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AgweekTV Full Show: Cowbot, water pipeline dispute, McDonald's potatoes, elevator house, Harvest Hope Farm

This week on AgweekTV, a new technology could come sweeping through ranchers' pastures. A group of farmers "lawyer up" for proper pay for using their land for the Red River Water Supply pipeline. North Dakota potatoes will soon be under the Golden Arches of McDonald's. We'll visit a grain elevator house and check out updates made since we were first there four years ago. And we profile Harvest Hope Farm's camps, which allows kids to see what farm life is like.

We are part of The Trust Project.

This week on AgweekTV, a new technology could come sweeping through ranchers' pastures. A group of farmers "lawyer up" for proper pay for using their land for the Red River Water Supply pipeline. North Dakota potatoes will soon be under the Golden Arches of McDonald's. We'll visit a grain elevator house and check out updates made since we were first there four years ago. And we profile Harvest Hope Farm's camps, which allows kids to see what farm life is like.

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WELCOME TO AGWEEK TV, I'M EMILY BEAL.

MCDONALDS IS ONE OF THE MOST WELL KNOWN BRANDS IN THE WORLD. THE FAST FOOD JUGGERNAUT WILL NOW BE USING POTATOES DEVELOPED AT NORTH DAKOTA STATE UNIVERSITY IN FARGO, FOR ITS WORLD FAMOUS FRENCH FRIES.

THE RESTAURANT HAS ACCEPTED THE DAKOTA RUSSET AS ITS NEWEST POTATO VARIETY FOR FRIES. DAKOTA RUSSET WAS DEVELOPED BY NDSU POTATO BREEDER SUSIE THOMPSON. IT WAS RELEASED 10 YEARS AGO, AND THRIVES IN A SHORTER GROWING SEASON, LIKE IN THE UPPER MIDWEST.

FOR THOMPSON, IT'S A DREAM COME TRUE.

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Susie Thompson: In the potato industry, oftentimes McDonalds french fries are considered to be the gold standard, and certainly they are marketed globally. So having our processors being able to produce fries that move around the world. It's really a game changer for the Midwest.

THE DAKOTA RUSSET IS HIGH YIELDING, REQUIRES LESS WATER AND FERTILIZER THAN OTHER POTATOES, AND UNLIKE OTHER VARIETIES, ISN'T SUSCEPTIBLE TO "SUGAR END", A DISORDER THAT CAUSES DARK ENDS ON FRIES, MAKING THE UNDESIRABLE

DAKOTA RUSSET IS NOW ONE OF 8 VARIETIES MCDONALDS USES FROM NORTH AMERICA.

THE U.S. SUPREME COURT HAS REJECTED BAYER'S EFFORTS TO DISMISS LEGAL CLAIMS BY PEOPLE WHO SAY ITS ROUNDUP WEED KILLER CAUSES CANCER.

THE GERMAN COMPANY WANTS TO AVOID WHAT COULD BE BILLIONS OF DOLLARS IN DAMAGES TO THOUSANDS OF CANCER VICTIMS.

THE JUSTICES LEFT IN PLACE A LOWER COURT DECISION THAT UPHELD $25 MILLION IN DAMAGES AWARDED TO A ROUNDUP USER WHO BLAMED HIS CANCER ON THE GLYPHOSATE-BASED WEED KILLER.

THE JUSTICES ARE ALSO CONSIDERING A SECOND CASE ON A RELATED ISSUE.

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MINNESOTA'S ATTORNEY GENERAL ADDRESSED FARMERS' CONCERNS ABOUT MARKET CONSOLIDATION, AND OTHER ISSUES, AT A RECENT MEETING ORGANIZED BY THE MINNESOTA FARMERS UNION.

KEITH ELLISON TOLD THE GROUP ABOUT RECENT ACTIONS BY HIS OFFICE TO ADDRESS THE CONSOLIDATIONS THAT ARE HURTING FARMERS, PRICE GOUGING, RIGHT-TO-REPAIR LEGISLATION AND MORE. ELLISON WANTS FARMERS TO KNOW THEY HAVE AN ALLY IN THE ATTORNEY GENERAL'S OFFICE.

