Agriculture

2:54pm

Thu November 8, 2012
Economy

Corn Belt Farmland: The Newest Real Estate Bubble?

Originally published on Thu November 8, 2012 4:02 pm

This field is part of a 160-acre tract in Saline County, Mo., that sold for $10,700 per acre in February — double what it would have gone for five years ago.
Abby Fentress Swanson Harvest Public Media

Howard Audsley has been driving through Missouri for the past 30 years to assess the value of farmland. Barreling down the flat roads of Saline County on a recent day, he stopped his truck at a 160-acre tract of newly tilled black land. The land sold in February for $10,700 per acre, double what it would have gone for five years ago.

Heading out into the field, Audsley picked up a clod of the dirt that makes this pocket of land some of the priciest in the state.

Read more

8:52am

Tue October 23, 2012
The Salt

How Fly Farming May Help More Fish Stay In The Sea

Originally published on Wed October 24, 2012 2:19 pm

The fly larvae in the AgriProtein factory feed on cow blood and bran.
Courtesy of Jason Drew

What's the lowly house fly got to do with the $60 billion fish farming industry?

Quite a lot, says Jason Drew, a jet-setting British entrepreneur who is so enthusiastic about the potential of flies, he's just written a book called The Story of the Fly and How It Could Save the World. He thinks flies can solve one of aquaculture's most vexing issues: what to feed the growing ranks of farmed fish.

Read more

1:23am

Fri October 12, 2012
The Salt

Kelp For Farmers: Seaweed Becomes A New Crop In America

Originally published on Fri October 12, 2012 9:02 am

Oyster fisherman Bren Smith on his boat, The Mookie. Smith decided to try his hand at seaweed farming, collaborating with ecology professor Charles Yarish.
Ron Gautreau Courtesy of Bren Smith

A new kind of crop is being planted in the United States, and it doesn't require any land or fertilizer. Farming it improves the environment, and it can be used in a number of ways. So what is this miracle cash crop of the future?

It's seaweed.

Charlie Yarish, professor of ecology and evolutionary biology at the University of Connecticut, loves seaweed. In nature, he says, when seaweed turns a rich chocolate color, that means the plant is picking up nitrogen, a process called nutrient bioextraction.

Read more

1:25am

Wed October 3, 2012
The Salt

In Washington State, Picker Shortage Threatens Apple Boom

Originally published on Wed October 3, 2012 3:57 pm

Amilia Magno, 23, of Pasco, Wash., carries a heavy load of buckeye gala apples in Broetje Orchards near Prescott, Wash.
Anna King Northwest News Network

In western Michigan, there aren't enough apples to pick because bad weather decimated 85 to 90 percent of the crop. But Washington state has the opposite problem — there's an abundance of apples, but not enough pickers.

This should be the happiest, busiest time of year in Washington apple orchards. But now — just as the peak of apple harvest is coming on — Broetje Orchards manager Roger Bairstow is wincing.

Read more

3:29pm

Thu September 27, 2012
Around the Nation

Despite Record Drought, Farmers Expect Banner Year

Originally published on Fri September 28, 2012 10:39 am

With far less than half of their normal corn yield, the Ulrich brothers are relying in part on government-subsidized crop insurance to keep their farm afloat.
Frank Morris KCUR

After one of the driest summers on record, recent rains have helped in some parts of the country. But overall, the drought has still intensified. The latest tracking classifies more than a fifth of the contiguous United States in "extreme or exceptional" drought, the worst ratings.

In some parts of the Lower Midwest, water-starved crops have collapsed, but the farmers have not. Farmers across the country are surviving, and many are even thriving. This year, despite the dismal season, farmers stand to make exceptionally good money, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Read more

Pages