farming

Amy Mayer / Harvest Public Media

Growing up on a family farm in West Bend, Iowa, Haley Banwart and her brother were like other farm kids. They did chores, participated in 4-H, and even raised cattle together.

“My brother and I have had the same amount of responsibilities. I can drive a tractor, I can bale square hay,” Banwart says. “But it was just expected that my brother would return home.”

She says they never discussed it, she just accepted that she’d find a different path.

Blackburnphoto / Flickr, creative commons

Farm income is down in the Midwest, according to a new report from the Federal Reserve, and that’s left more farmers relying on banks.

Low prices for crops like soybeans and corn, coupled with high input costs have pushed more farmers to apply for loans. Banks, though, have tightened lending.

Nathan Kauffman with the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City says there is a bright spot, though, and that’s China’s demand for American products.

Sam Zeff / KCUR

Everyone knows agriculture is huge in Kansas.

It’s a $62 billion a year industry that accounts for 43 percent of the Kansas economy and touches every part of the state.

Following the 2012 Brownback tax cuts, farmers no longer had to pay state income tax – just like 334,000 LLCs, S corporations and sole proprietorships.

Brian McGuirk/Flickr Creative Commons

Low prices for grain, milk and beef are causing many Midwest farmers and ranchers to worry about paying their bills this year. 

With prices for some farm staples in the tank, many farmers will be lucky to break even this year.

Roger Johnson, president of the National Farmers Union, is worried that lean times hit farmers harder than other business owners. “If you’re having trouble as a farmer or rancher, it’s not just your job that you’re having trouble with, it’s your whole livelihood, it’s your home," Johnson says.

Derek Gavey / flickr Creative Commons

Men who work as farmers take their own lives at a rate seven times the national average, according to a new study.

Overall suicide rates have climbed more than 20 percent since the year 2000. According to a preliminary study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, farmers, along with fishermen and foresters, make up the group most likely to die by suicide.

Amy Mayer / Harvest Public Media

Kansas farmers may be facing some of toughest financial times they have experienced in three decades. As Harvest Public Media’s Jeremy Bernfeld reports, that could put a hit on the economy.

The average net farm income in Kansas plummeted last year to just over $4,500. That’s a year-over-year drop of 96 percent, according to a report by the Kansas Farm Management Association.

Abigail Wilson, File Photo / KMUW

Kansas Republican Senator Pat Roberts is painting a bleak picture of the nation's farm economy.

Suzanne Hogan / Harvest Public Media

Up before dawn, working the fields, feeding the cows…that’s a farmer’s life.

Farming is still thought of as a male-dominated field. But there are thousands of women farmers across the country, often left in the shadows. For Harvest Public Media, Suzanne Hogan met up with women farmers looking for the support they need to give their business an edge.

Aubrey Fletcher knew she wanted to work on a dairy farm ever since she was a little girl.

“I do remember my mom asking, ‘Are you sure that’s what you want to do?’” Fletcher recalls.

Emily Bell / flickr Creative Commons

A new report shows a decline in the number of farms and ranches in Kansas last year.

The National Agricultural Statistics Service reported yesterday that Kansas had 60,400 farms in 2015, down 600 from the previous year.

The number of farms with less than $100,000 in agricultural sales decreased by 800 farms, while the number of those with more than $100,000 in sales grew by 200 farms.

Kansas has 46 million acres of land in farms and ranches, unchanged from a year earlier.

Matthias Ripp, flickr Creative Commons

Midwest farmers are borrowing more money to stay afloat. That’s because the farm economy is in a rough patch.

Grain prices are low and farm income has fallen for two straight years.

The Kansas City Federal Reserve gathers survey data from banks across the country. It found farmers borrowed around $100 billion in the last quarter of 2015 to keep their operations running.

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