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  • Water flooding from the North Platte River surrounds a shed near Lewellen, Neb. (Peter Stegen/Platte Basin Timelapse)

    Wet spring and summer rains soaked much of the High Plains this year. The Platte River, which runs through Colorado, Wyoming and Nebraska before emptying into the Missouri River, saw historic flooding.

  • Craig Pfantz, who served as his district’s soil conservation commissioner for 16 years, enrolled in Unilever’s Sustainable Soy program when it started three years ago. (Abby Wendle/Harvest Public Media)

    Farm runoff polluting drinking water and destroying aquatic wildlife habitat has been a problem for decades. Fearing a backlash from customers, some of the world's wealthiest food companies are starting to take notice.

  • Constructed wetlands surrounded by long grasses serve as a natural filter to remove nitrogen from water flowing off farm fields so only clean water reaches rivers. (Amy Mayer/Harvest Public Media)

    Farmers are feeling the pressure to help clean up Midwestern waterways. New soil and water monitoring tools give them opportunities to measure the nutrient load on individual fields, which can help them apply fertilizer more precisely and evaluate the relative merits of different water conservation strategies. The stakes are high, from local drinking water to the dead zone in the Gulf of Mexico. 

  • Idaho's dairy industry wrote and lobbied for that state's ag gag law. (Luke Runyon/Harvest Public Media)

    After a federal judge struck down an Idaho law that made it illegal to take undercover video on farms and ranches, animal rights groups say they are primed to challenge similar so-called “ag gag” laws across the country.

  • A narrow access road cuts through seemingly endless rows of tall corn in Keith Dittrich’s field near Tilden, Neb. (Grant Gerlock/Harvest Public Media)

    Farmers in the Midwest are facing a situation they haven’t seen for a while. Grain prices are down. After some of the most lucrative years they’ve ever seen, some producers could lose money on this year’s crop. That could slow down the rural economy.

Welcome to Harvest Public Media

Meatpacking plants draw refugees and immigrants to towns that haven't hosted particularly diverse populations in the past. 

Generations of tilling and planting on the same land have left the nation’s soil in poor shape. And if farmers don’t change the way they grow crops, feeding the future won’t be easy.

Regulators are advancing the idea of creating environmental markets to allow farmers to make money off of their conservation practices.

Choice Cuts, part 5: As concerns about the environmental impact of the meat industry mount, some entrepreneurs see a business opportunity for plant-based burgers, lab-grown chicken and cricket tacos.

Choice Cuts, part 4: Many U.S. consumers are starting to cut back on meat as health experts learn more about the risk of a diet high in proteins from meat. That leaves farmers and ranchers to raise meat animals with health-conscious meat-eaters in mind.

Choice Cuts, part 3: Facing voluntary guidelines on restricting antibiotics, livestock producers and veterinarians are defensive about "judicial" use and are looking for alternatives.

Choice Cuts, Part 2: The modern meat industry is built on the ability to find cheap feed made mostly from corn and soybeans. In that way, the U.S. Corn Belt forms the backbone of your burgers, pork chops and chicken fillets.

Choice Cuts, Part 1: With demand for meat rising globally, farmers will be challenged to feed them without eating up more land.

U.S. farmers export a lot of soybeans to China, so a potential economic downturn there has many worried.

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