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Business Beat

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Business Beat: Navigating Student Debt as a College Graduate

Graduation season is upon us, which means that college graduates across the nation will have to confront the realities of adulthood. Aside from finding careers and gaining overall independence, there's another huge responsibility that's facing millions of grads—handling student loan debt. Kara Tabor and Bita Eghbali of the Three Broke Mice podcast chat with Teddy Nykiel of NerdWallet.com about how young adults can overcome the debt hurdle. To learn more about conquering student debt, check out the Three Broke Mice podcast here on KBIA, at Missouri Business Alert and on iTunes.

Business Beat: Restaurant chains switching to cage-free eggs

In the increasingly health-conscious food market, the use of cage-free eggs is starting to gain some serious traction. After Panera Bread announced its progress on a commitment last November to using cage-free eggs, Hardee's is the latest restaurant chain pledging to use 100 percent cage-free eggs by 2025. So why are more and more companies jumping in on this trend? Will consumers accept the higher prices of products made from cage-free eggs? KBIA's Joyce Tao tells the story of how the cage-free egg switch is affecting chains and customers.

Business Beat - Digital giving adds to nonprofit holiday donations

This piece was produced in conjunction with Missouri Business Alert, a digital newsroom that provides business news from across the state of Missouri. The Salvation Army's time-honored red kettle bell fundraiser has captured hearts - and ears - of patrons walking into and out of local grocery and retail stores for years. As a family walks into HyVee, a woman slips change into two children's hands; the children rush toward the sound of the bell and drop the money into the cherry red bucket. Ron Busroe, the Secretary for the Salvation Army's Community Relations and Development, said the charitable organization has been ringing bells for 125 years. However, he said they've been aware of the new trends in way people shop and spend money. "People are not carrying cash," Busroe said. "I don't have change in my pockets anymore, and when I buy things, I most often use plastic. I don't use cash." Between more credit cards and fewer bills and coins as well as decreased foot traffic at retail

Business Beat - Why fast-casual restaurants are surging

Grabbing a quick meal doesn't just mean fast food anymore. Now there are "fast-casual" options like Chipotle or Panera, restaurants that borrow ideas from both fast food and upscale sit-down restaurants. The restaurants borrow ideas from both fast food and upscale sit-down restaurants, catering to customers who want food fast, inexpensive and customized. Their success – having grown more quickly than either fast food chains or full service restaurants in recent years – is part demographics and part economics. Colorado is arguably the cradle of fast-casual. The Denver, Boulder and Fort Collins metro areas boast the highest numbers of fast-casuals per person in the country. The state is home to both industry pioneers like Chipotle and Noodles & Company, and buzzed-about newcomers like the recently renamed Modern Market and Smashburger. At a shopping center in Glendale, Colorado, Laquardra and Jason Staples are sitting down to lunch. The restaurant is brand new, a sleekly-designed

Business Beat - University-made Roundup Ready seeds ready for market

After the patent on one of the most popular versions of genetically engineered soybeans expired this year, U.S. universities are creating new generic GMO soybean varieties, many of which are designed to guard against specific, local pests. Ninety percent of soybean seeds planted in the U.S. are genetically engineered to withstand herbicides. Often that's glyphosate, the weed-whacking ingredient in Roundup, developed by the behemoth seed company Monsanto. The glyphosate-resistant trait transformed U.S. agriculture when the first generation of Roundup was introduced. Twenty years later, the patent for that technology has expired, leaving the door open for universities to run with the technology and layer seeds with more protections. At the Bay Farm Research Facility just outside of Columbia, Mo., University of Missouri soybean breeder Andrew Scaboo grows test plots of soybean varieties. The farm is owned by the Missouri Soybean Association with research funded by the state checkoff. "A

