Grant Gerlock

Harvest Public Media's reporter at NET News, where he started as Morning Edition host in 2008. He joined Harvest Public Media in July 2012. Grant has visited coal plants, dairy farms, horse tracks and hospitals to cover a variety of stories. Before going to Nebraska, Grant studied mass communication as a grad student at Miami University in Oxford, Ohio, and completed his undergrad at Buena Vista University in Storm Lake, Iowa. He grew up on a farm in southwestern Iowa where he listened to public radio in the tractor, but has taken up city life in Lincoln, Neb.

File photo by Hilary Stohs-Krause, NET News

The Great Plains are seeing more wildfires, according to a new study, leading researchers to ask why the fires are happening, and fire managers to examine what resources they will need to keep the blazes in check.

Wildfires burned through thousands of acres of Great Plains farm and ranch land in the 1980s. Today, wildfires are likely to char millions of acres.

Grant Gerlock / Harvest Public Media

President Donald Trump spent the campaign pledging to revive rural communities, where many voters have felt ignored by previous administrations. But after announcing staffing changes and budget plans that would make cuts to programs aimed at rural areas, critics are questioning whether the White House remains committed to that goal.

Grant Gerlock / Harvest Public Media

Rural voters overwhelmingly chose President Donald Trump in the presidential election. But when it comes to the central campaign promise to get tough on trade, rural voters are not necessarily in sync with the administration.

Grant Gerlock / Harvest Public Media

The Trump administration is voicing its support for the ethanol industry, but without specifics, it is hard to say what that means exactly for Midwest farmers.

In a letter to industry leaders gathered at the National Ethanol Conference, President Donald Trump said renewable fuels “are essential to America’s energy strategy.”

The president wrote that he aims to reduce the regulatory burden on the renewable fuels industry, but did not detail specific plans.

COURTESY OF ELLIOT CHAPMAN

Farmers across the Midwest are trying to figure out how to get by at a time when expected prices for commodities from corn, to wheat, to cattle, to hogs mean they’ll be struggling just to break even.

“Prices are low, bins are full, and the dollar is strengthening as we speak, and that’s just making the export thing a little more challenging,” says Paul Burgener of Platte Valley Bank in Scottsbluff, Nebraska.

ethanolpics, flickr Creative Commons

A new study from the U.S. Department of Agriculture says corn-based ethanol emits less greenhouse gas than gasoline. As Harvest Public Media’s Grant Gerlock explains, it’s a hot-button debate.

The report says corn-based ethanol reduces greenhouse gas emissions by 43 percent. And with more no-till farming, more cover crops and better fertilizer management, emissions could decline further.

That’s good news for Midwest farmers and ethanol fans. But disputed by many environmental groups and the oil industry.

Fred Knapp / Harvest Public Media

A proposal that would jumpstart the chicken business in Nebraska has some residents concerned about the potential impact on the environment and are trying to block or delay its construction.

Costco, the warehouse retailer and grocery chain, plans to build a giant $300 million chicken slaughterhouse on the south side of the town of Fremont in eastern Nebraska.

Brian Seifferlein / Harvest Public Media

On Thursday, China announced plans to begin buying beef from the U.S. again. That’s after a 13-year ban based on concerns about Mad Cow disease.

China banned imports of American beef in 2003 after a dairy cow in Washington State was discovered with BSE, also called mad cow disease.

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said that forced U.S. producers to build exports elsewhere, and a deal with China could further boost the industry.

Brian Seifferlein / Harvest Public Media

Living in the Platte River Valley in central Nebraska means understanding that the water in your well may contain high levels of nitrates and may not be safe to drink.

“When our first son was born in 1980, we actually put a distiller in for our drinking water here in the house,” says Ken Seim, who lives in the Platte Valley near the town of Chapman, Nebraska. “And at that time our water level was a 12 parts per million.”

Grant Gerlock / Harvest Public Media

When shoppers browse meat at the grocery store, they are confronted with all kinds of brands and labels, making it hard to tell whether the meat they buy comes from animals that were raised humanely. Organic producers want to answer that question more clearly, but conventional farmers are charging that proposed changes to organic standards would amount to unfair government backing of the organic industry.

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