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The Rise of the Vertical Farm

Welcome to what could be the future of the world’s produce supply. And unlike today’s messy farms, it won’t require soil, sunlight, or nearly as much water. (Add in a couple quarts of coffee, and that’s basically the environment in which NextDraft grows.) The New Yorker’s Ian Frazier with a very interesting look at the folks who are growing crops in the city: The Vertical Farm.  If you can raise crops indoors in the city, then you can go fishing in a barn in Iowa. From MoJo: A Fish Out of Water. Can farmers in Iowa help save the world’s seafood supply?


Bright Ideas 2017: Delivering social services via veterinary care

Here’s something that I think is really cool that’s happening in the veterinary community right now. It’s a group called WisCARES. We realized there were all these people that had pets, but that had trouble accessing the veterinary care they needed. There were reasons why they were having difficulty getting that care, from homelessness to poverty. Under the leadership of Dr. William Gilles, the organization has taken off and is now part of the University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Veterinary Medicine.

Pact opens doors for U.S. turkey exports to New Zealand

A new veterinary certificate approved by New Zealand authorities will open that nation’s market to cooked turkey products from U.S. sources, according to a news release from the USA Poultry & Egg Export Council (USAPEEC).  New Zealand’s Ministry of Primary Industries approved the agreement after two years of direct negotiations between the regulators and USDA after new import health standards were approved there in 2015. The process of opening the pathway for U.S.

Nevada Regulators Restore Retail-Rate Net Metering in Sierra Pacific Territory

The Public Utilities Commission of Nevada (PUCN) has voted to restore favorable rates for residential solar customers in NV Energy’s Sierra Pacific Power Company’s service territory -- exactly one year after the commission passed a controversial fee increase that brought the state’s residential solar market to a halt. In the draft order approved Thursday, Chairman Joseph Reynolds wrote: “Abraham Lincoln once said that ‘Bad promises are better broken than kept.’ The PUCN’s prior decisions on [net energy metering], in several respects, maybe best viewed as a promise better left unkept.

Cheaper to buy than grow

The trouble with farming has always been that it is cheaper to buy what we produce from other farmers like us than it is to produce those things ourselves. That’s why industries serving agriculture always seem to do better than farmers themselves. For example, Iowa State University published tables of annual average corn and soybean prices and average annual production costs per bushel of corn and soybeans on Iowa’s farms from 1968 to 2016. What the tables clearly show is that it is cheaper to buy those crops than to grow them. That’s why keeping the kids down on the farm is so hard.

This Small Town Refused to Settle for Wal-Mart When Its Last Local Grocery Store Closed

For two months in 2012, longtime Iola, Kansas, resident Mary Ross trudged through the sweltering heat, waving gnats from her view as she walked door to door with a petition. It was the hottest summer since moving there with her family about 30 years ago, but Ross was determined to gather signatures requesting a grocery store be established in the small rural town of fewer than 6,000 people.


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