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Nick Girondo

Amid The Coronavirus Pandemic, More Midwesterners Headed Outside To Hunt

When Nick Girondo of Rolla, Missouri, first looked at his family calendar this spring, he struggled to find a time to get everyone out turkey hunting during the 22-day season. “With sports and other things going on, we probably would have got out one day at the most, the way planning was going with family events,” he said. But when the coronavirus pandemic came to the Midwest, those events were canceled, so the family went hunting instead.

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Esther Honig / Harvest Public Media file photo

 

The number of families experiencing food insecurity has hit a record due to the pandemic, and Black and Hispanic families are disproportionately affected.

 

A new study from Northwestern University, based on Census Bureau data, shows that 40% of Black households and 36% of Hispanic households are struggling to afford food. Meanwhile, about 22% of white households are reporting food insecurity.

U.S. House

  As COVID-19 isolates many children and families in their homes, many youth mentorship programs like 4-H have been forced to online formats. More than 40 members of the U.S. House of Representatives sent a letter to House leadership, advocating for more than $260 million in grant funding to support mentorship programs.

Jonathan Ahl / Harvest Public Media

National forests, including Mark Twain in the Missouri Ozarks, saw big crowds over the 4th of July holiday weekend, proving to be a popular destination for leisure activities while coronavirus concerns remain.

While forest office staff are still working from home because of pandemic concerns, the campgrounds, bathrooms and other public areas and facilities started opening to visitors in mid to late June.

National forests in the region are still accumulating data, but are reporting full campgrounds over the Independence Day holiday and full parking lots during the day.

Maricel Mendoza is familiar with the work migrant and seasonal farmworkers do. Growing up, her family traveled from Texas to central Illinois every year for her parents’ jobs as contractors with a large seed company. 

“All of my parents’ siblings were migrants, my grandparents were migrants,” Mendoza says. “So it’s just something that was the norm for me.” 

Amy Mayer / Harvest Public Media

A federal court in California recently vacated the three popular dicamba herbicides—Xtendimax, Fexipan, and Engenia—after the court determined the EPA violated the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA) by registering the chemicals for use. Environmental advocates rejoiced, while farm groups lamented the decision as yet another hurdle for farmers to overcome during a difficult year.

Sitting on a deck at the home of a colleague in Ames, Harvard University biology professor Scott Edwards identifies robins by their call and says the particular tone suggests something is amiss—perhaps a mother bird protecting her little ones.

Edwards, who studies birds and evolution, is bicycling across the country from east to west and marking his passage between regions by the birds he encounters.

Kristofor Husted / Harvest Public Media

Large meatpacking plants across the country shut down after outbreaks of COVID-19 among employees, causing supply chain disruptions for farmers, ranchers and consumers. But a new bill in the U.S. House seeks to address the problem by boosting small scale meat processors. 

Grant Gerlock / Harvest Public Media

According to new quarterly crop data from the USDA, farmers planted about 92 million acres of corn this spring, a 5 million acre decrease over the agency's March acreage report. The decrease could slash this season’s corn harvest by around a billion bushels, providing some much-needed price increases for commodity farmers. 

Courtesy of Sheri Glazier

Sheri Glazier is used to seeing dry conditions on the family farm in central Oklahoma around wheat harvesting time in June. But this year, the heat came faster than normal. She remembers the unusually early heat one day while driving the combine in the wheat field.

“I was extremely worried about heat strokes that day, and I don't ever remember truly being that early in June, being that extremely concerned about ‘where's the water, where's the Gatorade, where's the fire extinguishers?’ All in one day, that early in wheat harvest,” Glazier says.

Amy Mayer / Harvest Public Media

At the edge of a corn field on a clear but windy June day, microbiologist Tom Moorman lifts a metal lid and reveals a collection of bottles, tubes, meters and cables in a shallow pit. The system is designed to capture runoff from 24 plots. 

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