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Harvest Public Media

Features provided by Harvest Public Media

Grant Gerlock/Harvest Public Media

The middle of winter is when the stream of locally grown fruits and vegetables in the Midwest begins to freeze up.  Nicole Saville knows first-hand. Saville is the produce manager at the grocery co-op Open Harvest.

Restoring Prairie on the Great Plains

Feb 1, 2016
Courtesy Prairie Plains Resource Institute

From the air, the Midwest looks like a patchwork of cropland and pastures. But before the land was turned over to plows and center pivots, most of it was a sea of grass. 

Amy Mayer/Harvest Public Media

For almost a year, presidential candidates have been crisscrossing Iowa, wooing voters in a state that relies on agriculture for about one-third of its economy. But even here, most voters live in cities or suburbs and don't have a first-hand connection to the farm.

Amy Mayer/Harvest Public Media

The time is ripe for the sharing economy in farm country.  Much like other Web-based companies such as Airbnb or Uber, a site dedicated to leasing and using farm equipment is making available expensive machinery during the times producers need it most. And the idea is taking root as crop and livestock prices trend lower and costs climb higher.

The Rising Energy Costs of Convenience in the Kitchen

Jan 21, 2016
Leigh Paterson for Harvest Public Media

To make or not to make a homemade pie?  That is a classic holiday dilemma. Do you take the easy way out and buy a fairly decent frozen pie, or do you risk making your own and possibly end up with a burnt and lumpy version?

Brian Seifferlein/Harvest Public Media

By some estimates, producing our food consumes about a fifth of the nation's energy supply. It takes a lot of diesel to move tractors and semis around the farm, and electricity to pump water and dry grain. But some farmers are trying to cut back on the coal and gas they use and make our food system more energy efficient.

File: Amy Mayer/Harvest Public Media

The massive Trans Pacific Partnership, or TPP, trade deal could require some countries to accept more genetically engineered crops.

Grant Gerlock/Harvest Public Media

Wheat is one of the world's staple foods and a big crop on the Great Plains, but it has been left in the dust. A corn farmer can grow 44%  more bushels per acre than 30 years ago, but only 16%  more wheat. That's led many farmers to make a switch.

Rebecca Jacobson for Harvest Public Media

Every day, a facility on the outskirts of Grand Junction, Colorado takes in 8 million gallons of what people have flushed down their toilets and washed down their sinks. 

Higher Interest Rates Could Impact Crop Prices

Dec 23, 2015
Abby Wendle

High interest rates have the potential to slow an economy and drop prices. So when the Federal Reserve Board raised the interest rate last week for the first time in seven years, farmers and ranchers likely wondered how it would affect their outlook.

Courtesy of Pipestone Veterinary Services

Veterinarian and researcher Scott Dee doesn't much look the part of a detective, in his jeans and company polo shirt.  But when a virus never before seen in North America swept through the network of hog farms where he works, Pipestone Veterinary Services, in January 2014, he had his first clue.

Greg Stevenson, ISU

A fast-spreading virus never before seen in the United States hit the pork industry more than two years ago, racking up roughly $1 billion in losses and spiking prices for consumers.

My Farm Roots - An Evening of Farm Stories

Dec 21, 2015
Image by Curtis Bisbee

Joel Gruver stood in front of a packed house at the Western Illinois Museum and talked about apprenticing with an old farmer in the hilly countryside of rural Maryland, where he grew up. He stretched his arms wide to illustrate how steep the hill was that he ran down one afternoon in hot pursuit of the farmer’s runaway antique tractor. The audience gasped and then laughed as Joel described catching up with the machine only to have a wheel pop off and bounce over the fence.

Abby Wendle

The U.S. might be on the verge of a boom in new fertilizer plants, which could be good news for farmers, but not the environment.  Today's farmers can produce more from their land than ever before thanks, in part, to nitrogen fertilizer, a key ingredient that has never been more widely available.

file: Amy Mayer/Harvest Public Media

A proposed merger between two giants of American business, DuPont and Dow, could ultimately result in an agricultural company more focused on farmers than either is today.

