Jonathan Knutson / Agweek Staff Writer
LAWTON, N.D. — Justin Zahradka knows a lot about cover crops. He'll share that knowledge at an upcoming national conference. "Interest really seems to be picking up in the past few years. More people are realizing cover crops can have a place on their farm, says Zahrada, a young Lawton, N.D., farmer and rancher and North Dakota State University graduate who began working with cover crops when he was an FFA member.
GRAND FORKS, N.D. — Many things have changed in Upper Midwest agriculture over the past 27 years. But the importance of year-end tax management for ag producers remains undimmed. "This time of year is especially good to look at tax management, said Jeff Parks, commercial ag lender for Community Citizens Credit Union in East Grand Forks, Minn.
GRAFTON, N.D. — Denise Moe is thankful for something she didn't see a lot of a year ago: local farm-family customers walking through her store. "They're doing more looking than buying. But they're looking, and they weren't doing much of that last year," says Moe, who owns and operates B & D Flooring and Furniture in Grafton, N.D., with her husband, Brad.
Despite early November snow in parts of the Upper Midwest, the region's corn crop continues to come off. Corn harvest progressed substantially in the week ending Nov. 12, according to the weekly crop progress report released Nov. 13 by the National Agricultural Statistics Service, an arm of the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Even so, the corn harvest pace in North Dakota, South Dakota and Minnesota still trail their respective five-year averages.
The North American Free Trade Agreement is a big deal to U.S. agriculturalists. NAFTA is even more important to their Canadian counterparts, a Canadian attorney with close ties to agriculture says. Given that, ongoing efforts to revise NAFTA are "a huge concern," Kenton Rein says. Rein is a partner in Cassels Brock's Calgary, Alberta, office, where he leads the firm's agribusiness practice. He also is on the executive committee of the Canadian Bar Association's Food and Agribusiness Section.
If you ask farmers what skill or attribute is most important in their occupation, the majority will pause for a few seconds before saying "optimism" or "faith in the future." Some will answer "capital," "vision," "access to land" or "willingness to change with the times." I agree, all those things are important, even vital. But here's what I firmly believe is the trait that modern farmers and ranchers need most to survive and thrive:
Despite heavy snow in parts of the region, Upper Midwest farmers made substantial harvest progress in the week ending Nov. 5, according to a federal government report. The weekly crop progress report released Nov. 6 by the National Agricultural Statistics Service, an arm of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, found that the corn harvest has passed the halfway point, with the sunflower harvest roughly three-quarters finished.
U.S. farmers and ranchers have for decades looked to the federal government and the U.S. farm bill to help them fund conservation efforts. Now, there's growing interest in tapping state government and private-sector money to augment federal funds. "Think beyond the farm bill and what we can do without that funding," John Piotti, president and CEO of American Farmland Trust, said.
There's widespread disagreement in agriculture and elsewhere whether climate change exists and whether human activity is responsible. Many in agriculture argue that climate change is caused primarily or entirely by nature; they insist there's no evidence that human beings are responsible.
Upper Midwest corn farmers know from experience that sometimes they need to harvest their crop in less-than-ideal conditions late in the calendar year. Though it's not particularly late yet, that could happen again this year to some area producers. The latest weekly crop progress report, released Oct. 30 by the National Agricultural Statistics Service, shows the corn harvests in North Dakota, South Dakota and Minnesota continue to lag their respective five-year averages. The report reflected conditions on Oct. 29.