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Friday, July 3, 2015
Agriculture

USDA: Illinois farmers plant more soybeans, less corn (07/01/15)
ST. LOUIS -- Illinois farmers have planted more soybeans and less corn this year, a new federal report showed Tuesday, yet they've been menaced by the wettest June on record. The 10.1 million acres of soybeans planted is up from with 9.8 million last year, the U.S. Department of Agriculture said, while corn acreage is 11.8 million, down from 11.9 million...
Foster children learn about life on the farm (06/30/15)
Throughout the day Monday, a group of foster children got to experience life on the farm, whether it meant learning to make ice cream from scratch or distinguishing between types of dairy cattle. Called Foster Creek Farm Camp, the learning experience continues Tuesday with lessons on growing wheat and how bread and other wheat-based products make their way to tables near and far...
Governors urge EPA to keep renewable fuel standards intact (06/26/15)
KANSAS CITY, Kan. -- A plan to reduce the amount of renewable fuels required in the U.S. gasoline supply drew heated condemnation of the petroleum industry Thursday from two governors who said health of the ethanol industry is vital to their states' economy...
Business notebook: Rain, floods may hurt crop yields (06/22/15)
Less than half of Missouri's farm acres predicted to grow soybeans this year have been planted, the U.S. Department of Agriculture reported last week. Planting progress in several areas of the state, most notably northeast and Southeast Missouri, is behind because of excessive rainfall and flooding in some areas...
Area farmers concerned over new clean-water rules (06/09/15)
It's a given the Nothdurft family wants clean water for themselves and their farm. However, with the Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers implementing a new measure within the Clean Water Act, they are among many farmers concerned about changing the way they do things...
St. Louis-area urban farmers thrilled with gift of land (06/05/15)
BERKELEY, Mo. -- Urban farmers who lost land in Kinloch, Missouri, they had farmed for decades are sowing seeds in Berkeley, and they're thrilled with the change. The construction company that owned the Kinloch plot tore it up for an expansion of a business park, and the amateur agrarians thought that spelled the end of their efforts to stock their dinner tables. ...
Cool, wet weather hampers area crops (06/03/15)
A cool, wet spring is hampering the planting and growth of Southeast Missouri row crops and causing price rallies in the grain market. "Right now, there is speculation that we may come up short on a crop because of the weather," said Anthony Ohmes, a regional agronomist for the University of Missouri Extension in the southeast region...
Southeast professors see agricultural change as inevitable (05/31/15)
Agriculture is a field that is constantly changing. At the agriculture technology field day at the David M. Barton Agriculture Research Center on Friday, it was prevalent at the collegiate level how many advances have been made in the department and worldwide...
Farm groups rap new EPA rules on streams (05/28/15)
WASHINGTON -- New federal rules designed to better protect small streams, tributaries and wetlands -- and the drinking water of 117 million Americans -- are being criticized by Republicans and farm groups as going too far. The White House says the rules, issued Wednesday, will provide needed clarity for landowners about which waterways must be protected against pollution and development. ...
Old Timers Day in Perryville offers a glimpse of farming past (05/24/15)
PERRYVILLE, Mo. -- At the annual Old Timers Day, the day is all about the way things once were. On one end of the Seminary Picnic Grounds, Albert Mateka and his son could be seen cutting cedar logs into boards. At the other, River Hills Antique Tractor Club member Rick Best was showing visitors a 10-horsepower steam engine from 1919. And circling them all was Jerry and Yolanda Stroup offering covered-wagon rides pulled by their two mules...
Southeast student will promote ag education (05/13/15)
When Rylyn Small began his freshman year of high school, he hid in the back of the classroom to avoid speaking to others. But his agriculture teacher helped Small break out of his comfort zone and discover a passion for agriculture. Now, a sophomore at Southeast Missouri State University, Small is among 12 future agriculture teachers who will spend the next year promoting agricultural education to thousands of students as a National Teach Ag Ambassador...
Wet weather delays planting of area corn crop (04/26/15)
SIKESTON, Mo. -- With nearly 5 inches of rain recorded this month in Sikeston and more expected, local farmers are having a tough time getting corn planted. "Farmers are just waiting for it to dry out," said Richard DeLoughery, University of Missouri Extension specialist in Charleston,...
Neosho hatchery joins effort to save fish (04/16/15)
NEOSHO, Mo. -- As hatchery manager David Hendrix walked across the concrete blocks in the raceways at the Neosho National Fish Hatchery, a school of fish, each just a couple of inches long, swam by. Just visible beneath the glare of the afternoon sun on the green-tinted water, they darted away from the sound of nearby footsteps...
Region may see a sorghum surge from farmers (04/01/15)
Predicted stagnant prices for some popular row crops may turn Southeast Missouri farmers in a different direction when deciding what to plant this spring. Agriculture experts who often advise farmers are carefully watching whether a premium price for grain sorghum, or milo, will hold come harvest time...
Flood-control project finds supporters, few foes at meeting (03/24/15)
NEW MADRID, Mo. -- The St. Johns Bayou and New Madrid Floodway project again was described by members of the Mississippi River Commission as a thorn in the side of Southeast Missouri stakeholders, who spoke Monday at a public hearing aboard the M/V Mississippi at the New Madrid riverfront...
Bill to help Missouri's dairy industry heads to governor (03/20/15)
JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. -- Lawmakers on Thursday sent a bill aimed at spurring growth in Missouri's dairy industry to Democratic Gov. Jay Nixon's desk, one of the first bills to make it that far this session. Touted by sponsor Rep. Bill Reiboldt, R-Neosho, as the Dairy Revitalization Act, the measure earned a second nickname Thursday: "Obamacow." The name stems from a provision of the bill that would subsidize federal dairy insurance for up to 70 percent of farmers' premium payments...
Proposed Missouri tax credits aimed at enlisting new farmers (01/13/15)
JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. -- State Sen. Brian Munzlinger announced legislation Monday that would create tax incentives for Missouri landowners to work with beginning farmers, an effort he says could help attract a younger generation to agriculture. The Republican lawmaker from Williamstown said he worries it's too expensive for some young farmers to start out in the state, where the average age for farmers and ranchers is 56...
Missouri hydroponic farm says demand is growing (12/23/14)
SPRINGFIELD, Mo. -- In late 2008 when the housing market collapsed, David and Terry Quick decided to get out of the construction business and into farming. "People don't always need concrete patios, but they always need to eat," David Quick told the Springfield News-Leader...
U.S.-Cuban relations could boost Missouri farm exports (12/22/14)
Possible steps toward a U.S. agreement with Cuba could mean big things for Southeast Missouri farmers. Missouri was the No. 5 rice producing state in the nation in 2013, according to research by the University of Missouri Extension, and should the embargo with Cuba be lifted and trade begin between the two countries, rice exports could surge...
Monsanto tells its side of the story at Southeast forum (12/14/14)
Dr. Sven Svenson said he realized some students wouldn't give a giant in the commercial agrochemical industry a chance to tell their side of the story about honeybees, but the professor of agribusiness didn't hesitate in organizing Friday's forum for representatives of Monsanto on the Southeast Missouri State University...
Bumper crop leads to storage issues (10/23/14)
Farmers who grow corn and soybeans are experiencing a much different supply-and-demand scenario this harvest season than in years past -- with prices dipping -- at least in the short term. A cool, mild summer with ample rainfall is responsible for record-setting yields, which agriculture experts say means more grain going to market and a lower return. ...
Foes seek to overturn Missouri right to farm (10/15/14)
JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. -- Opponents of a new Missouri constitutional farming right asked the state Supreme Court on Tuesday to overturn the election results, asserting some voters were misled to support it. The legal challenge hinges on the ballot description presented to voters about Constitutional Amendment 1, which passed by a margin of less than one-quarter of a percentage point of nearly 1 million votes cast in an August election...
Mo. AG weighs future action in egg lawsuit (10/06/14)
JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. -- The Missouri attorney general is reviewing options for a continued legal fight against California after a federal judge dismissed a lawsuit challenging its egg laws. A spokesman for Attorney General Chris Koster said Friday that he disagrees with the judge's ruling that Missouri lacks the legal standing to challenge the California law...
Farmers say no veto override could hurt dairies (10/06/14)
JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. -- The Missouri Legislature's failure to override the veto of an agriculture bill could jeopardize the future of dairy farms in the state, dairy farmers say. Senate Bill 506 and its counterpart, House Bill 1326, contained the Missouri Dairy Revitalization Act, which would have allowed the state to pay a portion of the insurance premiums in the federal farm bill's insurance program, the Columbia Missourian reported...
Corn harvest on the Milde farm (09/17/14)
FRED LYNCH ~ flynch@semissourian.com Frank Milde harvests corn Tuesday, Sept. 16, 2014 on his farm near Jackson. ...
Soybean experts tout crop's benefits in India (09/02/14)
This year marks a bumper crop for soybean farmers around the United States. With supply becoming greater than demand, the American Soybean Association continues to look for the best ways to use this crop. American Soybean Association farmer-leader Matt McCrate of Cape Girardeau said he believes the answer may lie with industries in India...
Youths get animals ready for SEMO District Fair (08/28/14)
Kids throughout Southeast Missouri are getting their livestock in trim for the SEMO District Fair, set for Sept. 6 through 13 at the fairgrounds at Arena Park in Cape Girardeau. Entry clerk Patty Turner said about 100 youngsters from a 23-county area are expected to show their animals. Gabe Ruehling of Perryville, Missouri, and twins Andrew and Nathan Aufdenberg of Gordonville are among them...
Right-to-farm amendment vote to be recounted (08/26/14)
JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. -- Election officials across Missouri will conduct a recount of the narrow passage of a constitutional amendment creating a right to farm, as opponents of the measure seek to reverse the results. The recount on Constitutional Amendment 1 is expected to begin in the coming days. The secretary of state on Monday was officially certifying the results of Missouri's Aug. 5 primary elections...
Jason Smith touts agricultural industry during farm tour (08/20/14)
U.S. Rep. Jason Smith's second annual farm tour kicked off Tuesday morning at a Gordonville walnut tree farm. Martin Walnut Tree Farm started more than 20 years ago as open cropland and pasture, but now is nearly 300 acres of thriving trees. The black walnut trees are the real prize, Dr. Richard Martin told the congressman. The nuts they produce are also the official state tree nut...
Cool summer sets expectations for a record harvest (08/11/14)
DES MOINES, Iowa -- A mild summer across much of the nation's heartland has provided optimum growing conditions for the nation's corn and soybean crops. Pair that with high-yield seeds and other new farming technologies, and the U.S. is looking at busting records come harvest time...
Analysis: Farming rights vote reveals changes in Missouri (08/11/14)
JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. -- Many Missouri farmers own guns. Yet the right to bear arms is more valued than the right to farm, based on Missouri's recent election results. Voters last week approved a constitutional amendment enhancing the state's right to keep and bear arms by 61 percent of the vote. A constitutional amendment creating a right to farm squeaked by with 50.1 percent support...
