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Adam Belz

Reporter | Agriculture
Phone: 612-673-4405
Location: Minneapolis
Other languages: None

Adam Belz is the agriculture reporter for the Star Tribune. He previously spent one-and-a-half years reporting at Minneapolis City Hall and four years covering economics. Before that, he reported for the Des Moines Register and Cedar Rapids Gazette.

A native of Iowa, Belz lives in Minneapolis with his wife and their two young children. They spend a lot of time at playgrounds. In his free time, usually late at night, he watches soccer.
Recent content from Adam Belz
The Rand Tower, shown in a file photo, will be converted into a Tribute by Marriott hotel and is due to open in 2021.

Rand Tower sues Allie's Deli over relocation dispute

Rand Tower in Mpls. is being converted into hotel.

Police investigating another weekend robbery in Dinkytown

Two suspects fled in a white car.
Alternative crops, such as hemp, that can be grown on small acreages at a profit are gaining ground.

Go big or get out? Some in farming say the opposite is the future

Economies of scale are winning, but conventional operations might not be able to keep it up.
In parts of Minnesota and North Dakota, farmers weren't able to get sugar beets harvested before the ground froze. Distributors are warning food produ

Sugar beet harvest is worst in decades in Minnesota, N.D.

Sugar distributors are warning foodmakers they won't be able to meet orders. Sugar imports are likely to rise this winter.
Kate Graham, a lawyer in New Ulm: “People who have inherited farmland, they feel an obligation, maybe to their parents or grandparents or ancestors.

New Ulm lawyer helps farm families navigate tricky succession matters

Farm transition and elder law increasingly intersect as farmers try to figure out what to do with their land when they retire.
Executives and representatives of Minnesota firms hurt by the U.S. trade war with China on Wednesday called for the Trump administration to resolve it

Minnesota farmers, manufacturers say trade war is hurting them, not China

Invoices from Customs and Border Patrol, complicated product exclusion process now part of life for U.S. companies.
Farm income is forecast to rise about 5% this year and the government's portion of overall farm income will reach 34%, the highest in more than a deca

More than a third of U.S. farm income in 2019 will come from the government

Trade bailout, insurance payouts, to account for roughly 34% of U.S. farm income.
Organic farmer Kristin Pearson is trying to buy some Minnesota land to expand, but she is finding it difficult — and expensive.

A tough row to hoe as farmers age: Young ones can't buy land

Farmers and the people who own farmland in America are aging, but they and their heirs are consolidating their grip on the nation's arable land. And it's nearly impossible for a beginning farmer to buy land.
Landowner Albert Carlson stands atop a blown out earthen dike where this spring the nearby flood-swollen Zumbro River busted an 80 foot-long hole in t

In SE. Minnesota, swollen river threatens to reclaim cropland

Heavier rainstorms in the last 10 years have made the Zumbro more volatile. The river is punching holes in berms up and down the valley, destroying crops and making the land more difficult to farm.
Snow and frost will delay harvest for Minnesota farmers, capping a year of miserable weather that was shaped by heavy spring rains and late planting.

This weekend's snow and cold will top off a miserable year for Minnesota farmers

Many late-planted crops haven't reached maturity, and a frost could cut into profits.
CHS's headquarters in Inver Grove Heights. The company name results from a merger of Cenex and Harvest States.

CHS admits to role in Mexican bribery scheme

Customs brokers paid bribes to help expedite rail shipments for the giant Inver Grove Heights-based ag cooperative, the company admitted.
U.S. farmers and organic industry watchdogs are scrutinizing grain shipments from an Argentinian farm, representing a new front in an effort to combat

Organic-grain complaint raises questions about major Argentine supplier

Company in Argentina is scrutinized over its practices.
U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue and Rep. Collin Peterson, right, spoke to reporters at FarmFest, near Morgan, Minn., on Wednesday.

