Bob Shaw / St. Paul Pioneer Press
ST. PAUL — John Strohfus is rehabilitating the outlaw of Minnesota agriculture. "People think this is new," said Strohfus, as he sifted hemp seed through his fingers at his Afton farm. "But the only thing new is that farmers can grow it now." Farmers like Strohfus are tip-toeing into the hemp market, planting fields in Woodbury, Afton, Dakota County and across the state. State officials are encouraging them, saying that hemp would stimulate the state's economy.
ST. PAUL — Now the real battle begins. This could be the summer, say tree experts, when the infestation of the emerald ash borer reaches a tipping point for an assault that will kill almost every ash tree in the state. "Everyone is holding their breath right now," said John Masonick, owner of Monster Tree Service in Lake Elmo. Officials recently announced the bug's arrival in Cottage Grove. It hit Burnsville in May and is expected to spread soon to every metro-area city. Tree services are informing homeowners they must make one of three unpleasant choices:
NEWPORT, Minn.—Brian Domeier is fighting a big oil company, and some of his Newport neighbors are cheering him on. Domeier says that the St. Paul Park oil refinery — now owned by Fortune 100 company Andeavor — abandoned land in its 160-acre buffer zone near his home. He also claims that he should be given a portion of that land he has tended for 20 years.
ST. PAUL — Have you hugged a honeybee today? Travis and Chiara Bolton have — at least, that's how the bees might see it. The St. Paul couple has found a way to turn solar-energy gardens into money-making bee farms. They also custom breed super bees strong enough to survive Minnesota winters. And their company, Bolton Bees, is taking flight, just like the millions of bees they have raised. This year they expect their hives to double to 600 across the state.
ST. PAUL PARK, Minn.—A 100-acre storage area for automobiles in St. Paul Park is a prospect local officials don't like — but don't think they can derail. BNSF Railway plans to store up to 6,000 automobiles unloaded from railroad cars until they are loaded onto trucks to be taken to dealerships. Some 65 trucks would go in and out of the site every day.