Right-to-farm opponents weigh recount (08/07/14)
KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Opponents of Missouri's right-to-farm constitutional amendment were weighing a recount request Wednesday, a day after the measure appeared to pass by the slimmest of margins. The unofficial tally from Tuesday's election showed that with nearly 1 million votes cast, Amendment 1 carried by just over 2,500 votes, a margin of 0.2 percent. ...
Drones find a landing pad in SEMO farm research (07/30/14)
The department of Agriculture at Southeast Missouri State University has a new addition to its farm, and it's not something that can be raised, herded or processed. Students and faculty recently have been trained how to use their newest device -- an unmanned aerial vehicle, or drone, which has been unofficially named Ag Force One...
State attorney general visits Cape for right-to-farm tour (07/25/14)
Missouri State Attorney General Chris Koster's farm tour continued today with a stop in Cape Girardeau. The statewide tour is part of an effort to support Amendment 1. The measure, commonly known as right-to-farm, will appear on the Aug. 5 ballot. Koster and members from state agriculture groups such as the Missouri Farm Bureau and the Missouri Corn Growers Association gathered to discuss the issue at Joe and Mildred Kirchdoerfer's dairy farm in Cape Girardeau. ...
Farmers brace for high corn yields, lower prices (07/24/14)
Despite expecting a 10 percent increase in corn yields this growing season, Dan Jennings said decreased corn prices and other factors are cutting into profits. "It's going to be really tough to make money this year," he said. Jennings farms about 5,300 acres -- 1,800 of which are used for corn -- in the Sikeston, Missouri, area...
Peaches at the farmers market (07/18/14)
LAURA SIMON ~ lsimon@semissourian.com Levi Lingle of Cobden, Illinois, moves half pecks of Red Haven peaches to the front of his trailer for restocking his booth at the Cape Farmers Market, Thursday, July 17, 2014. ...
Scott City mill showcases three new train tracks (07/16/14)
Today was a milestone for Semo Milling LLC in Scott City. The staff at Southeast Missouri Regional Port Authority hosted a grand opening for the company's three new train tracks on the north side of the mill that will be used to transport corn flour to more than 300 customers in the United States...
Saxony Lutheran High School to add agriculture curriculum (07/15/14)
In a move that could attract more students to Saxony Lutheran High School, the campus will offer an agriculture science curriculum this fall. Principal Mark Ruark said the school draws from Cape Girardeau and Perry counties...
Conservation workshops to review programs, assistance (07/15/14)
A series of conservation workshops will be held for landowners and managers to highlight changes in U.S. Farm Bill programs, along with information about other opportunities. Regional workshops will be hosted by the Missouri Department of Conservation Private Land Services, Quail Forever, Natural Resource Conservation Services, Farm Service Agency and the Soil and Water Conservation Districts...
Herbicide-resistant weeds trouble Midwestern farms (07/14/14)
ELSBERRY, Mo. -- Midwestern farmers are increasingly running into aggressive varieties of weeds that can't be killed by a popular herbicide that revolutionized modern farming nearly two decades ago. Critics say the emergence of so-called superweeds -- ones that have developed a resistance to glyphosate, the generic name for Monsanto's herbicide Roundup -- was inevitable as farmers use the same herbicide year after year, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported...
Annual agriculture tour on tap for Wednesday (07/13/14)
The Jackson Area Chamber of Commerce is again giving people the chance to see the inner workings of local farming operations. The Agri-Business Tour has been happening annually for 35 years, and executive director Brian Gerau said he believes it is the longest-running ag tour in Missouri. This year's tour starts at 9 a.m. Wednesday...
Captive deer to stay under control of Conservation (07/09/14)
With Gov. Jay Nixon's veto of two bills, captive deer will remain under the control of the Missouri Department of Conservation. Had the bills been approved, captive cervids (deer) would have been considered livestock, which would give the state's Department of Agriculture control of their care...
Debate grows around right-to-farm measure as election approaches (07/07/14)
Jeremie Nothdurft has farmed all his life. He still remembers his first farm job and sitting behind the wheel of a tractor at age 5. His daughter, Eve, isn't quite old enough to help harvest this year's winter wheat, but he said there will be plenty of room for her to join the family farm one day...
Couple finds joy with alpaca, goat farm during retirement (07/01/14)
EDITOR'S NOTE: This is the last in a series about local farms and farmers. Jimmy Ward swore up and down that after he retired, he wouldn't have any more animals. Then he married his wife, Jan, and the couple now has 15 goats, 10 alpacas, five dogs and one orange cat named Pumpy living on their 12-acre property in Marble Hill, Missouri...
Raisin' in the sun: So far, so good for the region's corn, other crops (06/20/14)
Row crops and yields this year are looking good so far, but that could change as soon as the weather does. A slow start on planting because of cool wet weather doesn't seem to have affected Missouri farmers' crops too much, but a wetter-than-usual May brought disease damage to some who farm wheat, experts say...
Opinions mixed on effect of 'right to farm' issue (06/16/14)
KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Supporters and opponents of a proposed Missouri constitutional amendment that would protect the right of people to farm say it's unclear what kind of effect, if any, passage of the measure would have on the state's agricultural industry...
Publisher: China a huge untapped market for American agriculture (06/10/14)
PERRYVILLE, Mo. -- With the expansion of its middle class, China is a vast untapped market for American agriculture, said John LaRose, publisher and editor of MidAmerica Farm Publications Inc. LaRose, of Perryville, recently returned from a U.S. ...
Amendments seek to curb deer disease (06/10/14)
The definition of captive deer and how they are managed in Missouri could be decided before the state Department of Conservation opens the topic for public comment. The department's Conservation Commission late last week approved proposed amendments to regulations of hunting preserves and wildlife breeding facilities that hold members of the cervid, or deer, family, including white-tailed deer...
How to control invasive species: Eat them (05/27/14)
HOUSTON -- It seems like a simple proposition: American lakes, rivers and offshore waters are filling up with destructive fish and crustaceans originally from other parts of the world, many of them potential sources of food. So why not control these invasive populations by getting people to eat them?...
Bioreactor could eliminate some farm byproduct runoff (05/16/14)
In an effort to decrease nitrate-nitrogen levels in waterways, Southeast Missouri State University's David M. Barton Agriculture Research Center in Gordonville has set up a bioreactor -- an underground chamber designed to remove nutrients from farm fields fitted with subsurface drainage systems...
Pioneer Orchard has been in the Beggs family for more than 90 years (05/08/14)
Editor's note: This story is the second in a series about local farms and farmers. Fuzzy buds the size of thumbnails cling to the limbs of peach trees lined in rows at the Beggs' Pioneer Orchard off Silver Springs Road in Cape Girardeau. Starting next week, many of those buds will be picked in a process called thinning, leaving an average of 6 inches between each bud and allowing better size and flavor in the growing fruit, Bill and Diana Beggs said...
High school ag programs flourish as farms dwindle (05/05/14)
ST. LOUIS -- High school agriculture programs sprouting across the nation's Corn Belt are teaching teenagers, many of them in urban environments, that careers in the field often have nothing to do with cows and plows. The curricula, taking hold as school budgets tighten and the numbers of farms in the U.S. ...
Dairy farmer looks ahead to switch to feeder cattle (04/18/14)
After operating Windy Vue Farms the past couple of decades, Jerry Siemers said he reached a point where he had to choose Path A or B, and a decision was made for the future of the farm and his family.
Mid-April freeze threatens fruit trees (04/15/14)
ST. LOUIS -- The winter that just won't quit has one more punch for the nation's Heartland -- a cold front bringing a brief return to sub-freezing weather, creating concerns for growers of apples, peaches, grapes and other fruit. Temperatures in the 70s and 80s in recent days gave way to highs in the 40s in much of the lower Midwest on Monday, with even colder temperatures on the way. ...
From farm to market: First Cape farmers market opens Thursday; others will follow (04/14/14)
Within the week, area farmers will pack up their produce and make their way to West Park Mall for the opening day of Cape Girardeau's farmers market season. Beginning Thursday, the Cape Farmers Market will set up shop from noon to about 5 p.m. each Thursday until Thanksgiving at its new location in the back parking lot of West Park Mall...
Area farmers prepare to grow more cotton, less corn (04/03/14)
If they haven't already, Southeast Missouri farmers are about to get their hands dirty as they begin planting this year's crops. But many are waiting until the soil warms up and the April showers go away. April is the traditional month for planting corn, cotton and rice, and May is better to plant soybeans, said Dr. Michael Aide, professor and chairman of the Department of Agriculture at Southeast Missouri State University...
Agriculture industry not good for farmers, consumers, group says (03/20/14)
As America loses its farmers, it also loses sight of how food gets from a farm to a kitchen table, according to a panel of agriculture experts who spoke about humane and sustainable agriculture Wednesday at the Cape Girardeau Public Library. The event, hosted by the Humane Society of the United States Missouri Agriculture Council, featured panelists opposed to the direction the agriculture industry is heading, which includes Missouri's Right to Farm Act that was sponsored by state Rep. ...
Property taxes on farmland set to rise next year (03/11/14)
JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. -- Missouri farmers will get a larger property tax bill next year under a plan state lawmakers are allowing to take effect. Property taxes paid for Missouri farms are based on the land's productive value rather than its market value. ...
Pig virus expected to cause higher pork prices (03/11/14)
JOPLIN, Mo. -- A fast-spreading virus that can kill 80 percent of piglets that contract it is rapidly spreading across Missouri hog farms, wiping out entire nurseries in some cases. Porcine epidemic diarrhea has killed 4 million to 5 million pigs nationwide, or about 4 percent of the pigs that would go to market later this year, The Joplin Globe reported...
'Make Your Farm Grow' theme for 2014 ag conference (02/06/14)
National and international agriculture leaders representing the grain, transportation, domestic and international fertilizer markets will speak at the Strategic Ag Outlook 2014 conference Tuesday in Glenn Auditorium in Dempster Hall at Southeast Missouri State University, according to a university news release...
Senate sends farm bill to Obama (02/04/14)
WASHINGTON (AP) -- Congress has given its final approval to a sweeping five-year farm bill that provides food for the needy and subsidies for farmers. Ending years of political battles, the Senate vote Tuesday sends the measure to President Barack Obama, who is expected to sign it...
U.S. House passes farm bill (01/30/14)
WASHINGTON -- After years of setbacks, a nearly $100 billion-a-year compromise farm bill cleared the House on Wednesday despite strong opposition from conservatives who sought a bigger cut in food stamps. The five-year bill, which preserves generous crop subsidies, heads to the Senate, where approval seems certain. The White House said President Barack Obama would sign it...
Modern conveniences help farmers fight cold (01/27/14)
PALMYRA, Mo. -- Modern conveniences are helping farmers through the cold weather, but that doesn't mean it's easy. Temperatures in the Palmyra area of northeast Missouri have dipped below zero a few times this winter, and more frigid weather is expected next week. The forecast for Palmyra calls for a low of minus-2 degrees tonight, and a similar chill Tuesday...
