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.

ethanolpics, flickr Creative Commons

That’s bad news for farmers hoping ethanol will help increase grain prices. But Brad Lubben, an economist at the University of Nebraska, says demand for ethanol could still increase in foreign markets.

"The growth in the biofuels market may increasingly focus on export potential because of these continued lingering issues about the national renewable fuels mandate," Lubben says.

Most of the increase in renewable fuels requested by the EPA would come from advanced fuels like biodiesel which have a smaller carbon footprint than corn ethanol.

Mike Mozart, flickr Creative Commons

A group of Nebraska farmers is suing the giant seed and chemical company, Monsanto, saying the company’s herbicide, Roundup, gave them cancer.

Three Nebraska farmers and an agronomist filed the suit alleging that Roundup caused their illness and that Monsanto downplayed research showing the chemical’s cancer risk. Similar cases have been filed in California, New York, and Delaware. Monsanto says the claim is not supported by science.

Grant Gerlock / Harvest Public Media/ File Photo

Millions of kids eat their lunch at school. Schools in the United States served more than 5 billion meals as part of the national school lunch program last year. Each meal has to meet federal rules for nutrition. As Harvest Public Media’s Grant Gerlock reports, those rules are up for debate and changes could be coming to the cafeterias.

Grant Gerlock / Harvest Public Media

Some of the most important medicines doctors prescribe to fight infections are losing effectiveness and the Obama administration is calling on farmers to help turn the tide against antibiotic-resistant bacteria. A recent report by the president’s advisors on antibiotic resistance charts some progress but also left some critics urging for more immediate action.

Grant Gerlock / Harvest Public Media

During the season of Lent, many Catholics don’t eat meat on Fridays. Fish, though, is considered fair game, so the Friday night fish fry has become an annual tradition at churches across the country.

Fridays between Ash Wednesday and Easter, you’ll find hundreds of hungry parishioners lining up at church fish fries around the Midwest. All of that frying uses up vegetable oil that can just go to waste, but there are some people putting it to good use.

Grant Gerlock / Harvest Public Media

Grocery stores can officially stop labelling cuts of pork and beef with their country of origin. As Harvest Public Media’s Grant Gerlock reports, the federal government has wiped the controversial law that required those labels off the books.

Kansas State University livestock economist Glynn Tonsor says regardless of labeling, imported meat is subject to U.S. food safety rules.

"When we bring meat in, it still has to pass safety protocol by USDA, just like it does if it’s produced here," he says.

At the Lee Valley consignment sale near Tekamah, Neb., dozens of used tractors, planters and other equipment were on the auction block for farmers trying to save a few extra dollars. It was a muddy day, with trucks and four-wheelers leaving deep black ruts — fitting conditions for an industry wallowing in bad news.

For the Midwesterner who likes to eat local, this time of year is a challenge. Browse the produce shelves in middle America — or any place where snow falls in winter — and you'll find carrots from Mexico and peppers from Peru.

Luke Runyon, Harvest Public Medi

New numbers show ranchers are growing their cattle herds and that’s good news if you’re shopping for beef.

Cattle numbers were slashed during the drought a few years ago, reaching their lowest levels in half century. Since then the industry has been slowly rebuilding and that’s confirmed in the latest study from the Department of Agriculture.

The number of beef cows is over 30 million for the first time since 2012. That means ranchers will have to get by with lower prices for their animals.

Matthias Ripp, flickr Creative Commons

Midwest farmers are borrowing more money to stay afloat. That’s because the farm economy is in a rough patch.

Grain prices are low and farm income has fallen for two straight years.

The Kansas City Federal Reserve gathers survey data from banks across the country. It found farmers borrowed around $100 billion in the last quarter of 2015 to keep their operations running.