agriculture

Economy - Agriculture
9:22 am
Tue July 24, 2012

Despite crop insurance, drought still stings farmers

Corn plants dry in a drought-stricken farm field on July 17 near Fritchton, Ind. The corn and soybean belt in the middle of the nation is experiencing one of the worst droughts in more than five decades.
Scott Olson Getty Images

Originally published on Wed July 25, 2012 9:30 am

Stop by most any unirrigated farm across the lower Midwest and you'll see crops in distress. Midwestern corn and soybean farmers are taking a beating during the recent drought, but it's not likely to drive many out of business.

Most of those farmers carry terrific insurance, and the worse the drought becomes, the more individual farmers will be paid for their lost crops. The federal government picks up most of the cost of the crop insurance program, and this year that bill is going to be a whopper.

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Drought
2:44 pm
Sun July 15, 2012

No drought relief in sight

(via Flickr/KOMUnews/Malory Ensor)

Dry conditions are expected to get worse in the coming days, and it will take a whole lot more than scattered thunderstorms to break the drought. 

“We’re way, way, way below normal in rainfall,” National Weather Service Meteorologist Fred Glass said.  “Most of the area is in severe drought conditions, it’s going to quite a bit of rain to make that up, probably in many areas 8-12 inches, and in some areas in excess of 12 inches.”

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Ag disaster
12:24 pm
Wed July 11, 2012

McCaskill, Blunt ask for agriculture disaster declaration

A farmer in Boone County, Mo. demonstrates how big an ear of corn should be by June 25. Sens. McCaskill and Blunt have sent a letter asking for an agriculture disaster declaration.
Malory Ensor/KOMU News - via Flickr

Both of Missouri’s Senators have signed a letter asking agriculture secretary Tom Vilsack to declare almost all of the state a disaster area due to drought conditions.

The federal Farm Service Agency recently found that every county except St. Louis city met the requirements for that declaration. It would open up emergency loans and expand the places where ranchers can graze their cattle.

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Agriculture
1:27 pm
Tue July 10, 2012

Drought conditions prompt disaster declaration request for 114 Mo. counties

The corn crop at David Grant’s farm withers without rainfall in Boone County, Mo., Monday, June 25, 2012.
(via Flickr/KOMUnews/Malory Ensor)

Gov. Jay Nixon has asked the federal government to declare 114 Missouri counties agriculture disaster areas because of drought conditions.

Nixon's office says in a release that if the counties are designated as agriculture disasters, farmers in those counties would be able to receive assistance from the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Farm Service Agency. The federal aid would also include emergency loans for losses to crops and livestock from the ongoing drought.

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Morning News Round-up
9:41 am
Sun July 8, 2012

Morning headlines: Sunday, July 8, 2012

(via Flickr/Indofunk Satish)

Early drought exacting a toll on regional corn farmers

Extreme heat and drought are driving down what many farmers expected to be a bumper corn crop.  

Back in March and April, warm weather had Midwestern farmers planting corn at a record setting pace.

In Illinois alone, an estimated more than 13 million acres of corn were planted this year.  

Now, many growers are in full on damage control as record setting heat continues to drive down expected yields.

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Agriculture
10:55 am
Mon June 25, 2012

Mo. drought assessment could be step to relief for farmers

Corn and soybeans are the primary crops in Missouri and Mississippi River bottomland.

Gov. Jay Nixon wants federal agriculture officials to determine whether heat and drought conditions are taking a toll on Missouri's crops and livestock. The National Climatic Data Center says moderate drought conditions persist across nearly 87 percent of Missouri. And extreme drought conditions exist in southeast Missouri.

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Undercover video/Agriculture
1:15 pm
Tue April 17, 2012

Mo. bill criminalizes undercover videos at farms

(via Wikimedia Commons)

The Missouri House has endorsed legislation seeking to make it a crime for undercover activists to produce videos portraying poor conditions at agricultural facilities.

The legislation given first-round approval Tuesday would create the crime of "agriculture production facility interference." The crime would apply to people who produce or distribute photos, videos or audio recordings of the activities at an agricultural facility without the consent of the owner.

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Weather - Insects
6:25 am
Mon April 2, 2012

Warm weather means more bugs, right? Maybe, maybe not.

Local experts say this year’s mild winter and early spring won’t necessarily mean more insect pests like ticks and mosquitoes. The lone star tick (pictured) is the most common of several disease-carrying ticks in Missouri.
(U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)

This year’s mild winter and early spring has plants flowering and putting out leaves about three weeks sooner than usual. Ticks and mosquitoes have also been spotted early.

So with all this warm weather, we can expect a particularly bad bug season, right?

Missouri Department of Conservation natural history biologist Mike Arduser says not necessarily. “I hate to use the phrase “old wives’ tale,” but…”

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The Salt
9:36 am
Wed March 7, 2012

Farmers Face Tough Choice On Ways To Fight New Strains Of Weeds

Adam Cole NPR

Originally published on Tue March 6, 2012 11:01 pm

OK, so this story is about weeds and weedkillers, neither of which is ever the hero of a story, but stay with me for a second: It's also about plants with superpowers.

Unless you grow cotton, corn or soybeans for a living, it's hard to appreciate just how amazing and wonderful it seemed, 15 years ago, when Roundup-tolerant crops hit the market. I've seen crusty farmers turn giddy just talking about it.

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Agriculture
6:25 am
Thu February 23, 2012

Crumbling locks and dams threaten Midwestern agriculture exports

(via Flickr/The Confluence)

"When they aren't moving, they aren't creating any revenue."

It’s around 8:30 on a chilly morning and workers are starting their day at America’s Central Port on the East Saint Louis side of the Mississippi River.

Under a steady drizzle they blast clean barge hulls with massive power washers.

In a suit and tie the port’s Executive Director Dennis Wilmsmeyer is a sharp contrast to bearded workers wearing Carhart overalls.

He takes a wide stance on top of barge that rocks back and forth.

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