Mikkel Pates / Agweek Staff Writer
DEVILS LAKE, N.D. — Douglas Ginther farms and does custom work about 7 miles north of Devils Lake, raising mostly corn and soybeans and a bit of wheat and barley. The soybeans were just starting to bloom on July 10, about as healthy as any in the eastern part of the state. Ginther tells a visitor that he sprayed the second pass of herbicides on the corn on July 5. The 78- to 82-day maturity corn was growing fast — knee-high on July 5 but shoulder height on July 10. That's no small feat because Ginther stands 6-foot-4.
DEVILS LAKE, N.D. — While the Upper Great Plains ag equipment market has struggled with lackluster commodity prices and drought, Summers Manufacturing of Devils Lake, N.D., has found some welcomed lift in foreign markets. In December 2016, a large order came from a dealer network in Russia. It was a mixed bag of harrows, chisel plows and sprayers — essentially doubling the orders from the previous year.
MORRIS, Minn. — The U.S. House Appropriations Committee on Wednesday rejected the cuts in the U.S. Department of Agriculture budget that would close 17 research laboratories operated by the USDA across the country, including three in the Upper Midwest. Budgets announced in late May would close federal Agricultural Research Service laboratories at Brookings, S.D., Morris, Minn., and Miles City, Mont. Federal officials at the laboratories are prohibited from talking about the closures and have referred questions to ARS officials in Beltsville, Md.
FARGO, N.D. — Sharing agricultural knowledge between farmers and urbanites has grown, but one Red River Valley farm group has decided to take it to the next level. The group creates a welcoming atmosphere with snacks and beer while engaging in topics such as GMOs. The ClayWilkin Corn and Soybean Grower Association sponsored the "Conversations on Food and Farming" event backed by a number of regional and national sponsors. A volunteer group called Ugly Food of the North hosted the event at the Fargo Brewing Company.
JAMESTOWN, N.D. — Head, hands, health and heart: Charlotte Wilson is throwing all of those into her idea for a relief effort for Kansas ranchers hit by wildfires. Wilson, 10, of Jamestown, N.D., is a daughter of Sarah and Jeremy Wilson. A member of Country Kids 4-H Club, she decided to take action about the Kansas disaster after viewing a Facebook video on the topic last March. Wildfires there burned over 700,000 acres in 21 counties.
UNDERWOOD, N.D. — In honor of the 10th year of production for Blue Flint Ethanol, a celebration was thrown on June 28 and drew a crowd of 200 workers, industry leaders and government officials. Jeff Zueger is chief executive officer for Midwest AgEnergy Group LLC. Midwest AgEnergy owns Blue Flint Ethanol, LLC, which started production in February 2007, and later Dakota Spirit Ethanol, Spiritwood, N.D., which started production in 2015.
FT. PIERRE, S.D. — Central South Dakota has had a bit of a rain revival, but many areas have back-slid into drought. Brothers Pete and Rick Severson farm and ranch in conjunction south of Onida, S.D. After an excruciatingly dry May, they got 1.2 inches on June 11, another .3 inches on June 15, then smatterings after that. They're still about 3.6 inches below average rainfall for the growing season.
MADISON, S.D. — Dan Bruns says the crops are looking pretty good in his corner of southeast South Dakota. Dan, 66, and an older brother established Bruns Angus Farms at Madison, S.D., with registered cattle in 1972. "My dad ran a commercial Angus operation in the early 1960s," he says. "My oldest brother and I started with a registered operation, buying a few heifers for 4-H."
MADISON, S.D. — For $43,000 of tuition money and six months of your time, Morris Riggin can turn you into a certified aerial ag applicator. He's taught dozens since starting at age 19. Riggin, 56, owns Riggin Flight Service of Madison, S.D. The school turns out 20 to 30 ag pilots every year. It is one of only four schools of its kind nationwide. Riggin's flying history spans 100 years, with stops in Montana, North Dakota and South Dakota.
BALATON, Minn. — The trū Shrimp Company of Balaton, Minn., will locate its first $50 million shrimp production facility at Luverne, Minn. This growing-finishing facility will raise up to 7 million pounds of shrimp a year — what they're calling a "harbor." The company is using nautical names for shrimp-raising facilities, and Luverne's facility will be called "Luverne Bay Harbor."