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AgweekTV Full Show: Planting lags, plan for flooded farmland, derecho cleanup, potato-sniffing dog

This week on AgweekTV, planting continues to lag at a record rate around the region. Thousands of Red River Valley acres have ongoing problems with flooding. We'll visit landowners who have a plan to fix theirs. It's been more than a week after the big storm but they'll be cleaning up for a long time to come. And we'll meet a dog who has a nose ... for potato disease.

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This week on AgweekTV, planting continues to lag at a record rate around the region. Thousands of Red River Valley acres have ongoing problems with flooding. We'll visit landowners who have a plan to fix theirs. It's been more than a week after the big storm but they'll be cleaning up for a long time to come. And we'll meet a dog who has a nose ... for potato disease.

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WELCOME TO AGWEEK TV, I'M EMILY BEAL.

WITH DRIER WEATHER, AND FINAL PLANTING DATES APPROACHING IN THE NORTHERN PLAINS, FARMERS HAVE FRANTICALLY HIT THE FIELDS IN RECENT WEEKS IN AN EFFORT TO GET THEIR CROP IN.

THE USDA RELEASED ITS 8TH CROP PROGRESS REPORT THIS WEEK AND SPRING WHEAT IS STILL THE MAJOR CROP THAT'S SUFFERED MOST, WITH PREVENTED PLANT BECOMING A DISTINCT POSSIBILITY.

NORTH DAKOTA GROWS ALMOST HALF OF U.S. SPRING WHEAT, AND AT ONLY 27-PERCENT, THE STATE IS PLANTING AT THE SLOWEST RATE IN HISTORY.

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THE 49-PERCENT NATIONAL NUMBER IS ALSO THE SLOWEST SINCE 1981. AVERAGE FOR MAY 22ND IS 83 PERCENT.

THE 2ND SLOWEST CORN PLANTING PACE IN MORE THAN A QUARTER CENTURY HAS SEEN A NICE UPTICK RECENTLY, WITH MOST OF THE NORTHERN CORN BELT NOW CLOSE TO, OR ABOVE, 5 YEARS AVERAGES. THE 72 PERCENT NATIONAL NUMBER IS ONLY 7 PERCENT BEHIND AVERAGE.

NORTH DAKOTA'S FINAL PLANTING DATE FOR CORN WAS WEDNESDAY, MAY 25TH.

AT 7 PERCENT, SOYBEANS ARE AT A RECORD SLOW PLACE IN NORTH DAKOTA, 40 PERCENT BEHIND THE AVERAGE, AND LAGGING IN SOUTH DAKOTA AND MINNESOTA TOO. BUT AT 50 PERCENT NATIONALLY, BEANS ARE NOW ONLY BEHIND AVERAGE BY 5 PERCENT.

A TWO YEAR DROUGHT MAY FINALLY BE BROKEN IN SOUTHWEST NORTH DAKOTA.

SOME OF THE MOISTURE CAME IN MID-APRIL BLIZZARD, AND THE SNOW AND RAIN ARE ALSO DELAYING PLANTING. BUT ALL IN ALL, IT'S A RELIEF TO FARMER AND RANCHER GEORGE LEINGANG. HE SAYS THEY'RE STILL BEHIND IN PLANTING, BUT HE'S CONFIDENT HE'LL STILL SEE GOOD YIELDS, BECAUSE OF THE IMPROVED MOISTURE LEVELS.

George Leingang: ACTUALLY NOT ALL THAT BAD. WE HAD ABOUT FOUR AND A HALF TO FIVE INCHES OF RAIN GOING INTO FALL, SO WE HAD SOME DECENT SUB MOISTURE. WINTER WAS PRETTY DRY, BUT COMING INTO THE SPRING TO NOW, WE'VE PROBABLY HAD CLOSE TO SEVEN INCHES OF MOISTURE.

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LEINGANG SAYS MANY YEARS, HE HAS ALL HIS SPRING WHEAT PLANTED IN APRIL.

