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Esther Honig / Harvest Public Media

Sugar Beet Farmers Caught In GMO Debate, Wait For USDA Labeling Decision

Colorado farmer Steve Kelly brushes aside a small mound of dry yellow dirt to reveal a sugar beet seed that’s no larger than a peppercorn. It seems insignificant, but the seed is different from what he planted more than 20 years ago. “The quality of the beet wasn’t as good and yield and everything that way wasn’t as good either,” he said. Now all but 5 percent of sugar beet seeds in the U.S. are genetically modified, or GMO.

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U.S. Rep. Roger Marshall's Office

Some conservative House Republicans made it clear Friday in voting down the 2018 farm bill: They’re not interested in a farm bill without working on immigration first.

Thirty Republicans and every Democrat voted against the farm bill, which failed 198-213 in the full House.

Farmers Milking For What It's Worth (Not Much), Unsure What Comes Next

May 17, 2018
Nicole Erwin / Ohio Valley ReSource

Dairy farmer Gary Rock sits in his milking parlor, overlooking what is left of his 95-cow operation in LaRue County, Kentucky.

“Three hundred years of history is something that a lot of people in our country cannot even talk about,” Rock said. That’s how long the farm has been in his family.

Courtesy the Agriculture Marketing Service / USDA

Though it’s not yet clear which highly processed ingredients will be labeled as genetically modified foods, the U.S. Department of Agriculture has released possible designs for those labels.

The labels fulfill a law passed in 2016 that gives food companies three options to disclose GMO ingredients: a line of text, a scannable QR code, or a symbol. It is meant to be an impartial notice to shoppers, and the labels avoid the polarizing term “GMO.”

Yet, one of the label designs released this month is a smiling orange and green sun with the letters “b-e” standing for “bioengineered,” which is the word used in the law.

Amy Mayer / Harvest Public Media

At The Law Shop in Van Meter, Iowa, attorney Amy Skogerson untied a piece of blue yarn from around a bunch of craft sticks.

Each stick had a word or short phrase stamped on it, and she read from them as she placed them on her desk: “negotiate, court representation, research law, draft documents.”

The Agriculture Department established research centers in 2014 to translate climate science into real-world ideas for farmers and ranchers adapting to a hotter climate.
Luke Runyon / Harvest Public Media file photo

New research suggests that no-till farming could help mitigate climate change.

Kristofor Husted / Harvest Public Media

Beef cattle ranchers are getting wise to the science of genetics.

Lynn Smith was picking out frozen vegetables in a Los Angeles grocery store when she was asked if she bought much of her food in that aisle.

"No I don't, as a matter of fact," Smith responded, slightly perplexed.

Esther Honig / Harvest Public Media

The farm bill traditionally is a bipartisan effort, but House Republicans’ proposed changes to the main federal food-aid program in this year’s version have struck a nerve. To move it through efficiently, Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue says he’ll appeal to President Donald Trump.

With the help of a rented plane, Jerry Eisterhold found the perfect place to start a vineyard with grapes native to the Midwest, grapes that no one had cultivated for more than 150 years.

Peggy Lowe / Harvest Public Media

Two women wheel a grocery cart across the parking lot to a white van, open the door and shove kids’ toys out of the way.

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