Jonathan Knutson / Agweek Staff Writer
By all accounts, farming is one of the world's most dangerous occupations. But it's especially dangerous for senior agriculturalists. Older farmers and farm workers are nearly twice as likely to die in farm accidents as farmers overall, according to a 2008 report from the American Journal of Industrial Medicine. Older agriculturalists — defined in the report as 55 and older — had a fatality rate of 45.8 deaths per 100,000 workers per year, compared with the overall farming fatality rate of 25.4 death per 100,000 workers per year.
Senior farmers play a huge role, performing many and varied duties, across Agweek Country. Here are seven farmers and ranchers who remain active well past traditional retirement age. (Information and photos supplied by the producers or family members.) Raymond Efta, 90, Greenbush, Minn. Farmowner for 67 years. Recent work includes maintaining CRP acres and planting wheat. In past years has raised wheat, oats, sunflowers, sweet clover, hay, timothy, flax, soybeans and corn for livestock. Once had beef and dairy cattle, too. .......................
Drought is taking a growing toll on Upper Midwest crops, especially in Montana, a new U.S. Department of Agriculture report says. The weekly crop progress report, released Wednesday afternoon by the National Agricultural Statistics Service, an arm of USDA, found that overall crop and pasture conditions continue to deteriorate. The weekly report, normally released on Mondays, came out later this week because of the July Fourth holiday. It reflects crop conditions on July 2.
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.