Jeremy Bernfeld

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This year will be a tight one financially for most farmers. As Harvest Public Media’s Jeremy Bernfeld reports, the Agriculture Department is forecasting a drop in farm income for the third straight year.

Farmers expect another record harvest for corn and soybeans, the country’s most important crops. That oversupply is pushing down prices, hurting a farmer’s bottom line. The USDA expects a nearly 12 percent cut in net farm income compared to last year. That would put net farm income at its lowest point since 2009.

Amy Mayer / Harvest Public Media

Kansas farmers may be facing some of toughest financial times they have experienced in three decades. As Harvest Public Media’s Jeremy Bernfeld reports, that could put a hit on the economy.

The average net farm income in Kansas plummeted last year to just over $4,500. That’s a year-over-year drop of 96 percent, according to a report by the Kansas Farm Management Association.

Grant Gerlock / Harvest Public Media

The Environmental Protection Agency visited Midwest farm country yesterday for a hearing on ethanol policy in Kansas City.

The EPA controls how much ethanol has to be blended into our fuel supply by oil refiners. And the agency is trying to thread a very tricky needle.

Oil companies say we need less ethanol because the environmental benefits are overblown and we’re using less gas anyway. Farmers want more ethanol to help prices for corn and soybeans.

Nebraska Gov. Pete Ricketts is part of the pro-ethanol crowd.

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The number of acres worldwide used to grow genetically engineered crops declined for the first time last year, according to a new report.

When we talk genetically engineered (GE) crops, we’re mostly talking corn, soybeans and cotton. The share of land worldwide dedicated to planting GE crops has shown steady growth over the last 20 years.

But buying the latest technology is expensive. When prices were good, farmers bought genetically engineered seeds. Now, as Mark Johnson from Iowa State University Extension says, grain prices are down worldwide.

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Regulators are taking aim at foodborne illnesses caused by salmonella. Harvest Public Media’s Jeremy Bernfeld reports on new food safety rules released last Thursday.

The Department of Agriculture has been able to cut the amount of salmonella found on whole chickens. Now it’s putting in place stricter limits on the amount of bacteria it will allow on cut-up chicken parts and on ground chicken and turkey.

Farmers across the Midwest are planting less wheat. Harvest Public Media’s Jeremy Bernfeld explains why.

Worries about selling their wheat on the global market pushed U-S farmers to plant millions of fewer acres of wheat over the last two years. That’s according to a new government report.

Dan O’Brien, an economist at Kansas State University, says that has a lot to do with big supplies and a strong dollar.

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Canada and Mexico are threatening to impose tariffs on more than one billion dollars worth of U.S. goods. As Harvest Public Media’s Jeremy Bernfeld reports, it’s in retaliation for labels on meat at the grocery store.

Your beef, pork and chicken has a little label on it that says where the animal it came from was born, raised and slaughtered. And Canada and Mexico blame that little label for a drop in demand for their products.

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As Midwest farmers parse the details of the proposed Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal, farm groups and the U.S. Department of Agriculture are urging Congress to ratify it.

Groups of corn growers and soybean farmers love the TPP. They say it will expand markets for U.S. goods.

Agriculture Department official Phil Karsting says the agreement also sets rules and standards for farm products from the U.S. and 11 other countries.

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During the Chinese President's tour of the U.S. last week, U.S. Senator Jerry Moran said he wanted to make it easier for Midwest farmers to export their crops to China. As Harvest Public Media’s Jeremy Bernfeld reports, genetically modified crops have been a sticking point in the past.

A bipartisan list of 42 U.S. Senators sent a letter to President Obama urging him to discuss the approval of biotech crops with Chinese President Shee-Jin-Ping.

Matthias Ripp, flickr Creative Commons

One of the nation’s largest farm groups is warning of a downturn in the rural economy. Harvest Public Media’s Jeremy Bernfeld has more.

Prices for the Midwest’s top commodities like corn and soybeans have been sliding, and forecasts for farm profits are weak.

“What that means is that farmers are going to be facing a lot of financial stress," says National Farmers Union President Roger Johnson. "Loans are going to be in jeopardy. Farmers may not get operating loans, they may not be able to repay operating loans from this year."