News

oklahomafarmreport.com

Producer Joel Bergman of Loomis, Nebraska, talks about how he switched from labor-intensive canal and gravity irrigation to pivot and underground drip systems on his 1500-acre operation. The Bergman farmstead prevents one pivot system from sweeping 360 degrees, bypassing the pie-slice where the farmstead is located. Bergman proposed putting in a wiper center pivot and 20-acres' worth of underground drip irrigation.

Getting off the chemical treadmill

Jan 4, 2015
Abby Wendle/Harvest Public Media

Farmers engaged in an epic struggle with “superweeds” – weeds that don’t die even when sprayed with herbicide – are looking for help from a new super chemical that’s about to hit the market.

Currently the last line of defense against weeds not felled by other herbicides, the new chemical could be defeated if it is overused and farmers could be left in even worse straits.  

Pigweed Problem

Herbicide-resistant Pigweeds are marching north into soybean and corn fields across the Midwest from the southern U.S. where they choked cotton fields so completely that the land cannot be farmed They can grow up to seven feet tall and produce more than half a million seeds per plant, per season.

Quentin Hope

A report on water use for fracking in Texas finds that it is not the only or even the most significant contributor to the longstanding problem of water use in Texas. 

The policy brief by The Mosbacher Institute for Trade, Economics and Public Policy at Texas A&M University is based on a study that looks closely at water use in the Eagle Ford Shale formation in south Texas where fresh groundwater aquifers are overdrawn by nearly 2.5 times their recharge rate.  Hydraulic fracturing operations there make up the third largest use of groundwater, well behind irrigation, the primary use.  However, hydraulic fracturing does requires large amounts of water, roughly five million gallons, for each well.

Kevin Rolle flickr/creative commons

The Kansas Biological Survey at KU has been awarded a $2.1 million contract to play an essential role in the Lesser Prairie Chicken Range-Wide Conservation Plan, a program resulting from the bird being listed as an endangered species in May of last year.  Companies that enroll in the plan, pay mitigation fees and follow recommended conservation measures are exempted from provisions of the Endangered Species Act and protected from penalties.

BIG Sister Club

Jan 4, 2015
etsy.com

People join clubs for different reasons, and sometimes they gain membership because of something someone else did. That’s certainly the case for those initiated into the big sister or brother club. Affiliation with this organization has nothing to do with a child’s intentions. Involvement is totally a result of parental action. 

The main reason most people don't like the strong taste of duck is because they don't take steps to remove the blood from the duck.   Here are a couple mouth-watering methods.  Remove the breast of the duck, butterflying each half, then place them in a 50/50 mix of soy sauce and Coca-Cola.  I marinate them overnight in a Ziploc bag.  The next day, I put a slice of jalapeno pepper in the middle, fold it over, wrap it with bacon, then indirectly smoke it.  Don't put it right over the flame, but smoke it for about an hour.  

Nu-Life Market

Grain sorghum has long been a step-child crop to wheat and corn on the High Plains, used mainly as a secondary cattle feed and ethanol distilling grain.  But its status may be improving with the growing gluten-free food movement, for which sorghum is ideally suited.

However, capturing this food-grade, certified food market is no easy task.  That’s evident in the sophisticated business and production model developed by Nu-Life Market, a “farm-to-fork” enterprise operating in Scott County, Kansas. 

Plains, Kansas is plugging away at addressing an issue facing many small towns on the High Plains – the lack of a grocery store. So far, about $400,000 in funding has been secured through tax credits, grants, donations and fund-raisers. That’s towards a total estimated cost of roughly 1.4 million dollars to buy land, build the new structure, and equip, stock and staff the store. The project is featured in this a recent New York Times article. While recognizing the determined efforts of community residents, it poses the question of whether the local grocery, if successfully built, will be able to overcome the “Walmart” effect. (Plains is located 25 miles northeast of Liberal, where there’s a Walmart, Dillons grocery and Asian, Mexican and natural food markets.)

Post Foods

Demand for products that don’t contain genetically modified organisms, or GMOs, is exploding.  

Many food companies are seeking certification that their products don’t have any genetically modified ingredients, and not just the brands popular in the health food aisle. Even plain Cheerios, that iconic cereal from General Mills, no longer contains GMOs.

There’s one High Plains commodity that’s likely to have another good year in 2015 – beef tongue sales to Japan. Exports were up 150 percent in 2013 and on track to rise even higher in 2014. And demand continues to grow, as do the ways of eating beef tongue in Japan, as this feature article from McClatchy DC explains:

A Fruitful Calendar

Dec 31, 2014
smithsonianmag.com

My calendar for the new year takes me back to a time when crates for vegetables and fruit were made of sturdy wood, and the labels were works of art.

dok1/Flickr

  To support a growing population, farmers worldwide need to emphasize the sustainable growth of three major foods: corn, wheat and rice, according to the United Nation’s Food and Agriculture Organization

Corn, wheat and rice make up some of the most crucial ingredients to diets across the world. With a booming global population, FAO says in the next 35 years farmers will need to ratchet up production of these three commodities to 3 billion tons – that’s half a billion tons more than the record harvest of 2013.

The Natural Resources Conservation Service is partnering with regional agencies in promoting meaningful actions for water conservation. Certain areas over the aquifer have experienced more groundwater depletion than others. Kansas producer Gary Moss received help through the local groundwater management district to revert part of his irrigated operation to dryland and meet his water consumption goal.