Keith Ellison: IT'S IMPORTANT FOR FARMERS TO KNOW THAT IF YOU ARE HAVING A PROBLEM, PROBABLY SOMEONE ELSE IS TOO. SO YOU ARE LIKELY HELPING ANOTHER PERSON BY RAISING THE ISSUE.

Stu Lourey: WE HAD A GOOD DISCUSSION, WE LEARNED ABOUT SOME OF THE WORK THAT THE ATTORNEY GENERAL'S OFFICE IS ALREADY DOING, PRIORITIZING ANTI-TRUST IN AGRICULTURE, JUST LIKE THE ADMINISTRATION IS PRIORITIZING THAT AND THE FARMERS UNION HAS MADE A STRATEGIC PRIORITY.

THE MFU WEBSITE SAYS FOUR COMPANIES CONTROL 85% OF BEEF PACKING, SEED CORN PRODUCTION AND THE PESTICIDE MARKET. ELLISON SAYS HIS OFFICE WILL CONTINUE TO TRACK CONSOLIDATION IN THE STATE.

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A GROUP OF FARMERS IN CENTRAL NORTH DAKOTA SAY THE GOVERNMENT IS GROSSLY UNDERPAYING THEM FOR A PIPELINE PROJECT ON THEIR LAND. IT WOULD TAKE MISSOURI RIVER WATER TO EASTERN NORTH DAKOTA. BUT THEY SAY, THEY'RE LIKELY TO SUFFER SUBSTANTIAL LOSSES, AND HAVE HIRED A LAWYER.

MIKKEL PATES TAKES A CLOSER LOOK IN THIS WEEK'S AGWEEK COVER STORY.

Fred Richter: THIS IS A SLAP IN THE FACE TO ANYBODY. THINK OF TWELVE THOUSAND DOLLARS. WHAT DO YOU GET FOR TWELVE THOUSAND BUCKS, AND THEN DEAL WITH HIS LATER.

SYKESTON, NORTH DAKOTA, FARMER FRED RICHTER STARTED HEARING ABOUT PLANS FOR A PIPELINE ON HIS LAND ABOUT A DECADE AGO, AND CONSTRUCTION BEGAN LAST YEAR. THE 167-MILE PIPELINE IS DESIGNED TO MOVE MISSOURI RIVER WATER TO THE SHEYENNE RIVER AND THEN THE RED RIVER TO FEED CENTRAL AND EASTERN NORTH DAKOTA. HE HAS SEVERAL CONCERNS ABOUT IT -- CHIEFLY THAT THE THIRTEEN HUNDRED DOLLARS PER ACRE HE'S BEING OFFERED FOR THE USE OF A STRETCH OF ABOUT TEN ACRES IS FAR TOO LITTLE FOR THE ONGOING CROP LOSS AND OTHER ISSUES HE'LL SUFFER, EVEN THOUGH PROJECT OFFICIALS SAY, IT'S NOT OUT OF LINE FOR A PUBLIC UTILITY.

Fred Richter: YOU CAN'T GET IT BACK, BECAUSE THAT PRODUCTION'S NOT GOING TO COME BACK, NOT OVER A PIPELINE OF SOMETHING.

THE STEEL PIPE IS SIX FEET IN DIAMETER -- ABOUT AS WIDE AS A PERSON IS TALL. IT'S LAID IN 50-FOOT LONG SEGMENTS IN A TRENCH 13 TO 20 FEET DEEP. ALL OF THIS IS COVERED BY A 150 FOOT WIDE EASEMENT. LANDOWNERS SAY THE COMPENSATION IS FAR LESS THAN IT WOULD BE FOR AN OIL PIPELINE.

David Richter: WE'RE GETTING PAID TEN TIMES LESS FOR A PIPELINE THAT'S TEN TIMES BIGGER.

CO-SPONSORS OF THE PIPELINE ARE THE GARRISON DIVERSION AND THE LAKE AGASSIZ WATER AUTHORITY. SOME LANDOWNERS LIKE LARRY REXINE, OF BOWDON, NORTH DAKOTA, HAVE BANDED TOGETHER TO HIRE A LAWYER TO IMPROVE CONTRACTS THAT WOULD COVER A COUPLE DOZEN INTHE GROUP -- ABOUT 10 PERCENT OF THE HUNDREDS OF LANDOWNERS THAT MAY BE INVOLVED OVERALL.