During Minnesota visit, Ag Secretary Perdue says 'ball is in China's court'

Ag chief tells Minnesota farmers that a deal on tariffs was close in April, but it fell apart.
Chinese purchases of U.S. agriculture products fell sharply last year as the country retaliated against Washington's imposition of tariffs on steels a

In another blow to farmers, Chinese to halt U.S. farm imports

In Minnesota, soybean exports have sharply declined. Pork and other goods may soon halt.
This field of Tom Haag’s corn was planted the first week of June, about two weeks later than he preferred due to the rainy conditions in the area. C

In a terrible summer, another fear stalks Minnesota corn farmers: an early frost

After spring planting delay, growers need crop to stay in ground as long as possible.
CHS is searching for a new chief financial officer to succeed Timothy Skidmore, who is retiring. File photo of CHS headquarters in Inver Grove Heights

CHS chief financial officer to step down

Timothy Skidmore has been with the cooperative for six years.
A wet spring forced Larry Conrad to leave large tracts of land bare on his farm in Dundas.

Millions of unplanted acres mean billions in crop insurance payouts this year

The wet spring prevented Minnesota farmers from planting on vast areas, and insurance will cover only part of the lost revenue.

DNR penalizes northern Minnesota taconite firm over creek flow

The half-built Mesabi Metallics taconite mine must resume pumping water to restore flow of Oxhide Creek.

CHS profit fell amid trade troubles and a refinery shutdown

International uncertainty, poor weather are blamed.
Farmers in Minnesota hurt by President Donald Trump’s trade war received $681 million from a federal assistance program, the third most behind Illin

Minnesotans were No. 3 recipients of trade bailout for farmers

Producers got $681 million in trade war aid, with some skirting payment caps.
Harvested corn lay ready outside a full grain elevator Virginia, Ill.

Climate change surprise: It's helping grow more corn, soybeans in Minnesota

Higher temperatures and heavier precipitation have increased yields for corn and soybeans in much of Minnesota, Iowa and the Dakotas.
Scandinavia, Wis.-based John Bobbe is one of the country's foremost investigators of organic grain fraud.

Organic farmers stalk fraudulent imports that taint market

As organic food sales continue to skyrocket, U.S. consumers might be buying products that were tainted in their growing and feeding. Grain fraud investigators like John Bobbe are trying to turn back that rising tide of counterfeit imports.
A corn field farmed by George Sill near Madelia, Minn., was leveled by a hailstorm on June 20, 2019.

Hailstorm damaged thousands of acres of Minnesota crops

A hailstorm that ripped through southwest Minnesota last week left thousands of acres of corn and soybeans damaged or destroyed — in many cases too late in the season for farmers to replant their crops.
Most farmers were at least two weeks late planting this year's corn crop. Shown is a partly flooded field near Anderson, Iowa.

Corn prices rise, easing some concerns of a bad planting season

Farmers will be closely watching the report on Friday, which could result in more improvement.
Minnesota farmers are backing research at the University of Minnesota into resins that are made from corn.

U gets grant to develop better corn-based plastic

The Minnesota Corn Growers Association hopes to create new markets for corn, and greener plastic.
U.S. Department of Agriculture Deputy Secretary Steve Censky spoke in St. Paul.

U.S. agriculture official: Ball in China's court on trade

Steve Censky gave state's farmers little reason for optimism that the trade war will end soon.
Minnesota farmers had 99% of the state's corn and 94% of soybeans planted as of Sunday.

Corn and soybean planting wrapping up in Minnesota, USDA says

Ohio, Indiana, Illinois farms are still lagging far behind, and corn prices are on the rise.
Brent Fuchs, a farmer and seed dealer in Dundas, filled soybean seed into a trailer owned by another farmer, Connie Cihak, on June 10. Cihak changed h

To beat the first frost, Midwestern farmers switch to faster-growing seed

Because of the cool, wet spring and delayed planting, farmers all over the Midwest had to make last-second decisions on what type of seed to plant.
Brent Fuchs filled soybean seed into a trailer owned by farmer Connie Cihak Monday. Fuchs, a farmer near Dundas who is also is Cihak's seed dealer, ha

