Kristofor Husted / Harvest Public Media

An investigator with the Kingman County Sheriff’s Office is trying to find out who stole four baby calves from a ranch this week.

The case is one of several active cattle theft investigations across Kansas.

Investigator Dustin Cooke says cattle thefts have increased in the last few years, and the crime is hitting ranchers hard.

"It’s a high dollar theft," he says. "Higher dollar than a car sometimes."

Cooke says the missing calves are valued at about $400 a piece right now and will triple in value in six months as they grow.

Austin Kirk, flickr Creative Commons

The U.S. Department of Agriculture predicts consumers will be paying less for beef, pork, lamb, chicken and turkey in early 2018 than at the start of 2017. However, eggs are a different story.

Stephen Koranda / Kansas News Service/File Photo

After pushing for changes to the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), President Donald Trump earlier this year kicked off negotiations among the U.S., Canada and Mexico.

Any major changes to the agreement could have a big impact on Kansas.

Kansas Republican Sen. Pat Roberts and Sen. Jerry Moran have said they’re open to updates but emphasize that the agreement needs to preserve or expand export opportunities.

USDA / flickr Creative Commons

The U.S. Department of Agriculture says it will withdraw a final rule about how animals on organic farms are raised. The implementation of the rule has been delayed several times.

Supporters saw it as a way to certify that organic meat came from humanely raised animals.

The USDA said Friday it’s withdrawing the rule because it exceeds the agency’s authority under the existing Organic Foods Production Act.

The Organic Trade Association’s Nathaniel Lewis says he is dismayed.

Senator Jerry Moran

A fifth-generation farmer from the Salina area says technology and data collection in agriculture is improving decision-making and operations.

The comments came during a U.S. Senate committee hearing last week on the utilization of data in farming.

Justin Knopf grows wheat, alfalfa, soybeans and other crops across a 4500-acre farm in Gypsum. He’s also the vice president of the Kansas Association of Wheat Growers.

He testified about the increasing use of drones and satellite imagery to collect data from the farm.

Peggy Lowe / Harvest Public Media

On a feedlot in far southwest Kansas, two cowboys on horseback move cattle on the high dusty plains, spread out like dozens of football fields stitched together with miles of fences. Their “Buenos dias! Buenos dias!” greetings mix with moos on a hot summer morning.

They’re two of the 400 employees who work on the feedlot, which is one of the largest in the U.S. in a state that ranks third in meat production.

Amy Mayer / IPR File Photo

Republican and Democratic senators from top corn- and ethanol-producing states say their pressure helped prevent the Environmental Protection Agency from changing rules governing renewable fuel production.

But at least one senator, Iowa Republican Chuck Grassley, says President Trump was their ace in the hole against an EPA chief who has deep ties to the oil and gas industry.

Derek Gavey / flickr Creative Commons

The Kansas agriculture community has been divided over a decision by the Trump administration to block new livestock rules from taking effect.

The Lawrence Journal-World reports a division of the U.S. Department of Agriculture had proposed the rules that were scheduled to go into effect Thursday. The new rules were intended to protect poultry producers from unfair commercial practices by food processing giants like Tyson Foods.

Krisofor Husted / Harvest Public Media

There will be new restrictions on the weed killer dicamba for the 2018 growing season, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency says.

The broadly defined restrictions, similar to what the state of Missouri imposed over the summer, were announced Friday in a news release. The EPA says it reached an agreement with agriculture giants Monsanto, BASF and DuPont on ways to tamp down on dicamba drift, which has been blamed for destroying or damaging millions of acres of crops in the United States.

Amy Mayer / Iowa Public Radio

Iowa’s secretary of agriculture is one step closer to a new post at the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Bill Northey appeared before the Senate Agriculture Committee on Thursday. He answered questions about a variety of farm-support and conservation programs he would oversee as undersecretary from the farm and foreign agricultural services.