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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

Cramer: Canada issues conflicting responses to concerns about railway fines

U.S. Rep. Kevin Cramer, R-N.D., says he’s concerned about conflicting responses from the Canadian government about the impacts of fines on Canadian railroads for failing to meet grain quotas, and the impact on U.S. farmers who have seen tardy service.

Northstar delays $250 million canola plant in Okla.

Northstar Agri Industries — the Fargo, N.D.-based company that is expanding its two-year-old canola processing plant in Hallock, Minn. — confirms it is delaying its construction start for an even larger canola plant in Enid, Okla.

Watch out for Palmer amaranth weed this year

South Dakota farmers have discovered Palmer Amaranth weed and North Dakota officials are urging farmers to keep a sharp eye for a “spawn of evil” during harvest. South Dakota State University weed scientists say the weed was found in a sunflower field in Buffalo County next to the Missouri River in central South Dakota.

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Western Sugar Cooperative linked to the Red River Valley

Western Sugar Cooperative of Denver, Colo., has some key links with the sugar industry in the Red River Valley of Minnesota and North Dakota.

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Record sugar beet crop in Montana

Western Sugar Cooperative is going to have a big crop this year, and the biggest part of it will be in the Billings, Mont., production area.

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Big Iron opener comes amid harvest, commodity price worries

The annual Big Iron Farm Show has operated among euphoric times in agricultural pricing many times in the past. Not this year. With corn prices projected around $3 per bushel for the next two or three years, farmers are scratching their heads and sharpening their pencils about how many new, big machines they’ll be able to afford.

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Ag industry pleased with CHS fertilizer plant approval

North Dakota farmer-leaders say they’re happy CHS Inc. has decided to re-engage in a proposed $3 billion fertilizer project in Spiritwood, N.D., near Jamestown, N.D.

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UPDATED: STB hearing testimony shows little hope for timely fix

The U.S. Surface Transportation Board made history in North Dakota Sept. 4, holding its first field hearing there, and packing in a crowd of testifiers and onlookers concerned about whether railroads can make the trains run on time.

UPDATED: STB hears from legislators, ag commissioners and coal industry in Fargo

The U.S. Surface Transportation Board is making history today in North Dakota, holding its first field hearing there, and packing in a crowd of testifiers and onlookers concerned about whether railroads can make the trains run on time.

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Dalrymple quotes Wilton (N.D.) elevator letter at STB hearing today in Fargo

The U.S. Surface Transportation Board is making history in North Dakota today, holding its first field hearing there, and packing in a crowd of testifiers and onlookers concerned about whether railroads can make the trains run on time.

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Columns

STB a toothless tiger

Officials aren’t going to do much to make the trains run on time to alleviate the 2014 ag rail problems. Farmers and elevators need to prepare to suffer through 2015 and maybe 2016 and beyond.

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Lessons from California prove eye-opening

A few weeks ago, I used some time off from covering Upper Great Plains agriculture for Agweek to attend a two-day seminar focusing on the “Salad Bowl of the World” in Salinas, Calif.

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Support for farming

I’d like to remind farmers that they still have a lot of fans.

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Battling agriculture's critics

Two recent experiences have left me shaking and scratching my head about how farmers battle critics and phantoms.

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The story of Scotty, a buffalo pioneer

Recently I attended “Buffalo King,” a 2013 documentary movie on the life of James “Scotty” Philip, at the Fargo Film Festival.

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Faith and business

“At AEFS we are a family of believers. We believe in God, we believe in America, we believe in the family farm and we believe in the Jerusalem artichoke.” — American Energy Farming Systems corporate philosophy.

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Back to the '80s

Will farmers wake up and react to weed resistance?

Will beef always be for dinner?

FARGO, N.D. — In the 1980s, the Wendy’s restaurant chain asked a memorable question, “Where’s the Beef?” Thirty years later, a small minority of Americans are asking a different question, with a twist — “Why is there beef?”

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Fall poetry in farm country

Fall is upon us. It seems hard to believe, but the row crop season harvest could be over before the end of October, depending on whether we start getting badly needed rain. Forgive me for not writing a “drought of 2013” story until we know whether it’s rained before freeze-up.

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Crop insurance

How many drought years will test program limits?

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