Jeremy Bernfeld

liz west, flickr Creative Commons

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."

Martin LaBar, flickr Creative Commons

Farmers could be temporarily prohibited from applying pesticides if new proposed environmental regulations are adopted. Harvest Public Media’s Jeremy Bernfeld reports on new efforts to protect bees.

The House on Wednesday passed a new five-year compromise farm bill. The bill now moves to the Senate for a vote.

The farm bill — the result of a two-year-long legislative saga — remains massive. The bill contains about $500 billion in funding, most of which is pegged to the food stamp program, officially called the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP).

The meat on your dinner table probably didn't come from a happy little cow that lived a wondrous life out on rolling green hills. It probably also wasn't produced by a robot animal killer hired by an evil cabal of monocle-wearing industrialists.

Truth is, the meat industry is complicated, and it's impossible to understand without a whole lot of context. That's where Maureen Ogle comes in. She's a historian and the author of In Meat We Trust: An Unexpected History of Carnivore America.



It's MORNING EDITION, from NPR News. Good morning. I'm Steve Inskeep.


And I'm David Greene.

Farmers and ranchers across this country expected to start the year with a new farm bill in place. This is an important piece of legislation to many people. It sets agricultural policy for the next five years.