Larry Rexine: THE EASEMENT THEY SENT US WAS SO UNPROFESSIONAL AND SO RIDICULOUS, A FIRST GRADER WOULDN'T HAVE SIGNED THAT. WE DON'T HAVE TO TALK TO YOU GUYS, WE'RE GOING TO USE EMINENT DOMAIN. I SAID THIS ISN'T RIGHT.

THEY'RE ALSO CONCERNED ABOUT DAMAGE TO ROADS FROM THE HEAVY CONSTRUCTION TRUCK TRAFFIC, AND WORRY THAT NO ONE WILL TAKE FULL AND TIMELY RESPONSIBILITY FOR REPAIRS, EVEN THOUGH PROJECT OFFICIALS SAY THEY WILL.

David Richter: WE CAN'T EVEN HARDLY GET MONEY TO FIX THESE UP. IF THESE ROADS GET RUINED, I WANT TO KNOW WHO'S GOING TO PAY FOR THEM.

AND THEY FEAR THEIR FAMILIES MIGHT BE FINANCIALLY AND LEGALLY RESPONSIBLE IF THE PROJECT IS ABANDONED UNFINISHED, AS SOME GARRISON DIVERSION PROJECTS IN THEIR BACKYARD HAVE BEEN IN THE PAST. MANAGERS DESCRIBE THIS POSSIBILITY AS "REMOTE," EVEN THOUGH -- AT CURRENT FUNDING LEVELS -- IT WOULD TAKE 37 YEARS TO COMPLETE. THE LEGISLATURE IS CONSIDERING OPTIONS THAT COULD ACCELERATE THIS TO TEN OR EVEN SIX YEARS.

Fred Richter: WHAT IF THAT PIPE HAS TO COME BACK UP? DO YOU KNOW WHAT IT WILL COST TO BRING THAT PIPE BACK UP AND DO WHAT THEY DID TO BURY IT? THE SAME AMOUNT OF MONEY, I DON'T HAVE THAT KIND OF MONEY. TWELVE THOUSAND DOLLARS IS NOT GOING TO WORK FOR THAT.

Larry Rexine: IT'S ONLY A MILE AND A QUARTER, BUT THAT'S MY LIVELIHOOD. YOU KNOW, THAT'S EVERYTHING.

IN SYKESTON, NORTH DAKOTA, THIS IS MIKKEL PATES FOR AGWEEK.

THE PROJECT RECENTLY NOTIFIED LANDOWNERS THEY'LL BE SUED FOR EMINENT DOMAIN IF THEY DON'T VOLUNTARILY SIGN EASEMENTS BY JULY 8TH. YOU CAN READ MUCH MORE IN THE NEXT AGWEEK MAGAZINE, OR AT AGWEEK.COM .

COMING UP ON AGWEEK TV, A NEW ROBOTIC VACUUM COULD SOON BE SWEEPING WEEDS FROM YOUR PASTURE.

SOME MINNESOTA RESEARCHERS HAVE COME UP WITH A SOLUTION TO A TIME-CONSUMING PROBLEM FOR FARMERS AND RANCHERS. JEFF BEACH JOINS US NOW WITH A LOOK AT THE "COWBOT"

THE COWBOT IS A WEED-MOWING MACHINE THAT OPERATES WITHOUT A DRIVER. IT CAN SAVE LANDOWNERS TIME AND MONEY IMPROVING PASTURES.

Eric Buchanan: It's kind of like a Roomba for a pasture, except a smart one.

ERIC BUCHANAN IS A RENEWABLE ENERGY SCIENTIST WITH THE WEST CENTRAL RESEARCH AND OUTREACH CENTER IN MORRIS, MINNESOTA.

THEY'RE WORKING RESEARCHERS AT THE UNIVERSITY OF MINNESOTA, TO FIX A PROBLEM: COWS EAT THE GRASS IN THEIR PASTURES, BUT NOT THE WEEDS, LIKE THISTLES.