Business Beat - Good news for ag science majors: The job market is hot

Close to 60,000 jobs are set to open up in agriculture, food and natural resource sectors each year for the next five years, according to a report from Purdue University and the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The American agriculture industry has a problem though; there are not enough grads to fill them. The report projects about two open jobs for every qualified graduate. That's left the USDA, land grant universities and private industry scrambling to try and bridge the gap. When Colorado State University student Aubriel Jones tells her friends she's studying agriculture, she sometimes gets puzzled looks. "They say, 'Oh you're learning about corn right? Or you're learning about how cows eat?' Things like that," Jones says. But it's way more than that. Ask what she's actually studying, and it's a mouthful. "My major is agricultural literacy," Jones says. "I have a minor in global and environmental sustainability and another minor in agricultural and resource economics." With

Business Beat - Good news for ag science majors: The job market is hot

Business Beat - Independent designers strive for success in changing industry

This piece was produced in conjunction with Missouri Business Alert, a digital newsroom that provides business news from across the state of Missouri. Charisa Slenker sold her first piece of jewelry when she was 15. "I saw a little beading kit at Michaels and I decided I'd want to do that," Slenker said. "So I bought that and I started making earrings and I would take them to school with me and sell them to my friends and teachers." In 2009 while studying fashion at Stephens College, she opened an account with the online retailer Etsy, and a few years late she turned that account into an active online jewelry shop called "Charisa" to sell her handmade pieces. "I really wanted to have one of a kind pieces and so I just started doing wire working and creating initials or words that mean something, I kind of fell into my niche," Slenker said. Today, Slenker splits her time between her full-time job as a computer technician for a dental laboratory and running Charisa which she has been

Business Beat - Independent designers strive for success in changing industry

Business Beat - New prototype looks to combat grain entrapment

John Sam Williamson has been a farmer for more than 50 years. He knows his five grain bins stocked with corn and soybeans very well, but he also knows the risks. "There's a lot of danger to grain bins, but if you use them safely its like other things, gasoline is dangerous, sharp knives are dangerous but if you're careful and do things safely you should be fine," Williamson said. One such danger is known as grain entrapment where a worker inside a grain bin is crushed, sometimes to death, by the grain. According to the 2014 Summary of U.S. Agriculture Confined-Space Related Injuries and Fatalities compiled by researchers at Purdue University, there were 38 grain entrapments reported nationally in 2014 with 17 of those being fatal. Researchers said the real number of deaths could be higher since more than two-thirds of grain bins in the U.S. exist on farms that are exempt from OSHA injury reporting standards. "These accidents don't turn typically turn out well," said MU agriculture

Business Beat - Health care industry explores power of digital storytelling

This piece was produced in conjunction with Missouri Business Alert, a digital newsroom that provides business news from across the state of Missouri. After being diagnosed with HIV 18 years ago, Deana Hayes was so frustrated that she left Missouri. It took her three years to come back and confront the disease. Years after returning to Missouri, she participated in the SnapShots Project where she and other participants told their stories of managing HIV and medication through pictures. Hayes took pictures of her medications, hats and pumpkins. She said those pictures recorded changes in her life and captured her nuanced feelings. For Hayes, taking photos and sharing stories provided an outlet for her feelings while the photos were empowering for other participants. Most importantly, it helped patients focus on their strength and positivity. "This project is the best project that I have ever been associated with the whole years of my HIV," Hayes said. "A lot of people had a hard time

Business Beat - Health care industry explores power of digital storytelling

Business Beat - PET International reaches an exciting 2015 milestone

Personal Energy Transportation International, or PET, built its first rough-terrain transportation device for people with leg disabilities 21 years ago. With 25 affiliate workshops around the country today, the international organization reached the milestone of 50,000 PETs this year. Mel West is a 91-year-old pastor and an antipoverty activist. In 1994, he met Larry Hills, a Methodist missionary who told West about polio and land mine survivors he was helping aide in Zaire, Africa. "As we parted he said, 'Mel, I need one more thing,'" West said. "'A three wheeled, hand-cranked, sturdily built wheelchair with hauling capacity that will go on those rough trails and roads over in Zaire.'" West partnered with friend and product designer Earl Miner and after months of work in West's garage, they sent four prototypes to be tested in Zaire. The success of these models led to the founding of the PET project in Columbia. Today, PET International oversees 26 affiliate workshops in the United

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