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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

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.

AG AT-LARGE: Greenhouse gas rules should consider science

MINNEAPOLIS — I was walking through the airport terminal in Minneapolis, on the way home from a North American Agricultural Journalists annual meeting in Washington. My head was spinning with information about climate change and carbon footprints for agriculture.

AG AT-LARGE: Mother Nature is cruel and cold or a sustaining life force

FARGO, N.D. — It’s inevitable. When something bad happens in the environment — especially flood or storms — the blame usually goes to “Mother Nature.” I’m not sure what your mother was like, but mine wouldn’t have liked being held responsible for something like a flood.

AG AT-LARGE: Historian recounts stories of Red River Valley laborers

FARGO, N.D. — If you’re at all linked to or love agriculture in the Red River Valley, especially sugar beets or potatoes, you should take a few hours and read this new book — “North for the Harvest,” by Jim Norris, a history teacher at North Dakota State University in Fargo.

AG AT-LARGE: Grandin's book offers tips

FARGO, N.D. — Temple Grandin is in the news again. Grandin is one of the nation’s best-known autistic people and a famous designer of animal handling facilities and practices for cows, chickens, sheep and pigs. I interviewed her in 2004 when she was a guest lecturer at North Dakota State University in Fargo.

AG AT-LARGE: Northwood, N.D., farmer tells it like it is

FARGO, N.D. — It took me more than 25 years of jawboning to finally get an interview with Enoch Thorsgard.

AG AT-LARGE: Recalling another day

Remembering another economic crisis

Is another bust in farming a sure thing?

FARGO, N.D. — “Things are seldom as good as they say it is in the newspaper — and almost never as bad,” Mikkel Pates says to friends at least once a month for the past 20 years, often over a “nice cup of tea.”