Amy Mayer

Amy Mayer is a reporter based in Ames. She covers agriculture and is part of the Harvest Public Media collaboration. Amy worked as an independent producer for many years and also  previously had stints as weekend news host and reporter at WFCR in Amherst, Massachusetts and as a reporter and host/producer of a weekly call-in health show at KUAC in Fairbanks, Alaska. Amyââââ

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9:14am

Wed January 29, 2014
Agriculture

Making The Leap: How Niche Crops Go Mainstream

Boone County, Iowa, farmer Greg Rinehart grew sweet corn last year for the frozen food giant Birds Eye. This year, he’ll grow corn and peas.
Credit Amy Mayer / Harvest Public Media

In the Midwest, crop agriculture often gets divided between the major commodities – corn, soybeans and wheat – and everything else. Diverting acres away from a major commodity to an un-tested crop is risky, but sometimes agronomics and market forces meet in a sweet spot and farmers can reap the benefits of innovation.

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3:05am

Sun January 26, 2014
The Salt

Pig Virus Continues To Spread, Raising Fears Of Pricier Bacon

Piglets at Hilldale Farm in State Center, Iowa in March 2013, just before porcine epidemic diarrhea began spreading through hog farms in the U.S.
Amy Mayer Harvest Public Media

Pork producers across the country are grappling with a virus that's going after piglets. Livestock economists estimate the porcine epidemic diarrhea, or PED, virus has already killed about 1 million baby pigs in the U.S. since it was first found in Iowa last spring.

Canada reported its first case Thursday, and the disease shows no sign of abating. That has veterinarians worried.

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9:48am

Mon January 6, 2014
Business

Cheerios GMO-Free Decision Mostly About Marketing

Boxes of the oat-based cereal Cheerios will soon sport a GMO-free label, a move that wasn't hard to make.
Credit laffy4k / Flickr/Creative Commons

A popular breakfast cereal will soon sport a label on its familiar yellow box declaring it free of genetically modified ingredients, both a win for anti-GMO activists and the mark of a big food company looking to tap into a niche market for its product.

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5:00am

Mon December 2, 2013
Agriculture

Under The Microscope: Microbes Can Help Farmers

Researchers at chemical company BASF are working to harness bacteria and microbes for beneficial purposes.
Credit Amy Mayer / Harvest Public Media

Farmers and scientists have long understood that what lives beneath the soil affects how crops grow. Often, they work to fight plant diseases—warding off infectious viruses and damaging fungi, for example. But now some microbiologists are focused on how to harness the good things microbes can do, with the goal of increasing farmers’ yields and diminishing their dependence on chemical inputs.

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5:00am

Fri November 8, 2013
Science

Consumers Lost In The Middle Of Scientific Food Battles

Panelists, including Frances Moore Lappe (second from left), speak to a symposium at the World Food Prize in Des Moines, Iowa.
Credit Amy Mayer / Harvest Public Media

Hot-button food issues of the day, such as the use of genetically modified organisms or the treatment of livestock, tend to pit large industries against smaller activist groups. Often, both sides will claim the science supports what they are saying. That can leave consumers, most of whom aren’t scientists, in a bit of a bind.

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