Luke Runyon/Harvest Public Media

Grabbing a quick meal doesn’t just mean fast food anymore. Now there are “fast-casual” options like Chipotle or Panera, restaurants that borrow ideas from both fast food and upscale sit-down restaurants.

File: Grant Gerlock/Harvest Public Media

Canada and Mexico could impose tariffs on more than $1 billion-worth of U.S. goods as a way to compensate for losses brought on by a U.S. labeling law.

Quiz: How Much Energy Does It Take To Make Your Food?

Dec 9, 2015
(Jordan Wirfs-Brock/Inside Energy)

From apples to zucchini, from milk to cheese, from chicken to chorizo, our modern food production turns energy from fossil fuels into food.  Some food products have a light environmental touch. But some of the foods we eat have a massive impact.

Fuel: It's What's for Dinner

Dec 3, 2015
Stephanie Joyce for Harvest Public Media

There are few places where the connection between energy and food is more obvious than at the Bright Agrotech warehouse.

Jack Amick/Flickr

Mike Berners-Lee might not be an expert on the American Thanksgiving. A native of the UK, he's never actually had the pleasure of experiencing one. 

EPA Seeks to Pull New Herbicide from the Market

Nov 25, 2015
File: Amy Mayer/Harvest Public Media

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), seeking to pull Enlist Duo from the market, has filed a request with the U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals to cancel its registration of the recently approved herbicide.

(Peggy Lowe/Harvest Public Media)

Move over turkey. Step aside stuffing.

Green Bean Casserole, an iconic Thanksgiving dish, turns 60 years old this year and it’s as popular as ever.

Tim Sackton, Flickr

Despite the bird flu epidemic that devastated Midwest turkey farmers this spring, the price of a turkey this Thanksgiving is a little cheaper than last year. This years turkeys are ringing up one cent less per pound than in 2014, according to the USDA’s most recent numbers.

file: Amy Mayer/Harvest Public Media

Many corn and soybean farmers in the Midwest are receiving their first government payments under the new Farm Bill enacted last year, and taxpayers are spending more than projected.

In the Fields, A Search for Monarch Butterflies

Nov 20, 2015
Mike Tobias for Harvest Public Media

The population of monarch butterflies has declined so dramatically in recent years that the iconic insect is being considered for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s endangered species list. In Nebraska and across the other areas of the Midwest, a stop on the monarch migration route, efforts are underway to determine the scope of the decline.

(Darrell Hoemann/Midwest Center for Investigative Reporting)

A new trade deal aimed at cutting thousands of taxes and opening markets with 11 Pacific Rim nations has drawn heavy lobbying from some of America's largest agribusinesses.  The deal -- known as the Trans-Pacific Partnership -- was reached in early October. 

Peggy Lowe/Harvest Public Media

Blake Hurst rides ten feet above his soybean field in northern Missouri, looking more like he's playing a video game than driving a $350,000 high-tech piece of machinery.

(File: Amy Mayer/Harvest Public Media)

Cage-free eggs could be coming to a breakfast near you.

Several large food companies and restaurants, from Starbucks to McDonald’s to Kellogg’s, announced timelines this year for phasing out eggs laid in conventional cages, a victory for animal welfare advocates who have pushed for changes for years.

(Photo courtesy of Colorado State University Photography)

Close to 60,000 jobs are set to open up in agriculture, food and natural resource sectors each year for the next five years, according to a report from Purdue University and the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

The American agriculture industry has a problem though; there are not enough grads to fill them. The report projects about two open jobs for every qualified graduate. That’s left the USDA, land grant universities and private industry scrambling to try and bridge the gap.

Grant Gerlock/Harvest Public Media

Des Moines, Iowa, made news this year when the city announced it would sue three counties in a legal battle over fertilizer. The city's water supply from the Des Moines and Raccoon Rivers often surpasses the legal limit for nitrates (10 mg/L), which commonly appear in water contaminated by runoff from farm fields.

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