Erica Hunzinger

Erica Hunzinger is the editor of Harvest Public Media, based at KCUR in Kansas City, Missouri.

Born and bred in central Illinois, Erica branched out to the University of Missouri-Columbia for her journalism degree and later earned an MA in Humanities (with an emphasis on poetry) from the University of Chicago.

Previously, Erica was the politics, education and criminal justice editor at St. Louis Public Radio. She also spent five years on The Associated Press' Central Region editing desk, where she took a keen interest in working on regional agriculture stories. She started her career on copy-editing desks at The News Journal in Wilmington, Delaware, and The News & Observer in Raleigh, North Carolina.

Erica is a farmer's granddaughter, attuned to the smell of cow manure and processed soybeans, nurtures flowers and plants and pays way too much attention to baseball.

At least six female athletes at the University of Kansas reported they experienced unwanted touching from a massage therapist who was recently charged with a child sex crime, the school said Tuesday. 

Investigators also discovered that an athletic trainer knew of “unwarranted and unwanted touching” by Shawn O’Brien, but the school said in an email to staff and students that the trainer did not “appropriately report the conduct, as it is required by the university.”

Kansas state officials “strongly recommended” on Sunday that all K-12 schools close for the coming week, and said they’re looking at the potential of finishing the school year online.

The temporary closure will “give educators time to make plans for the safest learning environment possible,” Gov. Laura Kelly said during a news conference, though she acknowledged it’ll be difficult to feed students and provide child care. 

The University of Kansas said Thursday that it’s “deeply troubled” by an internal investigation into a massage therapist who was recently charged with sexually assaulting a child, and had worked with some women’s sports teams since 2015. 

The Kansas City metro area is among three sites still in the hunt to become the next location for the U.S. Department of Agriculture's research arms.

As harvest wrapped up this year and the leaves turned brilliant shades of red and yellow, two of the world’s biggest agribusinesses, Archer Daniels Midland (ADM) and Smithfield Foods, announced they were pairing up on projects with environmental nonprofits.

Updated Aug. 22, 2018 — Two research arms of the U.S. Department of Agriculture will be moving out of Washington, D.C. Three of Missouri’s U.S. representatives and one from Kansas said Kansas City is the perfect place for those agencies.

The trade war has come home to roost among U.S. farmers and ranchers whose livelihoods are targeted by tariffs from China, Mexico and Canada. The U.S. Department of Agriculture did something about it Tuesday, announcing it'll spend up to $12 billion in aid, including direct payments to growers. 

Editors note, June 28, 2018: The CDC says the data referenced in this story about farmer suicides is incorrect, due to "coding issues" and that the agency will work to correct the data, according to media outlet The New Food Economy. Updated suicide numbers for farmers have not yet been released.

Farming involves a degree of inherent risk, such as environmental and biological factors like drought and disease, which can come and go practically without warning. Depressed commodity and dairy prices and a burgeoning trade war are adding to that usual stress and taking a toll on farmers.

Updated June 1, 2018, with bill signed — Missouri is in the vanguard when it comes to defining what meat is.

It’s an essential, perhaps even existential, question sparked by the growth of plant-based proteins,meat substitutes and lab-grown products. And it’s a topic that, while first passed at the state level Thursday, is also being considered at the federal level.

U.S. Rep. Roger Marshall's Office

Held up over disagreements over federal food stamps, the first draft of the 2018 farm bill arrived Thursday, bearing 35 changes to that program, including starting a national database of participants.

The current farm bill expires Sept. 30; in the past, Congress has had to extend their work beyond deadlines. The bill — released on Thursday — came from the House Agriculture Committee, which is headed by Texas Republican Rep. Mike Conaway.

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