“Bison farmer and cheesemaker Ed Eichten was rifling through his office, a cluttered monument to adventure. He was surrounded by deer antlers, statues of bison, an old bison skull and even a mounted zebra skin, writes Jennifer Vogel for MPR News.

Finally, he pulled out a couple of binders stuffed with paper and retrieved an aerial photo of the four-acre field that will be home to one of the state’s first rural community solar gardens next spring.

“That’s where it will go,” said Eichten, wearing an insulated vest over his red flannel shirt. The land was only marginal for hay anyway. “It’s such a little field. It’s odd-shaped.”

The 1-megawatt solar garden, which will include 3,000 panels and produce enough energy to power more than 100 houses, will be built by St. Paul’s Innovative Power Systems to benefit home- and business-owners who may live nowhere near Eichten’s Hidden Acres farm.

A newly sanctioned arrangement in Minnesota will let anyone in Chisago County or adjacent counties invest in the project and earn credits on his or her Xcel Energy bills. The overall effect is to make it easier for people to generate their own solar power, because investing in the project tends to be cheaper and more practical than mounting personal arrays on individual rooftops.

Today’s Question: Do solar gardens seem like a good investment?

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Jeb Bush file photo. Tim Nelson / MPR News

“Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush on Tuesday announced plans to “actively explore” a presidential campaign,” reports the Associated Press.

Should he ultimately decide to run, Bush can tap into his family’s vast political network and his campaign would attract strong support from the same donor pool that other establishment-minded Republicans — New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie among them — need to fuel their own prospective campaigns.

A Bush candidacy also has the potential to affect the plans of Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, who came up through Florida politics as a strong Bush supporter and is considering whether to seek re-election to the Senate or run for president in 2016.

Politics1 has compiled a list of dozens of possible contenders, but who do you think would be a strong candidate?

Today’s Question: Who would you like to see run for U.S. President?

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Jordi Elias/Corbis

“A government-appointed group of top nutrition experts, assigned to lay the scientific groundwork for a new version of the nation’s dietary guidelines, decided earlier this year to collect data on the environmental implication of different food choices,” writes NPR’s Dan Charles.

Congress now has slapped them down.

Lawmakers attached a list of “congressional directives” to a massive spending bill that passed both the House and the Senate in recent days. One of those directives expresses “concern” that the Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee “is showing an interest in incorporating agriculture production practices and environmental factors” into their recommendations, and directs the Obama administration to ignore such factors in the next revision of the guidelines, which is due out next year.

The directive is not legally binding, but ignoring it would provoke yet another political battle between the Obama administration and Congress.

Today’s Question: Should federal dietary guidelines consider environmental costs of food choices?

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