National / International News

House Benghazi Committee Issues Subpoena For Clinton Emails

NPR News - 7 hours 13 min ago

This week, news emerged that Hillary Clinton used a personal email address during her time as secretary of state. The committee has also directed Internet firms to protect documents.

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Is Fighting Racism In Soccer 'A Lost Cause'? FIFA President Says No.

NPR News - 7 hours 20 min ago

Racism in soccer has been making headlines again, and FIFA President Sepp Blatter is now talking about relegating teams.

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Dump The Lumps: The World Health Organization Says Eat Less Sugar

NPR News - 7 hours 37 min ago

WHO says there's strong evidence that excessive sugar is bad for us. So it's recommending that we cut back significantly.

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VIDEO: Surveillance footage of Abid Naseer

BBC - 7 hours 40 min ago
A Pakistani man extradited from the UK to the US has been convicted for plotting attacks in several countries.

Cameron: I'll only do one TV debate

BBC - 7 hours 52 min ago
David Cameron says he will take part in only one TV debate ahead of the general election featuring seven party leaders, amid a growing row over the issue.

How To Help Children Orphaned By Ebola

NPR News - 7 hours 54 min ago

More than 16,000 children have lost a parent to Ebola. Almost all of these children have found a home with a relative, but they still lack basic needs, such as food and clothes for school.

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Fraud office probes Bank auctions

BBC - 7 hours 55 min ago
The Serious Fraud Office is investigating liquidity auctions held by the Bank of England during the financial crisis, the bank says.

Why more than half of farmers have a second job

The Lilienthal farm is tucked into a corner of eastern Iowa, about a half hour’s drive from the Mississippi River and Illinois border. It’s 400 acres of flat, fertile farmland. The farm has been in the family for about 150 years.

I pull up to a trim, white farmhouse. The Lilienthals are gracious, and hardy. So they agree to give me a quick tour of the farm, even though it’s seven degrees outside.  

Dale Lilienthal is the family patriarch. He points to a shed.

"Dad built this machine shed," he says. "So he says, 'I’m going to build this so the doors are high enough and wide enough.' Now they’re not high enough or wide enough.”

Dale Lilienthal is the family patriarch.

Nancy Marshall-Genzer

That’s because the equipment Dale’s son uses today dwarfs his father’s. Bob Lilienthal is in the process of taking over the family farm. He rents the farmland and hundreds more acres around it. He had to build a shed the size of a warehouse for his machines. 

Bob Lilienthal built an immense new hog barn, too. Bob raises more than a thousand pigs at a time, while his father used to have a couple hundred. 

But with everything bigger and better, Bob Lilienthal struggles to match his father’s standard of living, even though he has side businesses. 

I’ve come here to find out why. But first we have to get warm after our tour. We hustle into the cozy farmhouse kitchen. On the table – cookies and hot chocolate. This was going to be a good interview.

I get things going, with this question for the young farmers at the table: “Do you ever think to yourself – my goodness – you could just farm in the old days and now you have to have all these separate things?”

Bob Lilienthal’s business partner, Chad Rockow, pipes up.

Chad Rockow is Bob Lilienthal's business partner.

Nancy Marshall-Genzer

“The bar has been raised,” he says.

Rockow says it costs more to farm now, even after you factor in inflation. 

Everything is more expensive. Fertilizer, equipment. And the prices the Lilienthals get for their corn, soy beans and livestock haven’t kept up. 

Rockow says their profit margins are thinner than Dale Lilienthal’s were. So they have to farm more land, raise more pigs, and do lots of other stuff.

“It’s more like what don’t we do," he says, laughing. "There might be eight or 10 different businesses.”

They even have a foam insulation business, totally unrelated to the farm. They do some contract farming, plowing other people’s fields. They raise pigs for the giant Cargill corporation (they’re paid to raise Cargill pigs in their barn). 

But Bob Lilienthal says big corporations are one reason it’s hard to be a small farmer now.

“There’s all these big companies – Cargill, Tyson’s," he says. "They all own sows, they all own pigs. And they own the packing plant. So they’re very hard to compete against.”

