Mikkel Pates / Forum News Service
FARGO — Today’s older farmers remember the 1980s farm credit crisis, but the younger ones can barely imagine what it was like. Themes are eerily familiar: a dramatic rise in farm equity, followed by shocking equity loss, followed by disruptive international grain embargoes and threats of input cost inflation.
MANHATTAN, Kan. — As a proud Dakotan, I am thrilled just now to be thinking of a newly-minted Kansas State University Wildcat! If you’ve jumped ahead to the idea that I am referring to Dan Glickman, former U.S. Secretary of Agriculture, you’re right!
DAZEY, N.D. — Five farmers who once were owed a total of more than $325,000 from North Dakota Natural Beef LLC recently have been paid in full after a nearly seven-year wait. Lloyd and Audrey Wieland, of Dazey, talked with reporters in March 2012 about their troubles being paid by the company. When they were given their final payment of $1,594.20 a few weeks ago, they were happy to acknowledge it. “I felt I owed them that,” Lloyd says.
The Minnesota Chapter of the American Farm Managers and Rural Appraisers this week released its 2017 member report of actual cropland sales and rental transactions, with values holding steady, but not declining despite continued low commodity prices. The survey includes data from Jan. 1 through Dec. 31, 2017, omitting "non-typical" transactions. In the state report, chapter President Adam Schmidt, of Northfield, Minn., says land prices and cash rents generally "held steady" in 2017.
WEST FARGO — Regardless of future regulation or legal issues, an educator in agricultural pesticide application techniques urges farmers to "dig in" on learning labels and temperature inversions to make the best of dicamba in 2018. "Try to have conversations in your neighborhood to understand what's going on where," said Bob Wolf of Wolf Consulting and Research of Mahomet, Ill., speaking at the 37th Big Iron Farm Show in West Fargo. "And if nothing else, learn more about how to deal with (temperature) inversions, about when to spray and when not to."
MOORHEAD — It's been a year of change for Harmen Tande, 64, and his son, Ashten, 10, on the farm, northeast of Moorhead. "It's just the two of us," Harmen tells a visitor during wheat harvest. Eventually, he elaborates that his wife, Kristi, died April 3 at age 55 after a four-year battle with colon cancer. So now it's a father-son duo on the farm where the Tandes have been harvesting wheat since 1946. The harvest provides a special bright spot and a ritual that keeps their eyes on brighter days ahead. One dim day
WATERTOWN, S.D. — Farmers and ranchers in the region are feeling tougher times, and many will wind up in financial mediation, some professionals say. Jon Timothy "J.T." Korkow, of Northwest Financial Consulting of Volberg, Mont., is one of few freelance ag credit advocates in the region. Korkow met with a reporter at a Watertown, S.D., restaurant after he'd gone through a consultation and mediation between a client and lender. The couple eventually sold cattle with the goal of keeping their farmland.
MORRIS, Minn. — The U.S. House Appropriations Committee rejected cuts Wednesday, July 12, in the U.S. Department of Agriculture budget that would close 17 research laboratories operated by the USDA across the country, including three in the Upper Midwest. A budget proposal announced in late May would close federal Agricultural Research Service laboratories at Brookings, S.D., Morris and Miles City, Mont. If left to stand, the closings would take effect for the 2018 budget year, which starts Oct. 1.
MADISON, S.D. — For $43,000 of tuition money and six months of your time, Morris Riggin can turn you into a certified aerial ag applicator. He's taught dozens since starting at age 19. Riggin, 56, owns Riggin Flight Service of Madison. The school turns out 20 to 30 ag pilots every year. It is one of only four schools of its kind nationwide. Riggin's flying history spans 100 years, with stops in Montana, North Dakota and South Dakota.
CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa — An Iowa biofuels promoter and former stock broker plans to plead guilty to federal fraud charges, meaning he'll move from county jail to federal prison this fall. Darrell Duane Smith, 61, of Forest City, on May 22 announced he will waive indictment, and plead guilty to felony wire fraud and aggravated identity theft charges, eliminating the need for a grand jury.