Midwest briefs: Bayer, 4-H growing science leaders

Wisconsin State Farmer


MDA announced Good Food Access Program awardees 

The Minnesota Department of Agriculture (MDA) announced that eight statewide projects have been awarded funding through the Good Food Access Program (GFAP).

A total of $150,000 in grant funds has been awarded to projects to purchase equipment and make physical improvements, increasing access to affordable, nutritious, and culturally appropriate foods in underserved and low - and moderate income communities.  

“These eight projects were selected during a competitive process because we believe they will have a strong impact in their communities,” said MDA Local Food and Nutrition Programs Coordinator Ashley Bress. “Expensive equipment and these kinds of physical improvements can be a significant barrier for grocery stores and small food retailers. The Good Food Access Program aims to eliminate some of that financial burden so retailers can sell more of the nutritious foods their communities are seeking.” 

Awardees plan to use GFAP grant funding to purchase coolers and freezers, shelving, and mobile food trucks.  

Badal Aden Ali of Minnesota Halal Meat & Grocery in Saint Cloud was awarded a GFAP Grant to purchase and install a dairy cooler, walk-in freezer, produce display case, and shelving. Ali says the grant funds will help address the needs of many of Saint Cloud’s refugees and immigrants by providing nutritious and culturally appropriate foods.  

White Earth Nation, a Native American tribal community in White Earth, Minnesota, will use GFAP Grant funds to purchase a mobile food truck for the burgeoning White Earth Mobile Market, and vegetable display coolers to house produce at two convenience stores on the reservation. Up to 90 percent of White Earth is considered a federally recognized food dessert, meaning access to nutritious foods is limited.  

“A lot of people on White Earth reservation don’t have access to healthy or locally produced food,” said Zachary Paige, Food Sovereignty Coordinator with White Earth Natural Resources Department. “White Earth is a rural community, and the funny thing is, people do grow food. We’re connecting those people with the people that want it.” 

A survey of more than 200 White Earth residents revealed that community members wanted to see more healthy food options at local convenience stores and were interested in a mobile food unit. Paige hopes the GFAP Grant funds will address both needs.

The display coolers will increase access to fresh produce; and the White Earth Mobile Market can be used to deliver healthy foods to elders, or as a traveling demonstration truck to teach community members how to cook with traditional foods grown in and around White Earth, like wild rice, Native corn, and edible beans.  

According to a 2016 study published by the Federal Reserve Bank and Wilder Research, roughly 30 percent of Minnesotans have low retail access to healthy food. GFAP grants were created to help stimulate sales of affordable, nutritious, and culturally appropriate foods for Minnesotans who may face low access to those foods. 


Bayer, 4-H to grow tomorrow’s science leaders 

Bayer and National 4-H Council amplified their commitment to the future of our rapidly expanding global population by launching a new effort to grow the pipeline of tomorrow’s innovators. The two organizations announced a nationwide collaboration, Science Matters, which will address the need for an enhanced STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) workforce by planting a love of scientific exploration in thousands of youth in urban and rural areas across the country. 

Science Matters will leverage Bayer’s more than 150 years of scientific breakthroughs and 4-H’s century of hands-on learning to equip more than 25,000 youth with tools and support they need to deepen their understanding of science. 

Science Matters will bring together 4-H leaders with Bayer employees to work alongside young people demonstrating why science matters to all of us. In addition, Bayer will sponsor the 4-H Agri-Science Summit in Washington, D.C., where students will learn about modern agriculture, careers in agriculture and gain more than 30 hours of hands-on learning and problem-solving experience.

Bayer will also provide as many as 200 scholarships and offer community grants to extend the program’s impact. And Bayer’s continued sponsorship of the 4-H Youth in Action Award will add yet another dimension to Science Matters. 


Waterloo council eases rules on backyard livestock 

The Waterloo City Council has eased administrative procedures for people who want to keep chickens, goats and other traditional farm animals in their backyards. 

The Waterloo-Cedar Falls Courier reports the council approved an ordinance that lets residents avoid appearances before the city Board of Adjustment. To do so, the residents must have enough fenced backyard space and petitions of support signed by all abutting property owners and 60 percent of those within 250 feet. 

The ordinance lets a resident with at least 10,000 square feet (929 square meters) of fenced backyard to keep up to two small animals, such as chickens, geese, rabbits and minks. Another small animal is allowed for each additional 2,500 square feet (232 square meters) of fenced yard, to a maximum of eight animals. 


Eastern South Dakota authorities probe cattle shootings 

Authorities in eastern South Dakota are investigating incidents in which cattle have been shot in pastures. 

Moody County Sheriff Troy Wellman Tells the Argus Leader that a calf in the eastern part of that county was shot in the hip this week. Authorities believe a small-caliber gun was used. The calf is being treated. 

Wellman says other cattle in the area have been shot and have died, and a woman in South Shore, about 20 miles southwest of Milbank, says her family lost five calves to bullet wounds last week. Each calf was shot multiple times. 


Man imprisoned for mail fraud; must pay back more than $318K 

A northern Iowa agricultural products salesman has been imprisoned for mail fraud and must pay restitution of more than $318,000. 

Court records say a U.S. district judge in Cedar Rapids sentenced Richard Wubben, of Buffalo Center, on Wednesday to 30 months behind bars and three years of supervised release after he leaves prison. He'd pleaded guilty in April. 

Prosecutors say Wubben sold seeds, farm chemicals and other agriculture products for Titan Pro, of Clear Lake, from October 2014 to Dec. 8, 2015, but didn't turn over some money that customers paid.