Much of the Midwest and the Plains have been battling drought for years. And the current winter wheat crop looks like it will be one of the worst in recent memory, stressing farmers in the heart of the Wheat Belt – from Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas, Colorado and Nebraska.
Barns like this one often house more than a thousand pregnant sows in gestation crates.
Credit Sarah McCammon / Harvest Public Media
Cargill, one of the country’s largest pork producers, announced Monday that it will stop using gestation crates, the controversial narrow cages meant to house and separate sows. Cargill is joining other major meatpackers, like competitors Tyson and Smithfield Foods, in planning to move away from hog crates.
Iowa State University, the University of Iowa and the University of Northern Iowa are all working on a project to plant, study and harvest miscanthus for biofuel.
Credit Rick Fredericksen / Harvest Public Media
Miscanthus, a relative of sugar cane that looks like bamboo, could be the Midwest’s next energy crop. But in a region dominated by corn and soybeans, it has yet to fully catch on, even as advocates tout its advantages.