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.

Like Harvest Public Media on Facebook or follow them on Twitter @HarvestPM.

Kristofor Husted / Harvest Public Media

President Donald Trump issued an executive order Tuesday directing the Environmental Protection Agency to revise a controversial environmental rule opposed by many Midwest farm groups.

Trump ordered new EPA administrator Scott Pruitt to formally revise the Obama Administration’s 2015 Clean Water Rule, also known as the Waters of the U.S. Rule, which was meant to explain which rivers, streams and creeks are subject to regulation by the EPA.

Bryan Thompson / Harvest Public Media

At a stressful time for U.S. farmers, the government’s efforts at calming the agricultural waters took center stage Thursday, when the heads of the U.S. Senate’s Agriculture Committee left Washington for the Midwest to solicit opinions on priorities for the next Farm Bill.

U.S. Sens. Pat Roberts, a Republican from Kansas, and Debbie Stabenow, a Democrat from Michigan, heard from Midwest farmers at their first field hearing on the 2018 Farm Bill at Kansas State University in Manhattan, Kansas.

Grant Gerlock / Harvest Public Media

The Trump administration is voicing its support for the ethanol industry, but without specifics, it is hard to say what that means exactly for Midwest farmers.

In a letter to industry leaders gathered at the National Ethanol Conference, President Donald Trump said renewable fuels “are essential to America’s energy strategy.”

The president wrote that he aims to reduce the regulatory burden on the renewable fuels industry, but did not detail specific plans.

Luke Runyon / Harvest Public Media

After hundreds of arrests of undocumented immigrants by immigration police, the Trump administration’s increased focus on immigration enforcement has some of the country’s largest farm groups worried.

Grace Hood / Harvest Public Media/File

Just one day after directing its researchers not to publicly share their research, and after suffering a public relations backlash, the Department of Agriculture’s main research arm has rescinded its original order, saying it “values and is committed to maintaining the free flow of information between our scientists and the American public…”

COURTESY OF ELLIOT CHAPMAN

Farmers across the Midwest are trying to figure out how to get by at a time when expected prices for commodities from corn, to wheat, to cattle, to hogs mean they’ll be struggling just to break even.

“Prices are low, bins are full, and the dollar is strengthening as we speak, and that’s just making the export thing a little more challenging,” says Paul Burgener of Platte Valley Bank in Scottsbluff, Nebraska.

SNAP Official Worries About Food Stamp Cuts

Jan 23, 2017
U.S. Department of Agriculture / flickr Creative Commons

The food stamps program, officially called the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), helps about 43 million people buy food. But the administrator currently in charge of SNAP is worried that assistance could soon be cut.

Kevin Concannon is the USDA’s Under Secretary for Food, Nutrition and Consumer Services. He says a majority of the SNAP recipients hold jobs, but they don’t make much money.

wikipedia.org

Former Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced on Tuesday that his first job outside the Cabinet will be heading up a dairy industry trade group.

Tom Vilsack, who stepped down as agriculture secretary last week, will join the U.S. Dairy Export Council as president. The Council is one of several related groups that advocate and lobby on behalf of the dairy industry. But Vilsack says he doesn’t expect to be at the Capitol asking lawmakers to pass certain bills.

Bruce Tuten, flickr Creative Commons

President-elect Donald Trump named former Georgia Gov. Sonny Perdue as his pick for Secretary of Agriculture on Thursday. Harvest Public Media’s Kristofor Husted reports on what it means for farmers in the Midwest.

If confirmed, Perdue will have to take on a new farm bill, immigration issues and the big whammy: trade.

ethanolpics, flickr Creative Commons

A new study from the U.S. Department of Agriculture says corn-based ethanol emits less greenhouse gas than gasoline. As Harvest Public Media’s Grant Gerlock explains, it’s a hot-button debate.

The report says corn-based ethanol reduces greenhouse gas emissions by 43 percent. And with more no-till farming, more cover crops and better fertilizer management, emissions could decline further.

That’s good news for Midwest farmers and ethanol fans. But disputed by many environmental groups and the oil industry.

Pages