Missouri farmers consider using drones (01/20/14)
MOUNT VERNON, Mo. -- Jim McCann hasn't taught his grandchildren how to drive a tractor yet, but they may already be able to teach him how to operate a piece of equipment that could be in farming's future. McCann, of Lawrence County, Mo., is president of the Missouri Cattlemen's Association and was among more than 100 farmers who attended the 90th annual Lawrence County Soils and Crops Conference earlier this month...
Corn's price drop has farmers looking to soy (01/20/14)
DES MOINES, Iowa -- Farmers spent the last few years planting as much corn as they could, but with its price half what it was a couple of years ago, the crop's golden luster has dulled and many growers are considering shifting acreage back to soybeans...
Mo. corn and soybean production up in 2013 (01/14/14)
JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. -- Missouri farmers appear to have grown more corn and soybeans last year than in 2012. Figures from the U.S. Department of Agriculture show Missouri farmers produced an estimated 435 million bushels of corn last year, up 76 percent from 2012. Soybean production rose 25 percent to an estimated 197 million bushels...
Food-tech startups want to replace eggs and chicken (12/09/13)
SAN FRANCISCO -- The startup is housed in a garage-like space in San Francisco's tech-heavy South of Market neighborhood, but it isn't like most of its neighbors that develop software, websites and mobile-phone apps. Its mission is to find plant replacements for eggs...
Field day displays the benefit of cover crops (11/17/13)
Although cover crops -- mixtures of wheat, root vegetables and grasses that provide benefits to soil -- have been around for decades, Friday was the first time a field day was devoted to them at Southeast Missouri State University's David M. Barton Agriculture Research Center outside Gordonville...
Mo. ag. director defends departure (11/04/13)
JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. -- The week began with his divorce. A few days later, Missouri Agriculture director Jon Hagler was accused by a high-ranking employee of creating a hostile and intimidating workplace. By the weekend, Hagler was out of a job...
New federal farm bill moves forward; previous one expired in September (10/28/13)
With farmers still working without a federal agreement on the farm bill, the recent government shutdown left them short on information they use to sell current crops and plan their next ones during the height of harvest. There is no official date set for the first formal meeting of the U.S. ...
Food stamps, milk prices on table in farm talks (10/29/13)
WASHINGTON -- The fight over renewing the nation's farm bill has centered on cuts to the $80 billion-a-year food stamp program. But there could be unintended consequences if no agreement is reached: higher milk prices. Members of the House and Senate are scheduled to begin long-awaited negotiations on the five-year, roughly $500 billion bill this week. If they don't finish it, dairy supports could expire at the end of the year and send the price of a gallon of milk skyward...
Shutdown spawns vacuum in farm market information (10/14/13)
WICHITA, Kan. -- When Tim Peterson finished planting his 900 acres of winter wheat last week, the usually market-savvy Kansas farmer unexpectedly found himself struggling to make critical marketing decisions without being able to access vital agricultural reports, casualties of the federal government shutdown...
Mo. lawmakers block rule allowing E15 gasoline (10/10/13)
JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. -- Missouri lawmakers blocked a proposal Wednesday that could have allowed greater amounts of ethanol to be blended into the gasoline sold for most vehicles. The decision by a legislative panel halts a proposed rule change by the Missouri Department of Agriculture that would have allowed stations to sell fuel containing 15 percent ethanol. ...
Some neighbors are unhappy about St. Louis urban farm experiment (09/23/13)
ST. LOUIS -- A 10-block stretch of land in north St. Louis is an unusual place for a farm, and not everyone living nearby welcomes the mesh of agriculture with urban life. The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported that the land was purchased last year from the city by Paul McKee's NorthSide Regeneration LLC, then leased to a farming company founded by Olympian Jackie Joyner-Kersee, who grew up in East St. Louis, Ill...
House votes to cut $4B a year from food stamps (09/20/13)
WASHINGTON (AP) -- The House has voted to cut nearly $4 billion a year from food stamps, a 5 percent reduction to the nation's main feeding program used by more than 1 in 7 Americans.
Override prospects unclear on Mo. agriculture bill (09/09/13)
JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. -- Vetoed Missouri agriculture legislation that includes an increased penalty for stealing livestock, changes to the state's animal abuse and neglect law and an allowance for foreign ownership of farmland has divided some agriculture groups...
High temps, low moisture taking toll on Mo. crops (09/05/13)
COLUMBIA, Mo. -- A new report says the recent spate of hot, dry weather has hurt some Missouri crops and slowed their progress. The Missouri Agricultural Statistics Service said Tuesday that 94 percent of the state's corn crop was at dough stage, 20 days behind last year but right at the five-year average...
Midwest hot, dry spell brings back drought worries (08/29/13)
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) -- A growing season that began unusually wet and cold in the Midwest is finishing hot and dry, renewing worries of drought and its impact on crops. Temperatures soared to records in recent days in parts of the region, reaching nearly 100 degrees in some areas. The heat wave struck many farm states -- from the Dakotas to Wisconsin, down through Missouri -- that have seen too little rain this growing season...
Area rice farmers learn new ways with an old trade (08/23/13)
MALDEN, Mo. -- Rice farmers got down to the basics of their trade Thursday at the Missouri Rice Farm Field Day, as rice experts discussed how to deal with obstacles that come with growing the grain and recent developments in its research. The 21st annual Rice Research Farm Field Day was presented by the Missouri Rice Research and Merchandising Council with assistance from Southeast Missouri State University. ...
Disease possibilities in crops increase amid rain (08/20/13)
LAMAR, Mo. -- The University of Missouri Extension is warning that recent wet weather increases the chances of diseases developing in corn and soybeans. Agronomy specialist Jill Scheidt said rain carries funguses in the air, making it easier for the funguses to spread. She said diseases such as rust, gray leaf spot, northern corn leaf blight, brown spot, crazy top and stalk and ear rots develop best in wet and humid conditions...
Jason Smith visits Christmas tree farm in Jackson (08/20/13)
U.S. Rep. Jason Smith on Monday kicked off a week of touring Missouri farms, making his fourth stop on the tour at Meier Horseshoe Pines Christmas Tree Farm in Jackson. A Cattlemen's Association Meeting in Cape Girardeau was his last stop Monday. Steve and Theresa Meier are in their 25th season of selling Christmas trees. The farm at 2146 County Road 330 in Jackson is a choose-and-cut Christmas tree farm. The Meier family plants about 2,500 Christmas trees in three varieties each year...
Twins work together to raise, show hogs (08/05/13)
COLUMBIA, Mo. -- A.J. Hombs leads Pipsqueak into an open-top cage at the Swine Barn using his green pig whip while his twin sister, Olivia, douses handfuls of purple soap onto the hog. Pipsqueak squeals, attempting to escape, but 11-year-old A.J. stops the hog using his left hand and pulls out his hog hairbrush with the other hand, beginning to scrub its back. Soon after, Olivia turns on the water and rinses the back of the swine with a hose...
Uncertainty reigns in food stamp, farm bills (07/26/13)
After the U.S. House of Representatives passed a farm bill earlier this month, its new quest is to vote on a bill for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, which was separated from the House's new farm bill for the first time in decades. The farm bill passed the House along party lines, 216-208, and no Democrats voted for the bill that lacked food stamp funding. The bill awaits Senate consideration...
Corps of Engineers releases St. Johns Bayou impact statement (07/23/13)
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has posted its long-anticipated latest draft environmental impact statement on the St. Johns Bayou and New Madrid Floodway project. The project would close a 1,500-foot gap in the Mississippi River levee system in Southeast Missouri along Scott, New Madrid and Mississippi counties and construct a 1,500-cubic-foot-per-second pumping station in the floodway and a 1,000-cubic-foot-per-second pumping station in the St. ...
Project to help endangered fish species to proceed (07/22/13)
KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- A six-year-old holdup in a national effort to create thousands of acres of shallow-water Missouri River habitat to help an endangered fish species has been resolved. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers announced this month that it awarded a $3.5 million contract for construction of a shallow-water project at Jameson Island near the village of Arrow Rock in mid-Missouri. ...
Smith votes for farm bill that separates food stamps (07/16/13)
Rep. Jason Smith voted in favor last week of a House farm bill that stripped the food stamp program portion of the bill. The bill passed the House on a party-line vote Thursday, and House Republican leaders vowed to vote on a food stamp bill separately...
Republicans to tackle cuts in food stamp program (07/12/13)
WASHINGTON (AP) -- House approval of a scaled-back farm bill is setting up what could be an even bigger fight over food stamps and the role of domestic food aid in the United States. Food stamps have been a part of farm bills since the 1970s to gain urban Democratic votes for the rural measure. But that union has soured this year as the food aid has exploded in cost and House Republicans have taken aim at the program. Normally bipartisan, farm bills have become much less so...
Pig virus moves to U.S., threatening pork prices (07/11/13)
DENVER -- Pork prices may be on the rise in the next few months because of a new virus that has migrated to the U.S., killing piglets in 15 states at an alarming rate in facilities where it has been reported. Dr. Nick Striegel, assistant state veterinarian for the Colorado Department of Agriculture, on Wednesday said the Porcine Epidemic Diarrhea Virus, also known as PED, was thought to exist only in Europe and China, but Colorado and 14 other states began reporting the virus in April, and officials confirmed its presence in May. ...
Area farmers markets must adhere to state, county regulations (07/11/13)
Farmers markets are a big draw in many Southeast Missouri communities. They give consumers an opportunity to buy locally grown produce and homemade goods, and provide organic alternatives in communities where shoppers otherwise might not have the option...
Missouri beekeepers swarm to aid hives (07/08/13)
KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- More than 150 people made a beeline earlier this year to an Independence, Mo., workshop for beginning beekeepers. So many, in fact, that Cathy Misko tapped Craigslist to buy 71 extra chairs. And driving this heightened interest in the well-being of bees? Misko cited a mystery that has vexed scientists since 2006 -- a worsening crisis called colony collapse disorder, or CCD...
Gov. Nixon vetoes 2 Missouri agricultural measures (07/03/13)
JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. -- Gov. Jay Nixon on Tuesday vetoed agriculture legislation that would have ended a decades-old state ban on foreign ownership of Missouri farmland. The provision lifting the ban was included in two broad agricultural bills. The Democratic governor said the provision was added to the legislation relatively late in the process. It would have capped foreign ownership at 1 percent...
Fed officials approve horse slaughterhouse in NM (07/01/13)
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) -- Federal officials cleared the way Friday for a return to domestic horse slaughter, granting a southeastern New Mexico company's application to convert its cattle facility into a horse processing plant. In approving Valley Meat Co. plans to produce horse meat, USDA officials also indicated that they would grant similar permits to companies in Iowa and Missouri as early as next week...
House's rejection of farm bill leaves few options (06/21/13)
WASHINGTON (AP) -- The House's broad rejection of a massive farm bill could signal a shift in the way Congress views agriculture policy. Farm issues once had enormous clout on Capitol Hill, but the healthy agriculture economy and an increased interest in cutting spending have worked against farm-state lawmakers who are now trying to push a farm bill through for a third year in a row...
