Amy Mayer

Amy Mayer is a reporter based in Ames. She covers agriculture and is part of the Harvest Public Media collaboration. Amy worked as an independent producer for many years and also  previously had stints as weekend news host and reporter at WFCR in Amherst, Massachusetts and as a reporter and host/producer of a weekly call-in health show at KUAC in Fairbanks, Alaska. Amy’s work has earned awards from SPJ, the Alaska Press Club and the Massachusetts/Rhode Island AP. Her stories have aired on NPR news programs such as Morning Edition, All Things Considered and Weekend Edition and on Only A Game, Marketplace and Living on Earth.  She produced the 2011 documentary Peace Corps Voices, which aired in over 160 communities across the country and has written for The New York Times,  Boston Globe, Real Simple and other print outlets. Amy served on the board of directors of the Association of Independents in Radio from 2008-2015.

Amy has a bachelor’s degree in Latin American Studies from Wellesley College and a master’s degree from the Graduate School of Journalism at the University of California, Berkeley.

Amy’s favorite public radio program is The World.

Christopher Gannon / Iowa State University

A new study says small patches of native prairie plants provide a range of conservation benefits to Iowa’s landscape and could reduce water pollution from farm fields.

So-called “prairie strips” are patches of land strategically planted with native, perennial mixes of grasses and flowers on the edges of crop fields.

“What we've been able to document over a decade worth of research on prairie strips,” Iowa State University professor Lisa Schulte Moore says, “is that by converting just a little bit of that crop area to prairie strips we get very substantial benefits.”

Amy Mayer / Iowa Public Radio

Iowa’s secretary of agriculture is one step closer to a new post at the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Bill Northey appeared before the Senate Agriculture Committee on Thursday. He answered questions about a variety of farm-support and conservation programs he would oversee as undersecretary from the farm and foreign agricultural services.

CHAFER MACHINERY/CREATIVE COMMONS

Applying large amounts of pesticides to farm fields can have negative effects on babies born to mothers living nearby, according to new research.

The data-crunching study published in Nature Communications looked at the farm-heavy San Joaquin Valley in California, where a variety of pesticides get applied to dozens of different crops including fruits, vegetables and nuts.

nostri-imago / Flickr / Creative Commons

One order of business for Congress after the Labor Day holiday: re-upping the Farm Bill, which expires next year. Currently, there is hope for a bipartisan success this fall.

The farm bill provides subsidies for farmers and governs the food stamp program, and it has traditionally skirted the worst of partisan politics.

But vacancies at the top of the Agriculture Department mean fewer leaders working on the farm bill.

FILE: ABBIE FENTRESS SWANSON / HARVEST PUBLIC MEDIA

Chemical runoff from Midwest farm fields is contributing to the largest so-called "dead zone" on record in the Gulf of Mexico.

Amy Mayer / Harvest Public Media

On a cloudy summer day, Iowa farmer Wendy Johnson lifts the corner of a mobile chicken tractor, a lightweight plastic frame covered in wire mesh that has corralled her month-old meat chickens for a few days, and frees several dozen birds to peck the surrounding area at will. Soon, she’ll sell these chickens to customers at local markets in eastern Iowa.

The demand for beef, pork and chicken raised on smaller farms closer to home is growing. Now, some Midwest farmers, like Johnson, are exploring how to graze livestock to meet those demands while still earning a profit.  

Grant Gerlock / Harvest Public Media/File photo

A case of mad cow disease has been found in a cow in Alabama.

U.S. Department of Agriculture scientists confirmed Tuesday that an 11-year-old cow found in an Alabama livestock market suffered from the neurologic cattle disease, formally called bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE). The animal “at no time presented a risk to the food supply, or to human health in the United States,” according to the USDA.

Wikipedia.org

A federal jury in Kansas has awarded nearly $218 million to farmers in a lawsuit against seed giant Syngenta.

The case involves two Syngenta seeds containing new genetically-engineered traits. They were sold in 2013, after they were approved by U.S. regulators. But China, a major importer of U.S. corn, had not yet signed off and rejected shipments of corn that contained the new traits.

Amy Mayer

Two giants of American agriculture and industry are closer to becoming one.

Dow and DuPont, both leaders in agricultural chemicals and seeds, among other products, received approval from the U.S. Department of Justice to move ahead with a merger, provided they divest several products.

FILE: ABBIE FENTRESS SWANSON/HARVEST PUBLIC MEDIA

President Trump is touting the need to improve the nation’s roads, bridges, and water transportation systems this week and farmers are among those hoping to benefit from new federal attention to infrastructure.

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