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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

An inside look at the Worthington Ag Parts operation

Worthington Ag Parts in Worthington, Minn., is the original location of a global business and still one of its busiest stores.

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Worthington Ag Parts celebrates 50 years

Worthington Ag Parts has put the name Worthington on the world map. The agricultural tractor salvage business celebrates its 50th anniversary this year.

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CP’s Harrison: We will get better

Hunter Harrison, CEO of Canadian Pacific Railway, showed his pride and disappointment in his railroad’s ability to move North Dakota grain in a meeting Aug. 11 with shippers and two U.S. senators in Minot.

Hoeven to meet with CP head Aug. 11

Sen. John Hoeven, R-N.D., will meet Aug.11 with the Canadian Pacific Railway CEO in Minot about the rail issues the ag industry has experienced. The event will be open to the public.

ND ag industry expresses worries to BNSF chairman

North Dakota farmers and agricultural processors vented their concerns about grain shipments to the head of Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railway on Thursday in Fargo, N.D.

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ND farmers vent about cross-compliance delays

North Dakota farmers couldn’t prevent “cross-compliance” between conservation and crop insurance in the 2014 farm bill, and now are venting their frustration with federal officials and wildlife leaders.

Irrigators get help from abroad, switch to sprinklers

All sugar beets grown for Sidney Sugars Inc. are irrigated, and that traditionally has meant some hard physical labor. But that presents a problem because labor is increasingly hard to come by in the midst of the big Bakken oilfield boom.

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Sidney Sugars competes for workers in Bakken oil patch

Dave Garland, general manager of the Sidney Sugars Inc. beet sugar plant of Sidney, Mont., says he’d prefer to concentrate on making sugar. Instead, he spends a lot of his time working on housing and advertising to attract new workers in the middle of an oil boom.

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SD elevator full, shuts doors as a result of poor rail service

The Midwest Cooperatives elevator in Pierre, S.D., has closed its doors because it has no more room for storage. Officials say it's a result of the poor rail service.

BNSF invests in ag shipping, prepares for harvest

John Miller, BNSF group vice president for agriculture, spoke at a meeting of the North Dakota Agricultural Rail Business Council in Mandan, N.D., July 31. The group is made up of about 40 ag-related entities. “We know we’re not doing as well as we should; we know the market wants more,” Miller said. “But we are shipping record amounts.”

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Columns

Is that pop champagne?

FARGO, N.D. — If farmers are the eternal optimists, then they may have more to be optimistic in 2012 than ever before. And more to be careful about, I would think.

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100 years of history

FARGO, N.D. — My congratulations to the North Dakota Grain Dealers Association, which celebrated its 100th annual convention in January.

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A prediction on American Crystal’s lockout situation

FARGO, N.D. — I’ve often been asked what I think the future of the labor lockout between American Crystal Sugar Co. and the Bakery, Tobacco Workers and Grain Millers International Union locals. So here’s what I think.

Bees and a book

FARGO N.D. — Honeybees are important — certainly to my family. I occasionally had a firsthand experience with a commercial honeybee business that was run by my mother’s first cousin, Jim Folsland, in Oldham, S.D., in Kingsbury County.

Accidents happen when people get in a hurry

FARGO, N.D. — May 5, I drove from Fargo, N.D., to Bismarck, N.D., to cover a court hearing the next morning. It was a beautiful evening, but it was clear that the fields were too wet for this time of year. Almost none of the field work had been done. I counted two planting rigs operating across that 180-mile stretch. I think there was one outfit planting potatoes.

Does tiling cut flooding?

FARGO, N.D. — My wife and I are contemplating another season of flood fighting in south Fargo, N.D. We’ve helped fill sandbags each year for the past two years but never had to place them around our property. In 2009, I helped a family friend put 30,000 of them around his Moorhead, Minn., house. Lloyd is one of the greatest of the Greatest Generation, in my book, and appreciated the help. He’ll get it again this year if he needs it.

New year guesses can entertain, guide us

FARGO, N.D. — My wife, Barb, and I have an annual New Year’s ritual — Our Predictions.

What does humane production mean?

FARGO, N.D. — I always am fascinated with recommendations from groups like the Humane Society of the United States.

Candidates tout ag connections

FARGO, N.D. — Agriculture = good. If you don’t believe it, look at the year’s crop of political ads. This year, I took special notice of ads by Brad Crabtree, candidate for the North Dakota Public Service Commission.

Agriculture needs its honest info brokers

FARGO, N.D. — Historically, ethics has been an important thing in journalism. I hope ethics isn’t becoming passe in the “today’s economy.”