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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

Officials probe SD beef plant deals

South Dakota officials are studying more legal action to learn more about the handling or diversion of public economic development funds in a mothballed Aberdeen, S.D., beef plant, even as a separate, new company attempts to reopen it.

New CP ordering system draws criticism, despite improved figures

Concern over harvest-time rail shipping backlogs is mounting and many areas of Agweek country are eager to attend the Sept. 4 U.S. Surface Transportation Board field hearing in Fargo, N.D.

NDDA signs rail shipment deal with Port of Vancouver, Wash.

North Dakota Agriculture Commissioner Doug Goehring on Aug. 27 signed a memorandum of understanding with the head of the Port of Vancouver. The action is intended to help move specialty agricultural products, but at least one shipper is concerned.

USDA’s Scuse discusses farm bill program options in ND

Michael Scuse, U.S. Department of Agriculture Undersecretary for Farm and Foreign Agricultural Services, appeared in Bismarck, N.D., Aug. 25 to discuss farm bill programs and implementation with the ag industry and North Dakota legislators.

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Offutt grain venture uses bag storage

Randy Fleishauer is the farm manager of Gunsmoke Farms, in its second year of production west of Fort Pierre, S.D. The 31,000-acre farm is owned by R.D. Offutt Co. of Fargo, N.D.

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With poor rail flow, SD farmers and elevators pile, bag grain

Scott Dowling is one of many farmers piling wheat on the ground and stuffing it into bags.

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BNSF, CP catch up on old-crop past-dues

Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railway reports it is getting caught up on old-crop past-due train car orders, but there are significant new-crop orders still past-due.

Canadian Pacific's Harrison: We will get better

Hunter Harrison, CEO of Canadian Pacific Railway, showed his pride and disappointment in his railroad’s ability to move North Dakota grain in a meeting Aug. 11 with shippers and two U.S. senators in Minot.

NDSU field days to address salt issues

A Soil Health Field Day will be held Aug. 21 at the historic Bagg Bonanza farm near Mooreton, N.D. Some of the events will be at a nearby North Dakota State University research and demonstration farm.

An inside look at the Worthington Ag Parts operation

Worthington Ag Parts in Worthington, Minn., is the original location of a global business and still one of its busiest stores.

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Columns

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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What's real and what's obscene?

FARGO, N.D. — The “pink slime” controversy brings to mind my days growing up, and my re-education about food at Brookings (S.D.) Middle School. It was there in the late 1960s and early 1970s that I first ate school lunch.