House rejects farm bill (06/20/13)
WASHINGTON (AP) -- The House has rejected a five year, half-trillion-dollar farm bill that would have cut $2 billion annually from food stamps and let states impose broad new work requirements on those who receive them. Those cuts weren't deep enough for many Republicans who objected to the cost of the nearly $80 billion-a-year program, which has doubled in the past five years. The vote was 234-195 against the bill, with 62 Republicans voting against it...
Mo. moves to lift ban on foreign farm owners (06/19/13)
JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. -- Weeks before a Chinese conglomerate agreed to buy Smithfield Foods Inc. in the largest such takeover of a U.S. business, Missouri lawmakers quietly approved legislation removing a ban on foreign ownership of agricultural land...
Pastures, hay fields recovering after drought (06/17/13)
With more than enough rain this year, Southeast Missouri beef producers hope what last year's drought did to hay production is but a memory. The lack of hay and alfalfa for feed hit area beef producers hard. Eighteen Missouri counties, including Cape Girardeau, Bollinger, Perry and Scott, were declared disaster areas July 12 of last year by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, with the remainder of Missouri's 114 counties receiving the designation July 17...
Controversy over efforts to solve bee deaths (06/17/13)
ST. LOUIS -- One of every three bites of food we consume depends on pollination by honeybees, but these overlooked contributors to our food system are continuing to die in stubbornly perplexing ways. Beekeeping groups have held exhaustive conferences. ...
Corn crop reduced to reflect wet spring; still record crop (06/13/13)
DES MOINES, Iowa -- Corn farmers are feeling the impact of a cool, wet spring but are expected to bring in a record crop this year. The U.S. Department of Agriculture said in its monthly report released Wednesday that farmers are expected to bring in 14 billion bushels of corn this year. That's 135 million bushels less than last month's estimate, reflecting the impact of the cooler spring...
Corn planting winds done; focus turns to beans (06/12/13)
ST. LOUIS -- Corn growers across Illinois and the rest of the nation's midsection appear to have finally planted their crops in the ground after an uncooperative, storm-prone spring left them weeks behind schedule. The U.S. Department of Agriculture's weekly crop progress report shows 95 percent of the nation's corn crop had been sown as of Sunday...
Senate passes farm bill, moving debate to House (06/11/13)
WASHINGTON (AP) -- The last time Congress passed a farm bill, Democrats had control of the House and the food stamp program was about half the size it is today. That was five years ago. Conservatives calling for an overhaul of the domestic food aid program will try to trim the nation's nearly $80 billion grocery bill when the House weighs in on farm legislation in a few weeks. ...
Half-trillion dollar farm bill passed by Senate (06/11/13)
WASHINGTON -- The Senate on Monday passed a five-year, half-trillion-dollar farm bill that expands government subsidies for crop insurance, rice and peanuts while making small cuts to food stamps. The bill passed on a bipartisan 66-27 vote. The legislation, which costs almost $100 billion annually, also would eliminate subsidies that are paid to farmers whether they farm or not. ...
Second round of major flooding could hurt new crops (06/04/13)
If the Mississippi River crests, as predicted, at 45.5 feet at Cape Girardeau, about 8,000 acres of farmland will be underwater in this part of Southeast Missouri. Terry Birk, county director for the USDA Farm Service Agency in Cape Girardeau and Bollinger counties, said some farmers were able to plant corn in the short time between the earlier flood this spring and the current one, but this flood could be more extreme than the last...
Rain-swollen US rivers stoke shippers' headaches (06/02/13)
ST. LOUIS (AP) -- Heavy rains swelling the Mississippi and Missouri rivers are causing headaches for barge operators. Locks that are being closed along the Mississippi River could snarl barges headed from St. Louis to Minnesota, as well as southbound shippers trying to get to St. Louis and then to the Gulf of Mexico...
Senate panel approves massive farm bill (05/15/13)
WASHINGTON -- The Senate Agriculture Committee has approved a massive five-year farm bill that would cut spending while also creating new subsidies for farmers. The legislation approved 15-5 on Tuesday by the panel includes concessions to Southern rice and peanut farmers, thanks to a new top Republican on the committee, Mississippi Sen. ...
Senate panel approves massive farm bill (05/14/13)
WASHINGTON (AP) -- The Senate Agriculture Committee has approved a massive five-year farm bill that would cut spending while also creating new subsidies for farmers. The legislation approved 15-5 by the panel on Tuesday includes concessions to Southern rice and peanut farmers, thanks to a new top Republican on the committee, Mississippi Sen. ...
USDA: Corn plantings pick up, but still behind (05/14/13)
ST. LOUIS -- U.S. farmers are making the most of a break in the seemingly unceasing spring rains to plant corn, though the pace still remains well behind schedule, the latest federal figures showed Monday. The U.S. Department of Agriculture, in its weekly update of the nation's crop progress, said 28 percent of U.S. ...
Future heads of family farms dig into financials (05/13/13)
COLUMBIA, Mo. -- Jake Anderson didn't have to delve too deep into the University of Missouri's agricultural economics program before realizing he was destined to return to the 1,500-acre family farm. After all, that's been the Anderson family trade since 1891, when his great-great grandfather came to Callaway County from Sweden...
USDA: Despite late start, record corn crop likely this year (05/13/13)
DES MOINES, Iowa -- The wet start to the corn planting season is expected to reduce the amount each acre produces this year, but farmers are planting so much of the crop that they're still likely to bring in a record amount. In a report released Friday, the U.S. Department of Agriculture estimated farmers will bring in 14.1 billion bushels of corn this year, a billion bushels more than the previous record of 13.1 billion bushels set in 2009...
Gov. Nixon signs bill letting kids work on farms (05/13/13)
JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. -- Children younger than 16 could avoid future federal regulation and continue to work on their parents' Missouri farms under legislation signed by Gov. Jay Nixon. The measure signed Friday responds to the federal government's proposed rules last year that would have prevented children from doing certain agricultural work. That proposal was eventually scrapped, and the Missouri Legislature moved forward and passed legislation preventing such regulation anyway...
Gov. Nixon signs bill expanding definition of eggs (05/13/13)
JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. -- Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon has signed legislation that would expand the definition of eggs. The measure approved Friday defines eggs edible for human consumption as those produced by chickens, turkeys, ducks, geese and guinea fowl. Current law included only chicken eggs in its definition...
Rain causes worst drought area to retreat westward (05/09/13)
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) -- A wet spring continues to soak soil across much of the Midwest, causing the prolonged drought to retreat ever so slowly westward. Sections of central Iowa, southeast Minnesota and western parts of Wisconsin and Missouri have seen notable improvement in drought conditions. The weekly drought monitor measures conditions up to 7 a.m. Tuesday. The report is released on Thursdays by the National Drought Mitigation Center at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln...
Wet spring brings troubling start to corn planting (05/08/13)
ST. LOUIS -- John Reifsteck looks at his muddy 1,800-acre central Illinois farm and wonders when he'll be able to plant. Like so many other Midwest growers who were praying for rain during the recent drought, he's now pining for enough sunshine and heat to dry out his soggy fields as the deadline approaches for deciding what he can even plant this year...
Illinois government offers low-interest flood recovery loans (04/28/13)
A low-interest loan program is available to help individual property owners, businesses and farmers recover from weather-related property damage, according to a news release sent Frideay from Illinois State Treasurer Dan Rutherford. The Disaster Recovery Linked Deposit Program makes deposits into lending institutions to help lower interest rates for borrowers. ...
Farmers left to wait, worry as flood waters rise (04/24/13)
Farmers in Southeast Missouri are watching the water -- in the Mississippi River, in the St. Johns Bayou Basin and in the labyrinth of ditches that drain their fields. As the forecast threatens flooding, crops that recently have been planted and that need to be seeded are at risk...
More rain, snow could lead to more flooding; river continues rise at Cape (04/23/13)
GRAFTON, Ill. -- The Mississippi River started its slow decline at some problematic spots Monday, but the spring flood is far from over. The Mississippi and countless other Midwestern rivers still were significantly above flood stage, spurred by heavy rain last week. Levee breaks caused problems in Indiana, and floodwaters flirted with the Michigan State University campus...
Flood crest at Cape Girardeau downgraded (04/21/13)
The National Weather Service downgraded the expected flood crest for the Mississippi River at Cape Girardeau on Sunday. The crest, forecast to reach near 43.5 feet earlier in the week, is now expected to top out near 42 feet by Thursday morning, according to a revised flood warning issued Sunday morning...
River at Cape Girardeau forecast to reach 'major' flood stage (04/19/13)
ST. LOUIS -- A powerful spring storm system stretching from southern Texas to northern Michigan unleashed a wave of weather extremes upon the Midwest on Thursday and threatened to bring its mix of hard rains, high winds and severe thunderstorms to the East Coast this weekend. The storms contributed to a forecast of a rapid rise of the Mississippi River, which was expected to reach more than 10 feet above flood stage next week at Cape Girardeau....
Rain prompts flood worries in Mo., Ill., Iowa (04/17/13)
ST. LOUIS (AP) -- The Mississippi River, so low for much of the winter that barge traffic was nearly halted, could reach up to 10 feet above flood stage by the middle of next week in parts of Iowa, Illinois and Missouri, National Weather Service hydrologists said Wednesday...
Professor: Region will help fill a global demand for food (04/07/13)
The unique richness of its farmlands combined with emerging technological advances will make Southeast Missouri "the most profitable, productive agricultural region in the world," said Dr. Michael Aide, chairman of the Department of Agriculture at Southeast Missouri State University, addressing the Cape Girardeau Area Chamber of Commerce First Friday Coffee at the Show Me Center...
Modern farming: Future farmers learn to compete on a global scale (04/01/13)
Somewhere in Japan this year, someone in the mood for steak will walk into a restaurant, scan a bar code on the "meat of the day" board with a smartphone and be told the grass-fed beef they are about to enjoy was raised at Southeast Missouri State University's David M. Barton Agriculture Research Center. Modern farming is a global enterprise and Southeast students are being taught how to survive in agribusiness...
Farmers: Plans for spring plantings could still change (03/31/13)
The U. S. Department of Agriculture on Thursday released its 2013 crop planting prediction report, which showed Missouri farmers statewide were planning to plant less corn and cotton and more wheat and sorghum. Farmers in Southeast Missouri said their planting plans could change, depending on their interpretations of the market and weather....
USDA: Highest corn acreage since 1936 expected (03/29/13)
DES MOINES, Iowa -- Farmers intend to plant 97.3 million acres of corn this year, the most since 1936, the USDA's spring planting survey said Thursday. The survey said the 2013 corn planting forecast is up slightly from last year's 97.2 million acres...
Bankers say farm income helping rural economy (03/21/13)
OMAHA, Neb. (AP) -- Bankers in 10 Midwest and Plains states expect the rural economy to continue growing in the months ahead because of the strength of farm income. The overall economic index on the March Rural Mainstreet survey remained at a healthy level of 56.9 even though it was down from February's 58.2...
Ag officials search for Missouri century farms (03/18/13)
SPRINGFIELD, Mo. -- Agriculture officials want to recognize more Missouri farms that have been in the same family for at least 100 years. More than 8,000 century farms have been honored since Missouri began the program in 1976 as part of the nation's bicentennial celebration...
