Harvest Public Media

Grant Gerlock/Harvest Public Media

Walking through the warehouse of food processor Heartland Gourmet in Lincoln, Neb., shows how complicated the food safety system can be. Pallets are stacked with sacks of potato flour and the smell of fresh baked apple-cinnamon muffins is in the air.

Frank Morris/Harvest Public Media

The U.S. Department of Agriculture proposed changes on Tuesday to the rules that govern which farmers can receive government subsidies.

The goal is to cut off payments to people who claim they’re involved in the management of a farm, but aren’t doing much managing.

Luke Runyon/Harvest Public Media

A battle is brewing in the organic food industry.  The largest trade association for organic farmers, marketers, and processors wants growers to help pay for promotional campaigns.

Grant Wood

How do you define a farmer?

A. A person who does the physical labor to plant a crop.

B. A person who pays for everything it takes to run a farm.

C. A person who owns farmland.

D. All of the above.

It’s a tricky question. For over two decades, the government’s definition of who is an “actively engaged farmer” has been criticized for being too loose and subjective - a loophole allowing farm operations to add investors to their business so they can rake in extra money in farm program payments.

Amy Mayer/Harvest Public Media

A highly contagious strain of bird flu has officially made its way to the Midwest.  The disease was confirmed Tuesday in two separate commercial turkey flocks in Missouri, according to the Missouri Department of Agriculture and the USDA.

Kristofor Husted/Harvest Public Media

After years of negotiations, a dozen countries – from New Zealand up to Canada –are on the verge of a trade agreement that could be worth billions of dollars to the U.S. agriculture industry. Many American farmers and ranchers are eager to see the expected benefits of the Trans Pacific Partnership, or TPP.

Abby Wendle

Todd Mendenhall slouches in his barber's chair, his gaze fixed on the door of his shop, waiting for a customer to open it. The clock ticks to one o'clock on a gray Wednesday afternoon.  "I should be cutting hair instead of just sitting here," Mendenhall said. "That tells you something about our economy."

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.

Grant Gerlock/Harvest Public Media

You’ve probably seen, but may not have noticed, labels on the meat at your grocery store that say something like “Born, Raised, & Harvest in the U.S.A.” or “Born and Raised in Canada, Slaughtered in the U.S.”

These country of origin labels, as they are known, are part of an ongoing international trade dispute that has swept up Midwest ranchers. And they may not be long for store shelves.

John Wendle for Harvest Public Media

Sara Creech has grown dependent on farming. She started out planting an orchard of fruit trees - apples, peaches, cherries and pears. She added berry bushes and rows of vegetables.

And then she bought her first chickens.

Jeremy Bernfeld/Harvest Public Media

Call it “peak farmers market.” Or maybe the plateau of “know your farmer.”

Luke Runyon/Harvest Public Media

A highly anticipated batch of federal laws governing the use of drones could change the regulatory landscape and lead to an explosion in drone use by farmers.

Amy Mayer/Harvest Public Media

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.

Abby Wendle

The federal government banned raw milk sales across state lines nearly three decades ago because it poses a threat to public health.

Amy Mayer/Harvest Public Media

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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