Agriculture Reporter | Agriculture

Christopher Vondracek covers agriculture for the Star Tribune.

Vondracek has reported on prairie dog lawsuits in the Black Hills to federal education policy in Washington D.C. A native of Faribault County, Minnesota, he's a graduate of the University of South Dakota, holds an MFA from Hamline University, and taught college English for many years in Winona and St. Paul. His debut collection of poetry, Rattlesnake Summer, was published in 2020, and his memoir, Dancing with Welk, in 2022. He lives in Minneapolis with his wife, Carrie, and daughter, Rosie.


Fields softened early this year, but corn farmers await April 10 to kick off planting season

Baseball has Opening Day. Anglers have the Fishing Opener. Corn farmers have federal crop insurance day.


Minnesota farmers saw income drop 76 percent last year from plunging commodity prices

A survey of Minnesota's top-earning farmers suggests sagging pork, dairy and crop prices led to a 76% drop in farm profitability in 2023. The short-term future doesn't look bright, either.


Is bird flu coming for Minnesota's dairy cows next?

The devastating avian virus has already infected baby goats in Stevens County. Now Minnesota ag officials brace for what feels like the inevitable.


Farm out your groceries this summer with a CSA subscription

Community supported agriculture offers big-time nutrition and local produce, as long as you're willing to cook — and eat — whatever your farmer provides.


White House yet to release sustainable jet fuel tax credit rules; corn farmers eager to mix in ethanol

The lucrative federal tax credit created by the Inflation Reduction Act could be a boon for corn farmers, if it's ever released.


Pigs' blood leaked from Hormel plant into storm water system in Austin, Minn.

Officials say the debris, released by faulty equipment at a pork processing plant, overwhelmed the city's system for several days.


Minnesota AG's office negotiates safe living conditions for dairy workers in wage theft case

Evergreen Acres Dairy in Paynesville, which disputes the underlying charges, has agreed to stipulations while the case continues.


AI could help track farm country's carbon emissions, U study says

A new study from the University of Minnesota suggests a machine learning model could help solve the tricky question of where planet-warming gases are escaping from soil.


Sugar prices keep climbing. Minnesota bakeries are suing sugar companies over it.

Edina-based United Sugar and Minnetonka-based Cargill are among the defendants in federal antitrust lawsuits.


Manure haulers sue Minnesota boss, alleging poor housing, deceit and wage theft

South African farm-laborers arrived in western Minnesota town to find a job very different than the one they signed up for, including illegal housing, unpaid hours and poor treatment.