Business Beat

Wednesdays at 4:45 p.m.

A weekly look at business issues important to mid-Missouri.

Kristofor Husted / Harvest Public Media

In an effort to turn away from chemical pesticides, which have the potential to damage the environment, some farmers are looking in a new direction in the age-old, quiet struggle on farm fields of farmers versus pests. They’re warding off intruding insects and noxious weeds with bugs and chickens.

Rich Egger / Harvest Public Media

Sandy Songer of Broken Bow, Oklahoma, has a bit of advice for anyone who wants to watch chainsaw artists in action.

“If you’re going to stay around us very long, you need to put some earplugs in,” she says with a laugh, as chainsaws revved and roared behind her like race cars, drowning out everything else in the background.

From carnival barkers, to Ferris wheels humming, to snorts and moos of livestock shows, late-summer state and county fairs are noisy, chaotic affairs. Add to the din this season: chainsaws buzzing.

 

Emma Brown / for KBIA

When the first busload of campers arrived at Camp Sabra in Missouri’s Lake of the Ozarks this summer, they were greeted by more than one hundred cheering, dancing and hugging counselors.

For the first time in four years, Sydney Aaranson was not one of those counselors.


Business Beat: Navigating Student Debt as a College Graduate

Apr 20, 2016
Paul Ritz / YouTube

Graduation season is upon us, which means that college graduates across the nation will have to confront the realities of adulthood. Aside from finding careers and gaining overall independence, there’s another huge responsibility that’s facing millions of grads—handling student loan debt. Kara Tabor and Bita Eghbali of the Three Broke Mice podcast chat with Teddy Nykiel of NerdWallet.com about how young adults can overcome the debt hurdle.  

miheco / Flickr

 

In the increasingly health-conscious food market, the use of cage-free eggs is starting to gain some serious traction. After Panera Bread announced its progress on a commitment last November to using cage-free eggs, Hardee’s is the latest restaurant chain pledging to use 100 percent cage-free eggs by 2025. So why are more and more companies jumping in on this trend? Will consumers accept the higher prices of products made from cage-free eggs? KBIA’s Joyce Tao tells the story of how the cage-free egg switch is affecting chains and customers.

Rebecca Greenway/KBIA

This piece was produced in conjunction with Missouri Business Alert, a digital newsroom that provides business news from across the state of Missouri.

The Salvation Army’s time-honored red kettle bell fundraiser has captured hearts - and ears - of patrons walking into and out of local grocery and retail stores for years.

As a family walks into HyVee, a woman slips change into two children’s hands; the children rush toward the sound of the bell and drop the money into the cherry red bucket.

Luke Runyon/Harvest Public Media

Grabbing a quick meal doesn’t just mean fast food anymore. Now there are “fast-casual” options like Chipotle or Panera, restaurants that borrow ideas from both fast food and upscale sit-down restaurants.

Kristofor Husted/Harvest Public Media

After the patent on one of the most popular versions of genetically engineered soybeans expired this year, U.S. universities are creating new generic GMO soybean varieties, many of which are designed to guard against specific, local pests.

Luke Runyon/Harvest Public Media

    

Close to 60,000 jobs are set to open up in agriculture, food and natural resource sectors each year for the next five years, according to a report from Purdue University and the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

The American agriculture industry has a problem though; there are not enough grads to fill them. The report projects about two open jobs for every qualified graduate. That’s left the USDA, land grant universities and private industry scrambling to try and bridge the gap.

Kamila Jambulatova/KBIA

This piece was produced in conjunction with Missouri Business Alert, a digital newsroom that provides business news from across the state of Missouri.

Charisa Slenker sold her first piece of jewelry when she was 15.

“I saw a little beading kit at Michaels and I decided I’d want to do that,” Slenker said. “So I bought that and I started making earrings and I would take them to school with me and sell them to my friends and teachers.”

Samantha Kummerer/KBIA

John Sam Williamson has been a farmer for more than 50 years. He knows his five grain bins stocked with corn and soybeans very well, but he also knows the risks.

