Agriculture | KBIA

Agriculture

Hope Kirwan / KBIA

 

  Zane Volkman has been riding for as long as he can remember.

From the steer he would ride through his family’s pasture, to a donkey and finally to his grandpa’s horse, Volkman was already an experienced rider when he started training colts for a local rancher at age 12.

But an accident in the summer before his senior year of high school made it unclear if Volkman would be able to continue his career on a horse. While working at a livestock market in Kingdom City, Mo., a routine dismount caused Volkman to break his back and sustain three brain bleeds.

Kristofor Husted / KBIA/Harvest Public Media

 

The agriculture industry is a cornerstone of the Midwest economy. In some states, it may even become a right.

In Missouri, the so-called “right to farm” is on the ballot in the form of an amendment to the state Constitution. And the controversial provision could be a model for Constitutional additions on other ag-heavy states.

Though the “right to farm” provision is focused on agriculture, it has pitted farmer against farmer with some worried that the results could change the face of farming in the Midwest.

Accountability concerns

tractor on farmland
(tpsdav/pixabay)

Two proposals on Missouri's August ballot are attracting millions of dollars of campaign spending.

Finance reports filed Monday show supporters of a transportation tax already have spent $2.5 million and have nearly $1.7 million available for their final push.

By contrast, opponents of the three-quarters-cent sales tax have spent just a little over $22,000.

A proposal creating a constitutional right to farm has spawned a somewhat closer financial battle.

Photo courtesy Andy Trupin

Corn farmers in southeast Missouri are expecting high yields — but low profits.

Spencer Thomas / Flickr

Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon traveled to Iowa to get a personal look at the latest methods in ethanol production.

KBIA / KBIA

 

Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations, or CAFOs, are prevalent in Missouri’s agriculture industry. The large farms are very controversial, and many have concerns about the environmental impact of the farms and humane treatment of animals living there. In Callaway County, plans for a new CAFO have prompted very vocal opposition. But CAFOs are also a mainstay of the agriculture industry, and are legal if maintained correctly.On this Intersection we addressed CAFOs in-depth: about what they are, how they’re used in Missouri, about the controversy surrounding them, and about the future of the operations in the state.

Corn
jungmoon / Flickr

Recent data from the U.S. Department of Agriculture says that over 90 percent of U.S. field corn is genetically modified. That figure has nearly doubled over the past 10 years.

Most of the corn farmers plant has been embedded with a gene—usually from a bacteria—that protects the corn from pests or herbicides.

Ten years ago, less than half of the corn planted had a genetically modified trait. Today, 93 percent of all field corn does, up from 90 percent last year.

Kristofor Husted / Harvest Public Media/KBIA

 

The head of the Environmental Protection Agency is touring farm country, trying to assure farmers that the agency isn’t asking for more authority over farmers and ranchers’ lands.

 


A.G. Koster backs Right to Farm

Jul 9, 2014
Grant Suneson

Missouri's Attorney General put his support behind a controversial amendment on the primary ballot. Chris Koster officially announced his endorsement of Amendment one, also known as the Right to Farm act.

In a short statement at the Missouri Farm Bureau in Jefferson City today, Koster cited the states reliance on agriculture, saying that failing to pass the measure could inhibit the success of Missouri farmers.

Abbie Fentress Swanson / Harvest Public Media

Former Missouri Lieutenant Governor Joe Maxwell says the ‘Right to Farm’ question before voters in August would give more protection to foreign corporations and take away from small farmers.

Maxwell, a Democrat, told reporters in Springfield Tuesday that Amendment 1 will give more liberty to corporations to buy and operate Missouri farmland.

PM Newscast for July 8, 2014

Jul 8, 2014

Regional coverage from the KBIA Newsroom, including:

  • An update on the power outages across Mid-Missouri after last nights severe storms.
  • Gov. Jay Nixon is leaning towards opposing the right to farm amendment to the Missouri Constitution.
  • MU set a single-year fundraising record.

dishfunctional / Flickr

Gov. Jay Nixon has vetoed legislation that would have shifted responsibility for regulating Missouri deer ranches to the Department of Agriculture instead of the Department of Conservation.

Peggy Lowe / Harvest Public Media

 

 

The largest association of U.S. physicians is calling for tighter rules on antibiotic use in livestock. 

dnl777 / Flickr

The Saint Louis Zoo is joining a national coalition of commercial agriculture producers, conservation groups and seed companies working to address the dramatic recent decline of honeybees.

Amy Mayer / Harvest Public Media

U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack recently announced $3.9 million in funding toward developing a vaccine for a disease crushing hog farms.

