Harvest Public Media

Harvest Public Media
2:54 pm
Tue November 25, 2014

For Ranchers, A Grassland Rush

Cattle take a drink from a tank filled by a windmill. Rancher Dave Wright was hoping to buy part of a neighboring ranch to expand his herd, but it sold for extreme prices.
Grant Gerlock Harvest Public Media

After getting pummeled by drought and low cattle prices, many ranchers are across the Midwest are eager to grow their herds. As they do, grass is turning into a hot commodity.

The national beef herd is down to the size it was in 1951. Shoppers know that beef is more expensive, which has people switching to chicken and pork. To raise more cattle and perhaps bring down meat prices, ranchers need more pasture. The trouble for many ranchers is grass has grown expensive.

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Harvest Public Media
7:16 am
Fri November 21, 2014

Crop Dusting Pilots Navigate Dangerous Airspace

A pilot for Earl’s Flying Service sprays chemicals on a field in southeastern Missouri.
Mike Lee

Mike Lee steers his plane over the Missouri-Arkansas state line, checking out a checkerboard of green and brown fields of rice, cotton, corn and soybeans. Lee is the owner of Earl’s Flying Service, a crop dusting business in Steele, Mo., and he’s scouting some farm fields that his pilots will treat later in the day.

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Harvest Public Media
7:50 am
Tue November 18, 2014

Migrant Farmworkers Remain Crucial To Harvest

Both Veronica Jaramillio and her mother Maria have spent decades traveling the country as migrant farmworkers.
Esther Honig Harvest Public Media

On a warm October afternoon Veronica Jaramillo walks through rows of skinny apple trees on the orchard where she works as the sun sinks behind rolling Missouri hills.

The 30 year-old migrant farmworker reaches into a tree on the Waverly, Mo., orchard, and in one fluid motion, picks a Golden Delicious apple. 

“I don’t like picking the Golden,” laughs Jaramillo. “They’re real delicate and you can bruise them with just your fingertips.” 

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Harvest Public Media
3:57 pm
Tue November 11, 2014

Failing Prices Put Young Farmers’ Dreams On Hold

Like many beginning farmers, Curtis wants to invest in his operation but expectations of low prices are tying his hands.
Abby Wendle Harvest Public Media

Grant Curtis remembers the day he went shopping for his first tractor.

“It was an eye opening experience,” he said. “Walking into a dealership, getting the prices, walking back to the bank and pleading my case. Saying, ‘I want to get back to the farm, but I need a way to do that.’”

Curtis, in his early twenties at the time and without farmland of his own, joked that the only thing he offered as collateral was sweat. But grain farming is a seriously expensive business.

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Harvest Public Media
5:15 pm
Mon November 10, 2014

Promised Farm Bill Savings Look Elusive Today

After emptying two wagons of corn, farmer Paul Sauter pulls out of the Heartland Coop grain elevator in Alleman, Iowa.
Amy Mayer Harvest Public Media

The Farm Bill enacted earlier this year was supposed to save taxpayers money, in part by reducing subsidy payments to farmers. But a massive drop in prices for the nation’s largest crops means that many farmers may rely on the farm safety net this year and could herald large government payouts.

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