The Western Farm Show in Kansas City, Missouri, is a long way from Silicon Valley.

But here in a huge arena, set in what used to be the Kansas City Stockyards, the high-tech future of agriculture is for sale.

Southern Illinois Farmers Stuck in Limbo Amid Levee Breach

Mar 11, 2016
Marissanne Lewis-Thompson/KRCU


 A massive winter flood cracked the Len Small levee wide open and left thousands of acres of Missouri and Illinois farmland damaged. With planting and flood season around the corner, Alexander County, Illinois farmers like Adam Thomas are in limbo.

Thomas drove through his field along the rough and muddy gravel roads. Lodged in the middle of what was once a rich and pristine soybean field was an upended mess of tubes, wheels and hoses from a nearby farmer’s irrigation system.


Luke Runyon/Harvest Public Media

  Cannabis is beginning to look a lot like a commodity crop.

After spending decades in darkened basements and secreted away on small parcels of land, marijuana growers are commercializing once-illegal plant varieties: industrial hemp, recreational marijuana and medical cannabis.

As more states legalize the growth of certain types of cannabis, those in the industry are turning to traditional farmers for help in an effort to transform the plant from black market scourge to the next big American cash crop.

(Kristofor Husted/Harvest Public Media)

Cotton fabric has been a staple in our closets for decades, but times are tough for farmers in the U.S. cotton belt who are caught in the middle of a storm of changing global demand.

Cotton acreage in the U.S. has been declining for years, with 2015 hitting the lowest mark in decades.  It has dropped from nearly 15 million acres to less than 9 million acres in just the past five years.

Courtesy Juan Pablo Karnatz

The normally dry northern region of Argentina has a problem of biblical proportions.

Farmers there are struggling with a massive outbreak of locusts. Dark clouds of the green-brown bugs cast shadows when they fly overhead and when they land, they cover the ground.

“It is really, really, amazing when you see the locusts because you see millions of them together,” said Juan Pablo Karnatz, who raises cattle in Santiago del Estero, about 600 miles northwest of Argentina’s capital, Buenos Aires. “When you think they can be more millions flying around, it could be a disaster.”