Katie Pinke / Agweek Publisher
If you want to know where your turkey comes from this holiday season, get to know a turkey farmer. On our AgweekTV "Thankful for Ag" episode on Nov. 24, I'll introduce you to Chris Huisinga. Here's some of the backstory: After years of working corporate jobs, Chris and his wife Joy pursued a way to move their family back to Chris's roots of turkey farming. Chris has more than 70 years of turkey farming in his family history. To join that legacy, Chris and Joy started a new farm and put their first flock into an empty barn on Aug. 1, 2017.
Social media allows me to stay connected with friends—several of whom ran for office during the past year. This past week, some were elected and some were not. I've followed friends' campaigns in Iowa, Nebraska, Oregon, South Dakota and North Dakota. On election night and the following day, I went to their campaign pages and personal social media accounts to see the results. I searched for news stories. From afar, I was proud of the election results, regardless of the outcome.
Amid the political barrage, let's talk turkey. No, not political turkey; I'm weary of all the negative ads and bashing. I mean white meat and dark meat — the turkey you're going to eat in a few weeks on Thanksgiving.
Next month, North Dakotans will go to the polls. What is one of the most influential elected positions that most voters know very little about? The agriculture commissioner.
Less than 1 percent of FFA members complete their American FFA Degree, making it one of the National FFA Organization's highest honors. The National FFA Constitution details criteria and requirements for the American FFA Degree. Two FFA members from our local school's FFA chapter are receiving the American FFA Degree this year but neither will be at the National FFA Convention in Indianapolis. Our son, Hunter, is one of those being awarded the American FFA Degree. His high school classmate and fellow FFA member Julianna Wolff is also an American FFA Degree recipient.
This week, we are celebrating National 4-H week. Nearly 6 million youth experience hands-on skill and leadership development and mentorship opportunities through Cooperative Extension in every county across the United States. Cooperative Extension is run through 100 public universities and reaches our urban, suburban and rural communities. My mom likes to tease the "4-H gene" skipped a generation in our family. An avid 4-H'r in her youth, she tried to get me interested in 4-H and drove me to a horse specific 4-H club to try to spark my interest. I didn't stick with it, though.
It's not every day you meet someone with a degree in apparel and textile marketing who works in the agriculture industry. That's the case for Abby Stack, who I met recently at the Big Iron Farm Show. She was attending her first ag trade show for Rosies Workwear — her aunt's California-based company that offers women a stylish alternative to traditional men's workwear.
"Can you please tell me where the women's building is?" I was standing in the Agweek booth when I was asked this question by an attendee at the 38th annual Big Iron farm show in West Fargo, N.D. in mid-September. "Well, the women's building is right here!" responded one male farmer who overheard the question. He pointed at who I presumed to be his wife or at least his farming partner. "She is half the land and half the iron."
My maternal grandfather passed away in the summer of 2017, but every time I drive on Interstate 94 between my prairie home and Fargo, N.D., I remember a trip I took with him to sell cattle. It was a hot summer day in the late 1980s. Triple-digit temperatures and a historic drought dealt a one-two punch that wouldn't let up. As the oldest child and grandchild, I often got to tag along with my grandparents. This particular day, Grandpa asked me if I wanted to go with him to haul a load of cattle to West Fargo, N.D., which is 100 miles from my grandparents' farm.
I'm an advocate for rural communities and agriculture — and my passion is fueled by the kind and supportive people who live and work in those towns and industry. Occasionally, though, I meet or hear of an individual or group who are downright cruel. That's the case for some area residents of Devils Lake, N.D., and the Spirit Lake reservation. They haven't been kind to a young farmer and are trying squelch and end his farm expansion. They don't support our state and region's largest economic driver, agriculture. Gone is North Dakota nice.