farming

Amy Mayer / Harvest Public Media

In the coming months, Congress will map out how it’ll spend upwards of $500 billion on food and farm programs over the next five years.

American Farm Bureau/Twitter

The legislation that governs farm policies, nutrition programs and rural development, known as the Farm Bill, is set to expire in September.

U.S. Senator Pat Roberts of Kansas is leading the effort to get a new Farm Bill passed, and he received support this week from President Donald Trump.

Grant Gerlock / Harvest Public Media/File photo

The U.S. Department of Agriculture faces a lawsuit that argues the federal agency must bring back a proposed rule that defined abusive practices by meatpacking companies.

Grant Gerlock / Harvest Public Media/File photo

The farm economy is showing some stability, the U.S. Department of Agriculture says, but the upswing doesn’t extend to all agricultural sectors.

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.

CHAFER MACHINERY/CREATIVE COMMONS

Applying large amounts of pesticides to farm fields can have negative effects on babies born to mothers living nearby, according to new research.

The data-crunching study published in Nature Communications looked at the farm-heavy San Joaquin Valley in California, where a variety of pesticides get applied to dozens of different crops including fruits, vegetables and nuts.

Luke Runyon/File Photo / Harvest Public Media

After years of declining income on America’s farms and ranches, the agricultural sector might have finally hit the floor.

The latest figures from the U.S. Department of Agriculture expect farmers to bring in more money this year than initially projected. Crop and livestock producers could net $63.4 billion in 2017. That would be an increase of nearly $1 billion from 2016, and would be the first time farmers see a rise in net farm income year-to-year since 2013.

Luke Runyon/File Photo / Harvest Public Media

Higher temperatures thanks to climate change could cut down the output of farmers the world over.

An international group of researchers compiled dozens of studies to see what happens to yields of corn, wheat, rice, and soybeans as the global climate grows warmer.

They found that every time global temperatures go up 1 degree Celsius, not quite 2 degrees Fahrenheit, crop yields fall. On average, three percent for soybeans, six percent for wheat, seven percent for corn.

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.

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.

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