MINNESOTA LAWMAKERS HAVE PASSED A BILL THAT COMBINES TWO KEY ISSUES FOR FARMERS. IT OFFERS DROUGHT RELIEF AND SPENDING FOR VARIOUS THINGS, INCLUDING HIGH-SPEED INTERNET.

GRANTS OF UP TO 75-HUNDRED DOLLARS WILL BE AVAILABLE TO PRODUCERS IN ALL BUT 4 MINNESOTA COUNTIES HIT BY THE 2021 DROUGHT

Sen. Torrey Westrom: I think we've got a very strong, solid bill for the state of Minnesota on all the fronts for farmers, for agriculture, for rural broadband and the connectivity that's become so important in our lives.

DETAILS ON HOW TO APPLY FOR GRANTS WILL BE OUT IN THE NEXT COUPLE OF WEEKS. OTHER EMERGENCY SPENDING INCLUDES MONEY FOR AVIAN INFLUENZA RESPONSE.

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THOUSANDS OF ACRES OF FARMLAND ALONG THE RED RIVER IN NORTH DAKOTA AND MINNESOTA WERE FLOODED FOR WEEKS THIS SPRING. FARMERS WHO RAISE CROPS ON THOSE FIELDS AREN'T SURPRISED BY THE FREQUENT FLOODING. BUT THEY ARE FRUSTRATED, BECAUSE THEY SAY THEY HAVE A SOLUTION THAT'S NOT BEING IMPLEMENTED.

IT'S THIS WEEK'S AGWEEK COVER STORY.

James Bergman: IT'S JUST GETTING OLD. THE SAME STORY. WE KNOW WHAT'S GOING TO HAPPEN, WE KNOW HOW MUCH IT HURTS US. I THINK ONE THING WE'RE FEELING IS FRUSTRATION, BECAUSE WE HAVE SOLUTIONS HERE AND WE'D LIKE TO START GETTING THEM IMPLEMENTED.

JAMES BERGMAN HAS DEALT WITH THIS FOR YEARS. FLOODING TAKES A TOLL ON THIS RICH AGRICULTURAL LAND, AND WASHES OUT ROADS, OR AT LEAST MAKES THEM IMPASSABLE, SOMETIMES FOR WEEKS.

Bergman: It's going to keep going north, and so then it has to spread out all this distance, the eight miles wide. Goes over the interstate.

AND IT HAS CAUSED THOUSANDS OF DOLLARS OF DAMAGE TO A RAILROAD LINE THAT CARRIES CARS FILLED WITH WHEAT TO THE WEST COAST AND SOUTHERN U.S.

JAMES: THIS IS THE OSLO BRIDGE, BUILT IN 1905. 17-PERCENT OF NORTH DAKOTA' S WHEAT WENT OVER THIS BRIDGE. 3-PERCENT OF THE NATION'S WHEAT.

FLOODING IN THIS AREA HAS A LONG AND COMPLICATED HISTORY. MUCH OF THE PROBLEM STARTED FOUR DECADES AGO, WHEN FARMERS IMPLEMENTED THEIR OWN DIKING SYSTEMS. IN 1986 A FEDERAL JUDGE ORDERED THEM TO BE LOWERED. BUT OVER THE YEARS, INCREASED FARM DRAINAGE IN THE SOUTHERN RED RIVER VALLEY HAS SENT MORE WATER NORTH, FASTER.

AND THEN TO MAKE MATTERS WORSE, BRIDGES OVER THE RIVER HOLD BACK WATER AND INCREASE FLOODING.

THIS IS THE RED RIVER RIGHT HERE, BECAUSE IT'S BEING DIVERTED HERE BY THE BRIDGE IN OSLO.

THE FREQUENT FLOODING HAS CAUSED A SIGNIFICANT DROP IN THE VALUE OF THIS LAND. WHILE SOME LAND IN THE AREA IS GOING FOR SIX THOUSAND DOLLARS AN ACRE, THE FLOOD LAND IS APPRAISED AT ABOUT FIFTEEN HUNDRED.

