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Harvest Public Media
Harvest Public Media is a reporting collaboration focused on issues of food, fuel and field. Based at KCUR in Kansas City, Harvest covers these agriculture-related topics through an expanding network of reporters and partner stations throughout the Midwest.Most Harvest Public Media stories begin with radio- regular reports are aired on member stations in the Midwest. But Harvest also explores issues through online analyses, television documentaries and features, podcasts, photography, video, blogs and social networking. They are committed to the highest journalistic standards. Click here to read their ethics standards.Harvest Public Media was launched in 2010 with the support of a grant from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. Today, the collaboration is supported by CPB, the partner stations, and contributions from underwriters and individuals.Tri States Public Radio is an associate partner of Harvest Public Media. You can play an important role in helping Harvest Public Media and Tri States Public Radio improve our coverage of food, field and fuel issues by joining the Harvest Network. Learn more here.

Vilsack Stays Mum on Farm Sector's Current Consolidation Boom

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Amy Mayer/Harvest Public Media
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USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack

The country's top agriculture official, Tom Vilsack, is declining to comment on some of the largest  mergers the farm economy has ever seen.

Possible deals between Germany-based Bayer and American seed giant Monsanto, Switzerland-based Syngenta and ChemChina, a state-owned Chinese chemical company, and between American chemical companies Dow and DuPont could further consolidate an already consolidated market [.pdf]. That means farmers could face fewer choices when buying seeds or chemicals.

“I’m not going to respond directly to particular business transactions,” said U.S. Department of Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, who was in Fort Collins, Colorado to talk about his department’s push to help farmers adapt to climate change.

“It’s incumbent upon the Department of Agriculture, our research service and others, to make sure that we support diversity within agriculture, that we continue to look for ways in which we can diversify operators, size of operations, what’s being produced, and maintain choice, maintain options.”

The USDA will have some say in at least one of those proposed deals. The agency was able to secure a seat on a federal panel set to review ChemChina’s $43 billion acquisition of SyngentaAG, Reuters reported, citing anonymous sources. That panel, Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States, reviews business deals that could have implications for national security.

A USDA spokeswoman would not confirm the USDA’s involvement in the review of the Syngenta-ChemChina deal.