Courtesy of wikipedia

Harvest Public Media was created four years ago to report on agriculture and food production in the geographic area where the majority of that takes place – the Midwest. This year, my third of counting the top ag stories of the year, I find that the issues taking center stage were set not here, but in the politics, policies and processes of Washington D.C., state legislatures or the ballot box.

There are a number of steps to take for a successful duck hunt, but one of the most vital ingredients is- hide! 

kmbo.org

A guide to the care and watering of  the plant that says "Christmas" no matter the time of year.

Conserving water and reviving a community

Dec 24, 2014
DairyGood.org

Across the country, farmers know that every drop of water counts. To help conserve this resource, one dairy in Western Kansas decided to take a chance on a one-of-its-kind partnership, which not only saved water, but also brought new life to its community.

In 2012, McCarty Family Farms in Rexford, partnered with Dannon to build a condensed milk processing plant that extracts more than 14 million gallons of water from the milk each year.

Rhonda's Secret Hot Chocolate

Dec 24, 2014
Kathleen Holt

If you were unable to join friends of High Plains Public Radio for Amarillo’s Parade of Lights this month, you can enjoy a bit of the fun by making Rhonda’s secret hot chocolate mix.

HPPR board members, volunteers and staff enjoyed a studio open house against the background of music provided by Amy and Greg, then served hot chocolate during Center City’s annual parade. 

Texas Underwriting Representative, Rhonda Dittfurth arranged for donations allowing HPPR to distribute hot chocolate to more than 300 parade goers.

This past Thanksgiving, James Fallow, national correspondent for The Atlantic magazine, and his wife Deborah stopped in Guymon, Oklahoma as a “a most anticipated waypoint” on their cross-country trip by small plane. The object of their sojourn that day was the homestead of Caroline Henderson whose “Letters from the Dust Bowl were published in The Atlantic some 80 years ago. Deborah Fallows recounts their flight in, visit to the homestead and Thanksgiving dinner in Guymon in this piece:

http://cominghometomyself.blogspot.com/

Greyhound is celebrating 100 years, and the BBC’s Laura Barton traveled from Michigan to rural Kansas trying to understand the lure of bus travel reports the Guardian. 

Real Science / realscience.us

The $1.1 trillion dollar spending bill President Obama signed Wednesday isn’t just about dollars and cents. The so-called “Cromnibus” bill also keeps school cafeteria fries salty and limits the government's ability to monitor cow belches.

getruralkansas.com

Lovers of sun light, rejoice. Soon, the winter solstice will pass for another year. Even though days grow longer only a few minutes at a time, we’ll soon enjoy more sunshine than darkness in a 24-hour span. Unfortunately, it takes a month or so of incremental minutes before longer days are noticeable, so until then let’s bask in the glow of Christmas lights.

Luke Clayton

Merry Christmas!

This week I'm sharing one of my favorite winter dishes- smoked chili.  The secret to this recipe is to smoke the meat prior to adding any liquid ingredients.  Take a listen to the show, and I'll walk you through the process step by step.

Grant Gerlock/Harvest Public Media

As drought, feed costs, and urban development wear on West Coast milk producers, states like Nebraska, Kansas and Iowa are pitching themselves as a dairy heaven. Even in California, the nation’s No. 1 dairy state, many dairy farmers are listening.

For the Midwest, an influx of dairies isn’t just about milk. It’s about pumping dollars into the rural economy.

nytimes.com

There are three times as many men officially unemployed now as there were in 1968 reports the New York Times.

Men in their prime working age from 25 to 64 were studied.   

Percentage of unemployed males in area counties:

Pegasus Books

Richard Parker’s newest book, Lone Star Nation, is described as a provocative and eye-opening look at the most explosive and controversial state in America, where everything is bigger, bolder—and shaping our nation’s future in surprising ways by Amazon.

Karen Olsson reviewed the book for the New York Times

She says:

Parker’s short book caters to lighter appetites: It’s a tray of Texas nibbles. Included are a capsule history of the state; personal reminiscence and travels; policy analysis; a look at the 2014 governor’s race; and man-on-the-street (or woman-in-the-Starbucks) interviews, not to mention a list of 300 famous Texans and three pages of Texas-related quotations.

mikefrench.org

 Today, we'll catch the scent and track two biblical spices that have been used for centuries in exalted temples, though they are best known for their appearance in a lowly stable in Bethlehem.

California dairies look to Plain’s greener pastures

Dec 17, 2014
Ezra David Romero for Harvest Public Media

California is branded as the state with happy cows, but increasingly, not necessarily happy dairy owners. For many of them in the nation’s No. 1 dairy state it’s getting tougher to make a living, that’s why some are some selling their cattle and heading to the Midwest.

A full quarter of California dairies have been shuttered since 2007, according to Michael Marsh, CEO of Western United Dairymen.

A ballot initiative being promoted by a Lakewood, Colorado couple to keep the state permanently on Mountain Daylight Time could make time keeping tricky for those crossing through four Kansas counties on the Colorado border. 

Dave Ranney / Kansas Health Institute

Advocates for Kansans with disabilities and frail seniors say they will file objections to proposed KanCare waiver changes reports the Kansas Health Institute

The waivers define the state’s approach to Medicaid funded services that help them live in the community rather than in nursing homes.

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