Top Stories

Christina Stella / Harvest Public Media

Farmers On The Missouri River Sue The Army Corps Of Engineers For Flood Damages

Farmers along the Missouri River won a mass action federal lawsuit last December against the Army Corps of Engineers for land damages they say are traceable to the agency’s management of the river.

Read More
Dana Cronin / Harvest Public Media

When it rains on Joe Rothermel’s central Illinois farm, most of the water drains into the nearby East Branch Embarras River. There, it begins a journey south through the Wabash, Ohio and Mississippi Rivers. As it flows through more and more farmland, fertilizer runoff -- which once nourished crops -- compounds the water’s nutrient load, resulting in a dead zone off the coast of Texas and Louisiana. 


Seth Bodine / Harvest Public Media

When countries like China buy soybeans and grain, that journey might start in a port in the land-locked state of Oklahoma. 

Farmers in states like Kansas, Oklahoma, Missouri, Arkansas and Colorado rely on a 445-mile water highway called the McClellan-Kerr Navigation System to ship their crops like soybeans and grain across the world. 

Christine Herman/Illinois Newsroom

Read this article in English here.


Un sábado reciente, unas camionetas blancas trasladaron a grupos pequeños de campesinos migrantes del huerto donde trabajaban al sur de Illinois hasta la Iglesia Católica de St. Joseph. Los trabajadores habían llegado días antes de México para el comienzo de la temporada de cultivo. 


Courtesy Enrique Rodriguez Franz

LIBERAL, Kansas — One woman thinks the COVID-19 pandemic was planned, man-made.

A man won’t get inoculated because he suspects other countries are using Americans as test subjects for their vaccines.

Three-fourths of this focus group gathered at a Liberal community center had heard the shots might contain microchips so the government can track people, even if most said they don’t buy that myth anymore.

Michael Pierce / Missouri S&T

ROLLA, Mo. - Research underway at Missouri University of Science and Technology is looking for a way to pump the gas from decomposing plants and animal waste directly into a vehicle’s fuel tank, and the technology could find its first home on the farm.

Decomposing biomass lets off two main gasses: methane and carbon dioxide. These can be captured from landfills or compost piles. The methane can be burned as fuel, but the carbon dioxide has to be separated first.

Seth Bodine / Harvest Public Media

The plant-based meat industry has grown rapidly over the past few years, but public perception is one of the biggest obstacles to more expansion.

Billion dollars companies like Impossible Foods and Beyond Meat are giving consumers other choices besides meat. Even Burger King is offering a vegan Whopper. Experts say the growth isn’t coming from vegetarians or vegans but from meat eaters occasionally choosing meat alternatives when shopping or eating out.

Amy Mayer / Harvest Public Media

Farmers might make less money this year due to less assistance from the government and increased production costs. 

Farm income is estimated to be $112 billion in 2021 — $9 billion less than last year. 

In 2020, farmers and ranchers made a total of $121 billion, the highest amount since 2013. Government subsidies account for $46 billion, according to a report from the Food and Agricultural Policy Research Institute at the University of Missouri. 

United States Drought Monitor, University of Nebraska-Lincoln

Hydrologists predict an average flood risk in much of the Missouri River Basin this spring. Dry conditions that started last summer are playing a big part in lowering the flood risk.

Seth Bodine / Harvest Public Media

John Boyd Jr. believes Black farmers are going extinct. As the president of the National Black Farmers Association and a farmer in Virginia, he’s been advocating for nearly 30 years for government action to relieve Black farmers of debt.

“When animals are facing extinction, Congress puts laws in place until their numbers come back, such as the brown bear and the black bear and rockfish and the bald eagle, all of these things Congress can act swiftly on,” Boyd says. “But here we are saying the same thing for the past 30 some odd years, and Congress has been slow to act.”

Jonathan Ahl / Harvest Public Media

Using electronic tags to track livestock is widespread in Europe. Proponents say it helps prevent and contain food-borne illnesses, but the idea is finding a mixed and often chilly reception in the United States.

Radio frequency identification, or RFID tags, can be put on an animal’s ear similar to the metal id clips currently used to identify animals and track them for inventory and health purposes.

But the RFID chips send out a signal, which is captured by a reader that uploads information into a database. They are in common use in industries ranging from logistics to amusement parks. 


Change At The Climate Divide

Farms and communities are struggling to adapt as climate change has moved the line dividing the arid west and the rain-soaked east.

Follow Harvest Public Media on Twitter