News: What *Is* Meat, Anyway?

In a just-arising question, the answer to which is sure to have implications for North Dakota ranchers, we’ve found ourselves at a point in history where we’re asking — almost philosophically — what is meat? The question is born from the emerging technology that allows us to grow animal tissue in a lab. WIRED has the story. Of note: it will be interesting to see how lobbying interests...  summary by: Josh Wolsky

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News: EPA officials visit ND for Grain Growers Association’s 25th E-Tour | Agweek

What do you get when you put a bunch of common-sense North Dakota farmers on a bus with a bunch of Washington bureaucrats? No, this isn’t a set-up for a joke — it’s a real-life news story, and the meeting happened not-far from Minot. Agweek has the article on the meeting that’s the hopeful basis for better regulation.  summary by: Josh Wolsky

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News: Norway will spend $13 million to upgrade its doomsday seed vault

On the top of the world, there’s a little island that belongs to Norway; its global importance is hard to overstate. It’s our final insurance policy. If everything goes haywire, this is the place we go to get the seeds to begin growing critical crops. It’s our genetic safety deposit box. And it’s getting an upgrade.  summary by: Josh Wolsky

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News: Farmers, entrepreneurs pushing the bounds of what can be grown in a cold climate

Industrial hemp? Not surprising. Grapes? You’ve probably heard about a local vineyard. But shrimp? Yep, that’s on the list as well. What do they have in common? They’re not our widely grown crops, but more and more small¬†farmers are embracing the entrepreneurial spirit and taking risks on less-traditional ideas. Catch the story from the Grand Forks Herald.  summary by: Josh Wolsky

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News: Closing the Loop in Agricultural Plastics Recycling

As farms get bigger, particularly dairy farms, the more plastic they use. And disposing of that plastic creates a crisis of both conscious and economics. In other words, it’s expensive and, in most cases currently, bad for the environment. But a company in Arkansas has found a profitable way to solve the problem. Collect the waste as a raw material and turn it into second-use plastic bags. The...  summary by: Josh Wolsky

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News: N.D. farmers Vertically Integrating with Investments in East Coast Restaurants

How do you make a product or a company more profitable? There are lots of ways including reducing costs through innovative practices, creating a differentiated product that commands a higher price. And there’s also vertical integration — the method of getting control of the supply chain and middlemen that separate a raw product from the end user. Here’s a story from Philly.com about a couple ND farmers using...  summary by: Josh Wolsky

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News: Backyard chicken trend linked to spike in salmonella cases

The discussion about allowing backyard hens in Minot is taking place right now. One of the factors being considered is whether these animals a risk to public health? And how do we balance that against the benefits of fresh, locally sourced food? On the public health side of the equation, this story out of Des Moines is worth reading.  summary by: Josh Wolsky

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Learn: What Mongolian Nomads Teach Us About the Digital Future

North Dakota’s prairie-grass ecosystem and nomad economy were converted to an agriculturally based economy by the area’s early European settlers, but across the Pacific in the heart of Asia, the Mongolian nomads still live a lifestyle largely free of the traditional modern conveniences. This in-depth article from Wired captures the spirit of the lifestyle; it also makes it hard not to conjure images of North Dakota’s past.  summary by: Josh Wolsky

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News: Farmer promotes food, farming, and ranching in Saskatchewan

More and more, modern food consumers have less and less sense of where their food comes from and how it’s produced. And in a place like North Dakota and our agricultural neighbors to the North, that’s a problem we need to be conscious of. That problem is what’s inspired many farmers and ranchers to take up the task of educating the rest of us who aren’t intimately connected...  summary by: Josh Wolsky

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News: In ‘This Blessed Earth,’ the outdated romance of the family farm

The farms and small towns of our parents and grandparents generation are less and less each season. New technology, out-migration, changing geopolitics — they’re all factors contributing to the ebb of the family farm culture. If the topic interests you, “This Blessed Earth” is a new book featured in this MPR article.  summary by: Josh Wolsky

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