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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

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.”

‘Nutrient density’ and other dense ideas

FARGO, N.D. — I read with interest a July 8 release from Organic Trade Association, which criticizes a recent U.S. Department of Agriculture draft Dietary Guidelines for Americans in 2010. The OTA complains that the guidelines say there is limited research on “nutrient density” comparisons between organic and conventionally raised food.

Coffee and the meaning of life

FARGO, N.D. — My sympathies to the entire family of Helen M. Broten of Dazey, N.D. Helen died at age 93 June 16, leaving the families of three daughters and a son.

A weird few days

FARGO, N.D. — Recently, I ran into a fellow who alerted me to big things happening with genetically modified wheat. GM wheat made me think about cures for Fusarium head blight or “scab,” which was the scourge of wheat producers in the region in the mid-1990s — and that reminded me of how I acquired Bailey, the older of the two of my tri-color English setter dogs. Bailey turned 12 on April 21.

AG AT-LARGE: 10 years later

FARGO, N.D. — Jan. 3, I marked exactly 10 years with Agweek and the Grand Forks (N.D.) Herald.

What’s normal, anyway?

FARGO, N.D. — And so it’s Christmas. Our “normal” cold finally has set in. I’ve always thought there’s nothing as reliable as winter in the Red River Valley in an otherwise changing world. I recently wrote our family Christmas letter — a mix of the darker, the brighter, but seldom calm days of our lives. Here’s the CliffsNotes-like summary:

AG-AT-LARGE: Health insurance is a looming ag issue

FARGO, N.D. — There are many agricultural policy issues out there, but the current health care-health insurance debate should be of particular interest to farmers and ranchers.

Death of a ‘Super Sage’

FARGO, N.D. — The great Norman Ernest Borlaug is dead. For those too young to remember, it was Borlaug, 93 at his death, who described himself only as a “temporary success” in fighting world hunger.

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