Recent storms ease the drought in middle of U.S. (03/12/13)
ST. LOUIS -- Recent rain and snowstorms have eased the grip of the worst U.S. drought in decades in portions of the nation's midsection, swelling some major inland rivers to near flood stage and drenching some farmland enough to possibly delay fast-approaching spring planting...
Rabies advisory issued after Wayne County horse case (03/05/13)
WILLIAMSVILLE, Mo. -- An increase in the number of rabies cases has area veterinarians and health officials on alert. Between 2008 and 2012, four skunks tested positive for rabies during January and February, according to a health advisory from Dr. Howard Pue, state public health veterinarian for the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services...
Cousin Carl Farm Show to be held in March (02/26/13)
KWKZ's well known country cousin will hold The Cousin Carl Farm Show for the first time March 8 and 9 in Arena Park. Bill Anderson, aka radio personality Cousin Carl, traveled for years to the Mid-South Farm & Gin Show in Memphis, Tenn., and wondered why there wasn't something like the event in this area, since agriculture is such an important part of Southeastern Missouri, said Lindsey Graham of KWKZ...
Mo. Senate passes bill letting children work on farms (02/26/13)
JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. -- Children younger than 16 could avoid future federal regulation and continue to work on their parents' farms under legislation passed by Missouri's Senate. The federal government proposed rules last year that would have prevented children from doing certain agricultural work...
Program could help farmers keep land (02/25/13)
Travelers and shoppers headed west on William Street just past the Interstate 55 interchange ride the line of commercial development in Cape Girardeau. To the left, a series of big box stores fill the landscape; on the right are the rolling hills of a dairy farm. In an effort to help farmers and ranchers protect their lands from nonagricultural development, the United States Department of Agriculture Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) has announced a March 15 deadline for the Farm and Ranchland Protection Program (FRPP). The program provides funding to help alleviate pressure on farmers to sell land to developers. ...
Lack of deep soil moisture could make for bad growing season (02/19/13)
Despite recent rains, drought-parched soil in the region has not absorbed enough moisture to prepare it for the growing season, experts say. Area agricultural producers are doing what they can to increase access to water in preparation for another difficult year...
High-stakes fight over soybeans at high court (02/19/13)
WASHINGTON -- Vernon Hugh Bowman seems comfortable with the old way of doing things, right down to the rotary-dial telephone he said he was using in a conference call with reporters. But the 75-year-old Indiana farmer figured out a way to benefit from a high-technology product, soybeans that are resistant to weedkillers, without always paying the high price that such genetically engineered seeds typically bring. ...
Deadline next month for farmers to apply for disaster assistance (02/10/13)
Wayne Hoffman farms corn, beans, wheat and cattle in north Cape Girardeau County, "a little bit of everything" so that he can get by. Because of drought losses last year, he filed for reimbursement from the Noninsured Crop Disaster Assistance Program [NAP]...
Dredging ends on stretch of Mississippi River (02/06/13)
Dredging operations by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers along the Mississippi River between Cairo, Ill., and St. Louis have stopped for the season. The dredges Hurley, based in Memphis, Tenn., and Potter, based in St. Louis, have been called home for seasonal maintenance and leave for their crews, the corps said in a news release Tuesday...
Dairy producers can file for federal reimbursements Tuesday (02/04/13)
Beginning Tuesday, local dairy producers can file for federal reimbursements for losses caused by market fluctuations. The U.S. Department of Agriculture Farm Service Agency announced it will begin issuing payments to dairy farmers enrolled in the Milk Income Loss Contract (MILC) program for September 2012 marketings. MILC payments are calculated monthly and are triggered when the Boston Class I milk price falls below $16.94 per hundredweight after adjusting for the cost of feed...
Agribusiness Academy applications due Friday (01/29/13)
High school sophomores interested in exploring agriculture-related college degrees and careers can apply for the Missouri Department of Agriculture's Agribusiness Academy through Friday. Selected participants will spend a week in June in the Springfield, Mo., area, visiting with industry leaders and agribusinesses specializing in animal health, communication, sales and financial management. Students also will spend time on the Missouri State University campus...
Barge hits Miss. River bridge; oil cleanup ongoing (01/29/13)
VICKSBURG, Miss. -- Experts say the stretch of Mississippi River where vessel traffic was halted after a barge hit a railroad bridge Sunday is one of the most dangerous along the 2,500-mile-long river. Late Monday, cleanup crews were skimming oily water near Vicksburg, a day after a barge struck a bridge, rupturing a compartment holding 80,000 gallons of oil...
River to be nearly half its current stage by Wednesday (01/27/13)
The Mississippi River at Cape Girardeau will drop sharply this weekend and into next week -- falling nearly four feet by Thursday. According to the river-level observations and a forecast from the U.S. Geological Survey, the river stage stood at 8.2 feet Friday afternoon. It is expected to decline steadily to 4.5 feet by Thursday...
Going with the flow: Rain and removal of rock formations have kept river traffic moving (01/15/13)
Rising river levels as a result of torrential rain and completion of the first phase of efforts to remove rock formations near Thebes, Ill., are allaying fears that recent low water levels might bring navigation on the Mississippi to a standstill. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers on Monday reported the river level at Cape Girardeau at 13.7 feet, an approximate two-foot increase since Sunday. At Thebes, the level is just above 13 feet after rising about 2.5 feet during the previous 24 hours...
Rock blasting helps get Mississippi River in ship shape (01/13/13)
ST. LOUIS -- Crews have completed the most critical phase of removing bedrock that threatened barges along a crucial stretch of the drought-starved Mississippi River, staving off the shipping industry's fears that the treacherous channel could close to traffic, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers said Saturday...
Farm bill extension 'disappointing' (01/09/13)
In the wake of policies made during last-minute efforts to keep the nation from falling off the fiscal cliff, local dairy farmers and industry leaders worry about long-term stability. They want lawmakers to more seriously consider the potential effects of not protecting food producers...
Illinois senator, congressman tour Mississippi River work (01/08/13)
THEBES, Ill. -- Two federal lawmakers complimented efforts to deepen the bed of the drought-stricken Mississippi River, and promised to continue to bring the situation to the attention of the White House. Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., and Rep. Bill Enyart, D-Belleville -- along with representatives of the U.S. ...
Extraordinary snowfall needed to relieve drought (01/03/13)
ST. LOUIS -- When his drought-stricken Nebraska farm was blanketed with several inches of snow, Tom Schwarz welcomed the moisture. But it wasn't nearly enough. He hoped for a wet, snowy winter. Instead, he's watched with worry as the sky spits mostly flakes that don't stick...
Temporary relief: This week's snow will raise water levels on the Mississippi River for a couple weeks (12/27/12)
Melting post-Christmas snow will provide a little relief for barge traffic on the drought-stricken Mississippi River. "You'll see a small rise beginning in about four to five days, but it's only going to be short lived," said Robin Smith, meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Paducah, Ky. "It will go up for about a week and a half, maybe two weeks, but it's going to turn around and start going right back down."...
Mooove over: Dairy farmers worry fiscal cliff taking priority over farm bill (12/24/12)
As Congress works to avoid the impending fiscal cliff, the 2012 farm bill has been left by the wayside, frustrating farmers. "We continue to say we want a farm bill finished," said Garrett Hawkins, director of national legislative programs at the Missouri Farm Bureau Federation. "As we talk about trying to come up with budgetary savings, either version of the farm bill saves billions. Those savings could be used as part of these overall talks."...
Crews make progress with Mississippi rock removal (12/19/12)
PADUCAH, Ky. (AP) -- Crews scooping out Mississippi River bedrock in southern Illinois are making steady progress but have removed just a fraction of the rock pinnacles that are impeding navigation along a stretch of the drought-plagued waterway, an Army Corps of Engineers official said Wednesday...
For now, excavating trumps blasting on Mississippi River (12/19/12)
THEBES, Ill. -- The Army Corps of Engineers is delaying the use of explosives to blast away treacherous rock pinnacles on the Mississippi River in southern Illinois because crews are having success removing the rocks with excavating machinery, officials said Tuesday.y...
Releases into Missouri River will be increased (12/19/12)
OMAHA, Neb. -- The amount of water flowing into the lower Missouri River will be increased this week because of concerns about colder temperatures, but the increase isn't likely to boost the level of the Mississippi River downstream. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers says it plans to gradually increase the amount of water it releases out of Gavins Point dam on the South Dakota-Nebraska border to 18,000 cubic feet per second by Thursday...
Rock blasting set on drought-plagued Miss. River (12/18/12)
Barge operators along a key stretch of the Mississippi River on Monday braced for months of restricted shipping as crews prepared to begin blasting large rock formations that are impeding navigation on the drought-plagued waterway. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers said contractors from Iowa and Ohio could begin demolition of the rock pinnacles in the bed of the Mississippi River south of St. Louis as early as today. They expect to remove enough rock to fill about 50 dump trucks -- possibly more...
Crop insurance could be a juicy target in 'fiscal cliff' deal (12/16/12)
WASHINGTON -- Rural lawmakers worry that $9 billion in annual federal crop insurance subsidies are an easy target for spending cuts in a "fiscal cliff" deal so they're shopping around for a late compromise on a farm bill to protect them. The chairmen of the House and Senate Agriculture committees already were set to make a sizable contribution to deficit reduction through a new farm bill. ...
Corps: Ridding Miss. River of rock pinnacles close (12/14/12)
ST. LOUIS -- The Army Corps of Engineers says it's close to shoring up how soon contractors could begin removing treacherous southern Illinois rock formations impeding barge traffic in the drought-plagued Mississippi River. The corps says it has hired Newt Marine Service of Dubuque, Iowa, and Kokosing Construction Co. of Fredericktown, Ohio, to do the work being expedited because of low levels of the Mississippi...
Kentucky governor urges senators to pass river bill (12/14/12)
FRANKFORT, Ky. -- Gov. Steve Beshear urged U.S. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell on Wednesday to sponsor legislation that would force the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to release water from dams on the Missouri River to raise the water level on the Mississippi River, where drought conditions soon could halt barge traffic...
Mississippi River level forecast more of same (12/13/12)
ST. LOUIS -- Water levels on the drought-plagued Mississippi River are expected to keep dropping during the next several weeks, according to a forecast Wednesday that comes amid worries that barge traffic soon could be squeezed along a key stretch of the vital shipping corridor...
Senator: Rock removal on Mississippi to start soon (12/12/12)
ST. LOUIS -- Crews might be allowed to begin destroying two rock pinnacles impeding barge traffic on the Mississippi River as early as next week, more than a month ahead of schedule, a senator said Tuesday, cautioning that further steps may be needed to ensure the vital shipping route remains open...
A water war among river states (12/07/12)
JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. -- Water wars are raging in America's heartland, where drought-stricken states are pleading for the increasingly scarce water of the Missouri River -- to drink from their faucets, irrigate their crops and float the barges that carry billions of dollars of agricultural products to market....
