Harvest Public Media

KUNC is a member of Harvest Public Media, a public media collaboration focused on issues of food, fuel and field. Based at KCUR in Kansas City, Harvest is comprised of an expanding network of reporters and partner stations throughout the Midwest.

Global demand for food and fuel is rising, and competition for resources has widespread ramifications. We all eat, so we all have a stake in how our food is produced. Our goal is to provide in-depth and unbiased reporting on things like climate change, food safety, biofuel production, animal welfare, water quality and sustainability.

Harvest Public Media is edited by Erica Hunzinger

Last year's drought wreaked havoc on farmers' fields in much of the Midwest, cutting crop yields and forcing livestock producers to cull their herds. This spring, the rain that farmers needed so badly in 2012 has finally returned. But maybe too much, and at the wrong time.

It's almost the end of April, which is prime time to plant corn. But farmers need a break in the rain so they can get this year's crops in the ground and try to lock in good yields at harvest.

Gluten-Free By Popular Demand

Apr 18, 2013
Abbie Fentress Swanson / Harvest Public Media

Gluten-free diets, which bar food containing wheat, rye and barley, are wildly popular today. Which is surprising since only about one percent of the U.S. population suffers from Celiac disease, the disorder that causes their immune systems to reject the pesky gluten.

Seeking Profits In Private Labels

Apr 15, 2013
Grant Gerlock / Harvest Public Media

You may not think much about store brands as you shop for groceries, but it’s a business worth nearly $60 billion per year.

A New Frontier in Genetically Engineered Food

Apr 12, 2013
Barrett & MacKay Photography Inc.

At least 20 states have introduced bills over the past year that would require labeling of genetically modified food. The common point of contention is the pervasiveness of grains that have had their DNA altered. But some of these proposed laws take aim specifically at genetically engineered meat or fish.

Finding Fault After Grain Elevator Explosions

Mar 29, 2013
Todd Feeback / Kansas City Star

When the Bartlett Grain Co. elevator exploded in Atchison, Kansas in October 2011, the town’s 11,000 residents knew it immediately. People who live miles away from the elevator still talk about pictures jumping off walls.

GMO Labeling Laws On Deck In Midwest

Mar 20, 2013
Abbie Fentress Swanson / Harvest Public Media

Whole Foods Market recently announced that all products sold in its U-S and Canadian stores containing genetically modified organisms will be clearly labeled as such by 2018.

Legalize It? Kentucky Farmers Look To Hemp

Mar 15, 2013
Jacob McCleland / For Harvest Public Media

Kentucky is trying to bring back hemp, the close relative of marijuana that is used in a seemingly endless number of products like textiles, car parts, lotions and paper. But like its cousin, it’s illegal to grow hemp in the United States.

Ethanol Plants Caught in ‘Blend Wall’

Mar 13, 2013
Grant Gerlock / Harvest Public Media

Ethanol plants in at least 13 states have stopped running in recent months because of high corn prices and a lower demand for the fuel. The industry is trying to change the equation by putting more of the biofuel in gasoline, but ethanol critics are pushing back.

Amy Mayer / Harvest Public Media

Marilyn Andersen raises angora goats and llamas for wool that she spins and weaves in her studio at Two Cedars Weaving in Story City, Iowa.

Two rapid-fire snowstorms belted Kansas with more than 2 feet of snow this week. They caused thousands of accidents and all kinds of hardships — but they also produced very broad smiles from some quarters.

That's because in a place as dry as Kansas has been lately, a blizzard can be a blessing for farmers and ranchers.