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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

Johnson brothers ask for leniency in insurance fraud sentencing

FARGO, N.D. -- Two North Dakota farming brothers convicted of crop insurance fraud are asking a federal judge for leniency based on character and family responsibilities, while federal lawyers are asking for the maximum sentences.

SD Legislature passes raw milk bill; governor expected to sign

South Dakota raw milk producers can continue to sell milk directly to customers, but under strict rules to protect the reputation of the larger commercial dairy industry.

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NDFU poll: 75 percent would vote against ND anti-corporate farming bill

On March 3, two days before key legislative hearings on a bill that would loosen North Dakota’s anti-corporate farming law, the North Dakota Farmers Union released a poll that shows 75 percent of North Dakotans would vote against the bill, if given a chance.

Land survey seeks producer prospective

About 3,000 farmers from southeast North Dakota and eastern South Dakota will receive a survey this week from Iowa asking how and why their agricultural land use has changed in the past decade.

Economist at Northern Soybean Expo sees continued recovery

Don’t expect much inflation in 2015, but do expect a continued economic recovery, a nationally known economist told hundreds of conference-going farmers on Feb. 17 at the Northern Soybean Expo in Fargo, N.D.

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Big corn, soy meetings coming to Fargo, N.D.

The two big corn and soybean events of the winter are rolling into Fargo Holiday Inn, Feb. 17 and 18.

Optimism at Sioux Falls Farm Show

The drum beat of bad news in commodity markets rules the day at the Sioux Falls, S.D., Salute to Agriculture — a multi-venue exposition during the Sioux Falls Farm Show and the concurrent Sioux Empire Farm Show livestock event Jan. 28 to 30.

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Butterfield Foods files reply to HSUS allegations

Officials of a chicken slaughter plant in southwest Minnesota say they have filed an official response to allegations they fail to completely kill chickens before removing their feathers with scalding water.

ND PSC shuts down Grand Forks Bean Co.

The North Dakota Public Service Commission on Jan. 16 issued a cease and desist order against Grand Forks (N.D.) Bean Co. The agency says it plans to ask a district judge to name the PSC as trustee for the company, on grounds that it is insolvent.

Ohio farmer: Precision ag pays

Most farmers attending a Precision Agriculture Summit instinctively believe precision agriculture pays, but when one of their own puts a pencil to it, they take notice. Brian Watkins is on the eastern edge of the corn and soybean belt and was one of the early adopters of variable-rate application technologies.

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Columns

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.”

‘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.