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.

Harvest Public Media reports on KOSU sponsored by Oklahoma Farm Bureau, supporting family farmers and ranchers to improve the lives of all Oklahomans. More at okfarmbureau.org.

Ways to Connect

AMY MAYER / HARVEST PUBLIC MEDIA

Farmers in the South were paid more on average than those in the Midwest and Great Plains from a government program set up to offset the losses due to the trade war with China, according to a new study from the Government Accountability Office.

After China placed retaliatory tariffs on crops, the U.S. Department of Agriculture created the Market Facilitation Program to help farmers make up the lost income. 

Ed Koger

Lesser prairie chickens don’t really bother Mike McCarty. He likes them just fine, but doesn’t think people understand how hard it is to balance wildlife conservation and being a rancher and farmer in southwest Kansas.

“Yes, we need to protect our wildlife and everything,” he says, “but we also need to protect our people, our agriculture.”

ERICA HUNZINGER / HARVEST PUBLIC MEDIA

As workplaces and schools go online to prevent the spread of COVID-19, many people are relying on a strong internet connection. But in some states, less than 50% of rural households have access to broadband, according to data from the Federal Communications Commission.

AMY MAYER / HARVEST PUBLIC MEDIA FILE PHOTO

First restaurants and school cafeterias closed, then COVID-19 outbreaks at meat-packing plants slowed processing. In the spring, shoppers started seeing signs declaring limits on the amount of fresh meat they could buy in one trip. Prices for some products crept up.

Provided

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.

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