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Pates

Mikkel Pates

Mikkel Pates, reporter/columnist for Agweek magazine of Grand Forks, reports from Fargo, N.D., about agriculture in North Dakota, South Dakota, Minnesota, Montana, Manitoba and Saskatchewan.
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Articles

Land survey seeks producer prospective

About 3,000 farmers from southeast North Dakota and eastern South Dakota will receive a survey this week from Iowa asking how and why their agricultural land use has changed in the past decade.

Economist at Northern Soybean Expo sees continued recovery

Don’t expect much inflation in 2015, but do expect a continued economic recovery, a nationally known economist told hundreds of conference-going farmers on Feb. 17 at the Northern Soybean Expo in Fargo, N.D.

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Big corn, soy meetings coming to Fargo, N.D.

The two big corn and soybean events of the winter are rolling into Fargo Holiday Inn, Feb. 17 and 18.

Optimism at Sioux Falls Farm Show

The drum beat of bad news in commodity markets rules the day at the Sioux Falls, S.D., Salute to Agriculture — a multi-venue exposition during the Sioux Falls Farm Show and the concurrent Sioux Empire Farm Show livestock event Jan. 28 to 30.

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Butterfield Foods files reply to HSUS allegations

Officials of a chicken slaughter plant in southwest Minnesota say they have filed an official response to allegations they fail to completely kill chickens before removing their feathers with scalding water.

ND PSC shuts down Grand Forks Bean Co.

The North Dakota Public Service Commission on Jan. 16 issued a cease and desist order against Grand Forks (N.D.) Bean Co. The agency says it plans to ask a district judge to name the PSC as trustee for the company, on grounds that it is insolvent.

Ohio farmer: Precision ag pays

Most farmers attending a Precision Agriculture Summit instinctively believe precision agriculture pays, but when one of their own puts a pencil to it, they take notice. Brian Watkins is on the eastern edge of the corn and soybean belt and was one of the early adopters of variable-rate application technologies.

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Precision Ag Summit proves interest in technology is still high

North Dakota’s 4th Annual Precision Agriculture Summit drew a slightly smaller crowd to Jamestown than last year, but the audience still showed strong and more intense interest in a fast-changing topic.

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Regional farmers join legal actions against Syngenta

Northern Plains farmers are getting into the legal fray over Syngenta’s alleged premature release of a genetically modified (GM) corn variety. The commercial release to U.S. farmers allegedly led to China stopping imports of U.S. corn and distillers grains from November 2013 through much of 2014.

HSUS alleges cruelty at Minn. chicken plant; company denies claims

A southwest Minnesota food company denies allegations from an animal rights group that it scalded alive spent laying hens, and says there is no concern that the company will interrupt its production.

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Columns

Beyond the boom and bust cycle

“The more things change, the more they stay the same.” It’s a world-famous epigram that is said to have been coined by French writer Jean-Baptiste Alphonse Karr in the 1800s. I think of that saying as I hear experts talk in hushed tones about the times we’re heading into.

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Measure 5 sets back ag-hunter relations

I took about a week off in late October this year to go pheasant hunting with Dick Unkenholz, a retired former United Methodist pastor. Dick baptized our two children in the late 1980s.

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STB a toothless tiger

Officials aren’t going to do much to make the trains run on time to alleviate the 2014 ag rail problems. Farmers and elevators need to prepare to suffer through 2015 and maybe 2016 and beyond.

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Lessons from California prove eye-opening

A few weeks ago, I used some time off from covering Upper Great Plains agriculture for Agweek to attend a two-day seminar focusing on the “Salad Bowl of the World” in Salinas, Calif.

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Support for farming

I’d like to remind farmers that they still have a lot of fans.

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Battling agriculture's critics

Two recent experiences have left me shaking and scratching my head about how farmers battle critics and phantoms.

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The story of Scotty, a buffalo pioneer

Recently I attended “Buffalo King,” a 2013 documentary movie on the life of James “Scotty” Philip, at the Fargo Film Festival.

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Faith and business

“At AEFS we are a family of believers. We believe in God, we believe in America, we believe in the family farm and we believe in the Jerusalem artichoke.” — American Energy Farming Systems corporate philosophy.

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Back to the '80s

Will farmers wake up and react to weed resistance?

Will beef always be for dinner?

FARGO, N.D. — In the 1980s, the Wendy’s restaurant chain asked a memorable question, “Where’s the Beef?” Thirty years later, a small minority of Americans are asking a different question, with a twist — “Why is there beef?”

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