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Jonathan Knutson


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Deadline nears on key ARC, PLC decision

Kelly Turgeon is on the stretch run of a half-year marathon. Turgeon, executive director of the Kittson County (Minn.) Farm Service Agency, an arm of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, is working to help farmers meet a crucial March 31 deadline. They’re choosing between two important safety-net provisions in the federal farm bill, and their irrevocable decision will impact their bottom line for the next five years.

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WHO: Monsanto weed killer 'probably' carcinogenic

A new report from a World Health Organization agency suggests that glyphosate, the active ingredient in Monsanto’s Roundup, the widely used herbicide, may increase the risk of cancer.

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New forecast favors good planting start

Much of the Upper Midwest, particularly Minnesota, could be unusually warm or dry, or both, in late spring and early summer, the federal government says. The National Weather Service’s Climate Prediction Center’s newest forecast,

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New funding for Minnesota wolf management announced

The Minnesota State Cattlemen’s Association welcomes Wednesday’s announcement that the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the state of Minnesota will jointly provide $220,000 for wolf management in the state.

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Minnesota ag economist shares results of farm bill choices analysis

A new analysis of 76 Minnesota sample farms doesn’t provide much help in deciding whether farmers in the state should reallocate their base acres under the new farm bill, an agricultural economist says.

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North Dakota canola crushing plant shutdown temporary, manager says

The Prairie Premium Oil canola crushing plant in Northwood, N.D., has shut down, but only temporarily, the plant manager said Tuesday. “We’re not closed. We’re just on a maintenance cycle right now,” James Gorres tells Agweek.

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Two South Dakota grain companies announce merger plans

Two South Dakota-based grain companies announced Tuesday they want to merge. North Central Farmers Elevator and Wheat Growers plan to unify into a new cooperative, subject to a vote of the full membership of both cooperatives. The boards of directors of both cooperatives already have unanimously approved a letter of intent to merge.

Friday is key farm bill sign-up deadline

A key signup deadline for the federal farm bill is looming, and area Farm Service Agency officials urge landowners who haven’t signed up to act quickly. “Let us know if you haven’t done it yet. We want to work with you,” says Diane Beidler, executive director of Turner County (S.D.) FSA.

ND and regional EPA office disagree with pesticide inspection report

Both North Dakota’s Agriculture Commissioner and regional Environmental Protection Agency officials dispute a report from the EPA’s Office of Inspector General that says adequate pesticide inspections haven’t been conducted in the state for years.

Goehring: EPA report on lapses in pesticide inspection in North Dakota 'misleading' and 'disingenuous'

North Dakota’s Agriculture Commissioner said he feels “blindsided” by a U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announcement that the agency’s pesticide inspections need to resume in the state.

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Columns

'Half excited, half frightened'

Planting brings challenges, opportunities

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What 2015 will bring

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

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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.

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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.”

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Dipping into a two-sided debate

Setting 'fair' farmland rental rates not an easy task

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Thinking internationally

Through the years, I’ve dealt with a lot of successful agriculturalists — and a few who weren’t so successful.