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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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.

Grant Gerlock / Harvest Public Media

An attachment to the last-minute spending bill passed by Congress ends a six-year trade dispute between the U.S. and Canada. Grant Gerlock of Harvest Public Media reports the countries were fighting over meat labels favored by American ranchers.

They’re country of origin labels, and you’ll find them on packages of uncooked beef, pork, and poultry. They tell where the animals were born, raised, and slaughtered.

American ranchers like Jim Dinklage of Nebraska say the labels keep global meat giants like Brazil-based JBS from replacing domestic supply with cheap imports.

Amy Mayer / Harvest Public Media

Congress is debating restoring $3 billion in recent cuts to the crop insurance program as part of a transportation bill. Harvest Public Media’s Amy Mayer says at least one environmental group thinks the cuts should stay.

The cuts are controversial because farmers depend on crop insurance in lean times and the current program grew out of painstaking farm bill negotiations. But the Environmental Working Group, a longtime critic of farm subsidies, says the cuts wouldn’t hurt farmers. Companies might have to tighten their belts.

Cheap Thanksgiving Turkey Despite Bird Flu

Nov 24, 2015
Jeffrey Remick, flickr Creative Commons

Despite the bird flu epidemic that devastated Midwest turkey farmers this spring, the price of a turkey this Thanksgiving could be a little cheaper than last year.

The USDA’s most recent numbers show that this year’s turkeys are ringing up one cent less per pound. That’s a shock given the bird flu outbreak that tore through flocks in Minnesota and Iowa this spring.

John Anderson, chief economist at the American Farm Bureau Federation, says avian influenza hit a select group of farmers.

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