Eric Buchanan: SO THEY TEND TO GROW AND CAN OVERTAKE A PASTURE, SO SOMEONE NEEDS TO MOW THEM. IT'S KIND OF A ROUGH JOB AND NO ONE REALLY WANTS TO DO IT, AND FARMERS HAVE BETTER THINGS TO DO. SO WE THOUGHT COULD WE TAKE A LAWNMOWER AND AUTOMATE IT? BASICALLY MAKE IT MOW THE PASTURE ALL BY ITSELF.

THEY WORKED WITH THE TORO COMPANY OF MINNESOTA, WHICH IS KNOWN FOR ITS LAWNMOWERS. TORO CONVERTED A DIESEL GOLF COURSE MOWER TO SOLAR-CHARGED ELECTRIC, WITH A MORE AGGRESSIVE BLADE THAN THE ONE IT USES FOR FAIRWAYS. IT WORKS WITH A GPS SYSTEM TO MAP OUT THE PASTURE.

Eric Buchanan: AND THEN THE COMPUTER PROGRAM ON THE MOWER WILL CALCULATE A PATH TO MOW WHATEVER WHATEVER AREA THAT IS THAT WE'VE JUST OUTLINED, AND THEN IT JUST TAKES OVER BY ITSELF. IT GOES TO A STARTING POINT AND FOLLOWS THE PATH THAT IT CREATED, AND JUST MOWS THE WHOLE PASTURE.

BUCHANAN SAYS THE BEST USE FOR THE COWBOT RIGHT NOW MIGHT BE ON ORGANIC FARMS, THAT DON'T SPRAY HERBICIDES FOR WEEDS. HE SAYS THEY HOPE TO REFINE THE PROCESS TO JUST MOWING THE WEEDS. THEY'RE ALSO WORKING ON A ROBOT THAT WEEDS ROW CROPS.

Eric Buchanan: SO I THINK WE'RE TO SEE MORE AND MORE OF THIS AUTONOMOUS ELEMENT COMING INTO FARM MACHINES.

BUCHANAN EMPHASIZES IT'S STILL A RESEARCH PROJECT, NOT AVAILABLE TO THE PUBLIC JUST YET.

VERY INTERESTING. THANKS JEFF.

AGRICULTURAL EDUCATORS FROM NORTH DAKOTA AND MINNESOTA MADE THE TREK TO FARGO TO ATTEND "NOURISH THE FUTURE"

IT’S A NATIONAL EDUCATION INITIATIVE DEVELOPED BY SCIENCE TEACHERS...FOR SCIENCE TEACHERS. THE AG TEACHERS WHO ATTENDED LEARNED ABOUT BIOFUELS AND WILL BRING THEIR NEW FOUND KNOWLEDGE BACK TO THE CLASSROOM AND THEIR FUTURE LESSON PLANS.

Debra Hatlewick: Biofuels are going to be, they're our future. Trying to learn more about them myself so I can incorporate them into the classroom is going to be a big key.

THROUGHOUT THE TWO DAY SEMINAR, TEACHERS COMPLETED AN ARRAY OF ACTIVITIES AND LESSONS, SUCH AS WASHING BIOFUEL.

Zack Bateson: The idea is that we can get teachers excited about current agriculture and biofuels that's happening in the state of North Dakota and Minnesota and hopefully their excitement transfers to the students.

THIS WAS THE SECOND YEAR FOR THE PROGRAM.

A MOTHER AND DAUGHTER WITH A PASSION FOR AGRICULTURE ARE USING THEIR SKILLS AS EXTENSION AGENTS IN ADJOINING WESTERN NORTH DAKOTA COUNTIES.

DEVAN LEO JOINED THE MCKENZIE COUNTY NDSU EXTENSION TEAM IN WATFORD CITY AS AG AND NATURAL RESOURCES AGENT IN 2019. A YEAR LATER HER MOM, KELLY LEO, BECAME WILLIAMS COUNTY AG AND NATURAL RESOURCES EXTENSION AGENT IN WILLISTON.

KELLY SAYS SHE ALWAYS KNEW DEVAN BELONGED IN EXTENSION.