Later than almost ever, Minn. farmers hustle to get crops into soggy fields

Planting late, they're switching seeds, crossing fingers
Patrice Bailey

Patrice Bailey appointed to assistant commissioner job at Minnesota Department of Agriculture

Patrice Bailey wants to change how people of color view agribusiness.
Farmer confidence in the immediate and longer-term is eroding, a monthly survey by Purdue University showed. File photos of farmers planting a Tenness

Farmer confidence plummeted in May

Along with income, more farmers are losing faith in their future, a Purdue University survey finds.
Minnesota farmers and businesses shuddered at the prospect of new trade barriers with Mexico proposed by President Donald Trump. Vice President Mike P

As Trump threatens Mexico, trade war fatigue sets in for Minnesota businesses and farmers

State's farmers, business react: "We can't keep doing this"
An FFA student educated third-graders at the Minnesota State Fair.

FFA alum's critical essay draws national group's attention

"It's an organization that's been so valuable," the essay's author said. "But also it's had a lot of systemic issues that result in barriers to participation."
In September, Mike Starkey offloaded soybeans in Brownsburg, Ind. Farmers now face the prospect of a smaller crop and lower prices — particularly fo

Minn. farmers brace for another miserable year amid trade fight

Soybean growers will likely need a government bailout for a second year.
Minnesota farmers are more than two weeks behind the normal corn-planting schedule.

Corn planting is behind schedule in Minn., again

State's corn farmers still have time, but more rain is in the forecast.

Landscapers, pest control firms lash out at Minnesota bill that lets 4 cities enforce pesticide rules

Pest control companies oppose the bill, saying it would create a "crazy-quilt" of regulation.

Lawsuit accuses Cargill, Tyson and other meat producers of price-fixing

Minnesota cattlemen's association says it's not sure "why this lawsuit is necessary."
This photo by the Minnesota Department of Agriculture shows Palmer amaranth plant discovered in a soybean field in Redwood County last fall.

Invasive weed that threatens corn, soybean crops is spreading in Minnesota

Palmer amaranth proliferates quickly, can grow up to 8 feet tall and has a woody stem thick enough to damage farm equipment.
Dairy farmers gathered at the Greenwald Pub in Greenwald, Minn., on Tuesday to discuss ideas for saving small dairies that are pressured by low prices

Minnesota farmers kick around big ideas to save small dairies

The trend is the same across the country. Since 2000, more than 64,000 dairies with fewer than 200 cows have closed. Over that same period, the number of mega-dairies — those with 1,000 or more cows — has more than doubled.
Wrenching video from Minn. dairy farmer highlights desperation on the farm

Wrenching video from Minn. dairy farmer highlights desperation on the farm

Mark Berg, 26, posted the video on his Facebook page with a note "To the Dairy Community, I know you are hurting, hang in there if you can."
A calf runs through an icy field outside of Kilgore, Neb., Wednesday. Even before a storm swept through the Midwest, farmers in Minnesota and througho

For farmers, April snow brings more headaches

Farmers were already worried the soil wouldn't be dry enough for on-schedule planting.
Javier Morillo, who turned a service workers union into a political force, is leaving after 14 years as leader of SEIU Local 26. File photo of Morillo

Service workers union leader, a key player in DFL politics, steps down

He turned a sleepy janitors' union into a potent political force.
Minnesota farmland: Farmland values leveled off after 2014, but acreage is still selling at historically high prices in the Upper Midwest. And that’

Farmland prices reach historic highs in Upper Midwest

Minnesota's farmers have made little money for several years, but their wealth is holding up because land remains valuable and in high demand.
Data emerged this week that China’s pig herd declined sharply in the 12 months ended Feb. 28 due to the outbreak of African swine fever in the count

Hog prices rise sharply in the U.S. after new data shows toll of African swine fever on China's herd

Trade war had pushed 2018 prices down.
Median farm income fell 8 percent in Minnesota last year as high output and lower commodity prices continued to squeeze the bottom line of the state's