Corps not budging on Mississippi River flap (12/09/12)
ST. LOUIS -- The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has turned back requests by federal lawmakers and barge operators to release more water from the Missouri River, believing the drought-starved Mississippi River it feeds still will remain open to shipping. The industry, however, warns the situation is growing increasingly dire...
Emerson good advocate for region, area leaders say (12/06/12)
As a name synonymous with Southeast Missouri politics prepares to leave office, those who worked closely with U.S. Rep. Jo Ann Emerson are left to wonder about the future representation of a district many say has been served well for more than 16 years...
U.S. drought levels off after 2 weeks of worsening (12/07/12)
ST. LOUIS -- The nation's worst drought in decades leveled off last week after a two-week spell in which overall conditions worsened slightly, but a persistent lack of rain in Midwest and Plains states has barge operators fearing Mississippi River traffic soon could slow to a crawl or stop altogether...
Mississippi River dropping slower than expected (12/06/12)
ST. LOUIS -- A revised Mississippi River forecast offered a bit of a reprieve for shippers Wednesday, showing the water level isn't dropping as quickly as feared. Still, at least two large barge companies already are reducing their loads because of concerns about the river's depth....
Mississippi River shutdown could have nationwide economic consequences (11/29/12)
ST. LOUIS (AP) -- After months of drought, companies that ship grain and other goods down the Mississippi River are being haunted by a potential nightmare: If water levels fall too low, the nation's main inland waterway could become impassable to barges just as the harvest heads to market...
Blunt: Estate tax change could hit Mo. farms (11/28/12)
JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. - Sen. Roy Blunt says thousands of Missouri farmers could face higher taxes if the current federal estate tax rates are allowed to expire. Missouri has about 100,000 farms, the second highest number nationally. Blunt says only about 1,100 of those would be subject to the 35 percent federal estate tax which currently exempts the first $5.1 million of an estate's value...
Lower river levels soon may be unfathomable to many (11/28/12)
Traffic on the liquid highway that is the Mississippi River soon may come to a halt costing businesses and putting jobs in jeopardy. Historically low water levels are expected to drop even more as the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers on Friday reduced the outflow from the Missouri River in South Dakota....
Senators ask Obama to protect river (11/27/12)
ST. LOUIS (AP) -- A group of U.S. senators is asking President Barack Obama for an emergency declaration in an effort to keep barges moving on the drought-stricken Mississippi River.
Researcher tests heating system at Missouri turkey farm (11/26/12)
COLUMBIA, Mo. -- A central Missouri turkey farm is being used to test a heating system that uses warmth in the soil to keep the birds warm and could help trim farmers' utility bills. Geothermal heating uses the soil to control the temperature of water flowing through buried pipes. The water then transfers the ground's heat into the building...
2012 so far warmest year on record in parts of Mo., including Cape (11/27/12)
ST. LOUIS -- This year is on pace to be the warmest on record in parts of Missouri, a continuation of a trend of warmer weather that is affecting flowers, plants and agricultural crops, experts said Monday. National Weather Service meteorologist Jayson Gosselin said 2012, through Nov. ...
Midwest farmers seek alternatives to costly winter hay (11/25/12)
WICHITA, Kan. -- There's no grass for grazing on Debbie and Duane Blythe's ranch in Kansas' parched Flint Hills. Their cattle nibble on the leafy tops of turnips the couple planted after harvesting their winter wheat. The Blythes are among thousands of farmers looking for alternative ways to feed their animals this winter after one of the worst droughts in the nation's history dried up grasslands in much of the country. ...
Corps cuts flow on Missouri River (11/25/12)
ST. LOUIS -- The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers on Friday began reducing the flow from a Missouri River reservoir, a move expected to worsen low-water conditions on the Mississippi River and potentially bring barge traffic to a halt within weeks. The Missouri flows into the Mississippi around a bend just north of St. Louis. One result of this year's drought, the worst in decades, has been a big drop in water levels on both rivers...
Missouri hunters take nearly 205,000 deer (11/22/12)
JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. -- Missouri's Department of Conservation says hunters took nearly 205,000 deer during November's 11-day firearms season. That's the highest number in four years and 7.7 percent higher than last year. Wednesday's report said the figures bear out earlier predictions for a big hunt in southern Missouri. Scientists had said a poor acorn crop was forcing deer to concentrate in places where acorns were plentiful...
U.S. drought worsens; Southeast Missouri continues improvement (11/22/12)
ST. LOUIS -- A new report shows that the nation's worst drought in decades is getting worse again, ending an encouraging five-week run of improving conditions. The weekly U.S. Drought Monitor report shows that 60.1 percent of the continental U.S. was in some form of drought as of Tuesday. That's up from 58.8 percent the previous week...
U.S., Mexico sign pact on sharing Colorado River (11/21/12)
CORONADO, Calif. -- The United States and Mexico on Tuesday signed a pact for new rules on sharing water from the Colorado River, The far-reaching agreement gives Mexico badly needed water storage capacity in Lake Mead, which stretches across Nevada and Arizona...
Corps, tribes sign pact for discovery of remains (11/20/12)
MEMPHIS, Tenn. -- The remains of Native American tribe members discovered in the Birds Point-New Madrid floodway in Missouri will be respectfully preserved under an agreement signed Tuesday. Leaders of the Quapaw Tribe and the Delaware Nation joined Col. ...
Rollin' on the river?: Farmers may have trouble transporting grain because of low water levels (11/18/12)
The fall harvest in Southeast Missouri is wrapping up, but farmers' ability to ship their grain this winter remains in question. After battling an extreme drought and excessive heat all summer, fall rains put the harvest slightly behind schedule. This combination has left the Mississippi River's water levels dangerously low for barges, which carry 60 percent of the nation's grain exports. ...
15 senators urge action on Mississippi waterway (11/16/12)
ST. LOUIS (AP) -- Fifteen senators from eight Mississippi River states are urging the Army Corps of Engineers to take steps to keep barges moving on the Mississippi. Sens. Roy Blunt, a Missouri Republican, and Tom Harkin, an Iowa Democrat, penned the letter to Army Assistant Secretary Jo-Ellen Darcy on Friday with 13 co-signers...
Corps action could reduce Mississippi River up to 3 feet (11/16/12)
ST. LOUIS (AP) -- A top Corps of Engineers official has ordered the release of water from an upper Mississippi River reservoir in an effort to avoid closure of the river at St. Louis. Corps Major General John Peabody says the release from a reservoir in Minnesota will eventually add 3-6 inches of depth at St. Louis. However, that will fall well short of offsetting the projected drop of up to 3 feet when the corps reduces the flow of the Missouri River starting next week...
Quinn, Blunt, Emerson join in on river concerns (11/15/12)
ST. LOUIS (AP) -- Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn and U.S. Sen. Roy Blunt of Missouri are joining the chorus expressing concern over the Army Corps of Engineers' plan to reduce flow from a Missouri River reservoir, a move that could significantly affect shipping on the Mississippi River...
Quinn urges feds to keep Mississippi River flowing (11/15/12)
SPRINGFIELD, Ill. -- Gov. Pat Quinn is joining Missouri's governor in asking the federal government to keep enough water flowing down the Mississippi and Missouri rivers to allow barges to carry goods to market. Quinn sent a letter Wednesday to the Army's assistant secretary saying levels on the Mississippi between Cairo, Ill., and St. Louis are critically low. He also said Illinois is ready to help the Army Corps of Engineers "fast-track" dredging and rock-clearing to help the flow...
Corps plans Missouri River reduction (11/14/12)
ST. LOUIS (AP) -- The Army Corps of Engineers will proceed with plans to reduce the flow from an upper Missouri River reservoir despite concerns that it will worsen low-water problems on the Mississippi River, officials told The Associated Press Tuesday...
Drought tracker: Dryness worsens in Kan., Okla. (11/09/12)
ST. LOUIS -- The worst U.S. drought in decades got worse in parts of the nation's midsection, further frustrating ranchers and growers of winter wheat in Kansas and Oklahoma, a drought-tracking consortium's update showed Thursday. The U.S. Drought Monitor's latest map showed that 60 percent of the land in the lower 48 states was experiencing some degree of drought as of Tuesday, down less than a percentage point from the previous week. ...
Drought holds its grip as growers pivot to wheat; Missouri improvement continues (10/25/12)
ST. LOUIS (AP) -- The worst U.S. drought in decades showed little sign of easing last week as farmers closed out their corn and soybean harvests and turned their attention to winter wheat, which has been struggling to break through the moisture-starved soil in some states, according to a weekly report...
Flood projects progressing on both sides of Mississippi River (10/25/12)
Progress is steadily being made with flood-recovery projects on both sides of the Mississippi River. Cairo, Ill., will be the beneficiary of a $7.8 million contract awarded by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers for its flood-control projects, and officials in the Missouri counties of Mississippi and New Madrid are pleased with efforts to repair levees that were intentionally breached during last year's massive flooding...
Agriculture commission hears from farmers at Charleston meeting (10/24/12)
Members of Missouri's Interim Commission on Agriculture Innovation and Economic Recovery listened intently Tuesday as Mississippi County farmers described how homes, churches and crops washed away after the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers intentionally breached the Birds Point levee last spring...
Soybean harvesting (10/23/12)
LAURA SIMON ~ lsimon@semissourian.com Carl Landewee runs the combine through 46 acres of soybeans belonging to Charles Hinkebein on Monday near Blomeyer, Mo. ...
Farmers were able to plant most of land flooded in 2011 (10/21/12)
KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Farmers in spring were able to plant all but a few thousand acres of the land deluged by last year's flooding along the Missouri River and the intentional breaching of a Mississippi River levee in Southeast Missouri, U.S. Department of Agriculture figures show...
Farmers planted most of land flooded in 2011 (10/19/12)
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) -- Farmers this spring were able to plant all but a few thousand acres of the land deluged by last year's flooding along on the Missouri River and the intentional breaching of a Mississippi River levee in southeast Missouri, U.S. Department of Agriculture figures show...
Drought conditions ease in key Midwest farm states (10/18/12)
ST. LOUIS (AP) -- Recent storms helped ease the grip of the nation's worst drought in decades on several key Midwest farming states, raising hopes that the winter wheat crop will fare better than this year's corn, which is in the final stages of being harvested...
US corn estimate lowered to reflect harvest yields (10/12/12)
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) -- The U.S. Department of Agriculture on Thursday slightly lowered its projection for the nation's corn crop for a fourth straight month, reflecting worse-than-expected news about the actual impact of this year's withering drought from the farmers busy harvesting their fields...
Cotton prices down this year even as Southeast Missouri acres increase (10/10/12)
Cotton planting got off to a late start. Then came a disastrous drought coupled with scorching heat. Now an unusually wet fall is making fields a soggy mess to harvest. But this year's cotton crop had seemed so promising in the spring. Missouri Bootheel farmers planted more cotton acres, about 400,000 this year, up from 375,000 last year, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture's National Agriculture Statistics Service. Every other cotton-growing state decreased its acres this year...