Gary Babinski: BIG PROBLEM WITH THE EROSION, WITH THE HIGH WINDS JUST THE OTHER DAY WE HAD THREE FOOT WATER SWELLS OUT THERE AND THE WATER IS JUST BLACK WITH DIRT IN IT, CHURING WITH THOSE WINDS. SO BIG PROBLEM FOR EROSION.

REPRESENTATIVES OF THE SEVEN TOWNSHIPS AFFECTED BY THIS FLOODING FORMED A GROUP NINE YEARS AGO. THEY DEVELOPED A PLAN THAT CALLS FOR REBUILDING SEVERAL BRIDGES, TO ALLOW WATER TO FLOW MORE FREELY, PROTECTING THE INTERSTATE AND OTHER ROADS, AND THE RAILROAD LINE. BUT THE FARMERS ARE FRUSTRATED, BECAUSE THEY JUST DON'T HAVE THE 133-MILLION DOLLARS TO IMPLEMENT IT.

James Bergman: THE BURDEN WE'RE CARRYING, TRYING TO FIX THIS THING THAT HAPPENED IN 1905, WE REALLY NEED STATE AND FEDERAL MONEY TO DO IT.

YOU CAN READ MUCH MORE ON THIS COMPLICATED ISSUE IN THE NEXT AGWEEK MAGAZINE, AND AT AGWEEK.COM .

THOUGH MANY AREAS IN OUR REGION HAVE TOO MUCH WATER, THERE ARE SOME PARTS OF THE DAKOTAS THAT STILL HAVEN'T RECOVERED FROM LAST YEAR'S RECORD BREAKING DROUGHT.

IN FACT, SINCE THE START OF THIS YEAR, THE U.S. DROUGHT MONITOR SHOWS THAT DROUGHT AREAS IN SOUTH DAKOTA HAVE ACTUALLY EXPANDED AND GOTTEN WORSE, EXCEPT FOR THE NORTHEAST CORNER OF THE STATE.

Laura Edwards: Certainly the situation is pretty difficult with very little, if any, surface water, you know, stock ponds, creeks, rivers. Very short on grass. We had a hard freeze just this last weekend. In other drought years, we've seen that situation as well. It really stunted growth and affected forage production for the rest of the season.

NORTH DAKOTA IS A DIFFERENT STORY.

THE SPRING STORMS, THOUGH TOUGH ON RANCHERS, WERE JUST WHAT THE STATE NEEDED TO FINALLY BREAK THE RECORD DROUGHT IT HAD BEEN IN FOR TWO YEARS.

CONDITIONS HAVE IMPROVED SO MUCH THAT, AS OF MAY 24TH, THE NORTHWEST CORNER OF THE STATE IS THE ONLY PART STILL CONSIDERED TO BE IN DROUGHT. THE YELLOW COLOR IS JUST ABNORMALLY DRY.

Adnan Akyuz: The ponds are pretty much rejuvenated, soil moisture is at the highest level. It is going to be very difficult, even though the rains may stop, we have enough moisture in the soil to get us through the springtime.

AKYUZ SAYS, AS HARD AS IT WAS TO BREAK OUT OF THE DROUGHT, WITH HOW MUCH MOISTURE IS NOW IN THE SOIL, IT WILL BE EQUALLY DIFFICULT TO GO BACK TO DROUGHT CONDITIONS.

COMING UP ON AGWEEK TV, WE'LL MEET A DOG WHO'S PUTTING HER NOSE TO GOOD USE, HELPING POTATO GROWERS DETECT DISEASE.

THE NEWEST HIGH-TECH TOOL FOR DIAGNOSING CROP DISEASE IS ALSO... MAN'S BEST FRIEND.

MIKKEL PATES GOT AN LOOK AT HOW DOGS MAY REVOLUTIONIZE THE DETECTION OF POTATO DISEASE.

ANDREA PARISH HAS TRAINED DOGS FOR SEARCH AND RESCUE WORK. BUT IN 2019, WHEN ONE OF HER DOGS HAD A KNEE INJURY, SHE WONDERED WHETHER HER DOGS COULD DO OTHER WORK.

