Agweek's Knutson, Pates recognized for ag journalism

Two Agweek reporters placed in writing categories of the North American Agricultural Journalists in their annual meeting and awards presentations, made this year via ZOOM meeting from Washington, D.C., and elsewhere.

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Jonathan Knutson

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Jonathan Knutson, staff writer for Agweek, won the columns category for the North American Agricultural Journalists, and for a second year was a finalist for the group’s agriculturalist of the year.

The NAAJ presented awards in an online ZOOM meeting, which was held April 27 during the COVID-19 pandemic. U.S. Sen. John Hoeven, R-N.D., spoke to the members attending the meeting on the government’s response to the crisis.

Knutson’s column, “Plain Living,” included pieces, “Farm family dilemma: Fathers expected to play bigger role,” “Food trends: Food-shaming and virtue-signaling,” and “Plugging along on cancer treatment, writer on a ‘journey to getting well.”

Knutson also received an honorable mention in the “news” category for “Cultured meat: Good or bad, promise or peril?.” “Well-reported, clearly written article looks at the murky future of this industry, from economic, technological and market perspectives.”

Mikkel Pates, also a staff writer for Agweek, placed second in the series competition, with a group of stories involving Jerry Hennessey, the Ashby, Minn., former grain elevator manager, who stole $5 million from the elevator and used it to go on big game hunts. Hennessey pleaded guilty to federal charges and now is in federal prison in North Carolina.


Pates also won honorable mention in the “profile” category for “Equine-only: ND couple rides hard in veterinary-farrier business.”

Bart Pfankuch of South Dakota News Watch, won the Glenn Cunningham Award, or agricultural journalist of the year. A former editor of the Rapid City Journal, won the “News” category with “Expansion of large ‘CAFO’ livestock farms causing divisions and concerns across South Dakota," was published Dec. 11 and Dec. 17. South Dakota News Watch is a not-for-profit news source.

The “Spot News” category was won by Katie Dehlinger, DTN/The Progressive Farmer, regarding Market Facilitation Program payment details. “Features” was won by Georgina Gustin, InsideClimate News, involving drought in Honduras.; “Series” was won by Todd Neeley, DTN/The Progressive Farmer, on spring flooding in the Midwest; “Editorials” were won by Brian MacLeod, The Western Producer, for columns on cyberbullying, trespassing, and Canadian biotech regulation; “Best Blog,” was won by Pamela Smith, DTN/The Progressive Farmer; “Profiles,” was won by Catherine Boudreu, Politico, “Meet the Silicon Valley investor who wants Washington to figure out what you should eat. The new “Technical” category was won by Gil Gullickson, Successful Farming, “Weed Menace: It’s almost like they are watching: How metabolic resistance will change the way farmers manage weeds.” “Special Projects,” was won by Helen Bottemiller, Politico, with stories involving climate’s effects on agriculture.

Mikkel Pates

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