They’ve also made the farm financially resilient with a wider effort to restore soil health, using carefully managed planting and grazing practices. In 1989, at the end of a four-year drought, grasshoppers wrecked soybean and small-grain crops all around them, but left the Jaus farm largely alone. Plant diversity had made their fields tougher forage than the neighbors’ one-crop plantings; also, it raised the sugar content of their grains, and therefore the alcohol potential, to a point of toxicity in the hoppers’ guts. Down in northwest Iowa, Jan Libbey and Tim Landgraf raise organic vegetables on 132 acres, some of it knobby terrain undesirable to your typical corn and soybean grower, who prefers the contours of a billiard table. They also raise chickens, which are pastured on clover planted as soil-enhancing cover; in return, the birds provide free fertilizer (and a second income stream from area consumers who choose them over the supermarket alternative). … [Read more...] about Farming as if nature still mattered: a new book offers encouraging examples
Reverse brain drain
By Lamine Chikhi ALGIERS (Reuters) - The head of Algerian state oil firm Sonatrach has assembled a new leadership team, a senior company source said, aiming to reverse a flow of talent from an unwieldy state enterprise that keeps the country afloat. President Abdelaziz Bouteflika put U.S.-trained Abdelmoumen Ould Kaddour in charge of overhauling Sonatrach in March, 2017, after years of short-lived CEOs, fraud scandals and red tape had put foreign investors off the North African OPEC producer. The oil giant is an important source of energy for European states trying to reduce their dependence on Russia, and it funds a major part of the budget in a country where economic security helps prevent social turbulence. Jobs at Sonatrach are plentiful and sought-after, but, on a global scale, pay is low and depends on time served. "We have lost thousands of experienced and talented people mainly because we can't give them a salary they get now in the Gulf and other countries," Kaddour said in an … [Read more...] about Algeria’s state oil firm gets new management, targets brain drain
Please don’t call New Zealand paradise. The island country, like any, has its share of ills, from the highest teen suicide rate in the developed world to a brain drain that, for years, sucked many of its brightest away to places less remote — which would be just about anywhere. New Zealand, located in the southwestern Pacific Ocean, is far from everything, a fact that’s both its challenge and its treasure. That’s the message drilled into me by my college friend Kyle, a New York-reared writer who married a Kiwi and who managed a farm on the country’s north island. Countless travelers fantasize about New Zealand as a place untouched by much of the world’s bustle and strain. It has also greatly inflated the country’s tourist trade that it’s commonly seen, and actively promoted, as “Middle Earth,” courtesy of “The Lord of the Rings” movies filmed here, along with countless other … [Read more...] about Visit New Zealand to see Hobbiton, be flung downhill in a ball and walk around an active volcano
If you ask Illinois public university leaders why so many top high schoolers bolt for out-of-state colleges, you’ll hear a chorus of excuses … er, reasons. Many boil down to: We want more money. Few of those leaders acknowledge reality: Illinois’ public colleges are selling a product that progressively fewer students want to buy.The alarming statistics: Since 2000, the number of Illinois residents enrolled as freshmen outside the state in public or private colleges has increased by 73 percent — to 35,445 from 20,507. Almost half of Illinois high school grads going to four-year colleges now abandon Illinois for out-of-state. Ten of Illinois' 12 public universities suffered shriveling enrollment in 2017, some taking percentage hits in double digits.One of the most aggressive student-poachers is the University of Alabama, reports the Tribune’s Dawn Rhodes. It attracts students by dangling free or reduced tuition. Result? A decade ago, 147 Illinoisans were … [Read more...] about How can Illinois stop brain drain? Try fixing higher ed.
Sydney Whalen’s first dorm meeting last fall at the University of Alabama started with a typical icebreaker: Where is everyone from?Several hands went up when her residential adviser asked who was from Alabama and Georgia. It is the South, after all.And what about the Chicago area?“I’m not even kidding — we were the majority in that group,” said Whalen, a freshman from Mokena.For Whalen, a top student at Lincoln-Way West High School in New Lenox, the choice was easy. Alabama offered her a full-tuition scholarship covering four years of undergraduate work. The University of Illinois, which she also considered, did not offer anything.Whalen is part of a growing wave of Illinois high school seniors who, lured in part by generous financial perks, are leaving their home state for college. The number of Illinois freshman students enrolling in universities outside the state has jumped 73 percent since 2000, according to the Illinois Board of Higher … [Read more...] about Growing brain drain: University of Alabama’s gain in drawing Illinois students is a loss for Illinois schools