• 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

    Kudos to U-M plant breeding grad students

    Northstar Notes

     by Paula Mohr
     on April 1, 2015

    As I skimmed emails last week, I came across information about a plant breeding symposium at the University of Minnesota. I read the agenda and checked my calendar. I was free that day, Friday, March 27, so I decided to go. Two things intrigued me about the meeting, entitled 'Breeding Crops for Alternative Systems and Environments': the symposium's theme and the fact that the whole day was planned and handled by a 12-member applied plant science graduate student planning committee…

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  • Paula Mohr

    Metro is clueless about conservation

    Northstar Notes

     by Paula Mohr
     on March 18, 2015

    Gov. Mark Dayton's proposed buffer strip legislation is getting lots of media attention as lawmakers, farm organization and environmental groups wrestle with how to protect Minnesota's water quality. The governor's bill would require at least 50 feet of perennial vegetation to surround Minnesota’s lakes, rivers and streams. According to a downloadable  fact sheet provided by the governor's office, the bill does not alter existing shoreland rules or drainage law. It…

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  • Paula Mohr

    The passion is still there for ol' 4-Hers

    Northstar Notes

     by Paula Mohr
     on March 2, 2015

    For this 4-H alumnus, it was a delightful evening of celebrating the memory and impact of 4-H at the recent Minnesota 4-H Foundation's 'Celebration of Agriculture' held at the Earle Brown Heritage Center in Brooklyn Center. The night began with a social hour featuring several 4-H youth and their current projects. We had the chance to chat with them about their 4-H involvement and future plans for college. After that, we were seated for the meal, featuring delicious Compart Premium…

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  • Paula Mohr

    A plug for wheat

    Northstar Notes

     by Paula Mohr
     on January 27, 2015

      In a recent article in the Star Tribune, the author provided some interesting facts on U.S. wheat. Robin Asbell, a Minneapolis-based chef, teacher, cookbook author and culinary adviser to the Whole Grains Council, wrote an article in a question and answer format. Her article gave me the opportunity to check my knowledge about the grain and surrounding current issues. I hope, too, it was eye-opening for those who blame wheat for everything from obesity to autism. Here is an edited…

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  • Paula Mohr

    Vote For Curt

    Northstar Notes

     by Paula Mohr
     on December 19, 2014

    KARE 11's Boyd Huppert is my favorite Twin Cities' television reporter. Not only is he a dairy farm kid (he's from Wisconsin and that's okay), he also has an engaging, sensitive way of telling a story on film. He's the person who does those 'Land of 10,000 Stories' segments. I know Boyd. And I know his dad, Andy. I wrote a story about his dad decades ago when I worked for another farm publication. I have more than a few favorite '10,000 Stories' so it is a…

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  • Paula Mohr

    National GMO Labeling Hearing Dec. 10

    Northstar Notes

     by Paula Mohr
     on December 5, 2014

    As I shared in a previous blog, there is a new national coalition that is working with lawmakers, media and consumers to share the facts about genetically-engineered technology, specifically GMOs. More than two dozen organizations--from farm groups to food manufacturers--came together to form the Coalition for Safe Affordable Food. Its overriding goal is to establish national safety and labeling standards for GMO foods and beverages. The coalition was formed in in response to various state…

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  • Paula Mohr

    Minnesota Schools Jump On Non-GMO Bandwagon

    Northstar Notes

     by Paula Mohr
     on November 21, 2014

    Don't you wish that folks would take up truly life-impacting causes, such as ending homelessness, hunger and spouse/child abuse? People who have GMOs in their sights have good hearts, I'm sure. However, they are misguided in their goals. And now some Minnesota schools are jumping on the anti-GMO bandwagon. Five metro area schools--Hopkins, Minneapolis, Orono, Shakopee and Westonka--reportedly celebrated 'GMO Awareness Day' earlier this month by offering non-GMO menu…

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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

    Dilution Is Not The Solution

    Northstar Notes

     by Paula Mohr
     on October 1, 2014

    The Minnesota Grain and Feed Association recently reported that a member found treated soybean seed in a grain bin, resulting in financial loss due to contamination. Supposedly, a farmer was unable to work with his seed supplier on a plan to dispose of the leftover treated seed and co-mingled this seed with his harvested crop. MGFA noted that more than 70% of the soybeans planted or intended to be planted this season were treated with a fungicide. This required extra care by farmers to keep…

