A few photos taken at Ela Orchard’s space. Their apples are, of course fabulous.
A beautiful day after a rainy/stormy week. Much to be thankful for.
Amid all the doom and gloom, one sector in the country’s economy has a bright future and promises high yields.
Despite a deep recession that sent gross domestic product plunging 15 per cent last year, some budding domestic agribusinesses reported double-digit growth.
Agriculture was one of the few economic sectors to grow, albeit a small 0.2 per cent rise.
But to see the real potential, one must look further ahead. Global demand for food is expected to surge in coming decades. And Ukraine is well positioned to benefit.
With its rich black soil, favourable climate and proximity to markets, experts say the country could go far beyond regaining its position as the breadbasket of Europe.
“Ukraine is already among the top five grain exporters in the world,” says Andriy Yarmak, an agribusiness expert. “With investment, it could double its recent annual harvests and “become one of the top exporters of meat in about 10-15 years”.
MY grandfather started our mail-order company 100 years ago. In the early 1950s, customers were driving to Randolph, northeast of Madison, to see what they were purchasing by mail from us, and my dad saw an opportunity to start a local garden center.
One of my first jobs was to take the orders for shrubs from the garden center to a storage area and to take the shrubs to the customer. I was 11. I also hoed the weeds and detassled corn.
In the 1990s, the two branches of our family split the business. The Jungs received Jung Seed Genetics, which sells agronomic seeds to farmers, and the Zondags got the catalog division and the garden centers.
The drive up to Coalmont, Grundy County, Tennessee, winds through beautiful countryside – hardwood forests, open meadows, meandering creeks. The land also bears the scars of decades of poverty – collapsed chicken houses, signs advertising “wood for sale”, a faded placard taped to a mailbox printed with the words “Indoor yard sale”. The roadsides are littered with posters for forthcoming local elections; around here, a $50,000 salary as county clerk makes a person part of the economic elite.
This is hardly Silicon Valley or Wall Street, but I am in Coalmont to interview a captain of industry, one of the county’s biggest employers, someone you might even call a visionary – the owner of what must be the world’s only vertically integrated worm factory. Silver Bait LLC produces fishing worms by the millions. But that’s only the beginning of what it produces. The walls of the 170,000sq ft worm factory are made of giant concrete blocks that the company produces onsite. Likewise, the pre-stressed concrete columns and beams in the building. Silver Bait also produces its own corrugated metal roofing on a machine the company’s founder, Bruno Durant, designed and built.
French-born, 50-year-old Durant grows 300 acres of corn here, to feed his worms, and he harvests it with second-hand machinery he renovated in his onsite equipment- maintenance building. He invented his own machinery to harvest the worms and he is about to complete work on a device that will mechanise most of the rest of the worm-culture process.
He’s also about to put in place a full-scale packing line (designed by himself and built in his onsite machine shop). The worms are dispatched for sale in small plastic containers made in his onsite injection-moulding machine and are delivered to his customers – bait wholesalers across the eastern US – in his company’s refrigerated trucks. He does purchase peat from Canada as the growing medium for his worms. But that’s about all he buys in.
Video from the current French agricultural fair.
View five vr scenes from “Tent City”: Scene 1 / Scene 2 / Scene 3 / Scene 4 / Scene 5. After clicking, place your mouse in the image and pan in any direction.
View a still image library here.
More photos and vr scenes from the Craves Brothers farm, taken last fall.
Crave Brothers website and the Wisconsin Farm Technology Days website.