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 $10,700per 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.
Originally published on Wed October 24, 2012 2:19 pm
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.
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?
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.
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 â€” 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 â€” just as the peak of apple harvest is coming on â€” Broetje Orchards manager Roger Bairstow is wincing.
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.