Jonathan Knutson / Agweek Staff Writer
CARRINGTON, N.D. — Bruce and Merleen Gussiaas have begun what they hope will be a long, successful harvest — one that concludes with their finished product in the hands of customers across the region. "The crop looks promising, very much so. We're optimistic," says Bruce Gussiaas. He and his wife own and operate Dakota Sun Gardens and Winery on their family farmstead near Carrington, N.D. The business represents both agritourism and value-added agriculture.
CHS has grown into one of America's biggest companies, and one with worldwide reach. But its size and scope won't obscure the continued importance of small towns and rural communities, Jay Debertin says. "We do need to operate globally, for the benefit of our owners. And we need to do that without losing our connections to our owners and to our rural communities," says Debertin, president and CEO of CHS. "That's something I'm committed to."
Though the controversial Waters of the United States rule, or WOTUS, suffered a major setback Tuesday, June 27, the rule isn't repealed yet and opponents need to continue to fight it, farm groups and farm-state leaders say."Work with (farm) organizations. Work with us. Make your concerns known," says Doug Goehring, North Dakota Agriculture Commissioner.
Though some Upper Midwest fields have rallied in the past week, regional crops overall continue to go downhill due to drought, according to new statistics released by the National Agricultural Statistics Service, an arm of the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The weekly NASS crop progress report, released Monday, June 26, reflected conditions on June 25 — and found that many of the region's crops are still struggling. Corn and soybeans, in particular, went backwards overall.
ANETA, N.D. — Rhubarb isn't the first crop that comes to mind when people think of Upper Midwest agriculture. Even here in Aneta, wheat, corn, soybeans and some other prominent field crops are the agricultural stars that drive the economy of this northeast North Dakota farm town of about 220. But Bill Miller, Janice Mills and other stalwart supporters of the Aneta Community Orchard, Gardens and Arboretum hope to develop more appreciation for rhubarb — as well as other fruits and berries, and healthy food options in general.
The caller said he'd enjoyed my column on rental rate negotiations between farmers and landlords. He also had a question for me. "What happened to crop shares?" he asked, adding that they seem fair and reasonable to him. "Good question. It's one I've asked many times, too," I said, adding that I like them, too.
Mid-June rains will help Upper Midwest farmers and ranchers, but it's too soon to tell how many and how much. Many fields in the region continue to struggle, despite widespread precipitation in the seven-day period ending June 18, the U.S. Department of Agriculture says. The new weekly crop progress report, released Monday, June 19, by the National Agricultural Statistics Service, an arm of USDA, finds many crops remain in poor or very poor condition because of drought. North Dakota, South Dakota and Montana generally are still worse off than Minnesota.
HALLOCK, Minn. — Mike Swanson stands in a field of rye and examines the plants as they sway in the wind. He likes what he sees. The field is thriving, and this warm-but-not-hot June day is helping it along. A few minutes later, he's back inside his nearby distillery and its many barrels, bottles, stills and pipes. Late this year, after the rye — a cereal grain similar to wheat — is harvested, he'll make whiskey from it. "I get the best of two worlds. I get two harvests," Swanson says of both raising the crop and then distilling it.
CRYSTAL, N.D. — Nick Otto stands in a 160-acre field of fledging corn on a coolish June afternoon. His eyes and experience tell him a lot, but he knows they don't reveal everything, especially about a field this large. He specifically wants a better handle on the stand count, or the number of corn plants growing in the field — information that will help Otto, proprietor of Otto Ag in Crystal, N.D., best advise his farmer client on how much fertilizer to apply. Applying too little shortchanges the crop; applying too much wastes money.
Hail hammered crops in Minnesota's Kandiyohi County last summer. Now it's happened again — and University of Minnesota Extension officials and others want to help affected farmers better understand their options. This year, bad weather entered the county early June 11 in the Raymond and Pennock areas and traveled east through Willmar. It continued eastward along Kandiyohi County Road No. 23 before exiting the county just south of Atwater, according to information from the Kandiyohi County Farm Service Agency office.