Drought worsens in some key Midwest farming states; Missouri not as dry (10/04/12)
ST. LOUIS -- The nation's worst drought in decades is showing no sign of letting up in several key Midwest farming states, worrying farmers harvesting the summer's withered corn crop in record time that their winter crops may also be at risk. Overall drought conditions in the lower 48 states held steady over the seven-day period ending Tuesday, with about one-fifth of the total land area in extreme or exceptional drought, the two worst classifications, according to the U.S. ...
Southeast gets agriculture grant from USDA (10/04/12)
Southeast Missouri State University was awarded the Missouri Higher Education Partnership for Agriculture Relevancy grant by the USDA, according to a Wednesday news release. The two-year grant is worth $30,000 and will be used for improving agriculture and renewable resources teaching...
Ranchers see increase in grass thefts amid drought (10/03/12)
VAUGHN, N.M. (AP) -- Petty crime and burglaries aren't unusual in New Mexico's isolated Guadalupe County, but lately Sheriff Michael Lucero has seen thieves steal something a bit unexpected: grass. With drought drying out grazing land and driving up hay prices, some ranchers in New Mexico have started cutting neighbors' fences or leaving gates open so their cattle can graze on greener pastures...
Area dairy farmers left in lurch after farm bill expires (10/02/12)
A program benefiting local dairy farmers is among the 34 U.S. Department of Agriculture Programs that are now expired since Congress adjourned without passing a new five-year farm bill. For the first time in more than 20 years a farm bill was allowed to expire with the end of the federal fiscal year, Sept. 30, without Congress passing some sort of an extension, said Mark Cadle, executive director for the Missouri Farm Service Agency...
Bacon shortage 'baloney,' but prices to rise (10/02/12)
ST. LOUIS -- Bacon lovers can relax. They'll find all they want on supermarket shelves in the coming months, though their pocketbooks may take a hit. The economics of the current drought are likely to nose up prices for bacon and other pork products next year, by as much as 10 percent. But U.S. agricultural economists are dismissing reports of a global bacon shortage that lent sizzle to headlines and Twitter feeds last week. Simply put, the talk of scarcity is hogwash...
Missouri's walnut crop could be lackluster (09/30/12)
SPRINGFIELD, Mo. -- Missouri's walnut crop this year is expected to be lackluster. Buyers start hulling the nuts this week, and prices are high, with buyers offering as much as $13 per hundred pounds after hulling. But no one is expecting a run to cash in...
Missouri Department of Ag director speaks to Sikeston chamber (09/30/12)
SIKESTON, Mo. -- Since being appointed as the Missouri Department of Agriculture director in 2009, Dr. Jon Hagler has spent a lot of time in Southeast Missouri. The spring 2011 flooding which led to the Birds Point levee breach and this year's drought have brought him to the area several times. "I kind of feel like we are next of kin right now," he said...
Stubborn drought maintains grip on lower 48 states (09/28/12)
ST. LOUIS (AP) -- The nation's worst drought in decades consumed a larger portion of the lower 48 states last week with the Midwest corn harvest in full swing, according to the latest update by a drought-tracking consortium released Thursday. The U.S. ...
Missouri Department of Agriculture expands ash borer quarantine (09/26/12)
The Missouri Department of Agriculture has expanded the quarantine to protect trees from the emerald ash borer insect, the department announced in a release Tuesday. The emerald ash borer is a green beetle that is invasive against types of hardwood trees. ...
SEMO receives $18,000 ag grant (09/25/12)
The Department of Agriculture at Southeast Missouri State University has been awarded a two-year $18,000 grant, the university said in a release Monday. The grant will be used to evaluate methods to reduce nutrient losses from underground water systems...
Missouri rice production now extends as far north as Cape (09/24/12)
While rice has been grown for more than 20 years in the Southeast Missouri Bootheel, it's now produced as far north as Cape Girardeau. "They're finding out they actually can grow it, do well with it," said Donn Beighley, a rice breeder and manager of Southeast Missouri State University's Missouri Rice Research and Demonstration Farm in Malden, Mo. "I think Missouri producers are very progressive. They're willing to try new things."...
Congress exits Washington to hit campaign trail (09/23/12)
WASHINGTON -- The most partisan, least productive Congress in memory has skipped out of Washington so lawmakers can make their case for voters to re-elect them.
Rainfall easing drought in certain corn states; improvement continues in Southeast Mo. (09/21/12)
ST. LOUIS -- With hopes of a once-stellar corn crop dimmed by a summer of drought, Gerald Jenkins doesn't expect the unfolding harvest to burden his co-op's grain elevators, which are capable of storing 9 million bushels of the grain it buys from growers. Finding timely barges to ship it off may be another story.
Farm bill stalls in House, frustrating area farmers (09/19/12)
Election-year politics have stalled the farm bill and may leave some producers without a safety net. Farmers are frustrated and filled with uncertainty as House leaders have yet to schedule a vote on the farm bill. "The farm bill, for the first time since I've been in Congress, has become political this year and it's a big problem," said Rep. Jo Ann Emerson, R-Cape Girardeau...
EPA settles three area pesticide sales violations (09/14/12)
The Environmental Protection Agency reached settlements with three area organizations over pesticide violations, the agency announced Thursday in a news release. All three cases involved the sale and distribution of plant growth regulators, which are controlled by the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act. ...
Rain eases drought as Midwest corn harvest unfolds (09/14/12)
ST. LOUIS -- The latest update on the nation's worst drought in decades shows that farmers bringing in their weakened corn crops caught some relief with recent rains that soaked much of middle America. The weekly U.S. Drought Monitor map released Thursday shows two-thirds of Iowa now in extreme or exceptional drought, the two worst categories. That's because the amount of that state in extreme drought rose slightly while the swath in exceptional drought remained unchanged at 2.4 percent...
Local legislator selected for drought recovery panel (09/14/12)
State Rep. Steve Hodges, D-East Prairie, has been selected as part of a group of legislators and citizens who will evaluate the effect of this year's drought on Missouri's agriculture industry. Hodges was selected by House Speaker Pro Tem Shane Schoeller, R-Willard, to serve as a member of the Interim Commission on Agriculture Innovation and Economic Recovery...
Nixon extends drought state of emergency (09/11/12)
Despite recent rainfall, Gov. Jay Nixon extended the state of emergency for Missouri he declared in July because of heat, fire risk and prolonged drought impacting the state. The extension, announced via news release Monday, lasts 45 days through Nov. ...
Isaac's remnants relieves some drought states, including Southeast Missouri (09/07/12)
ST. LOUIS -- Hurricane Isaac's remnants dumped heavy rain on some key Midwest farming states, dramatically lessening the drought there while corn-producing heavyweights Iowa and Nebraska missed out on that moisture and saw their conditions worsen badly, according to a drought report released Thursday.
Iowa study aimed at making tractors safer for children (09/06/12)
CORALVILLE, Iowa -- Researchers who hope to prevent children from dying in tractor accidents are turning to a state-of-the-art driving simulator to help determine when kids can safely operate farm equipment. Teens are at least four times more likely to die on a farm than in any other workplace. ...
Southeast Missouri farmers appear on TV documentary (09/05/12)
EAST PRAIRIE, Mo. -- Three Southeast Missouri farmers are helping tell the story of agriculture through a nationally syndicated documentary that broadcast locally last weekend. "Against the Grain: The Year Mother Nature Struck Back"
Isaac promises drought relief, lousy holiday (08/31/12)
ST. LOUIS (AP) -- When drought made Fourth of July fireworks a fire hazard, organizers in Chesterfield, Mo., decided to try again Labor Day weekend. Go figure: Now rain from the remnants of Hurricane Isaac has forced them to cancel again. The storm is expected to drop several inches of rain over parts of Midwest this weekend, and residents are preparing for a soggy holiday with mixed emotions. ...
Drought-weary farmers await Isaac's remnants (08/30/12)
ST. LOUIS (AP) -- Growers in key farm states punished by the nation's worst drought in two generations welcomed recent rains that at least for a time soaked their parched crops and eased the dryness. But with Hurricane Isaac's remnants crawling their way, some farmers wonder whether too much relief is on the horizon...
Well drillers offering water witching (08/30/12)
CHAMPAIGN, Ill. -- Well driller Randy Gebke usually uses a geology database and other high-tech tools to figure out where to sink new water wells for clients. But if asked, he'll grab two wires, walk across the property, waiting for the wires to cross to find a place to drill...
USDA expands emergency grazing on conservation land (08/30/12)
The U.S. Department of Agriculture is granting a two-month extension for emergency grazing on Conservation Reserve Program land, freeing up forage and feed for ranchers who continue to be affected by the drought, according to an agency news release...
Drought-stricken states welcome rain from Isaac (08/29/12)
OMAHA, Neb. -- The remnants of Hurricane Isaac could bring welcome rain to some states in the Mississippi River valley this week, but experts say it's unlikely to break the drought gripping the Midwest.
Drought worsens in Plains, despite cooler weather (08/24/12)
ST. LOUIS (AP) -- The nation's most withering drought in decades only got worse in several key farming states last week, despite cooler temperatures that at least gave those living there a break from this summer's stifling heat, according to a new drought report released Thursday...
Dry summer could produce better wines across Midwest (08/24/12)
HERMANN, Mo. -- Most of the grapes in Glenn Warnebold's vineyard in Missouri's picturesque wine country are about two-thirds of their usual size. Others have been reduced to raisins by the drought that burned up many crops across the Midwest this summer...
Hydroponics, alpaca farms among Emerson tour stops (08/23/12)
SIKESTON, Mo. -- U.S. Rep. Jo Ann Emerson's annual farm tour took her to some unusual stops this year -- an alpaca farm, a deer farm near Poplar Bluff, Mo., a field full of peanuts in Ripley County and then her last stop in New Madrid County where there wasn't a field at all. Emerson closed out her tour Tuesday afternoon at Hamra's Hydroponics farm, where lettuce and tomatoes are grown in irrigated bags and trays...
Coast Guard partially reopens Mississippi River (08/23/12)
GREENVILLE, Miss. (AP) -- Authorities reopened the Mississippi River to some boat traffic Wednesday, hours after freeing a barge that ran aground in dangerously low waters caused by an extensive drought. A trickle of barges had begun heading north as of late afternoon, but clearing all 33 northbound tows and 72 southbound barge strings was going to be a slow process, said Coast Guard Petty Officer Ryan Tippets...
Early harvest of corn, other crops underway in Southeast Missouri (08/22/12)
SIKESTON, Mo. -- An early corn harvest is well underway in some portions of Southeast Missouri, and other crops in the region continue to run ahead of schedule as well. Anthony Ohmes, agronomy specialist for University of Missouri Extension's Southeast Region and Mississippi County office, said earlier planting in the spring combined with hotter-than-normal summer days made plants mature quicker...
USDA eyes whether tainted beef entered food supply (08/22/12)
FRESNO, Calif. -- Federal regulators who shut down a Central California slaughterhouse after receiving an animal welfare video were investigating Tuesday whether beef from sick cows reached the human food supply. The video appears to show workers bungling the slaughter of cows struggling to walk and even stand. Under federal regulations, sick animals cannot be slaughtered for human consumption...
