Trade Wars

FERN’s Friday Feed: plowing the American prairies

A soil core taken at the Dakota Lakes Research Farm near Pierre, South Dakota, reveals deep roots that allow native grasses to survive the region’s dry summers. Photo credit: Gabriel Popkin.

welcome to FERN’s Friday stream (#FFF), where we share this week’s stories that got us thinking.

Farm boom threatens Biden climate and conservation goals

FERN and National Geographic

“Across the state,” he said, “many farmers were pricing their crops in the market against the rising cost of water. To honor their contracts, some had overplanted, and now they found it more profitable to kill certain crops than to harvest. Others had already reduced and planted less, ”writes Anna Wiener. “Farmers were strangling production, razing fields and eliminating surpluses. While these adjustments seemed crude, if not unfathomable, they responded to complex and interwoven issues: immigration policies, trade wars, housing shortages, agribusiness monopolies, mismanagement of resources, climate change, globalization, disruption of supply chains, acceleration of financialization.

Goodbye minimum wage tip, hello work-life balance

The New York Times

“Since last year’s mandatory shutdowns, restaurant workers have quit their jobs en masse, and many have left the industry for good,” writes Jane Black, prompting many restaurants to raise wages. “But a growing number of restaurants are trying to tackle the root causes of unfair wages by moving away from peak minimum wage. This salary allows waiters to earn more than cooks, but also puts them at the mercy of customers, who in the wake of the pandemic have become less generous tips and more unruly diners. Some owners are also trying to strike a certain work-life balance in an industry where night-time hours and 80-hour work weeks were once a badge of honor.

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The micro-economy comes for restaurant workers


“You would expect the workforce in an industry that desperately needs workers to have the upper hand in demanding job security and better working conditions,” writes Sean Wyer. “However, instead of making the hospitality industry a more fulfilling and financially viable career, staff uberization encourages companies to cut costs by doubling the use of precarious work, which is poorly paid, precarious and unpredictable. An already difficult way to earn a living, marked by erratic work rhythms, night shifts and zero hour contracts, which allow employers to hire employees without guaranteeing them minimum working hours, may still be less secure.

The war of the corn dogs in texas

Texas monthly

“For nearly eight decades, nerdy dog ​​lovers have kept the Fletchers family business sizzling. Every year at the state fair, he sells over half a million nerdy dogs from seven concession trailers featuring a multigenerational platoon of Fletchers, ”writes Katy Vine. Thanks to an oil meltdown and bankruptcy, “the company – and the family – got along well … until a few years after Skip’s death, when an intra-family feud” pitted the traditional nerdy dog ​​against each other. to “artisanal corn breaded francs” and “threatened the good reputation of the company.

Alaska Highway Project Tests Biden’s Commitment to Green Agenda


“[I]In the final months of the Trump administration, the Home Office approved a 211-mile industrial access road that would traverse much of the interior of Alaska to the Ambler mining district, ” writes Adam Federman. “The road would eventually extract more than 43 million tonnes of copper and zinc over at least 12 years… and pump hundreds of millions of dollars into state coffers. But … the road itself would irrevocably transform a vast Alaskan wilderness, potentially disrupting the migration patterns of the state’s largest caribou herd and polluting some of the state’s most important salmon and sea spawning grounds. whitefish. It would also threaten the way of life of the natives of Alaska who have lived in the region for thousands of years and depend on these resources as their primary source of food.