• Paula Mohr

    Tough times test Minnesota's number one ag industry

    Northstar Notes

     by Paula Mohr
     on April 15, 2015

    We don't know when the current outbreak of avian flu affecting our state's turkey farms will end. Whenever viral loads in the fecal matter of migrating birds dissipate, that's when. The warmer weather of late spring/early summer will definitely help. One can only imagine being turkey farm families, caring for their animals with increased biosecurity measures in place, and constantly wondering and worrying if one of their barns might be hit next. If just one barn of turkeys tests…

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  • Paula Mohr

    Quarantines: For The Public Good

    Northstar Notes

     by Paula Mohr
     on October 31, 2014

    The nurse who voluntarily traveled to treat Ebola patients in Sierra Leone is playing with fire as she flagrantly ignores the basics of public safety and health. Kaci Hickox of Maine refused to comply with the state's original in-house quarantine for medical workers who have treated Ebola patients. She has been making the news and traveling locally, defying the order. As of Oct. 31, she had no symptoms and said she posed no health risk to the public. Her 21-day incubation period ends Nov…

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  • Paula Mohr

    Idle Trains Beg The Question

    Northstar Notes

     by Paula Mohr
     on August 9, 2014

    When I head northwest from Anoka, I drive on U.S. Highway 10 at least to Clear Lake. Then, depending on my destination, I either remain on Highway 10 or jog west and get on I-94. When I'm on Highway 10, I drive along railroad tracks. Since last fall's challenges with propane and fertilizer rail shipments, and now with too much of the 2013 crop still sitting in bins and on the ground, I have been more cognizant of those tracks. Reason? I always, and I mean always, pass a line of parked…

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  • Paula Mohr

    When Minnesota Agriculture Makes Metro News

    Northstar Notes

     by Paula Mohr
     on November 27, 2013

    I spent last Saturday attending both the Minnesota Farm Bureau Federation's and the Minnesota Farmers Union's annual meetings in Bloomington and Minneapolis, respectively. Attendance at both meetings was strong. Delegates at both farm organizations re-elected their current leadership. MFBF delegates re-elected Kevin Paap to his fifth term as president. MFU delegates gave approval for Doug Peterson's seventh term as president and re-elected Gary Wertish as vice-president. Both…

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  • Paula Mohr

    The Other Side of Local

    Northstar Notes

     by Paula Mohr
     on November 21, 2013

    When the metro newspaper arrives on Thursdays, one section is devoted to food. By the time I am done reading it, which is usually when I'm eating lunch, I've got some good suggestions for new recipes and restaurants to try. My favorite restaurant reviewer is truly an artistic food journalist. He paints savory word pictures with his adjective-laden prose about foods he has sampled at restaurants all over the greater metro area. Last week, he featured a new restaurant that noted on its…

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  • Paula Mohr

    Farmers Need To Be Seen More And Heard

    Northstar Notes

     by Paula Mohr
     on August 14, 2013

    With Minnesota's agriculture sector providing more than 340,000 jobs for the state and creating $75 billion in economic activity, one would think that there would be plenty of news and feature stories for the general media to cover. One would think that thoughtful journalists would go beyond rewriting financial press releases or covering the latest water quality press conference. No, farmers attending Farmfest who listened to an eight-member media panel learned that agriculture…

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  • Paula Mohr

    Freedom To Farm, Freedom Of Speech

    Northstar Notes

     by Paula Mohr
     on August 4, 2013

    Another anti-farm editorial appeared in the Star Tribune this week, penned by a columnist who cited opinion voiced by two vegetarians. The author held up "factory farming" as an example of the horror that animals face in his attempt to defend animal rights. Really? That is so 1990s. That's when livestock farms that survived the 1980s started to expand. They were building new facilities, managing new employees, adding more livestock and accumulating acreage…

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  • Paula Mohr

    What's the Hold-Up?

    Northstar Notes

     by Paula Mohr
     on July 24, 2013

    Given all that has been going on for the past decade with ag water quality, one would think this piece would have been taken care of awhile ago. In 2010, the Minnesota Department of Agriculture started the process to revise the state's 20-year-old Nitrogen Fertilizer Management Plan to better align it with current water resource conditions and program resources. That was a good move. A Nitrogen Fertilizer Management Plan advisory committee was formed to assist the MDA in the…

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  • Paula Mohr

    Are We Listening? Are We Farming Soviet-style?

    Northstar Notes

     by Paula Mohr
     on June 24, 2013

    It was a disappointing day for agriculture Thursday when the U.S. House of Representatives voted down the farm bill. All afternoon, I read emails from various farm organizations and lawmakers, bemoaning the fact that this happened and how horrible it was for U.S. agriculture. I also received a few statements from organizations on the other side of the issue. They were glad that the bill was defeated. Here are some snippets from those emails: -"The saying goes: you reap…

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  • Paula Mohr

    A Call To Action For All U.S. Food Consumers

    Northstar Notes

     by Paula Mohr
     on June 7, 2013

    As I returned home from a farm interview the other day, I happened to hear the National Press Club's lunch hour session on the radio with USDA secretary Tom Vilsack. The ag secretary talked about the "complex environmental challenges" that U.S. farmers face and how climate change is at the heart of them all. Whether you believe that premise or not, Vilsack made some solid points about the impacts seen thus far—winters not cold enough to kill pests, such as the pine…

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