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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
Comfrey Farms Prime Pork, which Taylor founded in 2016 to resurrect a former beef packing plant in Windom, now employs more than 650 people.

Glen Taylor-owned pork firm in Windom to merge with Canadian pork producer

Manitoba-based HyLife is one of Canada's largest producers.
The USDA has allowed chicken processors to boost production-line speeds in recent months, though the JBS plant in Cold Spring, shown here in a 2016 ph

Virus hit meat plants just as workers asked to speed up

Even as the outbreak began to force plants to temporarily close last month, the U.S. Department of Agriculture continued granting permission to chicken processors to boost speeds by 25% on production lines.
Andrew Cooper landed a job the fall of his senior year; now the company is keeping him on standby.

College seniors entering job market had a feast, now confront a famine

Three months ago they were facing an excellent job market; now 35 million Americans have been idled.
Corn planting around the U.S. this spring suggests a record crop is going in despite slumping demand and ultralow prices.

Corn prices keep slumping, and Minnesota farmers keep planting more

Farmers call it "plant and pray." With supply far outpacing demand, another huge corn crop is projected in 2020.
Paleh and her husband moved to Worthington in 2008 so he could work at the plant. She and her husband, and three of their four kids, are sick with COV

As virus loomed, Worthington pork plant refused to slow down

A week before JBS idled its Worthington pork plant, it was clear that meatpacking plants had become clusters of the virus. But until April 20, JBS was running the plant, which can slaughter as many as 21,000 hogs a day, at full tilt. JBS has made strides since shutting down, but workers say it was slow to react
A site where euthanized hogs are disposed of in Nobles County.

Next to a vineyard in southwest Minnesota, a site for euthanized hogs

Tens of thousands of pigs have been euthanized in Minnesota in recent weeks thanks to the shutdowns of meatpacking plants after outbreaks of coronavirus among workers. The site where euthanized hogs are ground into compost in Nobles County is a wide open field across the road from a lakeside vineyard.
“The hardest part of all of this is having your daughter tell you not to cry,” said Jomari de Jesus of her 8-year-old daughter Estefany. De Jesus

Testing uneven, or nonexistent, at meatpacking plants with COVID-19 outbreaks

The only guidance from the federal government has been that meat processors should "consider" tests.
Beth Ford, president and CEO of Land O’Lakes, has long advocated for rural broadband access and says it is more important now than ever.

Land O'Lakes opens Wi-Fi spots to help rural broadband access

The hotspots allow students to finish homework and sick people to connect with medical facilities in a time of crisis. More important, it is a step forward for communities, says CEO Beth Ford.
An American flag flies outside a Tyson meatpacking plant in Virginia.

More than 300 USDA meat inspectors sidelined by coronavirus

Some 197 are positive for the virus and another 120 are under quarantine after exposure.
The Minnesota agricultural commissioner said 10,000 hogs a day are being euthanized in Minnesota.

In Minnesota, 10,000 pigs are being euthanized a day

Millions of chickens have been euthanized, too, with turkeys likely to follow suit.
The JBS Worthington Pork Plant, which closed on April 21 and partially reopened last week, will fully reopen on Wednesday. The plant was cleaned after

JBS to reopen Worthington pork plant, Smithfield opening in Sioux Falls

Worthington, Sioux Falls processors contending with high absenteeism.
Workers enter a temperature-taking station at the JBS pork plant in Marshalltown, Iowa, on Monday, April 27.

While JBS limits work in Worthington, plant in small Iowa town still runs

The pork plant in Marshalltown is the same size as Worthington's but has stayed open despite its few dozen virus cases.
Kerry and Barb Mergen outside their now empty chicken house with a straggler who managed to elude the crew that came in on April 9 to euthanize the ot

Egg demand shifted, and 61,000 Minnesota chickens euthanized

Demand for eggs in grocery stores is high and the price of a dozen eggs has risen. But much of the egg production system is built to provide fluid eggs to food service companies.
Two Inlets Resort owners James and Kayla Daigle, with their children Jameson and Hadley.

Business leaders say Walz's next move could make or break them

The Star Tribune last week interviewed decisionmakers in businesses around the state about when and how to start the next chapter of the crisis.
At least one worker at Worthington pork producer JBS has contracted COVID-19.

