Public science for private interests: How University of Missouri agricultural research cultivates profits for industry

The partnership is emblematic of the broader system of industry-sponsored research that takes place in MU’s College of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources, and especially in the Division of Plant Sciences. Corporate money goes to MU professors on both ends of the research spectrum, from basic science to product testing.

Industry’s stake in the system is clear. Companies gain the expertise and credibility of renowned plant science experts , University Extension experts who Missouri farmers trust.

What’s not so clear is how the public benefits

Soybean promoters shop for new markets as talks with China continue

In Washington D.C. Friday, President Trump announced that China and the U.S. had reached a tentative trade agreement. The announcement came at the end of a 13th round of trade talks between the two nations over 18 months. Though the president's statement was light on details, one promise brought cautious optimism to U.S. farmers and ranchers. Trump said the deal will include $50 billion in U.S. agricultural goods heading to China, though no timeline was mentioned. More than 800 miles west of Washington D.C., Rich Guebert, a farmer in Ellis Grove, Illinois, hoped the rain would hold off long enough for him to finish harvesting corn.

Seeking a Cure: The Quest to Save Rural Hospitals

A seven-state news investigation revealed plenty of problems facing rural patients but also a variety of creative attempts to solve them. The head of the National Rural Health Association puts it this way: “Everyone realizes we’re at a crisis point.”

Agriculture is one of the biggest contributors to climate change. But it can also be a part of the solution.

The global food production system, which
includes agriculture, accounts for more than a third of manmade greenhouse
gases, according to an August report from the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel
on Climate Change.

And while past focus has been on industries
such as fossil fuels and transportation, new attention is being put on
agriculture’s role in the climate change
solution. On September 18, a coalition representing 10,000 farmers and ranchers
delivered a letter to congress supporting the Green New Deal, a congressional resolution to
transition the United States to 100 percent clean energy by 2030.

Farming, more than any other industry, might be the best hope for curbing climate change.

Critics worry about food safety as federal meat inspectors face work overload, burnout

A nine-month investigation by the Midwest Center for Investigative Reporting found dozens of situations at the USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service where routine vacancies leave the remaining federal food inspectors vulnerable to burnout, work overload and other job hazards.

In several cases, employees in other roles are oftentimes forced to abandon their own job duties to cover the slaughter line inspections mandated for plants to operate.

Kraft, Mondelez agreed to pay $16 million for allegedly manipulating the wheat market. Now, they’re complaining the feds talked about it.

Two of the biggest food companies in the U.S. were fined a $16 million penalty for allegedly manipulating the wheat market for its own gain as part of a settlement agreement reached in August. When the federal agency posted a news release about it, the two food companies complained the agency broke its part of the agreement.

President Trump makes surprise phone call during Decatur Farm Progress Show

United States Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue took the stage at the Farm Progress Show in Decatur, Illinois, Wednesday to discuss the U.S.-China trade war, trade agreements and other problems facing farmers. He was interviewed by long-time agriculture journalists Max Armstrong and Orion Samuelson. Then the president called.

For years, complaints about North Carolina’s hog pollution vanished in state bureaucracy

Now officials are posting the complaints online. What changed? This story was originally published on The Guardian. It is not for republication. In September 2016, with Tropical Storm Hermine bearing down on North Carolina, Kemp Burdette rented a single-engine plane and flew over Duplin County.