The Van Trump Report

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How Devastating are “Grasshoppers” to US Crop Production?

The USDA reports that there are nearly 400 grasshopper species that inhabit the Western United States, but only about 12 are considered pests. But those that are deemed pests, along with their close cousins the Mormon cricket, do significant damage to rangeland and crops in the Central and Western United States every year. “The biggest …

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How Charles Pillsbury Transformed the Wheat Industry

Most Americans are very familiar with the Pillsbury Company which has given us a host of iconic products, including the company’s Classic Yellow Cake Mix, every flavor of pre-made frosting, and those addictive Crescent Rolls. Pillsbury’s marketing efforts for its various brands also generated iconic characters like the Doughboy and Jolly Green Giant. The company …

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From Dairy Farming to Selling Ice Cream Treats… to the Fortunes Made!

Christian K. Nelson emigrated to the U.S. with his parents and six siblings while he was still an infant in the late 1800s. The dairy farming family settled in Illinois, Wisconsin, and finally on a farm in Onawa, Iowa in 1903. There, Nelson would open a small confectionery shop (mostly candy) near the high school …

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Why Producers and Restaurants are Abandoning “Antibiotic-Free” Poultry and Meat Pledges

Global meatpacking giant Tyson Foods in July of 2023 announced it was resuming the use of some antibiotics in its chicken supply chain, abandoning its “no antibiotics ever” policy. That was followed by restaurant groups Chic-Fil-A and Panera Bread making similar moves. Now, Tyson has said it is scaling back its antibiotic-free beef offerings. Instead, …

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Interesting US Dairy Stats… and July is National Ice Cream Month

National Ice Cream Month was established by the American Dairy Association in conjunction with President Ronald Reagan and Walter Dee Huddleston, a Senator from Kentucky. Even though the bill only specified that July 1984 was National Ice Cream Month, the tradition carries on. National Ice Cream Day (which is on July 21) originated that same …

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One of the Rarest Horse Breeds in the World is Suddenly All Over the News

The rare “Przewalski’s horse”, considered the last truly wild horse species, has been making headlines lately, and refreshingly it’s mostly all good news. Also called the “takhi” or Mongolian wild horse, their numbers had dwindled so low by the 1960s that they were declared “extinct in the wild.” However, they are making a comeback thanks …

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How Companies are Winning the High-End Produce Market

Some produce lovers out there are willing to spend a surprisingly large amount of money on what’s been dubbed “designer” fruits and vegetables. From strawberries that run upwards of $5 each, to mini, seedless peppers that cost three times that of  their full-sized cousins, these products have transformed produce aisles into one of the more …

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