Category: Biotechnology

Finding Common Ground

Written by Jonathan Eisenthal

For two days in late June a group of women gathered at a Twin Cities workshop to listen and learn. The common thread that brought them together? A passion for agriculture. Who are they? CommonGround volunteers.

CommonGround is a group of farm women who volunteer their time to share information about their farms and the food they grow. More than 165 women from a wide variety of farms are involved in the program nationwide.

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Could an ethanol by-product be the next big thing in food?

Food, feed, fiber, fuel and…cookies?

Minnesota’s corn farmers take great pride in growing the first four items on that list. But cookies? That’s not something that comes to mind when thinking about corn farming.

However, thanks to funding support from the Minnesota Corn Growers Association (MCGA), Dr. Padmanaban Krishnan at South Dakota State University is working on a project that adds food-grade distiller’s dried grains (DDG) to baked foods like cookies,

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How can we close the gap between scientists and consumers on GMOs?

GMO cornAccording to a recent poll by the Pew Research Center, 88 percent of scientists believe that genetically modified (GMOs) foods are safe to eat. However, only 37 percent of the general public believes GMOs are safe.

That’s an astonishing gap of 51 percent.

In recent weeks, the gap between scientists and the general public on several important issues has come to the forefront of our attention thanks to the vaccination topic.

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Forum attendees seek to find common ground on GMO labelling issue

Written by Mark Hamerlinck

I’ll admit my expectations were low as I entered the conference room where dozens of educators, activists, grad students and agribusiness representatives had gathered to attempt to find some common ground on the issue of GMO labelling.

The event, a forum titled “To label or not to label, the GMO food paradox” was sponsored by the University of Minnesota’s Center for Integrative Leadership and Center for Animal Health and Food Safety and was part of a continuing series of forums called Finding Common Ground.

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MCGA Radio: Get ready for Beef U

Minnesota’s corn farmers are proud to partner with the Minnesota Beef Council and the University of Minnesota on Beef U, a one-day event that covers all things beef.

Beef U is set for 8 a.m. — 3 p.m. on Friday, Jan. 16, at the University of Minnesota Andrew Boss Laboratory — Meat Science at 1354 Eckles Ave. in St. Paul. Topics covered will include raising beef, beef in local and national retail,

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GMO Awareness Day a missed educational opportunity in Metro area schools

Written by Kristie Swenson

Recently, I saw a press release from Minneapolis Public Schools, sharing that five metro school districts (Hopkins, Minneapolis, Orono, Shakopee, and Westonka) held a “GMO Awareness Day” and are aiming to reduce GMOs in school food.

GMOs (Genetically Modified Organisms) have prompted much debate in several arenas, from agriculture to politics, at various levels.  I applaud these school districts for broaching a topic with so many different facets;

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NPR calls out the Food Babe

Remember when celebrity Jenny McCarthy was championing a cause that claimed vaccinating your children might lead to autism?

McCarthy’s outlandish claims have repeatedly been proven false, and she’s now become a bit of a laughingstock because of her viewpoints. However, McCarthy’s anti-vax activism still reached many people with false claims disguised as “science.” A lot of damage was done.

Now there’s a new McCarthy in the activist world,

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Dassel-Cokato’s FFA Food Science team wins nationals

written by Jonathan Eisenthal

It was a taste of the real world of ultra-competitive name-brand food marketing. Dassel-Cokato High School’s FFA Food Science Team had an hour to come up with the most appealing wholegrain, low-sugar breakfast cereal possible at the 87th annual National FFA convention in Louisville, KY.

They beat out more than three dozen competing teams, winning the minds and discerning tastebuds of food industry professionals.

The team came up with “Hunger Grahams”—a sweet graham cracker biscuit cereal,

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CommonGround connects farming and non-farming women

written by Jonathan Eisenthal

This is part one of a two-part series highlighting CommonGround, a program supported by Minnesota’s corn and soybean farmers. Look for part two on Wednesday.

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As the snow arrived this week, cattle rancher Rachel Gray got busy making sure her herd was “tucked in.”

“We just started getting snow last night,” Gray said Sunday evening from her home near Blackduck,

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How can agriculture boost consumer trust?

At last week’s annual Agri-Growth Conference, Charlie Arnot, CEO of the Center for Food Integrity, began his presentation with this positive declaration:

“Today, food is safer, more affordable and more available than ever before.”

This statement was immediately followed by another that wasn’t so positive:

“Yet the very systems that made that happen are questioned more than ever before. Why?” he asked.

Those of us who farm and/or work in agriculture often wonder the same thing.

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