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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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.

Brian Seifferlein / Harvest Public Media

A slaughterhouse is a safer place to work than it used to be, according to a government report. But it’s still dangerous work, and not all injuries are being counted

Injury rates in the meatpacking industry got better over the last decade but are probably worse than the data suggests. That’s the conclusion of a study from the Government Accountability Office.

The GAO says incidents at meat and poultry plants are underreported by workers who are afraid to lose their jobs, and by medical staff who send people back to work even when they’re hurt.

Kristofor Husted / Harvest Public Media

We all learned it as kids: Old MacDonald has a farm and on that farm he has a cow that says “moo.” But why? Why do cows moo? It's among the most pressing questions of our time.

Harvest Public Media sent report Kristofor Husted out to investigate, and he has this hard-hitting report.

Michelle Cesare / flickr Creative Commons

Genetically engineered crops are safe to eat, but they don’t deliver on all their promises: That’s according to a new analysis from a national scientific panel.

A National Academy of Sciences committee spent two years digging into the data on GMO crops. What they ended up with is a mixed bag. The GMO foods on the market are safe to eat, and they’ve reduced the use of certain pesticides, the panel says. But the varieties on the market haven’t delivered on their claims of dramatically increasing the yields farmers pull out of the field.

Grant Gerlock / Harvest Public Media

Millions of kids eat their lunch at school. Schools in the United States served more than 5 billion meals as part of the national school lunch program last year. Each meal has to meet federal rules for nutrition. As Harvest Public Media’s Grant Gerlock reports, those rules are up for debate and changes could be coming to the cafeterias.

Amy Mayer / Harvest Public Media

The antibiotics that keep us healthy are becoming less effective. Scientists say giving the drugs to farm animals is part of the problem.

That’s why researchers are looking into new ways to keep livestock healthy and profitable--especially the animals that become our steak and pork chops. As Harvest Public Media’s Amy Mayer reports, they’re turning to something you can probably find in your fridge.

Krisofor Husted / Harvest Public Media

Cotton fabric has been a staple in our closets for decades. But times are tough for farmers in the U.S. cotton belt: They’re caught in the middle of a storm of changing global demand. Harvest Public Media’s Kristofor Husted visited cotton farmers and found them hoping for a rebound.

Kristofor Husted / Harvest Public Media

Americans are buying less beef. That’s why some ranchers want to pay for more ads to boost sales--but that has ignited a food fight in cattle country. Harvest Public Media’s Kristofor Husted walks us through the issues.

Charles Bassett wants you to buy hamburgers made from his Missouri cows. That’s why the Missouri rancher wants to pay an extra dollar into an industry-created fund every time he sells one of his cattle.

Lane Permian, flickr Creative Commons

Midwest farmers are expected to plant a huge corn crop this year. As Harvest Public Media’s Kristofor Husted reports, that could impact the farm economy.

Prices for staples like corn and soybeans have been sliding in recent years thanks to oversupply.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture predicts farmers will plant nearly 94 million acres of corn this season. That’s up 6 percent from last year and is the third highest planted acreage in the U.S. since the 1940s.