19 virus cases confirmed at pork plant in Worthington

Nineteen cases of COVID-19 have been confirmed at the JBS pork plant in Worthington, the union representing workers there said, the latest in a series of meatpacking plants that has become a cluster of the coronavirus in rural communities across the country.
Mike Stevenson flipped his barber shop sign to closed after learning state regulators had clarified that hair and nail salons, spas and other similar

Job losses hitting nearly 20% of Minnesota workers

The stats are a clear sign that the economic crisis brought on by the coronavirus is the worst since the Great Depression.
Workers loaded eggs for packaging at Wilcox Family Farms in Roy, Wash., last week. Across the country, supplies are mismatched with demand and farmers

An egg paradox: As demand soars, a Minnesota egg plant has shut down

Egg producers who serve restaurants can't quickly pivot to supply grocery stores.
The JBS pork processing facility in Worthington, Minn., the nation’s third-largest and shown here in a file photo, is running at full strength. The

Sioux Falls plant closing is risk to pork supply, but plenty of others are open

Smithfield Foods Inc. on Sunday said its Sioux Falls plant, shuttered last Thursday initially for three days, would remain closed after a count of COVID-19 cases among its 3,700 workers jumped from 80 to nearly 300.
The National Milk Producers have asked the government to purchase milk for food banks and eliminate milk restrictions in the WIC program through 2020.

Minnesota dairies are suffering too, but haven't dumped milk yet

An initial surge of pandemic-driven milk-buying at grocery stores has subsided and consumption has gone back to normal.
Smithfield said it will close its giant pork processing plant in Sioux Falls, S.D., shown in a photo taken Wednesday, where health officials reported

Crucial processor of Minnesota pork closes over COVID-19

The closing of the Sioux Falls plant, which slaughters a sizable number of hogs from Minnesota and supplies meat throughout the country, shows the growing tension between public health and sustaining the food supply chain.
Bacon is routinely on sale in Minnesota grocery stores these days as the coronavirus-related shutdown of restaurants is creating an oversupply in the

With restaurants closed, a bacon backup is building in Minn. and hog prices are plunging

About two-thirds of bacon sales happened in restaurants and hog farmers are suddenly losing money.
Layoffs at manufacturers have accelerated as the pandemic shutdown moved into its fourth week in Minnesota. File photo of a worker at Code Welding in

Job losses in manufacturing show breadth of downturn in Minnesota

A sign-maker in Brooklyn Park permanently laid off 178 employees. An optical-glass company mothballed a factory in Faribault. Polaris shut down plants worldwide, including in…
Workers at the Minnetronix Medical manufacturing facility in St. Paul. Minnetronix, a St. Paul-based company that manufactures medical devices under c

Companies study Medtronic plans in race to bolster ventilator production

Engineers are studying a variety of designs in the effort to bolster production of the potentially lifesaving devices.
Medical equipment makers like Medtronic rely on parts from suppliers in many countries and are worried that a U.S. wartime production law may invite r

Medtronic, other med-tech firms fear parts shortage if Trump invokes wartime production law

Trump is under pressure to force companies to make ventilators for the U.S., but it's not so simple.
Service Manager Keith Wilson tests a TV100 ventilator at medical equipment manufacturer Bio-Med Devices in Guilford, Conn. on Sunday, March 29, 2020.

Minnesota faces chaotic global battle for more ventilators

Minnesota is scrambling against worldwide competition to line up the ventilators it needs to limit the death toll from a coming surge of patients critically ill with COVID-19.
Brandon Warner, an operations and capacity planner in light manufacturing, was recently furloughed from his job. “It’s really day to day,” he sa

In this downturn, job losses hit white-collar Minnesota workers hard

The anguish of unemployment amid a commercial shutdown is far-reaching
Steve Grove, commissioner of the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development, in a 2019 file photo.

Minnesota offers emergency loans to help small business stay afloat

The program is designed as a stopgap until federal money starts flowing.
Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz, shown finishing a press conference on coronavirus last week, and other top political leaders are confronting fundamental ethi

Trump, Walz, other leaders face fundamental choices between health and wealth

As economic toll rises, hard choices are being rethought by officials at every level.
Shoppers looked into the closed Apple Store at the Mall of America on Tuesday in Bloomington. In Minnesota, 4% of the state’s workforce sought unemp

Economic crisis in wake of virus has Minnesota shaking all week

The coronavirus pandemic and the measures meant to fight the spread of the virus brought a shocking new business reality to the state. But unlike a flood or hurricane, no one knows when it will end.
Neel Kashkari, in a file photo, speaking at a conference at the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.

