Harvest Public Media

Harvest Public Media reports on food systems, agriculture and rural issues through a collaborative network of reporters and partner stations throughout the Midwest and Plains.

Our goal is to provide in-depth and unbiased reporting on complex issues for a broad, diverse audience, often connecting the Heartland to the rest of the country. Primary topics include, but are not limited to, agribusiness, biofuels, climate change, farming and ranching, food safety, rural life and public policy.

Support for Harvest Public Media reports on KOSU comes from Oklahoma's Electric Cooperatives, powering and servicing Oklahoma and committed to bringing rural communities to life. Find out more at oaec.coop.

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While COVID-19 has hampered farmers this year by forcing many farmers markets and restaurants to close, usually it’s the weather that threatens crops. A practice called “gleaning” helps save crops from going to waste while feeding those in need.

Seth Bodine / KOSU

The Census Bureau is working to count every household in the U.S., but response rates--especially in rural areas--are lagging behind 2010. Lower self-response rates could risk inaccurate counts. 

AMY MAYER / HARVEST PUBLIC MEDIA FILE PHOTO

Schools are resuming instruction but with the COVID-19 pandemic continuing, they are facing an ever-changing metric for whether students are physically in school buildings. Being able to provide meals to them no matter how they’re learning remains a challenging priority. 

Seth Bodine / KOSU

State fairs across the country have been canceled to prevent the spread of COVID-19, creating big dents in state economies. These fairs often help support small businesses, but some states are turning to e-commerce to help those businesses.

KRISTOFOR HUSTED / HARVEST PUBLIC MEDIA FILE PHOTO

Algal blooms in bodies of water often caused by runoff of manure and fertilizer on crop lands have a high price tag. 

An economic analysis by the nonprofit Environmental Working Group found that 22 states have spent more than $1 billion altogether since 2010. Kansas, Iowa and Texas are among the states that have spent millions clearing the algae. Of the Midwestern states in the study, Iowa has spent the most — more than $40 million across six sites since 2010. 

JONATHAN AHL / HARVEST PUBLIC MEDIA

A USDA program that gives grants to farmers looking to add solar power to their operations is getting increased interest. Applications are up by fifty percent in some midwestern states — it's a trend that may continue, even without the government’s help.

JONATHAN AHL / HARVEST PUBLIC MEDIA

Missouri and Oklahoma are both trying to help reduce the supply chain problems in the meat industry seen during the coronavirus pandemic by directing federal grant dollars to meatpacking plants.

Coronavirus outbreaks at meatpacking plants led to shortages and higher prices.

“During COVID-19, our food supply was tested from farm to fork. Farmers and ranchers saw tight livestock supplies on their farms, while consumers saw their choices of certain cuts of meat shrink or go away,” said Chris Chinn, Director of the Missouri Department of Agriculture.

OKLAHOMA DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE

Unsolicited packages of seeds from China are arriving in mailboxes around the country. More than 20 state departments of agriculture, including Oklahoma, Iowa and Nebraska are warning that the seeds could potentially be harmful.

FRANK MORRIS / HARVEST PUBLIC MEDIA

Seven states have seen animals infected with vesicular stomatitis virus (VSV), which causes blister-like lesions in and around the mouth of horses and other livestock. 

Seth Bodine / KOSU

The U.S. Census efforts have been interrupted by COVID-19, forcing the Bureau to push back deadlines and adjust to the pandemic. That's left rural community leaders struggling to adapt.

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