Grant Gerlock / Harvest Public Media

 

Drought is re-shaping the beef map and raising the price of steak. Ranchers are moving herds from California to Coloradoand from Texas to Nebraska seeking refuge from dry weather. And cattle producers in the Midwest are making the most of it.

drought farm field soybeans
Camille Phillips / Harvest Public Media

Opponents are planning to rally at the Missouri Capitol against a proposed amendment to the state Constitution establishing a "right to farm ."

The question on the state's Aug. 5 ballot asks voters whether the right "to engage in farming and ranching" should be "forever guaranteed" in the Missouri Constitution.

Critics contend the measure will lead to lawsuits over what farming practices are permitted, and to special protections for large agricultural special interests.

Supporters of the proposal say their goal is to protect and promote agriculture.

Hope Kirwan / KBIA

  The Columbia Farmer’s Market brings many different people together on Saturday mornings. Thanks to a local food program run by Sustainable Farms and Communities, this includes low-income families who can receive extra help to purchase fresh and locally-produced foods.

Abbie Fentress Swanson / Harvest Public Media

The wording of a proposed amendment to Missouri's Constitution that would guarantee residents' right to "engage in agricultural production and ranching practices" is leading to questions from both sides of the issue – including a question of whether the amendment would have any impact at all.

Supporters of the so-called "right to farm" measure on the August ballot say it gives farmers more legal standing to challenge unfair regulations. Opponents fear it could unravel environmental and animal welfare laws.

tractor on farmland
(tpsdav/pixabay)

Coming up we’ll take a look and how big data and agriculture are finding themselves intertwined with questions about privacy.

Kristofor Kusted / KBIA

U.S. Congress members are throwing their support behind a proposed “right to farm” amendment in Missouri’s constitution. But critics are pointing to the measure’s ambiguous language as problematic.

wobble-san/Flickr

Several Missourians in the U.S. House are backing a proposed amendment to the state Constitution on farming.

Kristofor Husted / KBIA

Farmers can expect more challenges, thanks to climate change. That’s according to a recent report released by the White House.

Iowa State University professor Gene Takle co-authored the chapter on agriculture in the 2014 National Climate Assessment. He says expected changes in humidity, precipitation and temperature may produce more extreme weather events.

“We need to be thinking forward as to the kinds of adaptation strategies that we need to adopt while at the same time we are looking for measures to mitigate the underlying cause of climate change,” Takle says.

agriculture secretary Tom Vilsack
Amy Mayer / Harvest Public Media

Recognizing that the demand for local food is growing to between $5 and 7 billion a year, the U.S. Department of Agriculture announced a new effort Thursday aimed at connecting farmers with urban shoppers. 

bottlerocketprincess / Flickr

A government report says the nation's corn growers should have banner production this year despite lesser acreage devoted to the grain. But corn prices later in the year may suffer a bit.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture has released its first World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates report of the year.

The report estimates that corn producers will harvest 165.3 bushels of corn per acre, up 6.5 bushels from the previous year. Corn acreage is expected to slip to 91.7 million acres, from 95.4 million acres.

State Archives

When Joseph Teasdale ran for governor in the mid-70s, he walked a thousand miles en route to winning the tightest gubernatorial race in the nation, handing a popular incumbent governor a stunning defeat. His margin of victory over Missouri Republican Gov. Christopher S. “Kit” Bond, by whom he had been defeated in the previous election, was a mere 12,000 votes out of more than 1.9 million cast. Even members of the Teasdale campaign cabinet were stunned.

Staff / Missouri Department of Conservation

The White House released a new climate change report Tuesday. It predicts threats to agriculture including severe weather, more pests and greater demands for water and energy. Harvest Public Media’s Amy Mayer reports.

field
Amy Mayer / Harvest Public Media

The White House’s new climate change report predicts threats to agriculture, including severe weather, more pests and greater demands for water and energy.

farm
isnapshot / flickr

The number of farms in the U.S. is shrinking, according to the latest Census of Agriculture, released Friday. The census is taken every five years and shows the changing landscape for farmers.

From Brooklyn to Boone County, and back again

Mar 6, 2014
Our Abbie Fentress Swanson (second from left) reported stories while hip-deep in water and on the road across the Midwest.
Abbie Fentress Swanson/Harvest Public Media

When I was offered this job nearly two years ago, I jumped at the opportunity to move to Columbia, Mo., from Brooklyn, N.Y., to cover agriculture and food production in the Heartland.

Pages