Jessica Naudziunas | KBIA

Jessica Naudziunas


Jessica is Harvest Public Media's connection to Central Missouri. She joined Harvest in July 2010. Jessica has spent time on NPR's Weekend Edition Sunday and WNYC's Soundcheck, and reported and produced for WNIN-FM in Evansville, Ind. She grew up in the City of Chicago, studied at the University of Tulsa and has helped launch local food gardens in Oklahoma and Indiana.

Jessica Naudziunas left KBIA in 2012.



Ways to Connect

Television poses a threat to children, and we're not talking the programs. We're talking a large household appliance that can hurt kids.

About every 30 minutes a child ends up in the emergency room with injuries caused by a television, a study finds, most often because the TV falls on a young child.

Women are dying from overdoses of prescription painkillers at a much higher rate than men, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. And while men still suffer more overdoses, women are catching up fast.

From 1999 to 2010, the CDC found a fivefold increase in the number and rate of such cases among middle-aged women. Over the same period, the rate of overdoses from prescription painkillers increased 3.5 times in men.

Jessica Naudziunas / Harvest Public Media

The farmer of future will grow food and raise animals with tomorrow in mind. They’ll know contributing to the food supply is not enough. If the soil, air and water they use to produce food is damaged, good luck feeding anyone. 

Indiana University soccer star Orianica Velasquez is on a mission — to get to the London Olympics with Colombia's women's soccer team. And she wants to send a message about the country where she was born.

"My dream is to get a medal for Colombia," she says, adding that she wants to show the world "it's just not violence, it's just not drugs — we can play soccer and we can do great things because we have great people there."

There's a Missouri bill moving through the statehouse that essentially would lock in the legality of current animal production methods in the state. 

What's plentiful in upstate New York? Cows and prison inmates, to name a few things.

Reformists in the two communities don't make natural allies, but organizer Lauren Melodia is trying to do just that.

"I was living in this prison town, and at the same time, the dairy industry was in a lot of turmoil," Melodia tells The Salt. "We thought this [dairy] might be the perfect ally in trying to build a different economy in upstate New York, and shift some of the economic dependency away from the prison system."

With ground beef selling for record prices, you might think cattle ranchers are raking in the profits.

While only 2 or 3 percent of people in the U.S. are vegetarians, more than 40 percent of Americans age 18-29 choose to eat meatless once a week, according to market research firm Innova Insights.

Maybe you’ve noticed that the price of beef is going up, rather dramatically. No matter what supermarket aisle you’re in, don’t look for relief from any time soon.

Jessica Naudziunas / Harvest Public Media

Scientists researching complex topics often come up empty-handed when it comes time to explain their findings. It’s hard to distill years of intricate, complex research into tiny bytes a layman can understand.

Jessica Naudziunas / Harvest Public Media

Pick up your favorite packaged food and read the ingredient list.

If you stumbled over any of the words or a color jumped out at you, you might be looking at what’s known as a food additive.  

File / KBIA

Governor Jay Nixon met with Missouri Levee and Drainage District members in Columbia this weekend. He and other state and federal officials responded to over eight months of questions from farmers and others on how Missouri’s waterways will be protected from future massive flooding. This is the first time a Missouri governor attended an annual levee district association meeting in over 15 years, and with good reason, as Governor Nixon addressed the standing room only crowd, he branded 2011: “the year of natural disasters.”

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers

It’s been eight months since the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers released massive amounts of reservoir water from locations north of the Missouri River. Those reservoirs were filled to the brim with historic rainwater and melted snow that accumulated over a long winter of inclement weather across the Midwest.

Most of that released water poured over valuable farmland and residential areas in northwest Missouri. The resulting financial and family devastation has opened up a huge Missouri-style feud that will likely last as long as it will take the flooded land to return to normal.

dno1967b / Flickr

Ever looked at the labels on the back of your packaged food?