Bob Lilienthal says it's hard to compete with big corporations.

Nancy Marshall-Genzer

There were no Cargills or Tyson’s when Bob’s father, Dale Lilienthal, was farming.

And here’s another thing. The price of farmland has skyrocketed. Dale Lilienthal remembers when he bought a chunk of land back in 1962. “When we first got married I bought ground for $400 an acre," he says. "Now that same ground is worth, what? $10-12,000."

The farm across from the Lilienthals sold for $12,000 an acre a few years ago. 

All this stuff – the soaring land prices, rising costs, competition – it’s happening across the country.

“Part-time farming is pervasive and it appears to me to be permanent, and I think there’ll even be more reliance on off-farm income,” says Paul Lasley, a professor of sociology at Iowa State University, who studies farm communities. 

Dale Lilienthal says today's farmers have to be good business people.

Nancy Marshall-Genzer

Lasley says 50 to 60 percent of farmers in the U.S. have some kind of second job – off the farm. Maybe they drive a school bus, or sell insulation like Bob Lilienthal. 

Back at his kitchen table, Dale Lilienthal can only shake his head and marvel at the innovation of today’s farmers.

“You gotta be a lot sharper to be a farmer now than when I started," he says. "When I started, if you were strong and did things on time you were successful.” Now, he says, you have to be a good business person, too.

So why do they do it? Well, that’s one thing that hasn’t changed. They feel the pull of the land, like previous generations did. They like to watch things grow, be their own boss. Even if that means working harder to stay in place.

VIDEO: Mine survivor speaks of horror

BBC - 8 hours 2 min ago
Some 33 miners are feared dead in a suspected methane gas blast at a coal mine in a rebel-held region of eastern Ukraine.

Northwest Oil Terminal Plan Would Mean Jobs — And More Oil Trains

NPR News - 8 hours 2 min ago

Oil companies hope to build the nation's largest oil-by-rail terminal on the Columbia River in Washington. Proponents say it will bring economic growth, but others fear it could mean fiery accidents.

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West Ham United 0-1 Chelsea

BBC - 8 hours 11 min ago
Chelsea stay five points clear at the top of the Premier League with a hard-fought win at West Ham.

£2,000 reward in 'Holy Grail' search

BBC - 8 hours 23 min ago
The owners of a stolen Holy Grail relic are offering a joint reward with police for the return of the cup.

Mayor accused of misleading Londoners

BBC - 8 hours 37 min ago
Boris Johnson is accused of misleading Londoners over how much it could cost to fund a new garden bridge over the River Thames.

Newcastle United 0-1 Manchester United

BBC - 8 hours 50 min ago
Ashley Young capitalises on a late error by Tim Krul to give Manchester United victory over Newcastle United.

Celtic 0-1 St Johnstone

BBC - 8 hours 52 min ago
Danny Swanson's 25-yard strike gives St Johnstone all three points and ends Celtic's 11-game unbeaten domestic run.

Queens Park Rangers 1-2 Arsenal

BBC - 8 hours 52 min ago
Goals from Olivier Giroud and Alexis Sanchez earned Arsenal a win away to QPR, consolidating their top-four place.

McDonald's Says It Won't Be Serving Chicken Raised On Antibiotics

NPR News - 8 hours 53 min ago

Over the next two years, McDonald's will transition its U.S. restaurants to a new antibiotics policy. Several of the chain's competitors have also committed to curb antibiotics in their supply chain.

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Bishop offers Bali Nine prisoner swap

BBC - 8 hours 54 min ago
Foreign Minister Julie Bishop offers prisoner swap in last-ditch attempt to save two Australian drug smugglers on death row in Indonesia.

Manchester City 2-0 Leicester City

BBC - 8 hours 54 min ago
Manchester City return to winning ways as David Silva's close range-goal increases Leicester City's relegation worries.

Tracey Ullman returns in BBC comedy

BBC - 9 hours 3 min ago
Tracey Ullman is to return to the BBC with her own comedy series, some 30 years after she was a regular face on British TV.

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