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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

Appareo signs joint venture

Fargo-based Appareo Systems on Nov. 5 announced it has agreed to enter a joint venture with AGCO Corp. to develop technology for advanced machine control systems.

American Crystal crop estimated at $37 per ton

American Crystal Sugar Co. has come out with an initial payment projection of $37 per ton for 2014 crop beets — a dollar lower than last year’s projection at this date and likely a money-loser for farmers and shareholders, if realized.

Shippers request 'service arbitration'

Some agricultural shippers say North Dakota should institute a “service arbitration” to solve issues between grain shippers and the railroads in the state.

Snow slogs corn harvest

Snow is slowing but not stopping the end of an exceptional corn harvest in the region.

Simplot's Innate GMO potato approved

Twenty years after scientists at North Dakota State University were among the first to conduct genetically modified potato research trials in the U.S., J.R. Simplot Co. has received U.S. Department of Agriculture approval for deregulation of a GMO potato. USDA approved Innate, a potato developed from other potato genes so it produces fewer acrylamides when fried. Anti-GMO groups are pressing for USDA to reverse its Nov. 7 decision. Clearance from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration is expected within weeks, according to Simplot.

American Crystal releases preliminary crop payment estimate

American Crystal Sugar Co. has come out with an initial payment projection of $37 per ton for 2014 crop beets — a dollar lower than last year’s projection at this date and likely a money-loser for farmers and shareholders, if realized.

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Winter rail service uncertain

Regional farm group officials welcome more detailed railroad reporting that shows dwell times for grain cars versus oil and other industries, but say it’s too soon to know whether that will translate into adequate service this winter.

Eric Halverson named CEO of Grand Forks-based Black Gold Farms

Eric Halverson has been named CEO of Black Gold Farms of Grand Forks, N.D., in a planned family succession plan. His father, Gregg Halverson, turned 65 on Oct. 23 and will remain president of the board of directors.

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US, Mexico reach deal to slow sugar imports

The region's sugar officials aren't yet commenting, but a tentative deal would slow the flood of sugar that had plunged the region's sugar beet cooperative profits for the 2013 and 2014 crops.

Ethanol plants depend on rail service improvement to prevent shutdowns

Jim Seurer says only “plain old action” can prevent serious impacts from rail delays on the ethanol industry this winter and beyond.

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Columns

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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Fall poetry in farm country

Fall is upon us. It seems hard to believe, but the row crop season harvest could be over before the end of October, depending on whether we start getting badly needed rain. Forgive me for not writing a “drought of 2013” story until we know whether it’s rained before freeze-up.

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