Jenny Schlecht / Agweek Staff Writer
REDWOOD FALLS, Minn. — A pair of monarch butterflies fluttered by Grant Breitkreutz as he stood in a field of cover crops. "The wildlife we got back here on the farm is unbelievable," he said. Besides the butterflies, there are pheasants, quail and partridge, and "you can't even count" the deer, he explained in a visit to his farm this month. Many of the species hadn't been seen in decades until they reappeared in recent years. Breitkreutz attributes the increase in wildlife to the soil health practices implemented on the farm
During a recent trip to Montana, my Grandma Marguerite and I somehow ended up on the topic of urban chickens. I'm not sure how we got there. It might have been something about how our new cats live in an old chicken coop on our farm or about how my aunt's neighbors in the middle of town are raising chickens. But as we were talking on the subject of the trendiness of people raising their own poultry, whether for meat or for eggs, Grandma dropped a line that I both knew to be true but sort of never really thought about: "We all used to have chickens."
CUT BANK, Mont. — Farmers in Montana planted 1,535,905 acres to pulse crops in 2017, up 24 percent from 2016's 1,209,039 acres, which was itself a 38 percent increase from 2015, according to the Montana Department of Agriculture. While eastern Montana, and northeastern Montana in particular, remain the heart of pulse crop acreage, the crop has spread west, into the state's "Golden Triangle" in the north central.
"It's really, really a small percentage that are doing it right." I saw that quote while perusing Twitter. The speaker, apparently, was actress Natalie Portman on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, talking about animal agriculture in June. It's disheartening, of course, for those of us involved in raising livestock to see people believe we aren't "doing it right." It's more disheartening when it seems unlikely that either of the people involved in the conversation has ever spent the night doctoring a sick calf or rushed an old cow to the veterinarian.
WASHINGTON, D.C.—U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., says the kind of bipartisan, across-the-board support the U.S. Senate's version of the farm bill received doesn't happen often. "That doesn't happen for anything but basketball resolutions," she says. "The vote ... shows the rest of the world that America has the backs of our rural communities."
I was just innocently standing there, watching the kids run around at a 4-H meeting and social event. That's when a couple other parents started asking if my daughter was going to bring one of her bottle calves to the fair.
KARLSRUHE, N.D.—When Nancy Beck visited California farms, she heard complaint after complaint about what wasn't working with Environmental Protection Agency regulations. But in North Dakota, that wasn't the case. "These guys are making it work," she said. "I think it's refreshing." Beck, who oversees the EPA's chemicals and pesticides program, was one of 12 EPA officials to come to North Dakota as part of the North Dakota Grain Growers Association's 25th annual E-Tour.
On more than one occasion in recent weeks, I've been somewhere in public and overheard discussions regarding "kids today." They spend too much time on their phones. They don't spend enough time reading. They don't know how to socialize properly. Whatever will become of them? I kept my mouth shut then, but if you've ever found yourself complaining about the state of our youth, I want you to know that you don't need to worry.
What started the trade spat between the U.S. and Canada over dairy? Blame consumer demand for higher fat products.
On my first visit to my then-boyfriend's farm, some of the main things I remember are cats. There were cats at the barn, and cats on the steps. Cats that followed a person around, and cats that were a bit standoffish. That was about 12 years ago. In that time, I've married the then-boyfriend, had two kids and moved to the farm. And the number of cats around here dwindled to nothing.