Harvest Public Media

Harvest Public Media is a reporting collaboration focused on issues of food, fuel and field. Based at KCUR in Kansas City, Missouri, Harvest covers agriculture-related topics through a network of reporters and partner stations throughout the Midwest.

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Rachel Andrew / flickr Creative Commons

Schools in Kansas spent nearly $2 million on local food during the 2013-14 school year. Harvest Public Media’s Kristofor Husted reports the U.S. Department of Agriculture is trying to make sure small farmers are getting their slice.

The USDA’s Kevin Concannon says historically, the agency has been focused on commodities like corn and soybeans. But increasingly it’s putting millions in grants toward school programs that buy fruits and vegetables the kinds you’d see at small farmers markets.

Grant Gerlock / Harvest Public Media

During the season of Lent, many Catholics don’t eat meat on Fridays. Fish, though, is considered fair game, so the Friday night fish fry has become an annual tradition at churches across the country.

Fridays between Ash Wednesday and Easter, you’ll find hundreds of hungry parishioners lining up at church fish fries around the Midwest. All of that frying uses up vegetable oil that can just go to waste, but there are some people putting it to good use.

Amy Mayer/Harvest Public Media

Hog farmers still battling a disease that has caused over a billion dollars in damages are coming to better understand how the virus arrived in North America.

The Porcine Epidemic Diarrhea, or PED, outbreak began in spring 2013 and evidence suggests the virus originated in China. Its global spread was a mystery, but some veterinarians saw a possible link to feed. Now, researcher Scott Dee says he’s shown imported ingredients may have given the virus a ride here from China.

Peggy Lowe / Harvest Public Media

The latest tech startup boom today is not coming from California--it’s closer to home. And it involves an industry that’s ancient.

Investment in food and agriculture technology startups reached into the billions in 2015, a huge jump from previous years. What’s going on? Peggy Lowe of Harvest Public Media reports that Big Ag has found Big Data.

liz west, flickr Creative Commons

Hundreds of lawsuits against seed company Syngenta could evolve into a major class action and involve almost every corn farmer in the country.

In 2013, China rejected some American imports because they contained corn grown from a seed with a genetically engineered Syngenta trait. The trait was approved for sale in the United States, but China’s regulators had not yet approved it.

China is a huge market for US corn. Lawyers have filed many cases on behalf of farmers seeking compensation from Syngenta for lost sales.

Grant Gerlock / Harvest Public Media

Grocery stores can officially stop labelling cuts of pork and beef with their country of origin. As Harvest Public Media’s Grant Gerlock reports, the federal government has wiped the controversial law that required those labels off the books.

Kansas State University livestock economist Glynn Tonsor says regardless of labeling, imported meat is subject to U.S. food safety rules.

"When we bring meat in, it still has to pass safety protocol by USDA, just like it does if it’s produced here," he says.

Abengoa Bioenergy

A major player in the ethanol industry with a plant in Kansas has filed for bankruptcy. Midwest corn suppliers say they’re owed millions of dollars.

Spanish company Abengoa produces grain ethanol here in the Midwest. It also built a cellulosic ethanol plant in Kansas to make fuel from grasses and other bio-products.

But that so-called advanced biofuel hasn’t truly hit the market.

Farmers across the Midwest are planting less wheat. Harvest Public Media’s Jeremy Bernfeld explains why.

Worries about selling their wheat on the global market pushed U-S farmers to plant millions of fewer acres of wheat over the last two years. That’s according to a new government report.

Dan O’Brien, an economist at Kansas State University, says that has a lot to do with big supplies and a strong dollar.

Robert Couse-Baker, flickr Creative Commons

New federal guidelines for healthy eating announced Thursday delivers a big win to Midwest meat farmers and ranchers.

Initial recommendations by scientific advisors suggested Americans could be more environmentally friendly by cutting back on meat. Although the final recommendations propose teenage and adult men reduce their intake of protein, there is no specific request to eat less meat.

Jeffrey Remick, flickr Creative Commons

Farms hit by bird flu in 2015 are still recovering. But as Harvest Public Media’s Amy Mayer reports, officials predict it’s a matter of when--not whether--another outbreak will occur.

Midwest egg and turkey farms were hit hard and 48 million birds were killed in the spring 2015 bird flu outbreak. The fall wild bird migration did not bring the deadly virus back, but worried farmers remain on alert.

Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Bill Northey says both state and federal officials are better prepared to respond quickly when the virus returns.

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