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Jonathan Knutson


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UPDATED: Crops ‘dodged a bullet’ after temperatures didn’t hit lows expected

Though it’s too soon to be sure, North Dakota and northwest Minnesota appear to have avoided significant frost damage overnight.


Early signs indicate minor frost damage to crops

Though it's too soon to be sure, initial reports indicate that much of northeast North Dakota and northwest Minnesota avoided significant frost damage overnight.

Organic Trade Association proposes checkoff

The Organic Trade Association wants to create a checkoff, a move the association says could raise more than $30 million annually and boost an already-growing industry.

USDA report shows planting picks up

Upper Midwest farmers generally made excellent planting progress during the week ending May 3, the U.S. Department of Agriculture said Monday afternoon.


Sheep program application deadline nears

May 1 is the deadline to apply for funding through the Let’s Grow Program, which the American Sheep Industry Association operates to strengthen sheep production nationally.

More cases of bird flu in Minnesota; officials urge continued cooperation

Minnesota officials say they’re doing everything possible to stop the spread of bird flu and stress that the disease poses no threat to food safety or the general public.

Company officials defend proposed South Dakota grain merger

A proposed merger of two South Dakota-based grain companies would make the consolidated organization more competitive and better position it for the future, leaders of the two grain companies said Thursday in an online meeting with the news media.

The deadline for farmers to choose a farm bill safety-net program has passed

U.S. farmers and the Farm Service Agency are now two-thirds of the way through a process that could play a huge role in producers’ bottom line for the next five years.

New ND hemp law pleases supporters

Wayne Hauge says he’s “mostly your typical northwest North Dakota farmer.” But the Ray producer also is a staunch supporter of industrial hemp, and a new state law is expected to help him and other North Dakota farmers start growing the crop, perhaps as soon as 2016.

USDA predicts fewer corn, wheat acres, but more soybeans and small-market crops

Corn, the star of Upper Midwest agriculture in recent years, won’t shine quite so brightly in the 2015 growing season, the U.S. Department of Agriculture predicts. “A little bit of the shine seems to be off corn,” says Erik Younggren, a Hallock, Minn., farmer.


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Internecine battle

Once or twice a year, I have a conversation with somebody outside agriculture, or new to it, that goes like this: Other person: “What’s the deal with the Farmers Union and Farm Bureau? Are they political? Why do they argue so much? Don’t they know it makes farmers look bad?”


'Half excited, half frightened'

Planting brings challenges, opportunities


What 2015 will bring

Upper Midwest agriculture is big and diverse. No two years are ever quite the same.


Controlling the language

I talked once with a farmer who repeatedly mentioned the “individualized housing” in which animals live. He slipped once and used “cage,” but quickly corrected himself. OK, I told myself, it’s the old control-the-language, control-the-debate approach. But the animals live in cages, and that’s the term I’ll keep using.


No winner in sugar trade war

I talked once with a guy, an American, shortly after he returned from vacation in Mexico. He told of how he’d wanted to eat “authentic” Mexican food, not “tourist” food. So he walked past two restaurants filled with tourists eating fried chicken; no “tourist” food for him. Finally, he found a restaurant serving local residents and ate “authentic” food with them. “Well, what did you have?” I asked. He hesitated an instant (he’d clearly told the story before; his timing was perfect) and said, “Fried chicken.”


Dipping into a two-sided debate

Setting 'fair' farmland rental rates not an easy task


Willows, weather and rains

When I was a kid, my family hayed most of a low, damp meadow. Thickets of willows grew in spots too wet to hay.


We're right, you're crazy

This past winter, I attended an area farm conference at which one of the speakers blasted the intelligence and common sense of environmentalists.


How do you view agriculture?

OK, Agweek readers, I have a question for you. Which of the following best describes your view of agriculture? A) It’s a business that should be treated like any other business. B) It’s a way of life that should be protected at any cost. C) It’s both a business and a way of life.


If you were an urban congressman ...

Planting, harvesting and marketing a crop isn’t easy. But it’s child’s play compared with writing a new farm bill.