“There’s a lot of danger to grain bins, but if you use them safely its like other things, gasoline is dangerous, sharp knives are dangerous but if you’re careful and do things safely you should be fine,” Williamson said.

One such danger is known as grain entrapment where a worker inside a grain bin is crushed, sometimes to death, by the grain.

Deana Hayes

This piece was produced in conjunction with Missouri Business Alert, a digital newsroom that provides business news from across the state of Missouri.  

After being diagnosed with HIV 18 years ago, Deana Hayes was so frustrated that she left Missouri. It took her three years to come back and confront the disease.

Jeremy Schmetterer / KBIA

Personal Energy Transportation International, or PET, built its first rough-terrain transportation device for people with leg disabilities 21 years ago. With 25 affiliate workshops around the country today, the international organization reached the milestone of 50,000 PETs this year.

Mel West is a 91-year-old pastor and an antipoverty activist. In 1994, he met Larry Hills, a Methodist missionary who told West about polio and land mine survivors he was helping aide in Zaire, Africa.

Katherine Hambrick / Missouri Business Alert

This piece was produced in conjunction with Missouri Business Alert, a digital newsroom that provides business news from across the state of Missouri.  

Billy Martin did not know what to expect before delivering his pitch on Friday, Sept. 18, to a group of judges and fellow entrepreneurs at the Techweek event in Kansas City.

Luke Runyon / Harvest Public Media

  Nilvio Aquino weaves through a tangled jungle of marijuana plants at an indoor grow facility in Denver.

“Throw your nose in there. It’s nice and pungent,” he said, pulling a seven-foot tall plant down to nose height at one of the company’s grow facilities.

Aquino, the lead grower for Sticky Buds, a chain of marijuana shops in Denver, is in his element among the plants. He’s like a proud gardener showing off blue ribbon varieties, bustling from plant to plant, picking out his favorites.

Abby Wendle / Harvest Public Media

In order to grow massive amounts of corn and soybeans, two crops at the center of the U.S. food system, farmers in the Midwest typically apply hundreds of pounds of fertilizer on every acre they farm. This practice allows food companies to produce, and consumers to consume, a lot of relatively cheap food.

But that fertilizer can leach through soil and wash off land, polluting our drinking water, destroying our fishing rivers, and turning a Connecticut-sized chunk of the Gulf of Mexico into an oxygen-depleted hypoxic zone, suffocating aquatic life.

Dipankan001/Wikimedia Commons

 Mold--it's an unsightly, unpleasant and often harmful nuisance that you probably don't want in your home. But for some Missouri renters with this unwelcome houseguest, they've found themselves having issues getting help from their landlords. Missouri Business Alert's Heidi Li reports on how the lack of standard mold regulations is affecting tenants. 

Simon Cunningham/Flickr

There's a problem few are talking about when it comes to student debt. While the topic of undergrads taking out steep loans to pay for tuition costs often grabs the most attention, grad students face interest rates that are more than one third higher. But a group of students at the University of Missouri is trying to change that. Missouri Business Alert's Tatiana Darie spoke with the students of Grads Have Debt 2 about their efforts to achieve reform. 

Jacob Steimer/Missouri Business Alert

At the end of 2014, many Missouri United Way chapters came up short on their fundraising goals. Local charities felt the effects of low fundraising and different funding initiatives at the Heart of Missouri United Way in Columbia. Missouri Business Alert's Jacob Steimer reports on the impact that funding and program changes have had on mid-Missouri charities.

Christa Corrigan/Missouri Business Alert

 

  Columbia's Parkade Center opened in 1965. It was built on a prime location off of Interstate 70 — a new freeway reshaping the American approach to commerce. Parkrade Center was once the premier shopping destination in mid-Missouri. However that changes after the Columbia Mall opened in 1985. After struggling to keep businesses and shoppers for years, the center has shifted its business model in the past decade, and its business appears to be improved and stabilized. Missouri Business Alert's Christa Corrigan reports on the comeback of the once lifeless shopping center.

