Jonathan Knutson / Agweek Staff Writer
Gordon Stoner is making another "act of faith" this crop season. The Outlook, Mont., farmer is planting durum again this spring, even though durum prices aren't attractive and moisture conditions aren't favorable. "Durum prices just aren't real good. And we're going to need timely rains—regularly and with substantial amounts of precipitation," he says. "I'm still planting it, though.
RED LAKE FALLS, Minn. — It began as a family project to generate extra money to help the children pay for college. Fifteen years later, stalk by stalk, plant by plant, it supplies asparagus to consumers in a big chunk of northwest Minnesota and northeast North Dakota. "It can be a lot of work, but we've really enjoyed it," says Sharon Weiss, who operates Weiss Asparagus Farm with her husband, Ron, and their now-grown children Shelby, Kristen, Sara and Matt. About 15 part-time employees help, too.
There it was on the salt container label, the proud proclamation that the product inside was "non-GMO." I looked at the label a second time and then a third time, not quite trusting my eyes, before telling myself, "But salt doesn't have genes. Of course it's not genetically modified. Why bother labeling it non-GMO?"
American dairy farmers say their product often is misunderstood, in many cases because of what they claim is deceptive advertising. Now they've launched a "tongue-in-cheek" video as the newest installment in their Peel Back the Label campaign.
GRAND FORKS—A new report reinforces what most everyone in U.S. food production already knows: Development is irreversibly diminishing the limited supply of U.S. farmland, raising serious food-production, economic and environmental concerns. But the report from American Farmland Trust also finds that the loss of farmland is much greater than was generally known. Almost 31 million acres, double the amount previously documented, were lost to development from 1992 to 2012, according to "Farms Under Threat: The State of America's Farmland."
RED LAKE FALLS, Minn. — Minnesota farmers are good at growing wheat; they've been doing it since the early 1850s. But there's always more to learn, and Minnesota Wheat is helping farmers do so. "We hear from growers about their concerns and gear our trials to that," Lauren Prouix says. She and Melissa Geiszler are the Minnesota Wheat On-Farm Research Network's on-farm research coordinators
CROOKSTON, Minn. — Tim Dufault knows and likes wheat. Always has, always will. The fourth-generation Crookston, Minn., farmer expects to plant half of his farm to wheat and half to soybeans this spring — provided the weather cooperates. "I'd sure like to get in all the wheat I planned to. And it's still possible I can. But for that to happen, we'll have to really start moving on the planting," he said.
WASHINGTON — Rural electrification — which in the 1930s brought electricity to huge chunks of rural America — was straightforward and clearcut. Rural broadband is not, a communications industry executive says. With rural electrification, "When the lights went on, you knew you had it. It's a little different when you have multiple ways to deliver the product (broadband service)," said Steven Berry, president and CEO of the Competitive Carriers Association.
Concern about farmer suicide is growing, and agriculturalists and people living in rural communities have a vital role in addressing the problem, a farm stress expert says. "Be a good neighbor. Be aware of how your neighbors are doing — physically, mentally and socially. And if they show any warning signs, help connect them with the resources that can help," said Sean Brotherson, North Dakota State University Extension Service family science specialist. His areas of interest include family stress and rural life.
Wheat — which has long been losing ground, literally, to corn and soybeans — will stage a small comeback this year, the U.S. Department of Agriculture predicts. Both U.S. and Upper Midwest farmers will plant a little more wheat and a little less corn and soybeans this spring, according to projections in the annual Prospective Plantings report, released Thursday, March 29, by the USDA's National Agricultural Statistics Service. The three key sets of statistics: • Corn planted for all purposes is pegged at 88 million acres, down 2 percent from a year ago.