Staff Directory 6370450

Adam Belz

Reporter | Agriculture
Phone: 612-673-4405
Recent content from Adam Belz
A Trump/Pence sign on a hay wagon in Freeport, Pa., on Oct. 15. U.S. farmers have received a record $40 billion in aid in 2020 from the federal govern

Farmers see record $40B in aid, but many uneasy accepting help

Farmers, who as a group disproportionately vote Republican and support President Donald Trump, are uneasy with being seen as on the dole. "Who wants to be dependent on government for everything? It just feels wrong."
The first measurable snow of the season hit Minnesota last Tuesday.

Some snow is no big deal because Minnesota farmers were far ahead on this year's harvest

Soybeans are mostly in, and corn is way ahead of schedule despite the early cold.
Dairy cows wait outside of the milking parlor at Daley Farms in Lewiston.

Battle over southeast Minnesota dairy expansion drags on

The Land Stewardship Project was ordered to produce internal documents by Tuesday.
Despite production pressures and the coronavirus downturn, land values are holding steady in Minnesota and the Upper Midwest. That's key to farmers' a

Farmland prices holding steady, maybe even ticking upward in Minnesota

The good soil is still selling for about $8,000 an acre in Upper Midwest.
A U of M review found that some gene-editing research done by Calyxt founder Dan Voytas wasn’t reviewed by a required committee at the university. F

Gene-editing research by Calyxt exec at U of M for a time lacked proper oversight

University officials caught and fixed an oversight involving a campus committee on biosafety.
Minnesota farmers are seeing some of the best prices of the year as weather and trade have pushed commodity prices higher. File photo of soybeans and

Corn, soybean prices rally on Chinese demand, disaster in Iowa

As harvest begins, farmers are seeing some of the best commodity prices of the year.
Dairy cows wait outside of the milking parlor at Daley Farms of Lewiston, Minn.

Why fewer Minnesota dairy farmers are going out of business

New insurance programs and virus aid are helping improve "safety net" for Minnesota dairy farmers.
A home construction site in Woodbury. Future prices for random lengths of board are $834 per thousand board feet, triple their April low and about dou

Why Minnesota lumber prices are going through the roof

A do-it-yourself home-improvement and construction boom has sent the price of lumber skyrocketing, as sawmills and strand-board manufacturers, including in Minnesota, scramble to keep up with surging demand.
Nan Bailly at her winery, Bailly Vineyards in Hastings, was the top plaintiff in the lawsuit against state law requiring Minnesota vineyards to have 5

Judge rules Minnesota winemakers can use more out-of-state grapes

The court's ruling means more out-of-state grapes can be used in producing Minnesota wines.
Tom Revier inspected a pen full of Black Angus cattle. His operation, the largest in Minnesota, draws on outside resources to ship meat directly to re

How Minnesota's biggest beef producer is weathering the coronavirus

The first tremors arrived with the lockdown of Wuhan. By March, restaurants were shutting down across the U.S., and beef prices had fallen by about a third.
Gary Ross stocked vegetables at a free stand near the Midtown Greenway. Help is emerging for farmers that supply local markets.

A block from Lake Street, urban farm tries to meet growing need

City patch near greenway, 4-acre farm supply fresh vegetables for families in need.
U.S. officials are forecasting a near-record corn crop this year, but prices are below break-even.

Bumper Minnesota corn crop on tap as prices stall below break-even price

Corn prices are not close to break-even and may only rise if a natural disaster happens.
President Donald Trump delivered remarks Monday to an invitation-only crowd of hundreds at North Star Aviation in Mankato.

Trump flies to Minnesota, blasts local leaders over Floyd riots

He paints himself as force for stability and order.
Josue Ramirez and other workers at Hugoson Pork took their lunch break at a sow barn near Granada, Minn. Ramirez is from Monterrey, Mexico.

Minnesota hog farmers fight visa restrictions: 'We need the labor'

The trade national program that employers can use is small and has been throttled by COVID-19: "We need the labor."
Judge Tanya Bransford gave father Jim Bransford a bear hug behind the judge's bench at the Juvenile Justice Center in Minneapolis.

James Bransford, who steered himself and many others away from addiction, dies at 89

After retiring from his job in the judicial system, Bransford kept working to help people overcome addiction until the pandemic forced him to stay home.
One of Roger Ruan’s liquid nitrogen generator prototypes. “The main idea is simply to use air, water and electricity to produce nitrate, ” said

On Minnesota farm, experiment could change how farmers get costly nitrogen

  After land and seed, nitrogen for fertilizer is the largest yearly expense for corn and soybean farmers. It costs more per acre…
Calyxt will license its gene-editing technology to other food ingredient companies. File photo of a researcher holding a canola sample at Calyxt.

Calyxt will license its plant gene-editing tech to other firms

The Roseville-based firm previously focused on using the technology in its own plants.
Sen. Tina Smith’s campaign unearthed old TV footage of Lewis questioning government crop subsidies and declaring, “Government shouldn’t have any

Sen. Tina Smith attacks Jason Lewis over past crop subsidy comments

Smith, a Democrat, is using the video to challenge Lewis with farmers, who tend to vote Republican. The two candidates are scheduled to meet for a virtual candidate forum on Tuesday as part of FarmFest.
A cleaning worker at the Jennie-O plant, Mejia fell ill and then found that her whole family had been infected with COVID-19: “We all got sick.”

Meatpacking is nearly normal, but workers left to cope with COVID-19's toll

More than 30,000 meatpacking workers nationally have fallen ill. At least 100 have died, with the lives of others upended or permanently altered.
Ruhel Islam’s restaurant was destroyed. The owner of Gandhi Mahal said “let my building burn, justice needs to be served.” He plans to rebuild o

At epicenter of Minneapolis riots, a reckoning is underway

Among small business owners on Lake Street, there is grief, anger and hope for change as they make decisions about whether to rebuild.
“He was the father that everyone wanted to have.”

Nur Omar Mohamed was 'Superdad' and mentor to many in Minneapolis Somali community

Nur Omar Mohamed, the father of U.S. Rep. Ilhan Omar, was a mentor to many young people and a man whose support of his daughter's…
Ebony Chambers with her son Damian Kohel Jr., 4, attended a meeting at North Commons Park to discuss problems and solutions with the Minneapolis Polic

Minneapolis gathering focuses on a future with a new type of police department

About 150 people brainstormed ideas at North Side park
Farmers are contending with too many animals and ultralow prices for them.

Meatpacking plants nearly back at capacity, but COVID fallout continues on farms

Farmers and consumers continue to pay a price from the shutdown.
The Minnesota Department of Agriculture will allow farmers to continue using dicamba this year, despite a court ruling. It noted that some planting of

Minnesota soybean farmers may use dicamba despite court ruling

The recent court ruling was "very untimely," says Minnesota's ag commissioner.

Minnesota farmer charged with cheating grain elevator

Federal prosecutors say he had two co-conspirators who worked at the CHS elevator in Herman.
Minneapolis Fire Chief John Fruetel parked in front of the burned-out Walgreens on East Lake St. He said he was doing damage assessments around Minnea

Burned-out pharmacies leave a hole in Twin Cities neighborhoods

Pharmacies, and the controlled substances they hold, were a particular target for looting in last week's chaos, even far from Lake Street in Minneapolis and University Avenue in St. Paul, the hardest-hit areas. Swaths of the metro now have no open pharmacy for miles.
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.