Startup weekend in Columbia starts on Friday, kicking off a fifty-four-hour boot camp at the Museao Building in south Columbia. People will work in teams to pitch and develop their business ideas with the help of mentors during the boot camp. At the end of the weekend, they'll present their business plans to a panel of judges, who will them select the winners. Missouri Business Alert’s Elizabeth Tharakan explores how Columbia’s Startup Weekend has recently become a springboard for health care IT companies.

Department of Economic Development

Jim Spencer, CEO of Newsy, received the Governor’s Entrepreneur of the Year Award earlier this month. Missouri Business Alert’s Maggie Angst caught up with Spencer, to find out where Newsy is heading.

Newsy is a company that collects the day’s news stories from multiple news sources and produces videos that add analysis and context to the story. The videos are then delivered through the Internet to tablets, smartphones, computers, and even TV. Newsy was found in 2008, and this January, it was acquired by E.W. Scripps Company for $35 million.

Hellen Tian

  President of Regional Economic Development Inc. (REDI), Mike Brooks, will retire at the end of September. Since assuming the role in 2009, Brooks has helped REDI focus its efforts on attracting new business, expanding existing business, as well as building an entrepreneurial-friendly environment.

This week we sat down with Brooks, to talk about the importance of entrepreneurship to the local economy, and the challenges mid-Missouri faces in economic development. 

Daniel Horacio Agostini via Flickr

 Hailing a cab may become a thing of the past in Columbia, but local taxi companies and city rules might get in the way.

Uber, a ride sharing service that connects riders and drivers through a smartphone app is looking to expand in Columbia. Missouri Business Alert’s Siddarth Vidnala went to see what people on both sides of the issue have to say.

401k2013 via Flickr

  

Since the launch of 1 Million Cups last year, representatives from nearly 60 companies have stood in front of about 30 people that fill a downtown Columbia conference room every Wednesday.

1 Million Cups provides a launch pad into the city's startup community where entrepreneurs have six minutes to present their business and ideas. Following the pitch the floor is open to questions and discussion from anyone at the informal gathering.

tlsmith1000 / Flickr

Over 4,500 people on average are released from prison each year in Missouri, of those 480 in Boone County. After being locked up for weeks, months or even years, how do people adjust back to life outside prison and find a job? One obstacle confronting ex-offenders is the little box on job applications that asks about criminal history.

Peter Gray / Harvest Public Media

    

Residents across the Midwest are struggling with tight propane supplies, especially in this bitterly cold, snowy winter.

But it's not just homes that lack adequate access to heating energy. Harvest Public Media's Peter Gray reports on the recent fuel shortage, and how it's hitting farms that put bacon and eggs on your plate in the morning.

If you are a fan of wine, particularly European wines, from France, Italy or Germany, you can be proud of the role Missouri plays in creating that wine.

Kristofor Husted / KBIA

Monday’s Morning Edition on NPR featured a story about a Columbia biotech startup. We thought we’d give it an encore run on KBIA in case you missed it. After hearing Shihab’s unique story, I called Laurel Smith-Doer, who’s a professor of sociology at the University of Massachusetts Amherst.  She’s studied immigrant and women entrepreneurs in biotech in the New England area. I asked her what she’s found in her research.

Peggy Lowe / Harvest Public Media

There will be no farm bill until Congress returns in the New Year. But it turns out, dairy prices won’t surge on January 1st as some farm bill supporters have suggested. Harvest Public Media’s Grant Gerlock reports.

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack will travel to China this week. It’s a trade visit that happens every year, but this time there is added interest for American farmers. China has rejected 5 loads of corn from the U.S. in recent weeks. The corn contained an insect-resistant trait from the seed company, Syngenta, that’s approved in the U.S. but not China.

The city of Moberly made a Yahoo Homes top ten list of the nation’s cheapest markets for family homes. The report says the average listing of a four bedroom, two bathroom house is just under 100 thousand dollars. In comparison, the most expensive place to buy a home in the U.S. is Malibu, California which has an average price of more than 2 million dollars.

Director for the Moberly Chamber of Commerce Debbie Miller says Moberly is an affordable place to live because it is predominantly a rural area; but, the city is in close proximity to larger metro areas.

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