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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.

(File: Grant Gerlock/Harvest Public Media)

U.S. energy policy that effectively promotes corn ethanol is holding back a generation of more environmentally sound fuels, according to a new report by the Environmental Working Group (EWG).

Poncie Rutsch for Harvest Public Media

Fort Morgan is a town of about 11,000 people tucked into the farmland of northeastern Colorado. Among its residents are people of Latino and European ancestry, and more recent immigrants, including refugees from eastern Africa.

How Much Corn Could You Pick by Hand in 20 Minutes?

Oct 30, 2015
Abby Wendle

I wiped my palms on my jeans, tugged at the bill of my baseball hat, and took a deep breath. It was my first time competing in the annual Illinois State Corn Husking Contest at the end of September and I was nervous.

A senior scientist at the U.S. Department of Agriculture filed a whistleblower complaint on Wednesday accusing the federal agency of suppressing research findings that could call into question the use of a popular pesticide class that is a revenue powerhouse for the agrichemical industry.

(Data: Nancy Rabalais, LUMCON; R Eugene Turner, LSU. Credit: NOAA)

The dead zone in the Gulf of Mexico grabs the media's attention every summer when scientists funded by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) boat around the Gulf, taking its annual measurement. This year, it was bigger than expected at 6,474  square miles - roughly the size of Connecticut and Rhode Island combined. 

Grant Gerlock /Harvest Public Media

Like all business owners, farmers want to get paid for their work. Sometimes, that work creates problems for the environment, so regulators are advancing the idea of creating environmental markets to allow farmers to make money off of their conservation practices.

Abby Wendle

Erik Terstriep, perched in the captain's chair of his combine, glides through eight rows of corn at a time. When he lifts up the harvesting head to turn the machine around, it lets out a quick, staccato, "beep, beep, beep." Terstriep is fluent in the language of this machine, able to decipher every chirp.

(Luke Runyon/Harvest Public Media)

All week, Harvest Public Media's series Choice Cuts: Meat In America is examining how the meat industry is changing the U.S. food system and the American diet.

Beef, poultry, and pork are staples of the American diet, baked into the country’s very culture, and backbones of the agricultural economy. But lately, the meats have been saddled with some baggage.

(Kristofor Husted/Harvest Public Media)

All week, Harvest Public Media's series Choice Cuts: Meat In America is examining how the meat industry is changing the U.S. food system and the American diet.

While the average American eats hundreds of pounds of meat every year, many U.S. consumers are starting to cut back as health experts learn more about the risk of a diet high in proteins from meat and environmentalists challenge the way most meat is raised.

(Amy Mayer/Harvest Public Media)

All week, Harvest Public Media's series Choice Cuts: Meat In America is examining how the meat industry is changing the U.S. food system and the American diet.

One of the most important tools of modern medicine is in jeopardy. In the 20th century, antibiotics turned once-lethal infections into manageable diseases. They also contributed to the transformation of meat production in America.

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