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  • Paula Mohr

    Volunteers Keep The Great Minnesota Get-Together Together

    Northstar Notes

     by Paula Mohr
     on August 29, 2014

    I'm not certain about numbers of people who work at the Minnesota State Fair. State Fair officials say about 2,500 people are hired each summer to work full-time during the 12-day event. Numbers of volunteers? Anyone want to hazard a guess? Just in the area of agriculture, hundreds of people works at dozen of exhibits, ranging from the All You Can Drink Milk Stand to little kids' ag education to moo/oink booths. Without these dedicated folks, there would be no Great Get-Together. For…

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  • Paula Mohr

    A Must-Attend For Farmers: Chipotle's Cultivate Festival

    Northstar Notes

     by Paula Mohr
     on August 19, 2014

    In its ongoing marketing campaign to educate U.S. consumers about the "right way" to farm, Chipotle Mexican Grill is hosting three free "food, ideas and music festivals." One has already been held in June in San Francisco. The second is slated for this Saturday from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. at Loring Park in Minneapolis. And a third event is set for Oct. 18 in Dallas-Fort-Worth. Chipotle, a proponent of 1950s-era farming, released four television shows earlier this year…

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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

    Don't Point Finger At Nutrition For Obesity Problem

    Northstar Notes

     by Paula Mohr
     on July 30, 2014

    Fingers belonging to the food police that accusingly point to high-fructose, white-flour, whole-fat, fast foods for causing America's obesity problem can be lowered. It's not diet that causes weight gain. It's the lack of exercise that causes pounds to mound up. That's according to data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey that was analyzed by Stanford University researchers and published in a recent edition of The American Journal of Medicine. Sedentary…

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  • Paula Mohr

    Ready Or Not, Here Comes B10

    Northstar Notes

     by Paula Mohr
     on June 30, 2014

    Come Tuesday, July 1, drivers of vehicles with diesel engines will see a new fuel at Minnesota pumps. A 10% biodiesel blend known as B10 will be sold at filling stations during summer months. Minnesota is the first state in the nation to mandate a 10% minimum blend of biodiesel. A biodiesel mandate allows the fuel to revert back to 5% in October. To help educate fuel suppliers and farmers about B10, the Minnesota Soybean Growers Association hosted a number of meetings across the…

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  • Paula Mohr

    Enjoy A Dairy Breakfast

    Northstar Notes

     by Paula Mohr
     on June 18, 2014

    It was overcast and drizzling when we left for the dairy breakfast Saturday at Dennis and Marsha Haubenschild's Princeton family dairy farm. No matter, we were ready to enjoy our brief visit to the farm and a hot breakfast. My friend and I grew up on dairy farms so we looked forward to the visit. Plus, I know the Haubenschilds. I wrote about their dairy farm when I worked for another magazine. And some years ago, I helped organized Anoka middle school field trips to the farm. The herd has…

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  • Paula Mohr

    Celebrate Summer On A Minnesota Dairy Farm

    Northstar Notes

     by Paula Mohr
     on May 30, 2014

    Hey, consumer! Want to see where the milk in all your dairy products comes from? This month, dozens of dairy farms across Minnesota are welcoming visitors in celebration of June as Dairy Month. You are welcome to come for breakfast, farm tours and other activities. Take advantage of this unique opportunity to see cows up close and personal; to enjoy family time on a farm; to ask lots of questions about animal care and what farmers do to take care of the environment. Here's a list of…

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  • Paula Mohr

    Water: So Plentiful, So Taken For Granted

    Northstar Notes

     by Paula Mohr
     on May 2, 2014

    We just lived through another record-setting weather event in our part of the state. The month of April was the second wettest in the Metro area since 1871. Rainfall recorded by the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport pushed to 6.11 inches as of April 29. Since then, more rain fell, but did not to surpass 2001's record of 7 inches of precipitation. My rain gauge has yet to go vertical. It's still resting prone in a flower bed. I didn't set it up yet, given our…

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  • Paula Mohr

    Churning Up U.S. Waters

    Northstar Notes

     by Paula Mohr
     on April 21, 2014

    The American Farm Bureau Federation and the National Farmers Union are on opposite sides of the lake when it comes to the EPA's proposed rule regarding provisions of the Clean Water Act. Last Friday in a press call in MInnesota, Chandler Goule, NFU senior vice president of programs, said that some farm organzations are "agitating" the issue. He did not specifically mention groups by name. "It is not a rule or a law, so stop throwing gas on a fire that is not there,"…

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