Farm income in Minnesota fell 8%, worst year since early 1980s

It's been a down cycle for nearly five years, and the trade war and weather have exacerbated the problem.
Minnesota farmers are keeping a close watch on melting snow and water levels in ponds, streams and rivers. Flooding is likely in some areas but may ha

Flooding could delay spring planting, but that's still a month off

Some flooding could happen on Minnesota rivers, but it would have to linger a long time to delay planting.
Recent barge accidents near New Orleans and Baton Rouge, La., have affected traffic on the lower Mississippi, and the real spring thaw is yet to come,

Swollen Mississippi River adds more headaches for grain farmers

Barge restrictions mean more complications for shipping and lower grain prices for farmers — and the snow's still melting.
Sonny Perdue, the Trump administration’s agriculture secretary, testifies before the House Committee on Agriculture on Feb. 27.

Twin Cities in running for USDA offices set to be moved out of D.C. area

The Trump administration has pledged to move out two major research divisions out of the Washington area by the end of the year.
CHS headquarters in Inver Grove Heights, Minn.

CHS acquires farm products wholesaler West Central Distribution

Deal to add West Central Distribution solidifies long-standing ties.
Soybean farmers and food processors are growing worried that the longer the trade war with China continues, the more likely Chinese buyers of U.S. soy

As trade war wears on, U.S. soybean farmers start to worry that China's demand won't return

World's largest soybean market has turned to other countries.
Delayed data from the USDA shows farmers are still holding on to higher levels of soybeans as they wait word on U.S. and China trade talks.

Record numbers of soybeans remain in storage; farmers hope for prices to rise

Farmers went into the harvest with large stockpiles; now those stockpiles are record-breaking.
Nut-flavored beverages are frequently labeled as milk, but dairy farmers are increasing the pressure on government regulators to designate the word "m

Dairy farmers press harder against labeling of nut 'milk'

First it was soy, then almond milk, coconut milk and rice milk. Now, there's oat milk and pea milk. Dairy farmers say nut growers are taking advantage of the image milk has built through the years.
Randy Quast in 1997, when he was president of Quast Transfer.

'I got taken': Mpls. marijuana activist in fight with Oregon partners files for bankruptcy

Randy Quast is embroiled in a messy court battle in Oregon and listed a $5 million liability as a result.
Lovell Tims

Lovell Tims, wise and watchful shoeshine man in downtown Minneapolis, dies at 74

Just about every weekday morning for the past decade, Lovell Tims walked into the U.S. Bank Plaza, bought a newspaper at Billy & Marty’s Convenience…
Soybeans are being offloaded from a combine in Brownsburg, Ind., in September.

Much-anticipated soybean seed Enlist not available yet

Farmers are waiting for the Filipino government to approve it.
A proposed biodiesel plant in Crookston would create local demand for soybeans in northwestern Minnesota. Farmers in that part of the state get lower

In Crookston, a proposed biodiesel plant would create local demand for soybeans

The proposed facility might mean 100 jobs, create local demand in an 11-county area.
The USDA ordered the temporary opening of about 2,500 Farm Service Agency offices on Thursday, Friday and next Tuesday to handle transactions that kee

With farmers unable to cash checks, one agency is ordered back open

About 800 Farm Service Agency offices will reopen to process loans as pressure grows.
The corn and soybean lobbies are gearing up for the Minnesota legislative session.

Buffer tax credit, capital expenses deduction high on corn and soybean lobby's list

Corn, soybean lobbyists hope Walz will be more open to some of their concerns.
Strong results in its energy business drove CHS Inc.'s profit to nearly double in the September-to-November quarter.

CHS posts 85 percent profit increase, lifted by energy unit and Cenex

Energy division posted a $112 million increase in profit.
Minnesota farmer Jack Weber harvesting wheat in 2017. More Minnesota farmers are planting wheat as an alternative to corn and soybeans, which have pro

With corn, soybean prices down, Minn. farmers return to planting wheat

Wheat acres rose by 40 percent in 2018, some predict another uptick in 2019.
Bankers in Minnesota said the year-end picture is better than expected because farmers sold more crops ahead on the futures market, among other steps.