Kelly Leo: I KNEW FROM THE TIME SHE WAS LITTLE, THIS WAS, THE WAY THAT THE KID HAD A FOR PASSION FOR 4-H, AND LIVESTC AND ALL THE THINGS SHE WANTED TO DO THAT EXTENSION WOULD BE A GOOD FIT. SHE JUST KIND OF CHOSE HER PATH.

Devan Leo: I TOOK THE LONG WAY AROUND.

Kelly Leo: SHE CHOSE HER PATH AND THEN SHE CAME BACK TO IT.

BOTH WOMEN HAVE AG DEGREES, AND EXTENSIVE EXPERIENCE THAT MAKE THEM A GOOD FIT IN EXTENSION. THEY ALSO SOMETIMES WORK AS A TEAM TO COORDINATE EXTENSION EVENTS WITH NEARBY COUNTIES.

STILL AHEAD, WE TAKE ANOTHER STORY OUT OF THE AGWEEK VAULT...WITH A LOOK INSIDE A FORMER GRAIN ELEVATOR THAT'S NOW A HOME.

COULD THE REGION BE IN FOR MORE RECORD BREAKING TEMPS?

HERE'S JOHN WITH OUR AGRI-WEATHER OUTLOOK.

ABANDONED GRAIN ELEVATORS DOT THE PRAIRIES, BUT IN 2018 WE MET A MAN WHO IS TURNING ONE INTO HIS HOME.

ROSE DUNN JOINS US NOW WITH A LOOK INSIDE, IN THIS STORY FROM THE AGWEEK VAULT.

IF YOU EVER DRIVE ON HIGHWAY 52 THROUGH BAKER, MINNESOTA, YOU MAY HAVE SEEN IT...AND WONDERED WHAT WAS GOING ON INSIDE...

Scott: THIS IS PRETTY GRAND.

SCOTT DAHMS IS AN ARCHITECT AND CONTRACTOR BASED IN FARGO. HIS BUSINESS DOES A LOT OF REMODEL PROJECTS ON OLDER HOMES, BUT HE'S NEVER DONE ANYTHING LIKE THIS.

Scott: IT BORDERLINES GRAND AND INSANITY I GUESS.

HE BOUGHT AN ABANDONED GRAIN ELEVATOR IN BAKER, MINNESOTA AND IS TURNING IT INTO HIS HOME.

Scott: THERE'S NOT A LOT OF THESE THAT PEOPLE ARE HUNTING ME DOWN FOR, YET.

DAHMS FOUND THE ELEVATOR FOR SALE ON CRAIG'S LIST AND BOUGHT IT FOR 15 THOUSAND DOLLARS IN FEBRUARY OF 2017. BUT HE'S STOPPED COUNTING HOW MUCH MONEY HE'S SPENT ON THE PROJECT.

Scott: I DON'T REALLY EVER WANT TO KNOW HOW MUCH I'VE MONEY INTO IT. I CERTAINLY DON'T WANT TO KNOW HOW MUCH TIME I'VE PUT INTO IT.

HAVE YOU EVER HAD A MOMENT WHEN YOU SAID WHAT HAVE I DONE? I JUST WANT TO LIVE IN A NEW CONDO IN TOWN?

Scott: YUP. IT HAPPENS ABOUT ONCE A WEEK. WHAT WAS I THINKING? I MEAN, IT'S JUST LIKE, AND IT'S VERY OVERWHELMING AND STRESSFUL. BUT THEN THERE'S THOSE TIMES WHEN I'M DRIVING BACK OUT HERE AND I CAN SEE THIS THING SIX MILES OUT, AND AS I GET CLOSER, I'M JUST GOING, I WOULD HAVE NEVER THOUGHT THAT I WOULD OWN SOMETHING LIKE THIS. AND IT'S SO COOL.

DAHMS HAS NO FARM BACKGROUND, BUT HE LOVES THE HISTORY OF LIVING IN A GRAIN ELEVATOR.

ONE OF THE ORIGINAL FERTILIZER BAGS.

AND HE HAS SEVERAL ORIGINAL ARTIFACTS ON DISPLAY.

Scott: THAT'S THE BIN BOARD, SO THEY COULD TELL WHAT PRODUCT WAS IN EACH SPACE.

