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.

Ways to Connect

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. 

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.

Joe Wertz / StateImpact Oklahoma

KOSU, the public radio station licensed to Oklahoma State University, welcomes a new reporter to cover agriculture and rural issues. At a time when local journalism is reeling from years of newsroom cuts and unforeseen challenges brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic, KOSU is expanding its newsroom to be of better service to the Oklahoma community.

Rachel Hubbard / KOSU

Farmers in Oklahoma and across the Great Plains are in the middle of cutting their wheat crops. Even as more people bake during the pandemic, some wheat farmers may need help to break even this year.

SPENCER PUGH / UNSPLASH

Studies have found the rates of mental illness and suicide are higher for farmers. The profession requires long hours, limited social contact and is often at the mercy of external factors such as weather and market rates. Now the COVID-19 pandemic has farmers facing unprecedented challenges, and this has some worried about a mental health crisis in this community.

JOHN PAUL COONROD

Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, grocery store aisles have been crowded, and shelves emptied of basic food items. To avoid the mayhem, some shoppers are turning to smaller markets in more rural areas. That’s giving rural grocery stores a boost.

PROVIDED BY MAPLEGLEN CARE CENTER

Like many small business owners, Amy Manganelli has taken a financial hit since the start of the coronavirus pandemic. So, a few weeks ago, she decided to apply for a small business loan from the federal government.

She was turned down.

Manganelli is the co-owner of Mapleglen Care Center, a cannabis dispensary in Rockford, Ill.

“We're a legitimate business in every sense of the word, until it comes to some kind of government program that might assist,” she says.

DAVID KOVALUK / ST. LOUIS PUBLIC RADIO

Rural hospitals have been planning for the arrival of the coronavirus, but the preparations for a virus that may not come are putting some already struggling rural hospitals in danger.

NICK TORKELSON

As meatpacking plants across the country have temporarily closed due to COVID-19 outbreaks, consumers might be seeing less meat on the shelves at the grocery, but farmers are dealing with animals they can’t sell.

Meatpacking plants slaughter livestock and send packaged meat into wholesale and retail channels. Companies spent the better part of the 20th century mechanizing every possible aspect of the process, to maximize efficiency.

Amy Mayer

Many of the public health labs determining whether people have COVID-19 have become at least overworked or, at worst, overwhelmed. Some of the country’s animal disease labs have stepped in to help.

Rodger Main, director of the Veterinary Diagnostic Lab at Iowa State University, says early in the COVID-19 outbreak, he and leaders from the University of Iowa’s State Hygienic Lab got on the phone to discuss how they could collaborate.

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