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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

ND Corn Growers, delegation pushed NDSU, ARS advantages in successful bid for genotyping center

Fargo, N.D., has been selected by the National Corn Growers Association to receive a National Agricultural Genotyping Center. Operations are expected to start in October.

Officials probe SD beef plant deals

South Dakota officials are studying more legal action to learn more about the handling or diversion of public economic development funds in a mothballed Aberdeen, S.D., beef plant, even as a separate, new company attempts to reopen it.

New CP ordering system draws criticism, despite improved figures

Concern over harvest-time rail shipping backlogs is mounting and many areas of Agweek country are eager to attend the Sept. 4 U.S. Surface Transportation Board field hearing in Fargo, N.D.

NDDA signs rail shipment deal with Port of Vancouver, Wash.

North Dakota Agriculture Commissioner Doug Goehring on Aug. 27 signed a memorandum of understanding with the head of the Port of Vancouver. The action is intended to help move specialty agricultural products, but at least one shipper is concerned.

USDA’s Scuse discusses farm bill program options in ND

Michael Scuse, U.S. Department of Agriculture Undersecretary for Farm and Foreign Agricultural Services, appeared in Bismarck, N.D., Aug. 25 to discuss farm bill programs and implementation with the ag industry and North Dakota legislators.

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Offutt grain venture uses bag storage

Randy Fleishauer is the farm manager of Gunsmoke Farms, in its second year of production west of Fort Pierre, S.D. The 31,000-acre farm is owned by R.D. Offutt Co. of Fargo, N.D.

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With poor rail flow, SD farmers and elevators pile, bag grain

Scott Dowling is one of many farmers piling wheat on the ground and stuffing it into bags.

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BNSF, CP catch up on old-crop past-dues

Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railway reports it is getting caught up on old-crop past-due train car orders, but there are significant new-crop orders still past-due.

Canadian Pacific'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.

NDSU field days to address salt issues

A Soil Health Field Day will be held Aug. 21 at the historic Bagg Bonanza farm near Mooreton, N.D. Some of the events will be at a nearby North Dakota State University research and demonstration farm.

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Columns

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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Can mankind end hunger?

FARGO, N.D. — I recently received my copy of “Enough: Why the World’s Poorest Starve in an Age of Plenty.” Every person connected to the food industry should read it.

Ag At-Large: Seeding education

FARGO, N.D. — I recently spent time with Bob Majkrzak, president and chief executive officer of Red River Commodities, as he talked about his company’s role in a confection sunflower industry that has turned summersaults to remain competitive in the past 20 years.