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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U.S. Department of Agriculture / flickr Creative Commons

The U.S. House passed a national standard for labeling food containing genetically-modified organisms, or GMOs, yesterday. But as Harvest Public Media’s Peggy Lowe reports, consumers may still have problems getting that information.

The bill, now passed by both the House and Senate, allows companies three ways to disclose that there are GMOs in their products. They can put text directly on the package, offer a phone number or website, or they can use a QR code that a shopper can scan with a smart phone.


Floods, tornadoes and other severe weather can cause chaos in a community. As Harvest Public Media’s Amy Mayer reports, the Federal Emergency Management Agency hopes its smartphone app can help people prepare and recover.

The FEMA app lets you upload photos from a disaster, find a shelter and check on conditions for up to five different locations. Brenda Gustafson of the Kansas City FEMA office says the app also has checklists for preparations and details specific to each kind of event.

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.

Iker Merodio / flickr Creative Commons

Midwest producers eager to get more products into Europe have cause for concern after the UK voted to leave the EU.

U.S. agriculture has had its eyes on the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership, or TTIP, to loosen up tariffs in the EU on dairy and meat products. Agricultural policy analyst Julian Binfield at the University of Missouri says the momentum created by the recent UK vote--the so-called Brexit--could stymie that deal.

AgriLife Today, flickr Creative Commons

It will soon be a lot easier to fly a drone if you’re a filmmaker, real estate developer - or a farmer. Harvest Public Media’s Luke Runyon has more.

Until now you needed to have a pilot’s license and go through a lengthy bureaucratic process to legally get a drone in the sky. Now, the Federal Aviation Administration has streamlined the process, and lowered the bar to use a drone to survey farm fields or real estate.


Getting burgers and wings to your plate is a dangerous business. Federal regulators and meat companies agree there’s more work to do to make the slaughterhouse safe. And while there are signs the industry is stepping up its efforts, danger remains. In the final part of our series Dangerous Jobs, Cheap Meat, Harvest Public Media’s Grant Gerlock explains why.


The average American eats 200 pounds of meat every year – it's one of the highest consumption rates in the world. That high demand for chicken, beef and pork drives fast-paced production rates in meatpacking plants, and workers often pay the price. In the second part of Harvest Public Media’s series, “Dangerous Jobs, Cheap Meat,” Peggy Lowe reports on life after working on “the chain.”


Hundreds of thousands of people go to work each day preparing the beef, pork and poultry that ends up on our dinner tables. Their workplace is among the most hazardous in the country.

Slaughterhouses, while safer than they were decades ago, exact a steep price from workers--sometimes, even their lives. In the first part of the series Dangerous Jobs, Cheap Meat, Harvest Public Media’s Luke Runyon takes a look at one tragic case in Colorado.

LID / flickr Creative Commons

Time is running out for Congress to get a bill passed requiring food with genetically modified ingredients to be labeled.

July 1 is when a mandatory GMO labeling law kicks in in Vermont, so Congress has been trying to get something on the books before then in hopes of setting a national standard. Without that, food companies warn of “chaos” in the marketplace.

Grant Gerlock / Harvest Public Media/File photo

The Environmental Protection Agency visited Midwest farm country yesterday for a hearing on ethanol policy in Kansas City.

The EPA controls how much ethanol has to be blended into our fuel supply by oil refiners. And the agency is trying to thread a very tricky needle.

Oil companies say we need less ethanol because the environmental benefits are overblown and we’re using less gas anyway. Farmers want more ethanol to help prices for corn and soybeans.

Nebraska Gov. Pete Ricketts is part of the pro-ethanol crowd.