DAHMS HAS FINISHED ABOUT TWO THOUSAND SQUARE FEET SO FAR, WITH PLANS TO KEEP EXPANDING.

Scott: FROM UP THERE YOU CAN SEE THE RIDGE OF LAKE AGASSIZ, AND YOU CAN JUST SEE FOR MILES. IT'S JUST BEAUTIFUL.

SINCE WE WERE OUT THERE IN 2018, SCOTT HAS CONTINUED TO WORK ON THE ELEVATOR.

WE WENT BACK RECENTLY TO TAKE A LOOK. AMONG THE WORK HE'S DONE IS ADDING A GAME ROOM IN THE DRIVE THROUGH BAY, COMPLETE WITH A CIRCULAR SLIDE, A THREE STORY BEDROOM IN AN ADJOINING BIN FOR HIS SON, AND A GUEST ROOM WITH A LOFT.

VERY COOL. THANKS ROSE!

STILL AHEAD ON AGWEEK TV, WE'LL VISIT A FARM WHERE KIDS CAN GET A TASTE OF AG LIFE...

A FARM OUTSIDE OF MOORHEAD IS OPENING ITS DOORS AND PASTURES TO THEIR COMMUNITY'S KIDS. HARVEST HOPE FARM OFFERS AN ARRAY OF SUMMER CAMPS THAT ALLOW CHILDREN TO SEE WHAT LIFE IS REALLY LIKE ON THE FARM.

Lynn Kotrba: You know we live so close to this big Fargo-Moorhead area, where kids just don't get out on a farm. Many of them don't know where their food comes from. We just think it's important to expose kids to that.

LYNN KOTRBA IS THE FOUNDER AND EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR OF HARVEST HOPE FARM. THE KOTRBAS PURCHASED THE LAND IN 2015 AND WANTED TO THE FARM TO BE A LEARNING ENVIRONMENT FOR NOT ONLY THEIR EIGHT CHILDREN, BUT THEIR COMMUNITY AS WELL.

Kotrba: So we just thought if we could find a way to bless other families with children and to share the outdoors and share what farm life is like for others, that would be a great way to bless our community. We just believe in using what you have and the time you have to benefit those around you. That's what we're trying to do.

HARVEST HOPE FARM OFFERS LLAMA CAMP FOR CHILDREN AGES 3-5 AND FARM CAMP FOR CHILDREN AGES 6-13 THROUGHOUT THE SUMMER. THE YOUTH LEARN HOW TO TAKE CARE OF LIVESTOCK, ABOUT WOOL, HOW TO PLANT A GARDEN AND MUCH MORE.

Hewitt: I think that having opportunities like this for young people, young kids, to be exposed to this so early on in their lives is really important so it kind of sparks that interest in them too.

SARAH HEWITT SIGNED HER THREE YEAR OLD SON ARLO UP FOR LLAMA CAMP. SHE WANTED HIM TO EXPERIENCE WHAT LIFE ON THE FARM IS LIKE.

Hewitt: Well we live in the city and I recognize that he really loves being outdoors, but we don't always get the opportunity to be in the more rural setting.

See ya tomorrow!

HARVEST HOPE FARM ALSO HOSTS CHURCH GROUPS AND HOLDS OTHER EVENTS OPEN TO THE PUBLIC.

STORIES YOU'LL ONLY SEE ON AGWEEK.COM AND IN AGWEEK MAGAZINE THIS WEEK...

UNIVERSITY OF MINNESOTA RESEARCHERS ARE STUDYING THE VIABILITY OF GREEN AMMONIA IN CORN DRYERS AND OTHER FARM APPLICATIONS.

AND A FINANCIALLY TROUBLED SOUTH DAKOTA GRAIN ELEVATOR HAS UNTIL THE END OF THE MONTH TO WORK OUT A DEAL TO KEEP ITS OPERATING LICENSE.

WE APPRECIATE YOU WATCHING AGWEEK TV.

REMEMBER TO CHECK US OUT DAILY ON FACEBOOK, TWITTER AND INSTAGRAM, TO KEEP UP ON ALL YOUR AG NEWS. HAVE A GREAT WEEK.

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