Jonathan Knutson / Agweek Staff Writer
DEVILS LAKE, N.D. — Marla Riekman knows that farmers have many considerations in planting, nurturing and harvesting their crops. But she urges them to put soil compaction high on their things-to-consider list. "We need to be deliberate how we travel on the field during field during field operations, particularly harvest," Riekman, soil management specialist from Manitoba.
Hand and Hyde countries in South Dakota have been selected to participate in a new Agricultural Risk Coverage-County pilot program. The program will issue payments to eligible producers in Hand and Hyde counties who suffered losses of certain commodities. Producers don't need to enroll in the program. Paul Shubeck, South Dakota state executive director of the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Farm Service Agency, announced the two countries' selection on Jan. 16.
The Farm Service Agency is one of the U.S. Department of Agriculture's most important branches. It's involved in disaster, commodity, conservation and farm loan programs, among many other things. Now, the National Young Farmers Coalition has released its "Farm Service Agency Loans: The Ins and Outs of Growing a Farm with Federal Loans," an illustrated guide for farmers looking to secure loans from USDA. Though intended primarily for young farmers, the guide potentially could help anyone who wants to learn more about USDA loans or FSA in general.
Cargill is one of the world's most powerful agricultural companies. There's disagreement, both in and out of ag circles, on whether it uses that power constructively. But everybody, in and out of ag, agrees that Cargill is extremely smart and savvy. So when the company's retired president and CEO says something, I listen carefully — especially when it reinforces what I already believe.
The annual KMOT Ag Expo — billed as the largest indoor ag show in the Upper Midwest — returns Jan. 24-26 to the North Dakota State Fair Center in Minot, N.D. Agweek will return to the show, too, this time with an expanded booth presence. The Ag Expo is expected to draw 30,000 to 40,000 people. Most will come from the Upper Midwest but the show draws from elsewhere, as well, including southern Canada, where farmers grow most of the same crops as their counterparts south of the border.
COOPERSTOWN, N.D. — David Lunde and his father, Nathan, sit at the kitchen table in the house in which David grew up and is living again. They talk about cattle and careers, choices and options, their lives so far and their lives still to come. And they talk about David's adventures far from home. "It's his Viking blood (that prompted David's travels)," Nathan says with a smile.
U.S. stocks of all grains and oilseeds are greater than the federal government and industry analysts had thought, according to several U.S. Department of Agriculture reports released Friday. Predictably, that worked against crop prices Friday, though analysts say other factors, including the size of South America's crop, will influence prices, too. According to USDA: Corn
Farmers and ranchers generally have no enthusiasm for surveys and questionnaires, especially ones from the U.S. government. But Darin Jantzi hopes ag producers will take a few minutes to complete the 2017 Census of Agriculture form, which they already have received or soon will. "It's the most complete, in-depth survey we do," says Jantzi, North Dakota state statistician with the National Agricultural Statistics Service, or NASS, the arm of the U.S. Department of Agriculture that conducts the census. "It's used for a lot of policy-making decisions at the local and national level."
Given current crop prices, the overall 2018 profit outlook for North Dakota farmers isn't as dismal as might be expected, a veteran North Dakota State University extension service economist says. "Things look a little better than I thought they would," says Andrew Swenson, NDSU extension farm and farm resource management specialist. Even so, at current prices, some farmers across the state are unlikely to finish in the black in 2018 unless they enjoy better-than-average yields, he says.
'Family farm" can be one of the most controversial terms and concepts in modern agriculture. "America's Diverse Family Farms: 2017," a report from the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Economic Research Service, or ERS, won't resolve the controversy. But the new report does offer insight and conclusions. Perhaps its most notable conclusion: "Farming is still overwhelming comprised of family businesses. Ninety-nine percent of U.S. farms are family farms, and they account for 90 percent of farm production." A few definitions are in order: