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Abbie Fentress Swanson

Abbie Fentress Swanson left KBIA at the end of 2013. 

Abbie Fentress Swanson joined Harvest Public Media in 2012 and is based at KBIA Radio in Columbia, Missouri. Before that, she covered arts and culture for WNYC Radio in New York. There she was part of a team that won an Online News Association award in 2012 and an Associated Press award in 2010 for outstanding digital news coverage. In 2011, she won the Garden State Journalists Association "Best Radio Feature" award for "Music Therapy Helps Vets Control Symptoms of PTSD." Reporting fellowships prior to WNYC took her to Egypt, Jordan, Qatar, India, Germany, the Czech Republic and Belgium. Abbie's travels led to multimedia stories on a wide range of subjects -- from the World Cup in South Africa, to the gay rights movement in India, to San Francisco's immigration court. She's filed stories for The New York Times, The Patriot Ledger, KALW Public Radio, The World, and Virginia Quarterly Review. Abbie holds a master's degree in journalism from the University of California, Berkeley and a bachelor's degree in Italian studies from the College of William & Mary. Check her out on twitter @dearabbie.

  • In the past decade, half of the dairy farms in the U.S. have gone out of business, but thanks to technological advances and selective breeding, the dairy industry is more efficient than ever. It produces 20 percent more milk than it did ten years ago. Harvest Public Media's Abbie Fentress Swanson reports that economists are even predicting that U.S. farmers will export an unprecedented amount of dairy products this year. Still, this ramped-up production has made it difficult for smaller operations to compete.
  • The once-sleepy tourist town of Noel, Mo., in the heart of the Ozark Mountains, is now home to hundreds of immigrants and newly arrived refugees, thanks largely to the huge Tyson Food Inc. poultry plant. And since the town lacks the infrastructure to serve these new residents, schools have become the de facto safety net.
  • Heat is no friend to mayonnaise. The perfect way to preserve produce for hot summer picnics is by pickling — not just cucumbers, but cherries, green tomatoes, okra, kohlrabi — all kinds of seasonal produce.
  • Across the Midwest this summer, scientists are wading into 100 streams to collect water samples and check cages for fish eggs. It's part of a large study to understand how pesticides and agricultural chemicals from farms are affecting the nation's streams.
  • Corn production was down last year thanks to drought. This year, conditions are too cold and wet for farmers to plant the crop. Without a break in the clouds pretty soon, there may be another shortage of the crop at harvest time.
  • In the coming year, the USDA predicts that American corn exports will be at a 40-year low. That's because the U.S. drought has led to a corn shortage and high domestic corn prices. To adapt, grain exporters have had to change their business models.