Minneapolis Fed chief floats forgivable loans for small business

The idea would be to prevent a massive, prolonged spike in unemployment.
Gov. Tim Walz offered new advice for preschools faced with the prospect of closing as a precaution against COVID-19. 2019 file photo of a children in

Minnesota day cares asked to stay open, focus on kids of medical professionals

Medical and emergency workers' kids should receive priority, Gov. Walz said in letter.
A KinderCare child care center in St. Louis Park remained open on Monday.

As many places close in Minnesota, most child-care centers open

Gov. Tim Walz urged child-care providers to stay open even as he ordered the closure of public schools across the state, and most day care centers and preschools did so Monday.
Livestock grazed along the Chanarambie Creek in the city limits of Edgerton.

Farmers use water much more efficiently than 60 years ago, new study says

Better animal genetics and breeding mean that animals are more efficient at converting food into meat, milk and eggs.
Beef prices have fallen more than 20% in the past two months, reflecting a change in global demand as the coronavirus pandemic grew. File photo of Bla

Economic fallout from coronavirus is also hitting farmers

Dairy prices also suffering, could get worse if schools close, lowering demand.
Some organic farmers use flames to destroy weeds.

A fraud case in South Dakota throws harsh spotlight on organic grain

The case is the second large-scale organic fraud case in the Midwest to attract federal prosecution in less than a year.
Dodie Green, co-owner of St. Paul Bagelry, died earlier this week at the age of 58.

Dodie Green, co-owner of St. Paul Bagelry, dies at 58

She and her sister bought the business in 2007 and built it into a beloved local brand.
Next Generation: Gabe Daley, 24, carried a new calf from the maternity barn to other quarters on Daley Farms of Lewiston. Daley and his cousins are th

Battle over 160-year-old Minnesota dairy hinges on whether big is bad

Winona County family farm fights for permission to expand
Luis Hummel, holding a dead hemp plant on his Lanesboro, Minn., farm, said he is only interested in growing hemp for the production of CBD.

Hemp rules give Minnesota farmers little room for error with law enforcement

Rules meant to keep THC levels low keep farmers on the edge of breaking law.
The CHS Myrtle Grove terminal is the southernmost grain-loading facility on the Mississippi River.

Dredging down the Mississippi may lift crop prices in Minn.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers announced it will devote $85.4 million to deepening the mouth of the river to 50 feet, enabling oceangoing ships to load more grain at terminals upriver.
The USDA forecasts a 9% drop in farm profits in the U.S. this year, as corn and soybean prices remain ultralow. File photo of corn being transferred t

U.S. farm income will drop by 9% in 2020, USDA forecasts

Biggest factor affecting profits will be the end of trade bailout payments.
The Farm Bureau is turning up the pressure on equipment manufacturers to give farmers more leeway to work on tractors and other equipment that has bec

Farm Bureau members ratchet up 'right-to-repair' pressure

Farm Bureau adopts new policy that introduces the threat of legislation
New data shows farm bankruptcies rose last year. Credit for farmers this year is shaping up to be tighter as well. File photo of a farmer planting soy

Farm bankruptcies keep rising in Minnesota, U.S.

Farm bankruptcies in Minnesota and across the U.S. rose again in 2019, as poor weather and the ongoing trade war with China prolonged a slump…
Justin Stumpf, a grain handler for Ag Partners in Goodhue, Minn., monitored corn being transferred from a grain bin into a JCH Transport truck from El

Even after trade-war detente, prices for U.S. crops didn't get a lift

Perhaps the biggest problem for farmers, one that won't go away soon, is an oversupply of grain — and competition from other parts of the world.
Luis Hummel at his hemp farm, 5th Sun Gardens near Lanesboro.

