In The Field

A western Illinois farmer harvests corn.
Credit Abby Wendle / File: Harvest Public Media

The people and places that make our food system go.

Ways to Connect

The EPA plans to propose allowing E15 to be sold year-round.
Grant Gerlock / Harvest Public Media file photo

President Donald Trump’s administration will “unleash the power of E15,” allowing the 15 percent gasoline-ethanol blend to be sold year-round.

The announcement, made public this week at a rally in Council Bluffs, Iowa, is being welcomed by corn growers and biofuel groups. But it may take longer for farmers like Kelly Nieuwenhuis of Primghar, Iowa, to feel the positive impact of E15 than they would like.

The fields and back roads of eastern Arkansas were a crime scene this past summer. State inspectors stopped alongside fields to pick up dying weeds. They tested the liquids in farmers' pesticide sprayers. In many cases, they found evidence that farmers were using a banned pesticide. Dozens of farmers could face thousands of dollars in fines.

Josh Davis likes to name his pigs after flowers: Petunia, Iris, Violet and Daisy.

That’s not the only thing that sets him apart as a hog farmer.

For the past three years, Davis and his wife, Alicia, have been raising one of the rarest pig breeds in the world on their farm in Pocahontas, Illinois. The American mulefoot hog was a popular breed in the Midwest in the early 1900s, but now, there are only a few hundred left. The Davises are among a small group of farmers hoping to revive the breed by putting it back on the menu.

Amy Mayer/Valdemar Fishmen / Harvest Public Media/Creative Commons

Farmers and agriculture groups are digging through the details of the new North American trade deal, called the United States Canada Mexico Agreement, and some are raising concerns that clash with the celebratory mood of the three countries’ leaders.

Updated at 3:45 p.m. ET

The U.S. and Canada reached a deal to replace the North American Free Trade Agreement, signed a quarter-century ago, with a new pact that the Trump administration says is easier to enforce.

In remarks in the Rose Garden formally announcing the agreement, President Trump called it "the most important trade deal we've ever made by far."

Ahead of a midnight deadline set by the White House, Trump approved changes that essentially revamp the 1993 NAFTA deal, bringing Canada on board after Mexico had already agreed in August.

Amy Mayer / Harvest Public Media

Michael McEnany always knew he wanted to be a farmer. Both of his grandfathers were, and he “always loved tagging along with my Grandpa Ed.”

Both of his parents chose ag-related careers, but neither of them went back to the farms they’d grown up on. Still, McEnany’s done nothing but farm for more than a decade. Starting part-time in college, he worked his way up to a full-time, year-round job on Steve Henry’s corn and soybean operation in Nevada, Iowa.

Esther Honig / Harvest Public Media file photo

There’s good news for hemp growers across the U.S. who are preparing for harvest. The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration removed some cannabidiol, or CBD, from the most restrictive class on Thursday, allowing for the first cannabis-derived pharmaceutical to be sold in U.S. markets.

Mike Hayes and I are sitting on the patio of Blue Bank Resort, the business he owns on Reelfoot Lake, in Tennessee. The sun is going down. It's beautiful.

What really catches your eye here is the cypress trees. They line the lake, and thousands of them are standing right in the water. Hayes tells me that they are more than 200 years old.

Luis Pinto lost about $300,000 worth of plantain trees, livestock, roads and fences on his farm near Yabucoa, Puerto Rico. "When I saw the desctruction, I just cried. But I said, 'The show must go on,'" he says.
Allison Keyes / NET Nebraska/FERN

One year ago, Hurricane Maria swept over Puerto Rico, bringing 150 mph winds. Nearly 3,000 people died, homes and buildings were ruined and farms were destroyed all over the U.S. territory.

According to Luis Pinto, a farmer near Yabucoa, southeast of the capital San Juan, the sound of the wind screaming through the trees “felt like the hurricane was crying.” Plantain trees were flattened on Pinto’s farm. In all, the storms caused $300,000 in damage to his crops, cattle, fences and roads.

Immigrants, Migrants Caught In Middle Of Rural Lawyer Shortage

Sep 24, 2018
David Kovaluk / St. Louis Public Radio

Angie Gomez has seen and heard plenty of stories about how hard it is for unauthorized immigrants and migrant farmworkers in rural areas to find lawyers to help them apply for or change their legal status.

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