Corps: Low Miss. River levels to persist into fall (08/22/12)
MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) -- Officials with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers say low water levels that are restricting shipping traffic, forcing harbor closures and causing towboats and barges to run aground on the Mississippi River are expected to continue into October...
Forecast: U.S. drought lingering but leveling off (08/17/12)
ST. LOUIS -- Rains that eased or stabilized parched conditions in some key farming states haven't helped growers and ranchers in Kansas or Nebraska, where the severity of the drought continues to spike, a climate monitoring center showed Thursday...
Dorena-Hickman Ferry opens after dredging (08/17/12)
DORENA, Mo. -- The Dorena-Hickman Ferry reopened for business Thursday morning, after completion of the dredging of the Hickman, Ky., harbor, according to a news release from the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet. The ferry is carrying only passenger vehicles at present, because of continuing low water on the Mississippi River. ...
Emerson Farm Tour set to begin Thursday (08/14/12)
SIKESTON, Mo. -- Eighth District U.S. Rep. Jo Ann Emerson will meet with area agricultural producers on her annual Farm Tour visits to farms, ranches, specialty producers and value-added agriculture operations. The tour kicks off Thursday in Farmington, Mo., and will conclude Aug. 21 at Sikeston...
Heavier loads of grain allowed on Missouri highways (08/15/12)
The Missouri Department of Transportation has agreed to allow heavier than normal loads of grain on state highways throughout the harvest season after a request from the state Agriculture Department, according to a MoDOT news release. Farmers, private and for-hire motor carriers may carry up to 10 percent more than their licensed weight on Missouri highways. ...
Southeast Missouri expected to have best corn yield (08/12/12)
Thanks to irrigation, the Missouri bootheel will have some of the best corn yields in the U.S. this year despite the heat and drought. According to the latest U.S. Department of Agriculture yield estimates, Southeast Missouri will have the highest corn yield in the state, despite being in the most extreme category on the U.S. drought monitor...
USDA cuts corn outlook as drought takes toll (08/10/12)
ST. LOUIS (AP) -- The federal government on Friday slashed its expectations for U.S. corn and soybean production for the second month in a row as the worst drought in decades continues punishing key farm states. The U.S. Agriculture Department cut its projected U.S. corn production to 10.8 billion bushels, down 17 percent from its forecast last month of nearly 13 billion bushels and 13 percent lower than last year. That also would be the lowest production since 2006...
Livestock producers seek pause in ethanol production (08/10/12)
WASHINGTON -- Livestock farmers and ranchers seeing their feed costs rise because of the worst drought in a quarter-century are demanding that the Environmental Protection Agency waive production requirements for corn-based ethanol. One-third of House members have also signed onto a letter urging EPA administrator Lisa Jackson to relax ethanol production targets in light of corn supply concerns and spiking prices...
Livestock farmers aided by cost-share program (08/10/12)
With his ponds going dry and his wells running empty, Kirk Kinder's Daisy farm was in desperate need of water to make it through this summer's severe drought. Wednesday crews dug a new well at Kinder's farm, with help from an emergency cost-share program through the State Soil and Water District Commission...
Report: Drought worsens in key farm states (08/10/12)
ST. LOUIS -- The Plains states where the production of corn and soybeans is key are being hit harder by excessive drought conditions in the wake of the hottest month on record in the continental U.S., contributing to a surge in global food prices...
Assistance coming for livestock producers dealing with drought effects (08/09/12)
Help is on the way for area livestock producers facing a critical need for water in the ongoing drought. USDA has committed nearly $16 million in financial and technical assistance to immediately help crop and livestock producers in 19 states cope with the adverse impacts of the historic drought. ...
Farmers seeking hardier breeds for drought, climate change (08/09/12)
DES MOINES, Iowa -- Cattle are being bred with genes from their African cousins who are accustomed to hot weather. New corn varieties are emerging with larger roots for gathering water in a drought. Someday, the plants may even be able to "resurrect" themselves after a long dry spell, recovering quickly when rain returns...
Farmers to show off antique tractors Saturday in Scott County (08/03/12)
NEW HAMBURG -- A caravan of nearly 50 antique tractors will putt along a 23-mile route Saturday in Scott County. "We're going to have all kinds of sizes shapes and colors," said ride organizer and farmer Elmer Kenkel of New Hamburg, who will drive a 730 Case tractor in the ride...
Drought's economic effects yet to come, largely unknown (08/03/12)
Row upon row of brittle, rust-colored corn plants with empty ears. Dusty pastures devoid of nutrition. Where water once flowed freely, only dry creek beds remain. Devastating doesn't begin to describe this drought. The immediate effects of the drought, which some say may rival the dust bowl of the 1930s, are easy to see now, but the economic consequences are yet to come and largely unknown...
Marble Hill, Mo., farmer installs alternative to ponds to water cattle (08/02/12)
MARBLE HILL, Mo, -- Some 1.25-inch pipe and a few old tractor tires have kept cattle on Lester and Ima Jo Barks' farm from being thirsty. With farm ponds and creeks drying up, Lester Barks needed a way to get water to his cattle more easily than trucking in tanks of water. So, working in conjunction with the local USDA farm service office, he built his cattle a water system...
Loans available for nonfarm businesses affected by drought (08/02/12)
Gov. Jay Nixon announced Tuesday that the U.S. Small Business Administration will make low-interest disaster loans available to small, nonfarm businesses in all 114 Missouri counties and the city of St. Louis due to the prolonged heat and drought. Economic Injury Disaster Loans are available because of the statewide agricultural disaster declaration issued by the U.S. Department of Agriculture at the governor's request...
Drought intensifies in Plains states; Southeast Missouri still in 'exceptional' drought (08/03/12)
ST. LOUIS (AP) -- The latest U.S. Drought Monitor survey shows an increase in extreme drought conditions in four Plains states but a slight decrease in the overall area of the lower 48 states experiencing some form of drought. The map posted Thursday on the monitor's website shows that nearly two-thirds of the lower 48 states is experiencing some drought. Recent rainfall pushed the percentage down to 62.91, from last week's 63.86...
Half of U.S. counties now considered disaster areas (08/02/12)
ST. LOUIS -- Nearly 220 counties in a dozen drought-stricken states were added Wednesday to the U.S. government's list of natural disaster areas as the nation's agriculture chief unveiled new help for frustrated, cash-strapped farmers and ranchers grappling with extreme dryness and heat.
Ag secretary announces more measures to help farmers with drought (08/02/12)
Farmers suffering from drought now have access to conservation land for haying and grazing, and will have longer to pay insurance premiums, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced Wednesday. Emergency haying and grazing will now be allowed on approximately 3.8 million acres of conservation land to bring greater relief to livestock producers dealing with shortages of hay and pastureland, according to a USDA news release...
Small farmers struggle as drought kills vegetables (08/01/12)
WEST ALLIS, Wis. -- Chris Covelli planted 1,000 zucchini seeds on his farm in southern Wisconsin this spring. Only a quarter sprouted in the parched soil. A few weeks later, he planted 1,000 more seeds and doubled his irrigation. This time, nothing came up...
USDA to allow haying on wetlands in program (07/29/12)
The USDA will allow Missouri landowners to use up to 50 percent of the grass areas within their Wetlands Reserve Program easements for haying because of the drought, according to a USDA news release. The program is administered by the Natural Resources Conservation Service, which purchases easements from landowners who in turn agree to maintain the areas as wetlands...
Mo. AG investigating drilling gouging reports (07/29/12)
JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) -- The Missouri attorney general's office is investigating reports that water well drillers may have been taking advantage of landowners hit hard by drought. Attorney General Koster said in a release Friday that he's looking into reports that water well drillers may have been spiking prices for their services in northwest Missouri. ...
Southeast Missouri moves into worst category of drought (07/27/12)
Drought has already affected area crops and livestock, and conditions are expected to get worse before they get better. Southeast Missouri, including Scott and Stoddard counties, nearly all of Cape Girardeau County, most of Bollinger County and a small part of Perry County, are now in the most pronounced type of drought, according to the latest U.S. Drought Monitor map released Thursday. Those areas are in the "exceptional" drought category...
Nixon adds $5M to help Mo. farmers with wells (07/27/12)
JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) -- Following pleas from Missouri farmers for help amid historic heat and parched land, Gov. Jay Nixon bolstered funding Thursday for an emergency water assistance program and redirected money from winter heating aid to cooling for low-income residents...
Corps confident levee fixed by end of year (07/24/12)
ST. LOUIS (AP) -- The Army Corps of Engineers now believes the Birds Point levee in southeast Missouri will be fully restored by the end of the year, corps officials said Tuesday. The corps announced in May that it had awarded $20 million in contracts to repair the levee that was intentionally breached at the height of spring flooding in 2011, in part to help save the flood wall protecting nearby Cairo, Ill. ...
Mo. farmers eligible for help to expand wells (07/24/12)
JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) -- Missouri farmers can get some additional state help to drill or deepen wells for thirsty crops and livestock. Gov. Jay Nixon said Tuesday the emergency program will cover 90 percent of a well project's cost, with a maximum cost-sharing award of $20,000. Typical state soil and water cost-share programs cover 75 percent of the cost. The state Soil and Water Districts Commission approved the expanded program this week...
USDA takes emergency measures to help drought-stricken farms (07/24/12)
As the most widespread drought in 70 years gets worse, the U.S. Department of Agriculture today announced new relief programs aimed at helping struggling farmers. The USDA is encouraging crop insurance companies to provide an additional grace period for farmers to pay their premiums and opening up more land in conservation programs for hay and grazing...
Nixon declares emergency from drought, heat (07/24/12)
JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) -- Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon has declared an emergency because of the recent drought. The state emergency declaration Monday allows state agencies to help local officials respond to the drought and heat. Nixon says state health officials have confirmed 25 heat-related deaths, including 20 in the St. Louis area. Health officials report that there have been 829 heat-related trips to hospital emergency rooms...
SEMO opens new biofuels research field in Sikeston (07/22/12)
SIKESTON, Mo. -- Southeast Missouri may not only be the future home of biomass production and technology; it will also be the source for those versed in it. Southeast Missouri State University's Department of Agriculture hosted a grand opening ceremony for its Biomass/Biofuels Research and Demonstration Field at Southeast's Sikeston campus Thursday morning. ...
Low river yet to have big effect on Southeast Missouri shipping (07/20/12)
Drought has affected the river and its traffic, with low water conditions stretching from the length of the Mississippi River's shipping lanes, tightening the width of the river and limiting the amount of cargo in each barge. Long stretches of shoreline are now exposed, a little over a year after record flooding, shrinking the river's width and affecting the way barges are loaded and navigated. ...
USDA declares disaster in Missouri drought areas (07/17/12)
The USDA has declared all 114 Missouri counties as primary disaster areas due to drought. The designation was announced Tuesday in a news release from Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon's office. Nixon is touring some areas of the state to look at drought effects...
No end in sight for drought-stressed Mo. farms (07/18/12)
KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Relentless heat and historically dry conditions are showing no signs of easing in Missouri, with the National Weather Service predicting seven to 10 days of 100-degree temperatures, including several expected to reach at least 105 degrees.