While farmers and foodies have been busy this unusually warm spring getting a head start on planting, we here at Harvest Public Media have been growing a little of our own, too.
We’re working on a series called "The Farmer of the Future," exploring how demographic, technological and political forces will shape America’s food producers into the next decade and beyond. The series includes a public television documentary, a five-part radio series and a live talk show.
Starting May 14, you’ll be able to see much of our work on our website – but that’s just the beginning. That week, our partners at Nebraska NET will be airing our five-part radio series each day, culminating in the airing of Clay’s film on Friday, May 18.
That series will air on KCUR, home to our Kansas City partners, the week of May 21-25. We’ll also be doing a live talk show on the farmer of the future that week in Iowa City that will be broadcast live on Iowa Public Radio and KCUR on Thursday, May 24.
The radio series stacks up like this:
Immigrants mean growth: Across the farming sector, industry increasingly relies on immigrant labor. In much of Midwest, it's Latinos. They work in meat processing plants, dairies, egg-laying facilities, hog barns. This new wave of residents is slowly changing the landscape of the rural Midwest. By Kathleen Masterson, our Iowa reporter.
Land rich, cash poor: Farmers today are generally an older bunch. That’s why inheritance issues and rising land values will likely shape who can afford to farm, no matter how badly someone wants to work the land. By Frank Morris, our head honcho.
Who are you calling an ag conglomerate? The line between corporate ownership and family farmer is blurring, so figuring out what the labels mean is gettingtricky. And small producers spy an opening. I’m working on this one, which I wrote about last month.
Ag robots: With automation become more popular on many farms and some researchers already working on full-fledged robot farmers, will the farmer of the future be a human farmer at all? By our multimedia editor, Jeremy Bernfeld.
The sustainable hand: It seems every farming operation today professes to be sustainable — to be working the land for tomorrow as well as today. We may not know if that’s true until decades from now, but there are plenty of signs as to who’s truly on their game. By our Columbia, Mo., reporter, Jessica Naudziunas.
Now, it’s your turn to pitch in with our spring planting. We need your input for our talk show: What topics would you like us to cover in talking about the future of food production? Who should we talk to? What are your concerns? What are your questions?