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Luke Runyon/Harvest Public Media

Jeff Siegfried knows just about anything you'd ever want to find out about a 50-acre corn field in northern Colorado.  The 24-year-old easily rattles off the various gadgets he uses to measure soil moisture, plant health, and air temperature.

File: Kristofor Husted/Harvest Public Media

To the chagrin of some of the nation's largest farm organizations, the Environmental Protection Agency on Friday forged ahead with a plan to oversee more of the nation's waterways, saying it will enforce new pollution rules in all but 13 states covered by an ongoing court case.

Stephanie Paige Ogburn/KUNC

Slaughterhouses and meat packing plants throughout the country employ a lot of people. About a quarter of a million workers in the U.S. stun, kill, and eviscerate the animals we eat. Most of those jobs are physically demanding and require few skills.

Kristofor Husted/Harvest Public Media

Kendra Lawson doesn't have the typical schedule of a nine-year-old.  With just a week of summer left, she spent her days working with her dad and mom on the farm and preparing her pigs to show at the state fair.

Abby Wendle

While consumers might seek out organic food for its purity, organic farmers have a reputation for being anything but. At least, that's the social stigma organic corn and soybean growers face in the Midwest for having mare's tails and pigweeds poking their raggedy heads up through the neat rows of cash crops.

Going Organic: More Time, More Money

Aug 11, 2015
Photo courtesy Andy Ambriole

WIU’s Allison Organic Research and Demonstration Farm’s annual Field Day will be held August 13, 2015 at 9am. Andy Ambriole will give the keynote presentation at 11am at The Dakin Family Farm at 130 20th St., Roseville, IL 61473*. The Allison farm is located 0.7 miles north of the Dakin Farm. Signs will be posted.

(Luke Runyon/Harvest Public Media)

Idaho's so-called "ag-gag" law, which outlawed undercover investigations of farming operations, is no more. A judge in the federal District Court for Idaho decided Monday that it was unconstitutional, citing First Amendment protections for free speech.

But what about the handful of other states with similar laws on the books?

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.

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