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Harvest Public Media

My Farm Roots: Room to Roam

Aug 3, 2015
Abby Wendle

The Matthew family farm, M&M&m Farms, outside of La Harpe, looks different from the farms surrounding it in western Illinois. It's not filled with neat rows of soybeans or lines of corn that's over-my-head high in late July. The Matthew's place is a bit more disorganized and far more diverse.

Luke Runyon/Harvest Public Media

Monsanto, the world's largest seed company, is attempting to swallow up the chemical operations of Syngenta, the world's largest producer of pesticides and other farm inputs. The proposed deal signals a change in focus for the agricultural giant, and could have ripple effects across farm country.

My Farm Roots: Showtime at the Fair

Jul 27, 2015
Grant Gerlock/Harvest Public Media

Show day at the Pierce County Fair in Nebraska starts early and goes fast.

Illinois' New Plan to Reduce Farm Runoff

Jul 23, 2015
Abby Wendle

The Illinois Environmental Protection Agency (IEPA) and the Illinois Department of Agriculture (IDOA) released the state's first ever Nutrient Loss Reduction Strategy.  The document is the state's plan to decrease pollution of local waterways, the Mississippi River, and the Gulf of Mexico -- pollution caused in large part by fertilizer runoff from farmland.

Matt Brooks for NET News

Farmers count on chemical herbicides to keep their fields weed-free. But an international panel of scientists who studied two of the most heavily used farm chemicals to determine whether they could cause cancer said exposure to weed-killing chemicals could come at a cost.

Peggy Lowe/Harvest Public Media

Farm dog? Check.

Barn cats? Check.

Muddy work books lined up at the back door? Five checks.

Large Drop in Farm Income Predicted This Year

Jul 16, 2015
Matthias Ripp/flickr

Corn and soybean farmers in the Midwest are likely to earn far less money this year than they did last year, with some economists predicting that incomes could be less than one-tenth of what they were in 2014.

Poncie Rutsch/KUNC

Many of the more than 3 million migrant farmworkers that plant and pick the fruits and vegetables we eat in the U.S. live on the farms they work for. But the rules that govern farmworker housing might be changing, worrying both farmers and migrant worker advocates.

Macomb Farmer's Market Celebrates 40th Anniversary

Jul 15, 2015
Abby Wendle

The Macomb Farmer's Market celebrated its 40th anniversary this past Saturday with eighteen vendors selling homegrown fruits and vegetables.  Crafts were also sold.  King Neptune performed Piedmont-style Blues at the event.  The turnout was small because of thunder and heavy rains, but both the crowd and market gardeners were enthusiastic to be there.

Courtesy Caroline Abels

As animal welfare expert Temple Grandin has described it, pregnant pigs housed in gestation crates spend their days living in the equivalent of an airline seat for humans.

Bee Hotels Give Native Species a Place to Call Home

Jul 9, 2015
Abigail Wilson for Harvest Public Media

Bamboo and paper tubes, with diameters no bigger than a nickel, are stacked artfully inside a 4-by-4 wooden frame near the edge of a public hiking trail in Lawrence, Kansas.  Organized by size, each hollow tube is about 8 inches long, designed as nests for Kansas' wild bees. This structure is called a bee hotel.

Abby Wendle

Driving down a two-lane highway in rural Missouri, Matt Plenge squinted at a patch of gray clouds hanging low over his farm fields in the distance.  "Does it look hazy up there?" he asked. "We only had a 20% chance today. We shouldn't get any rain."

Stephanie Paige Ogburn/KUNC

Food companies the world over are paying close attention to the groundswell of support for food transparency, the "know where your food comes from" movement.  JBS, the largest meat producer in the world, is beginning to take notice as well.

Kristofor Husted/Harvest Public Media

In the U.S., one in six people struggles with hunger. Food pantries across the country pass out food to help these people put meals on the table. But what if they could help teach the pantry visitors how to grow their own food, too?

Rodeo season is getting into full swing and at most rodeos, bull riding is the main event. But when the bull ride ends, the work begins for rodeo bullfighters, and a young bullfighter is making a name in the business by putting himself in the middle of the action.

Amy Mayer/Harvest Public Media

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.

Amy Mayer/Harvest Public Media

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.

Abby Wendle

At around 9:00 on a late spring evening, the library was locked for the night.  Silently, Linda Zellmer appeared on the other side of the glass door. She opened it and guided us up four dark floors towards a puddle of light.

Farmers with Prosthetics Face Durability Challenges

Jun 10, 2015
Kristofor Husted/Harvest Public Media

When it comes to hazardous work industries, farming is in the top three with transportation and warehousing, and mining. And many times after an accident, farmers end up as amputees. But when farmers and ranchers lose a limb on the job, they have a limited selection of prosthetics to help get them back to the fields.

Peggy Lowe/Harvest Public Media

National public health officials are urging their state counterparts to be alert for avian flu infections in humans.

Will Curran/Flickr

The U.S. Department of Agriculture will soon allow pasteurized egg imports from the Netherlands because of dwindling supplies and higher prices caused by the huge bird flu outbreak in the Midwest.

Grant Gerlock/Harvest Public Media

The federal government's complex set of rules meant to spur a renewable fuels industry has fallen behind one of its main goals: cut greenhouse emissions from gasoline.

More Money, Fewer Grasslands: Corn Ethanol's Impact on Rural America

Jun 2, 2015
Emily Guerin/Inside Energy

Ethanol is one of the most important industries in the Midwest, and it's an industry about to change. The U.S. EPA proposed new targets for the Renewable Fuel Standard, or RFS, which dictates the amount of ethanol the oil industry has to blend into our gasoline.

Grant Gerlock/Harvest Public Media

The U.S. EPA is proposing tweaks to ethanol policy. The agency proposed a cut to the amount of corn ethanol oil companies are required to blend in to our gasoline, as well as ambitious targets for low-carbon cellulosic ethanol, which is produced from grasses and other inedible parts of plants.

Eleanor Klibanoff for Harvest Public Media

It's no longer enough for restaurants to offer roasted chicken or braised beef shank on their menus. They need to be able to tell customers exactly where that chicken came from and how the cow was raised. If they can remember the pedigree of the produce? All the better.

brian.ch/Flickr

After years of bureaucratic delays and opposition from the meat industry, the federal government finally moved to require consumer safety labels on mechanically tenderized beef products.

Grant Gerlock/Harvest Public Media

Meat sold in the U.S. has to have a label telling in which country the animal was born, raised, and slaughtered. But the World Trade Organization confirmed Monday that those country of origin labels (COOL) on meat sold in the U.S. violate international law.

"Stud Dames" Spread U.S. Cow Genetics Far and Wide

May 18, 2015
Abby Wendle

Panda, standing six feet tall and weighing almost a ton, is everything a show cow should be: broad-backed and round-rumped, with sturdy legs holding up her heft. Her hide -- thick and black, with splotches of creamy white -- fits her name.  "She's a big time cow," said Dan Byers, owner of Byers Premium Cattle, Inc. "She's a freak of nature is what she is."

USDA/Flickr

Susanne Byerly can laugh now, four years later, talking about how she and her husband were trying to eat healthy food when they bought ground turkey for their spaghetti dinner.

Amy Mayer/Harvest Public Media

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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