Eric Durban / Harvest Public Media

Missouri State Treasurer Clint Zweifel has announced a new financial assistance package for beginning farmers trying to make their way in an expensive industry.

benketaro / Flickr

Did you know the most common fresh produce in Kansas City and in the Midwest is iceberg lettuce? Yes, the green that is mostly water is apparently the best get in fly-over country. At least, the New York Times thinks so.

Jessica Naudziunas / Harvest Public Media

There's more to grocery shopping these days because of nutritional ratings, on-label claims and even in-store dieticians. 

On this episode of Harvest Public Media’s Field Notes,  grocery shopping with a guy who doesn’t really think about nutrition, and along the way we dissect the nutritional rating system NuVal

Michael Porter / Flickr

With funding in hand, U.S. food safety regulations will see the biggest changes in almost 70 years in 2012. 

Whether it was thanks to the Farm Bill, MF Global's bankruptcy, vicious flooding or high land prices, farmers were in the headlines throughout the Midwest in 2011.

Todd Post / Bread for the World

The U.S. fuel industry rang in the new year with a little less help from the government after the previously entrenched Volumetric Ethanol Excise Credit expired on Dec. 31, 2011.

photo courtesy of USDA

There have been plenty of distractions over the last year on and off the farm. The farm bill that never was stirred speculation late into November; drought reaked havoc on much of the southwest; and the price of an acre of farmland has shot up 32 percent in Iowa over the last year. On this week's Field Notes, a look back at some of the big stories in agriculture in 2011.

I recently went to this local Columbia, Mo., event called 20/20. It’s a bimonthly gathering that highlights culture-makers in town who are often hidden from the public as they create, research and organize innovative ideas. And here’s the twist: These passionate people quickly present their ideas while a screen behind them displays 20 images over 400 seconds.

gnuru / Flickr

Outlawing the slaughter of horses may not sound like a bad thing. But for farmers and the animals, the consequences of such a ban in the U..S. have been far-reaching and complicated.

Jessica Naudziunas / Harvest Public Media

According to a study from the Journal of Environmental Health Perspectives, Americans consume a lot of meat, and the quality of the meat products is directly linked to animal feeding management. So, if you’re an average eater who chows down on over six ounces of meat daily, consider checking out the nutrition content on the animal feed label.

Blue Bunny Ice Cream / Flickr

What does it take for a food product to be labeled "Natural"?

Not much, it seems.

While that big "Natural" label on a package of meat has nothing to do with how an animal was raised, it at least has a definition: "minimally processed with no artificial ingredients.”  When "Natural" shows up on other food products -- everything from granola bars to dressings, and even soda --   the meaning is less certain.

Peggy Lowe / Harvest Public Media


The constant barrage of nutrition messages is so confusing it makes me want to go on a BBQ-potato-chip bender.

So when Harvest reporter Jessica Naudziunas pitched a story on those nutritional scores in grocery stores, I listened.    

The package of agriculture and food policy that's called the farm bill is reauthorized by Congress every five years. This year, however, things are a bit different for this historically lengthy and debate-rich process. The federal budget deficit that's been hanging around for months has pushed the farm bill into overdrive, and the legislation is now on the fast track straight to the Congressional Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction, otherwise known as the super committee.

kdemerly / Flickr

By Kathleen Masterson (Harvest Public Media)

Running a successful farm business relies on hard work, good soil and seeds and, most of all, weather. So it makes sense that many farmers have real concerns about climate change. 

Sarah Cady / Flickr

By Jeremy Bernfeld (Harvest Public Media)

Some organic farmers don’t want to have their products labeled Certified Organic. For them, the Certified Organic label doesn’t go far enough. They want to go Beyond Organic.

Photo by William Powers / Harvest Network

Despite this being harvest season, I’ve been pestering farmers with theoretical questions about food and agriculture labels.

Here’s something I’ve learned: If there’s one thing to guarantee a lengthy conversation with an ag-minded person, regardless of his or her crop harvesting schedule, it might be on the farm labels.

I’ve also learned that there comes a point when slapping a pithy saying on an agricultural method is a detriment to understanding just how a farmer does his job.