Growing biomass for biofuel, money for retirement

Oct 10, 2012

Remember in the film Night of the Living Dead when the protagonist, Barbra, is running through the grassy hills to the forlorn farmhouse to escape her lumbering zombie of a brother?

Well, while recently reporting for Harvest Public Media, I spent time on farmland that looked eerily similar to the backdrop of George Romero's black and white magnum opus.

Farmers who plant corn or soybeans in this land know they are taking a chance, but not because they’re worried about zombies trampling their fields. This so-called "marginal land" is susceptible to erosion and is rarely productive. But there are crops that can thrive consistently on this high-risk land, and some farmers are just beginning to discover the market potential.

Speaking of the market, financial planners have often suggested that people are more likely to retire when there’s an upswing in the economy. To see if this is truly the case, Rui Yao, an MU Professor of personal finance planning, pored over retirement data from a University of Michigan study with researcher Eric Park. KBIA's Harum Helmy sat down with Yao to learn more about why people do this and when the best time to retire actually is.