Hemp farmer near Lanesboro settles with state after THC dust-up

But Luis Hummel still faces criminal charges in Fillmore County.
Vice President Mike Pence, center, visited a farm near Glyndon, Minn., in May 2019 to promote the revised U.S. free trade agreement with Canada and Me

Minnesota hog farmers will attend White House USMCA signing Wednesday

The two Minnesota pork producers said the deal provides reassurance.
The Louriston Dairy near Murdock, built and operated by Riverview LLP, is home to 9,500 cows, 40 times more than the average American dairy. The compa

Bio-methane from cow manure could be a 'new gold rush' on the farm

The back end of a cow generates 80 pounds each day of what Dennis Haubenschild, who owns 750 of them near Princeton, refers to as…
The MPCA provided an estimate of greenhouse gas emissions for an expansion of a dairy farm near Winona owned by the Daley family. The family’s sixth

Greenhouse gas readout for dairy expansion near Winona heightens scrutiny of methane

Plans for expansion, changing industry prompt disclosure of emissions.
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.
President Donald Trump shakes hands with Chinese Vice Premier Liu He, after signing a trade agreement in the East Room of the White House Wednesday.

Trade pact welcomed, cautiously, in Minnesota

Measured optimism from ag community, but long-term market restoration still elusive.
Soybean acres planted fell by 12% in Minnesota in 2019.These soybeans and corn were near harvest in Nicollet County, Minn., last September.

Minnesota soybean production fell by almost 1M acres last year

Soybean acres planted fell in Minnesota and across the U.S. thanks to trade war, poor weather.
Farmers are increasingly frustrated at the inability to fix their own equipment. Manufacturers want repairs made at dealerships.

'Right-to-repair' fight extends from iPhones to tractors

Farmers' simmering frustration over their inability to repair their own equipment is now front and center in a contentious debate that spreads well beyond the farm.
Beth Ford, CEO of Land O’Lakes, spoke on Thursday at the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis’ 2020 Regional Economic Conditions Conference.

Land O'Lakes CEO calls for investment in rural America

Beth Ford says small towns, hit by ag challenges, "are rolling up on us."
A train made its way along a path where corn spilled from a train on a Canadian Pacific line and sat two inches deep for just under a half-mile, Tuesd

Corn on the railroad track going viral on Facebook? It's real and in Crystal

The picture raced across social media, leading some to question its authenticity.
Track Folland, son of Kris Folland, feeds cattle at the family’s farm near Halma using a 1979 John Deere 4440.

For tech-weary Midwest farmers, 40-year-old tractors now a hot commodity

Tractors built in 1980 or earlier cause bidding wars at auctions.
Joshua Klauck, owner/proprietor of Angry Catfish Bicycle + Coffee Bar, has ambitious expansion plans for 2020.

Mpls.' Northern Coffeeworks adding new location, plus mobile coffee shop

Owners of Angry Catfish are expanding roasting capacity as well.
Tim Little dug up one of his fields planted with cereal rye, a cover crop, with help from Larry Conrad, left, and Mike Ludwig, right.

More Minnesota farmers buck tradition and plant cover crops

Preventing erosion in a time of increasing flooding is just one of the benefits of the still-rare practice of planting winter cover on farm fields. Healthier soil is another.
Soybeans in the foreground close to harvest near Nicollet, Minn.

Economist: Soybean prices won't quickly recover for Midwest farmers

Trump tariffs, swine fever in China will have effects in 2020, economist says.
Deputy Prime Minister of Canada Chrystia Freeland, left, Mexico's top trade negotiator Jesus Seade, center, and U.S. Trade Representative Robert Light

Minnesotans applaud trade breakthrough, forged by rare Pelosi-Trump compromise

The biggest obstacle to trade for Minnesota farmers, the trade war with China, remains.
From right to left, Chris Farrell of Marketplace; Devy Boughner Vorwerk, former CVP of Global Affairs at Cargill; Ken Smith Ramos, Mexico’s former c

Free trade advocates sound the alarm, tell Minnesotans that U.S. is 'falling behind'

Without USMCA, there will be no progress with China, trade leaders warned at a Minneapolis forum.
Judy Schuck

Judy Schuck, an educational psychologist and advocate for the oppressed, dies at 79

She was a former director of disability services at what's now Minneapolis Community and Technical College.
New USDA data shows that the rate of small dairies that are closing is accelerating -- but so is production of milk. That’s one effect of the growth

Milk production is rising even as small dairy farms shut down

Surviving operations say efficiencies, higher-yielding cows compensate for loss of farms.
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.