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  • U.S. organic food sales topped $35 billion in 2013. (Luke Runyon/Harvest Public Media)

    A "checkoff" fund would create marketing and research for the organic food industry. But some farmers object to paying into a fund they say may be contrary to their own interests.

  • Heartland Gourmet in Lincoln, Neb., makes everything from organic cake mixes and cornbread, to pizza and burritos. Any time something with meat is being made, a USDA inspector has to be called ahead of time. (Grant Gerlock/Harvest Public Media)

    More than a dozen federal agencies play a part in keeping food from making Americans sick. Critics say the system has holes, and some think we would all be safer if food safety at the federal level was brought under one roof.

  • Most states in the Midwest now allow meatpacking companies to own hogs and contract with farmers to house and feed them. Nebraska is one of the last states to prohibit the practice as a way to protect family farms. (Grant Gerlock/Harvest Public Media)

    In the top pork producing states, many farmers are under contract with giant meatpackers like Tyson or Smithfield Foods. The packers actually own the pigs and pay the farmers to raise them. Nebraska is one of the last states to still prohibit meatpackers from owning livestock. 

  • Chuck Earnest, of southeast Missouri, says he and other farmers in the U.S. would benefit greatly from more international trade deals like the Trans Pacific Partnership. (Kristofor Husted/Harvest Public Media)

    The Trans Pacific Partnership could boost the U.S. agriculture industry by $3 billion. Many farmers and ranchers stateside are eager to see tariffs in countries like Japan, which have been notoriously expensive export markets.

  • Laying hens flock to the oats Matt Russell tosses to them at Coyote Run Farm in Marion County, Iowa. In addition to eggs, the farm produces beef and vegetables and is home to horses, mules, a donkey, a dog and several cats. (Amy Mayer/Harvest Public Media)

    Is it rural legend? Or is it true? Some have complained that the government pays farmers not to farm. It’s actually a complicated program sought by sustainable agriculture advocates.

Welcome to Harvest Public Media

 Before the Affordable Care Act, farmers and ranchers were more likely to be uninsured than many other occupational groups. But that may be changing.

More than a dozen federal agencies play a part in keeping food from making Americans sick. Critics say the system has holes, and some think we would all be safer if food safety at the federal level was brought under one roof.

A "checkoff" fund would create marketing and research for the organic food industry. But some farmers object to paying into a fund they say may be contrary to their own interests.

In the top pork producing states, many farmers are under contract with giant meatpackers like Tyson or Smithfield Foods. The packers actually own the pigs and pay the farmers to raise them. Nebraska is one of the last states to still prohibit meatpackers from owning livestock. 

The Trans Pacific Partnership could boost the U.S. agriculture industry by $3 billion. Many farmers and ranchers stateside are eager to see tariffs in countries like Japan, which have been notoriously expensive export markets.

Is it rural legend? Or is it true? Some have complained that the government pays farmers not to farm. It’s actually a complicated program sought by sustainable agriculture advocates.

 Country of origin meat labels are part of an ongoing international trade dispute that has swept up Midwest ranchers. And they may not be long for store shelves.

For the first time veterans that want to farm have access to low-interest rate loans to buy animals and equipment and can receive extra payments to implement conservation practices on their land.

Unless Medicaid eligibility is expanded to include more low-income people, officials at some rural hospitals say they may be forced to cut jobs.

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