Some farmers will have a harder time borrowing money this year

Survey finds about half of Midwest bankers are seeking more collateral from farmers
Minnesota's hog population continues to grow and the state may soon surpass North Carolina to become the nation's second-largest pork producer. Iowa r

Minn. closing in on No. 2 spot for hog production

Minnesota nearing move into second place in U.S. production.
The state Department of Agriculture has a giving tree in its St. Paul office to provide Christmas presents for farmers and their families who are havi

Facing a tough Christmas, farmers finding a helping hand

Families in farm country are struggling to pay the bills, let alone give one another Christmas presents, thanks to already depressed prices for farm products and a trade war that's driven prices lower.
Steve Carlson, with Carlson Farms in Welch, Minn., harvested soybeans last year.

Second round of aid is a stopgap for Minnesota soybean farmers

Farmers still would prefer free trade and worry about next year.
Farmer Bob Worth of Lake Benton, Minn., has farmed for 48 years and plants mostly soybeans on 2,200 acres of tillable land.

China's soybean purchase jolts prices in western Minnesota

It only amounts to 3 percent of typical U.S. soybean exports to China, but it's a start.
This year, farmers are storing 438 million bushels of soybeans in silos and elevators, such as the one in Randolph, Minn. Soybeans are Minnesota’s l

With trade war dragging on, Minn. soybeans sit in bins

Some farmers are storing more than half of the crop they just harvested.
Soybean plants exposed to dicamba show a "cupping effect" in which the leaves turn up at the edges.

Minnesota keeps June 20 cutoff for spraying dicamba

The restriction reduced the number of complaints in 2018, regulators decide to keep it.
Rep. Collin Peterson, D-Minn., said Tuesday it’s becoming harder to write and pass a farm bill, the law Congress writes every five years to set ince

U.S. Rep. Collin Peterson: Farm bill could be passed as early as next week

The bill maintains the status quo for most farmers, but it gives small dairy producers new pricing protection.
CHS lowered five years of profits by $140 million after completing an investigation on the effects of rail freight contracts that were wrongly inflate

CHS lowers five years of profit by $158 million; CEO says 'No excuse'

Global grain, energy company still recovering after freight trader falsified records.
Karen Javurek, a volunteers experience ambassador with Second Harvest Heartland, moves pallets of boxed food for the FOODRx program.

Odd effect of trade war: Food banks will get a lot more food

That means they need a lot more refrigerator space. Aid groups are hustling to find storage for $1.2 billion in U.S. meat and produce.
The increase in Chapter 12 bankruptcy filings reflects low prices for corn, soybeans, milk and even beef.

More farms are going bankrupt; bankers fear more are to come

Eighty-four farms filed for Chapter 12 bankruptcy in Wis., Minn., North and South Dakota and Montana in the 12 months that ended in June, according to the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. That's more than double the number over the same period in 2013 and 2014.
Travis Pennings got help from uncle Dan Pennings after taking a buck near Sandstone, Minn.

In the field: More and more hunters are out to fill the freezer

Why go hunting? "For the meat" is becoming a more common answer.
The government aid to farmers isn't enough to help the trade-related losses that Minnesota's dairy farmers are enduring, a trade group says.

Minnesota dairy farmers: Farm aid package not enough

Government payments cover a small fraction of dairy losses due to trade wars, farmers say.

Robert Holmes, who died at 91, built a consulting firm with global reach

Robert Holmes was a risk-taker who jumped motorcycles, raced cars and boats and flew airplanes, but he was also a meticulous man who organized the…
About 900,000 pounds of chlorpyrifos were sprayed on fruit and vegetable fields in California in 2016.

Minnesota farmers watch a pesticide battle play out in courts

Minnesota farmers want to keep using chlorpyrifos.