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Jonathan Knutson


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USDA predicts fewer corn, wheat acres, but more soybeans and small-market crops

Corn, the star of Upper Midwest agriculture in recent years, won’t shine quite so brightly in the 2015 growing season, the U.S. Department of Agriculture predicts. “A little bit of the shine seems to be off corn,” says Erik Younggren, a Hallock, Minn., farmer.

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Deadline nears on key ARC, PLC decision

Kelly Turgeon is on the stretch run of a half-year marathon. Turgeon, executive director of the Kittson County (Minn.) Farm Service Agency, an arm of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, is working to help farmers meet a crucial March 31 deadline. They’re choosing between two important safety-net provisions in the federal farm bill, and their irrevocable decision will impact their bottom line for the next five years.

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WHO: Monsanto weed killer 'probably' carcinogenic

A new report from a World Health Organization agency suggests that glyphosate, the active ingredient in Monsanto’s Roundup, the widely used herbicide, may increase the risk of cancer.

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New forecast favors good planting start

Much of the Upper Midwest, particularly Minnesota, could be unusually warm or dry, or both, in late spring and early summer, the federal government says. The National Weather Service’s Climate Prediction Center’s newest forecast,

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New funding for Minnesota wolf management announced

The Minnesota State Cattlemen’s Association welcomes Wednesday’s announcement that the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the state of Minnesota will jointly provide $220,000 for wolf management in the state.

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Minnesota ag economist shares results of farm bill choices analysis

A new analysis of 76 Minnesota sample farms doesn’t provide much help in deciding whether farmers in the state should reallocate their base acres under the new farm bill, an agricultural economist says.

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North Dakota canola crushing plant shutdown temporary, manager says

The Prairie Premium Oil canola crushing plant in Northwood, N.D., has shut down, but only temporarily, the plant manager said Tuesday. “We’re not closed. We’re just on a maintenance cycle right now,” James Gorres tells Agweek.

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Two South Dakota grain companies announce merger plans

Two South Dakota-based grain companies announced Tuesday they want to merge. North Central Farmers Elevator and Wheat Growers plan to unify into a new cooperative, subject to a vote of the full membership of both cooperatives. The boards of directors of both cooperatives already have unanimously approved a letter of intent to merge.

Friday is key farm bill sign-up deadline

A key signup deadline for the federal farm bill is looming, and area Farm Service Agency officials urge landowners who haven’t signed up to act quickly. “Let us know if you haven’t done it yet. We want to work with you,” says Diane Beidler, executive director of Turner County (S.D.) FSA.

ND and regional EPA office disagree with pesticide inspection report

Both North Dakota’s Agriculture Commissioner and regional Environmental Protection Agency officials dispute a report from the EPA’s Office of Inspector General that says adequate pesticide inspections haven’t been conducted in the state for years.

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Columns

Thinking internationally

Through the years, I’ve dealt with a lot of successful agriculturalists — and a few who weren’t so successful.

Harvest changes with the times

Agriculture has changed in so many ways through the years, and harvest is no exception.

‘Wet cycle’ brings new challenges for area agriculture

Moisture is both the great friend and great enemy of agriculture. And because agriculture is so important in this part of the world, the amount of moisture we receive has a huge impact on our fields, towns and economy.

Two things we all agree on

Despite what urban folks might think, farmers often disagree among themselves. Everything from proper economic policy to the best brand of tractor is debated, sometimes with logic and sometimes with passion.

Frequently asked questions come with the job

Agricultural journalists often are asked about their job and the subject they cover. Here are some of the questions and my responses.

Enjoy the good times, but don’t get carried away

I don’t know if the past few years have been the best stretch ever for farmers on the Northern Plains.

Ag needs young blood in rural areas

Sure, wheat, corn and cattle are common on the Northern Plains, but the prairie’s leading staple may be gray hair.

Good years in agriculture require public relations skills

The past few years have been pretty sweet for many area farmers. Yes, some producers, especially ones with livestock, have struggled through no fault of their own. And yes, many producers, again through no fault of their own, sold a lot of grain too soon or too late and missed the best prices.

Farmers no longer have the region to themselves

If you’re closely connected to agriculture on the Northern Plains, you’ve almost certainly come to this unpleasant conclusion: A growing number of area residents know little about ag and care even less.

That special season returns

There’s nothing quite like harvest on the Northern Plains. If you’re a pragmatist, you enjoy harvest because it’s when the money rolls in.