââââ

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Walk down a grocery store aisle today and you're likely to find lots of food -- and lots of marketing claims. Whether a product's label says it's low in fat, produced without hormones, or a good source of protein is largely governed by consumer demand and corporate profit.

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The packaged foods found in supermarkets, convenience stores and vending machines are full of ingredients you often cannot pronounce.  They've been carefully developed and tested in a lab and likely have been shipped long distances. They can hold up to weeks or even months on the shelf.

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The local food scene has exploded in recent years, which means there's a lot more local produce on dinner tables. It also means that during the spring season as small farms start ramping back up, they have to work a bit harder to attract new customers.

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As the number of farms hit with avian flu grows to more than 100 nationwide, regulators are implementing containment plans meant to stop the virus' spread, spare millions of at-risk birds, and thousands of poultry farms.

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It’s planting time for Midwest farmers and much of the corn they grow will end up feeding livestock in China, which has become a huge importer of grain from the Corn Belt. That means the farmers can’t just select seeds based on which ones will get the best yield. They have to think about where their grain will be sold.

There’s a new stop on the Iowa campaign trail. This weekend, many presidential hopefuls will be in Des Moines for the first Iowa Ag Summit. Republican donor Bruce Rastetter, who is the CEO of Summit Farms and president of the Iowa Board of Regents, is hosting the event.

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Across the Corn Belt, farmers are signing up for Farm Bill support programs and which ones they choose will impact the overall price tag for taxpayers.

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Bacon and pork chops could become cheaper this year thanks, in part, to fewer pigs getting sick with the virus that devastated hog farms in 2014.

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Since a highly contagious strain of bird flu was found in the U.S. in December, many countries have closed their doors to chickens and turkeys raised here.

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In a dimly-lit lab on the Des Moines, Iowa, public schools’ agricultural science campus, students in aprons, safety goggles and plastic gloves poke and probe chicken wings.

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Bear Creek Dairy in Brooklyn, Iowa, is home to more than 1,100 cows, who provide about 100,000 pounds of milk each day.  The 15-year-old farmer who works closely with the farm’s calves comes from a long line of dairymen – in Europe.

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On a wet, grey day in Grinnell, Iowa, the rain beats a rhythm on the metal roof of a packing shed at Grinnell Heritage Farm.

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You might have noticed when grilling steaks or hot dogs this summer that they cost more than they did last year.

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In his home in Forest City, Iowa, Riley Lewis has the original warranty deed for his farm, signed by President James Buchanan and issued to one Elias Gilbert, a soldier who served in the War of 1812.

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More than 90 percent of U.S. field corn is genetically modified, according to data recently released by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

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