Peggy Lowe

Peggy Lowe joined Harvest Public Media in 2011, returning to the Midwest after 22 years as a journalist in Denver and Southern California. Most recently she was at The Orange County Register, where she was a multimedia producer and writer. In Denver she worked for The Associated Press, The Denver Post and the late, great Rocky Mountain News. She was on the Denver Post team that won the Pulitzer Prize for breaking news coverage of Columbine. Peggy was a Knight-Wallace Fellow at the University of Michigan in 2008-09. She is from O'Neill, the Irish Capital of Nebraska, and now lives in Kansas City. Based at KCUR, Peggy is the analyst for The Harvest Network and often reports for Harvest Public Media.

Abby Wendle / Harvest Public Media

Of all the expensive machinery Tom Giessel worked during the 2017 wheat harvest, his favorite sits in the office of his home.

It’s a microfilm machine, the kind found in a high school library. Giessel uses it for his work as the historian of the National Farmers Union, the nation’s second-largest farm group.

It’s the best investment he ever made, he says, and it sits in his office where faded bound books of old newspapers are stacked ceiling high and row after row of square white film boxes are packed into a cabinet.

JULIE DENESHA / Harvest Public Media

Sonny Perdue, the former governor of Georgia, was sworn in as U.S. Secretary of Agriculture at the end of April.

Harvest Public Media’s Peggy Lowe sat down with Perdue on his fourth day on the job at the American Royal complex in Kansas City, Missouri. She asked him about the Trump administration’s priorities for our food system, government nutrition programs, immigration policy and the future of the Agriculture Department.

This interview has been edited for length and clarity.

Julie Denesha

U.S. Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue on Friday said President Trump may be open to creating a way for some undocumented immigrant workers to stay in the U.S. and Perdue is already working on a “blueprint” of policy guidelines to offer the president.

Refusing to call it a pathway to citizenship, Perdue says he would like to find a solution that would allow workers in the ag industry to remain in the U.S. legally. That’s despite Trump’s campaign promises to step up deportations of undocumented immigrants.

Peggy Lowe / Harvest Public Media

New U.S. Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue on Thursday explained President Donald Trump’s turn-around on the North American Free Trade Agreement as just part of the negotiations in his deal making.

EARL DOTTER / OXFAM

Pushed by worker advocates and growing consumer awareness, Tyson Foods on Wednesday promised better conditions for workers at its meat processing plants.

Tyson, in a rare move in an industry heavily criticized for lack of worker safeguards, announced it would provide regularly scheduled bathroom breaks, give more attention to line speeds in the plants, offer training on workers’ rights and establish safety councils that include employees.

Alex Smith

On Tuesday, the Olathe bar shooting survivor being hailed as a hero joined the chorus of people calling on President Trump to denounce the targeting of two men because of their race.

Ian Grillot, 24, who tried to stop a gunman when he opened fire at Austins Bar & Grill last Wednesday, says he believes the shooter singled out the two Indian victims because of their ethnicity and hopes President Trump will address the incident.

Peggy Lowe / KCUR

Randall Killian thought he was investing in his new retirement property in Colorado when he received a mail-in ballot in 2012 asking if he would like to legalize marijuana in that state.

“When I saw that on the ballot, it's like, ‘Oh, wow, that’s something I’ll never get a chance to vote for again.' So bam! I vote on it,” Killian says. “Voted in Ellis County [Kansas], just like I’d done for 25 years.”

Becky McCray / flickr Creative Commons

Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach filed a ninth case of reported voter fraud this week, criminally charging a man who allegedly voted illegally in Kansas and Texas.

A criminal complaint filed in Shawnee County District Court charges Preston G. Christensen with three misdemeanor counts of improper voting between Oct. 19, 2012, and Nov. 6, 2012, in Shawnee County, Kansas.

Little is known about Christensen, as Kobach’s filing doesn’t offer any personal details about the voter. Efforts to find Christensen in Kansas and Texas were unsuccessful.

Stephen Koranda / KPR/File photo

Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach continues with his prosecution of alleged voter fraud. Peggy Lowe with the Kansas News Service reports that he’s expected to file a ninth case today.

A spokeswoman from Kobach’s office says the new voter fraud case is being filed in Shawnee County in Topeka.

http://www.oklabeef.org

Federal authorities have launched an investigation into the alleged embezzlement of $2.6 million from an Oklahoma nonprofit board that promotes the beef industry. An investigation by Harvest Public Media and StateImpact Oklahoma shows the money came from a mandatory government program funded by farmers and ranchers.

The Oklahoma Beef Council is part of a national group funded by a mandatory one-dollar per-head checkoff fee paid each time farmers and ranchers sell an animal.

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