Jonathan Knutson / Agweek Staff Writer
FARGO — A few years ago, Brad Thykeson’s two sons wondered about the economic wisdom of planting wheat on their farm near Portland, N.D. But now the crop is looking more attractive to them. “There’s definitely more interest in wheat,” both from his sons and many other area farmers, said Thykeson, who, in addition to farming, is director of the North Dakota Farm Service Agency, an arm of the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
It’s part of agricultural bankers’ job description: Work with borrowers and offer constructive insights into how to financially strengthen clients’ farming operations.
Dan Frith used a straightforward approach to a not-so-simple problem. He took out a newspaper advertisement with the headline “Looking for a Farm” in the Devils Lake, N.D, area. “I want people to know that I’m looking for land and hope to raise my family on the farm,” said Frith, 31, who’s married and has two young children.
Tom Peters estimates he received 200 to 300 weed samples for identification this growing season, 10 to 20 times more than normal. That’s a good thing, a sure sign that North Dakota agriculturalists are working to control the spread of Palmer amaranth, a particularly dangerous weed. “The response is encouraging. People are taking this seriously,” says Peters, a North Dakota State University Extension sugar beet specialist who’s spearheading NDSU efforts to fight the weed in the state.
Though the new United State-Mexico-Canada Agreement, or USMCA, will increase U.S. dairy and poultry exports to Canada, the gain may be more than offset by retaliatory tariffs, a new study shows. The projected $450 million gain in dairy and poultry exports will be accompanied by retaliatory measures by Canada and Mexico that could cause U.S. ag exports to decline by $1.8 billion, according to the study released Oct. 31.
GRAND FORKS, N.D. — In the fall of 2015, Eleanor Peterson attended the annual Harvest of Knowledge in Grand Forks where she joined the Minnesota Agri-Women and its national parent, American Agri-Women. She was back in Grand Forks on Oct. 26 at this year’s Harvest of Knowledge, this time as president of Minnesota Agri-Women. And she’s more certain than ever that the organization can be a good fit for women interested in agriculture.
G3 Canada Ltd. will build a new grain elevator near Carmangay, Alberta, about 90 miles south of Calgary. The elevator, with a capacity of 42,000 metric tons, is expected to open in 2020. Construction is scheduled to begin this year. The new facility will feature “high-efficiency technology” that will allow it to load 134-car trains “in a matter of hours,” G3 Canada said in a written statement.
If you're driving through Minnesota and are interested in buying ethanol-blended fuels, the Minnesota Corn Growers Association wants to help. The group has launched the revamped www.mnfuels.com to connect more consumes to 88 octane (also known as E15) and other flex fuels. More than 250 retailers across Minnesota now offer 88 octane, according to the corn growers. More than 19 million gallons of 88 octane were sold in Minnesota in 2017, double the amount sold in 2016, the corn growers say.
The telephone call came from a farmer in his combine. He told me he'd enjoyed my most recent column, which looked at the economic challenges facing Upper Midwest farmers, and said he had a question for me. He mentioned the crop he was harvesting and the price he'll receive for it. Then he asked, "Tell me — I really want to know — is there any way I can make money at that price?" Well, I said, maybe with great yields and if you own the land (avoiding rental payments), you might have a crack at a small profit. Otherwise, nope, no way, not even close.
WASHBURN, N.D. — Joseph Sheldon had a good job — an agricultural engineer for Caterpillar in Plymouth, Minn., part of the Twin Cities area — but he really wasn't happy. "I tried the big-city life and realized I just wasn't cut out for it. So I was drawn back here," says Sheldon, who in 2011 returned to his hometown of Washburn to begin farming with his family.