News

Abby Wendle/Harvest Public Media

Farmers raised fewer turkeys this year than they have in the past three decades - about 235 million gobblers, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Ann Knowles raised 70 broad breasted bronze and white turkeys on her small farm in western Illinois.

She coops up the plump birds at night to guard against predators, but lets them roam freely during the day.

Quentin Hope

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

Stephen Koranda / kpr.org

Governor Sam Brownback is staying tight-lipped about his plans to fix a hole in the state budget. Kansas Public Radio's Stephen Koranda reports, Brownback says he's looking at all the options.

Following a recent meeting at the Statehouse, Brownback gave few details to the media about what he'll propose. He says all options are on the table, including tax increases or slowing future scheduled decreases.

Stephen Koranda / kpr.org

Kansas lawmakers are studying whether local elections should be moved from the spring to the fall. Stephen Koranda reported for Kansas Public Radio that the idea is to move the local races into the traditional election season.

The Prowers Journal

There’s good news for veterans in southeastern Colorado.  The VA Medical Clinic now has a permanent location Lamar reported the Prowers Journal.  When the Prowers Medial Clinic closed over a year and a half ago, a mobile trailer was brought in as a stop-gap measure. 

morningagclips.com

There’s an ap for everything- even ag.  Think of this: without ever leaving the field, a farmer can pull out his smart phone and identify insects, crop diseases, or even assess the nutrient value of manure.  He can also calculate crop maturity, seed planting to attain the highest yield, and pesticide droplet size and potential pesticide drift.

Conestoga Energy Partners; www.conestogaenergy.com/bonanza-bioenergy

The Environmental Protection Agency said last Friday that it won’t release rules for how much ethanol oil refiners have to mix in to our gasoline supply this year.

The ethanol rules, called the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS), are meant to prop up the U.S. biofuels industry by creating demand for ethanol. Without the rules, both oil companies and the biofuel sector will be left in the dark as to what the demand for ethanol will be.

Quentin Hope

Payments to farmers under the new farm bill could soar as high as $8-10 billion for this year’s crop, according to some economists quoted in an article by Reuters. That would be more than double the forecast by the Congressional Budget Office and more than 10 times the U.S. Department of Agriculture's working estimate.

laboratoryequipment.com

Texas A&M AgriLife Research scientists are wrapping up a two-year study to determine the best combination of corn hybrids, planting dates and maturity to maintain yield and maximize water-use efficiency reported Laboratory Equipment.  The lead researcher is Dr. Qingwu Xue.  He’s a crop stress physiologist.  He says the overall goal of the study is to determine if irrigation water can be saved while preserving yields. 

dankalal.net

Kansas lawmakers may dip into highway funding to help balance the state’s budget. Kansas Public Radio’s Stephen Koranda reports the state Senate’s top budget writer says transportation money could help fill the gap.

blakleyhomeplace.blogspot.com

While living out of a suitcase has definite drawbacks, one of the bonuses of visiting new places is trying local foods. Because my family both moved and traveled a great deal as I grew up, I learned early the joy of sampling regional delights every time I hit the road.

Luke Clayton

DEER SEASON is in going strong right now and the rut is either in the early stages or full swing, depending upon where you hunt.

Sara Waite / Sterling Journal-Advocate

What effect will the recent artic cold snap have on our trees? 

State government agencies under Republican Gov. Sam Brownback’s direction aren’t yet changing their policies on recognizing marriages.

www.secoloradoheritage.com

A national historic site in southeastern Colorado will become a virtual reality in the video game Minecraft.  The Immersive Education Initiative announced Bent’s Old Fort will also be reconstructed as a fully immersive 3D environment.

The size of the unauthorized immigrant population in Colorado and Kansas fell between 2009 and 2012 and stayed the same in Texas and Oklahoma, according to an updated tracking report from the Pew Center for Research. 

Derek Schmidt, Kansas Attorney General, says gay marriage is legal in the state now, but same sex couples can't be sure their unions will remain so.

www.dmschools.org

A program called Breakfast in the Classroom has added Kansas and six other states to the list of those eligible for the grant-funded program reported Bryan Thompson for Kansas Public Radio.

Cheaper, purer imports of crystal meth made in Mexico are resulting in fewer meth labs in the fields and remote areas of states where they had become a major problem. In Missouri, data for 2014 to date indicates that lab seizures will be down a third from last year and one-half from 2012. In Oklahoma, they are projected to be down by about half from last year. Meanwhile deaths from meth use are rising and distribution rings for the imported meth are reaching into smaller communities in Oklahoma.

Luke Runyon/Harvest Public Media

When farmer Sondra Pierce had her first child, she decided to forgo daycare.

“Soon as I had my son, because I had my son very early, I would put his car seat in the tractor and he would ride with me,” Pierce says.

During harvest on her sugar beet farm in rural Boulder County, Colo., she’d buckle him up in the seat right next to her.

Gloria Tucker / Dodge City Daily Globe

Mary Springs knows the secret to living a long life. She says it's blueberries and beer reported the Dodge City Daily Globe.

hrc.org

The Human Rights Campaign is a gay civil rights group.  The group recently issued a report card ranking city policies toward lesbians, gays, bisexual and transgender people. 

kansasagland.com

China’s appetite for milk is growing.  The Dairy Farmers of America and the leading Chinese dairy processor are working to satisfy that taste.

gardenideaspicture.biz

In this final segment of our trip down the Great Gardens memory lane, we travel to Colby, Kansas to the garden of Beverly and Curt Eicher.  The Eichers took a trip, and returned home wanting their own cottage garden. 

Stephen Koranda / kpr.org

Because of the standard waiting period in Kansas, Monday was the first day many same sex couples would be eligible to get married. KPR’s Stephen Koranda reported about two hundred people were present for the first same sex wedding at a Lawrence church.  Gerlado Sousa and David Bergeron were married by Reverend Peter Luckey.

The merger of Fort Hays State University and the Dodge City Community College failed.  The DCCC Board of Trustees voted 3-3 to continue the merger process reported Hutch News.  Mira Martin is the president of FHSU.  She issued an official statement saying Fort Hays State University was prepared to continue exploring the merger, but the decision to proceed or not was always the responsibility of the Dodge City trustees.

Simone Beaudelair

A historical romance series has an unusual setting—Garden City, Kansas.  Simone Beaudelair starts the series with the story of a small town pastor and a church organist.  The author dedicates the book to the people of Garden City saying it was a wonderful place to live.  High Plains Holiday is the first installment of Love on the High Plains.  Simone Beaudelair is the pseudonym for a single mom and teacher now living in Texas. 

The Affordable Care Act open enrollment period is underway.  KUT reported one of the barriers stopping people from getting coverage can be summed up in three words: health insurance literacy.  Here are the cliff notes for health insurance terms:

A HMO requires you to pick a primary physician.  That person will become your health home, and any services you want have to be approved by that physician.

watchdog.org

We visit a couple ranchers in the Oklahoma panhandle who are participating in the NRCS Lesser Prairie Chicken Initiative.

Willard Drake Johnson / USGS Photographic Library, http://libraryphoto.cr.usgs.gov/

When explorer Stephen Long led his expedition across the western Great Plains in 1819-1820, it was during a period of widespread drought.  With only a single reference point in time, he concluded the area “is almost wholly unfit for cultivation, and of course uninhabitable by a people depending upon agriculture for their subsistence”.  He also marked the region on his maps as the “Great American Desert”, a label used by other map makers for decades to come.

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