Jenny Schlecht / Agweek Staff Writer
WASHINGTON—Agriculture groups are urging the Trump administration to remain in the North American Free Trade Agreement upon reports that the White House is considering a draft executive order to withdraw from the longstanding trade deal. "Withdrawing from NAFTA would be disastrous for American agriculture," National Corn Growers Association president Wesley Spurlock said in a statement. "We cannot disrupt trade with two of our top trade partners and allies. This decision will cost America's farmers and ranchers markets that we will never recover."
JANESVILLE, Minn. — Kathy Guse grew up on a farm and now farms with her husband. Still, every time she sits in on a session at Farm Camp Minnesota, she learns something new about modern agriculture. "There's a lot of learning that goes on," says Guse, one of the volunteers who have been putting on the camp since 2012.
BISMARCK, N.D. — North Dakota Rep. Luke Simons says he's stirred up some controversy with some of the bills in his first session in the North Dakota Legislature. The Dickinson-area rancher says his Constitutionalist views have been at odds with members of his Republican party. "People think I'm kind of a radical, but I think they're kind of Communists," he says. So for one of his bills to pass unanimously was a big victory for him. North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum on April 12 signed Simon's "North Dakota Food Freedom Act," House Bill 1127, into law.
LAMOURE, N.D. — Kelly Klein likes to watch cattle sales while he eats dinner. Back in January 2015, he saw some "wild, longhorn-looking cattle, rodeo looking cattle" out of Loup City, Neb. There was something he liked about the red-and-white-paint bull that came through the ring as he watched on his computer screen. "He looked like he was built right, had a little fire to him. He looked kind of wild," Klein says. So he bought him.
BISMARCK, N.D. — A Bismarck, N.D., woman hopes her new business will give livestock producers another option for marketing their animals.
I grew up on the east side of Billings, Mont., on the farm and ranch run by my dad and my grandpa. Most of us preferred (and continue to prefer) the ranch side to the farm side. Riding, roping, branding, working cows and bottle feeding calves all held far more intrigue, as did poring over the numbers in bull sale catalogs for some of the nerdier among us (cough, me). That's not to say we didn't pitch in on the farm side. We drove tractors, hoed fields and did what needed to be done. And we irrigated.
FARGO, N.D. — The ClayWilkin Corn and Soybean Growers Association wanted to find a new direction, a way to stay relevant in this day and age. Kurt Krueger, who serves on the ClayWilkin group as well as the Minnesota Soybean Growers Association and the American Soybean Association, said the group could have continued to just host annual plot tours and "preach to the choir." But the members decided it was important to reach out to people with no agricultural background and start a conversation about food.
HAVANA, N.D. — A passion for getting people to touch, to see, to feel and — significantly — to taste everything about modern agriculture started the Breker family on the path to opening Coteau des Prairies Lodge, explains Phillip Breker. "We've always loved having people out to the farm," he says. The Lodge, which opened in October 2012, gave the family "a legitimate reason" to invite people out, Breker says.
WASHINGTON — The Senate Agriculture Committee next week plans to consider President Donald Trump's nomination of Sonny Perdue for agriculture secretary. According to the committee's website , the nomination hearing will be held March 23.
BISMARCK, N.D. — Julie Ellingson has watched State of the Union speeches and other presidential addresses the same way as most people: gathered around a television, thousands of miles from Capitol Hill. The executive vice president of the North Dakota Stockmen's Association had the "once-in-a-lifetime experience" to find out for herself what it's like to sit in a room with the country's elected federal leaders and hear from the president.