Luke Runyon

I'm a reporter with Harvest Public Media based at KUNC, covering the wide range of agricultural stories in Colorado.

I came to KUNC in March 2013, after spending about two years as a reporter with Aspen Public Radio in Aspen, Colorado.

During my time in Aspen, I was recognized by the Colorado Broadcasters Association and Public Radio News Directors, Inc. for my reporting and production work. My reports have been featured on NPR's Morning Edition, All Things Considered, and Weekend Edition.

I'm the product of two farm families in central Illinois, which is where I spent most of my formative years. Before moving to Colorado I spent a year covering local and state government for Illinois Public Radio and WUIS in the state's capital. I have a Master's degree in Public Affairs Reporting from the University of Illinois Springfield, the same place where I completed a Bachelor of Arts in Communication.

STEPHANIE PAIGE OGBURN / Haverst Public Media/File Photo

After coming to an agreement with U.S. trade officials to bring American beef to China after a 14-year hiatus, the most populous country in the world is set to once again import U.S.-raised beef. To take advantage of the massive new market, however, the U.S. cattle industry is going to have to make some changes.

BRIAN SEIFFERLEIN / HARVEST PUBLIC MEDIA

A group of American ranchers say they want a corruption investigation into JBS, the world’s largest meatpacking company, which has processing plants across the Midwest/Great Plains.

JBS recently agreed to pay a $3 billion fine after revelations that executives were bribing government officials in Brazil.

Though there is no evidence of wrongdoing in the U.S., Bill Bullard of the American rancher group R-CALF is asking the Trump administration for an investigation of the company’s practices here.

Luke Runyon / Harvest Public Media

The most common occupation in America used to be farming. But farms are so high-tech these days, fewer farmers are needed to work the fields. That ends up having important side effects for farm towns across the Midwest and Great Plains.

Brandon Biesemeier climbs up a small ladder into a John Deere sprayer, takes a seat in the enclosed cab, closes the door, and blocks out most of the machine’s loud engine hum. It’s a familiar perch to the fifth generation farmer on Colorado’s eastern plains.

Derek Gavey / flickr Creative Commons

People that live in rural areas are more connected to the internet than they’ve ever been, but they still lag well behind their urban and suburban counterparts in access to high-speed Internet, according to data from the Pew Research Center.

FILE: ABBIE FENTRESS SWANSON / HARVEST PUBLIC MEDIA

As the Trump administration takes the initial steps toward renegotiating one of the country’s most influential and controversial trade deals, groups that represent farmers and ranchers are already waving a caution sign.

Luke Runyon / Harvest Public Media

Farmers and ranchers, with their livelihoods intimately tied to weather and the environment, may not be able to depend on research conducted by the government to help them adapt to climate change if the Trump Administration follows through on campaign promises to shift federal resources away from studying the climate.

Luke Runyon / Harvest Public Media

Former Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack says the long delays in seating his replacement leaves rural America without a voice in the Trump administration.

Vilsack, a Democrat who served as USDA chief during both terms of the Obama administration, cites President Donald Trump’s first budget proposal as an example of what happens without a Cabinet position dedicated to rural issues.

Luke Runyon / Harvest Public Media

This story is part of the special series United And Divided, which explores the links and rifts between rural and urban America.

Luke Runyon / Harvest Public Media

Blink while driving on Highway 34 east of Greeley, Colorado, and you might miss the former Great Plains town of Dearfield.

Luke Runyon / Harvest Public Media

After hundreds of arrests of undocumented immigrants by immigration police, the Trump administration’s increased focus on immigration enforcement has some of the country’s largest farm groups worried.

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