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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

Red River Valley sees truck driver crunch

The annual crunch for trucks in the northern Red River Valley has intensified in the past several weeks.

Railroads show improvement

The region’s two Class I railroads — BNSF Railway and Canadian Pacific Railway — are reporting improved status on late cars, and CP has proposed a major merger to bypass an infamous Chicago bottleneck blamed for last winter’s delays.

Railroads show improvement; CP propose large merger

The region’s two Class I railroads — BNSF Railway and Canadian Pacific Railway — are reporting improved status on late cars, and CP has proposed a major merger to bypass an infamous Chicago bottleneck blamed for last winter’s delays.

Measure 5 debate aims to answer questions from farmers, ranchers

Proponents and opponents of North Dakota’s Measure 5 are stepping up their efforts in a dead heat to influence voters on a measure that could put the state’s support of conservation on an entirely new plane.

ND farmer adds to farm, feedlot through industry highs and lows

Chase Dewitz has fearlessly expanded his North Dakota farm, having ridden the ups and now navigating the downs of lower commodity prices.

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STB orders more extensive reporting from railroads

Grain elevator and agriculture groups are cautiously optimistic that a more extensive reporting system for railroads, ordered Oct. 8 by the U.S. Surface Transportation Board, will at least allow agricultural shippers to see whether they’re getting the same kind of service as oil, coal and other industries.

Farm groups want DU employees out of NRCS district offices in ND

The North Dakota Grain Growers Association, the North Dakota Farm Bureau and others have scheduled news conferences in Fargo on Wednesday and Bismarck on Thursday to ask that the National Resources Conservation Service remove Ducks Unlimited employees from district offices in the state, an arrangement agency officials say is longstanding and harmful to farmers.

Farm bill is good fit for region's dairies

Dairy farmers have until Nov. 28 to sign up for the new Margin Protection Program under the new federal farm bill.

Winter Storm Atlas one year later

Gary Cammack says ranchers who stop in at his Cammack Ranch Supply store in Union Center, S.D., have been commenting about how the clouds, mist and fog in some of the waning days of September remind them of the weather just before the blizzard that hit the region Oct. 3 to 5, 2013.

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Railroads report improved service progress

With wheat harvest in the late innings and soybean and corn harvests coming up, the region’s railroads are reporting better service progress.

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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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