agriculture

"To lay an egg" – city style vs farm style

A milestone.

Even as a kid in New York City, I knew that “to lay an egg” was not a good thing. It meant you’d failed to do something you’d set out to accomplish – and everybody knew it. Why’s an egg synonymous with failure? According to numbers of Internet sources, it’s because an egg resembles a zero; and zilch is what goes up on the board when you fail to score.

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Milk costs straining shops

(Photo by Zachary Bielinski) Barista Allison Noble makes a drink with soy milk Monday, Nov. 10 at Bordertown Coffee. Local businesses say they are trying to avoid increasing their prices while the cost of milk rises.

Stephen Miller paid $3.15 for a gallon of 2 percent milk in August. Two weeks ago, he paid about $3.45 per gallon.

Though it was a price increase of about 30 cents, Miller, the manager of Bordertown Coffee on 16th Avenue Southeast, said that extra money adds up for the shop, which goes through about 45 gallons of milk each week.

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Don't let Big Meat eat our bumper crop

The last few years have not been good for the factory farm industry. High prices for corn and other crops (in part driven by the growth of ethanol) made feed costs incredibly high, while at the same time, environmental and animal welfare advocates have been winning ballot and marketplace battles to shift more meat production out of intensive confinement and industrial systems. Hog and cattle producers have been hit by disease, drought and weather related disasters, resulting in losses in both sectors.

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Trade vs. local economies: Procurement on the table

Communities across the United States and Europe are working to transform local economic systems so that they are more sustainable and equitable. Many states and communities are utilizing public procurement programs to support those efforts, especially bidding preferences for healthy, locally grown foods, energy or transportation programs that create local jobs and fair markets. Especially in the aftermath of the Great Recession, Buy American programs have helped ensure that taxpayer-funded programs create local jobs and serve social goals. Farm to School programs that incentivize purchases from local farmers have grown in all 50 U.S. states and many European countries. Innovative efforts are also underway to expand this approach to other institutions such as hospitals, universities and early childcare programs like Head Start.

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FEAST fosters local growers, sustainable food

Locally grown and locally sourced foods are making a real comeback, not only at co-op groceries but on chefs' menus, in public school lunches and at mainstream grocery stores.

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East Side Enterprise Center houses huge walk-in cooler

Access to a huge walk-in cooler is not what I had in mind when I heard about the resources the East Side Enterprise Center (ESEC) is offering to entrepreneurs and businesses, but it turns out that the cooler and warehouse space are just what some local entrepreneurs need. In fact, when John Flory from Latino Economic Development Center (LEDC) saw the 4,000 square feet of warehouse and garage space with 2 loading docks and 5 overhead garage doors, he knew he had found the perfect site for the East Side Local Food Incubator.

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Farmers, ranchers and consumers lose on WTO COOL ruling

A U.S. law requiring the simple labeling of meat and poultry products for the country of origin (COOL) was determined to violate trade rules by a dispute panel at the World Trade Organization (WTO) today.

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Welcome Jerseys

I am sure anyone who has tried to start their own business understands the struggle to stay on top of changes in the market. But when you farm you also have to stay on top of changing weather! My the past couple of years have been weird–long, long winters, super wet springs, cool summers, etc. At least this year we didn’t have the number of severe storms we had last year. But anyway you get the picture. While we are adding a hoop house this fall for our vegetable production we decided that it was time to branch out into meat production. You have already see our pigs. Now it is time to meet the cows.

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Harnessing sun, dew and grass

I was walking out to the chicken coop in the early morning, a pail of seeds and cracked corn swinging on my left and my right hand raised to shade my eyes. The sun, just a few degrees above the trees, hit the dew-drenched grass and sent spears of bright light into the air. It was like a white fireworks: busy, slightly chaotic, riotous.

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Joint committee seeks answer to rail congestion

(Photo by Paul Battaglia) Transportation Commissioner Charlie Zelle looks on as Dave Christianson, right, state rail plan project manager, comments during a joint hearing of House and Senate committees on the state's problems with freight rail congestion.

Minnesota’s clogged railways are negatively impacting farmers, miners, heavy industry and more, a joint House and Senate hearing heard Tuesday.

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