This is a lot of volume...

MIKKEL: ANDREA PARISH'S HUSBAND, DAVID, IS A POTATO CROP CONSULTANT, AND SHE WONDERED IF DOGS ARE EVER USED IN DETECTING POTATO DISEASES.

Andrea Parish: AND I ASKED HIM 'WHO ON THE FARM IS USING DOGS TO DETECT DISEASE', AND THE ANSWER WAS NO ONE. AND FOR ME, AS A DOG PERSON, I WAS LIKE WHAT? THAT'S CRAZY TO ME.

"GOOD JOB!"

PARISH AND ONE OF HER DOGS, ZORA, CAME TO FARGO RECENTLY TO SNIFF OUT DISEASE AT THE NDSU POTATO SEED DEVELOPMENT PROGRAM.

"ZOR, CHECK CHECK"

ZORA IS LOOKING FOR A POTATO DISEASE KNOWN AS PVY.

Andrea Parish: THE MILITARY HAS PROVED OVER FIFTY YEARS THAT IT'S THE BEST WAY TO DETECT SMALL AMOUNTS OF ODOR, AND DISEASE GIVES OFF ODOR. SO WE HAVE THE COVID DOGS, WE HAVE CANCER DOGS. WE NOW HAVE PVY AND RING ROT DOGS.

THE NDSU POTATO BREEDING PROGRAM DEVELOPS NEW POTATO CULTIVARS FOR GROWER, INDUSTRY AND CONSUMER ADOPTION, AS WELL AS CERTIFIED SEED POTATOES. PARISH'S DOGS CAN DETECT SMALL AMOUNTS OF PVY AND OTHER DISEASES WITHOUT CUTTING INTO THE POTATOES.

"GOOD GIRL! GOOD JOB!"

AND THEY CAN DO, IN A MATTER OF HOURS, WHAT IT WOULD TAKE MONTHS TO DO IN A LAB.

you've got it!

Susie Thompson: YOU'VE SEEN HOW RAPID THIS IS. YOU KNOW, TEN ACRES, I HAVE NINE DIFFERENT SEED LOTS. SHE HAS GONE THROUGH ALL OUR TUBER MATERIAL IN HALF A DAY. IF WE WERE DOING THAT SAME VIRUS TESTING IN THE TRADITIONAL WAY, THAT TAKES MONTHS, AND IT TIES UP A LOT OF RESOURCES.

THOMPSON SAYS NOW THEY'LL TEST TO VERIFY HOW ACCURATE THE DOGS ARE.

The rest are clear.

PARISH IS WORKING TO REFINE THE TECHNIQUE, AND WOULD LIKE TO DEVELOP CERTIFICATION STANDARDS FOR THE DOGS. SHE'S EVENTUALLY HOPING TO EXPAND HER BUSINESS, WHICH SHE NAMED 'NOSE KNOWS SCOUTING'.

Andrea: WE KNOW THEY CAN FIND THE ODORS. THAT'S NOT A MISTAKE. PEOPLE THAT DON'T BELIEVE IT, THEY WATCH IT, AND I HAVEN'T HAD ANYONE SAY NO, I DON'T BELIEVE IT.

Can somebody pull that hot one? I've got three more to go.

THE COMPANY IS ALSO LOOKING INTO DETECTING MORE DISEASES, INCLUDING NEMATODES, POTATO WART AND POWDERY SCAB.

WHAT A FASCINATING STORY! THANKS, MIKKEL. AND YOU ALSO HAD QUITE A BUSY WEEK.

YOUR BROTHER WAS ONE OF THE FARMERS ARE STILL CLEANING UP FROM STRONG STORMS THAT BLEW THROUGH THE UPPER MIDWEST ON THE EVENING OF MAY 12TH.

IN FACT, SOME OF THE CLEANUP MAY HAVE TO WAIT UNTIL AT LEAST AFTER PLANTING. THE DERECHO STORM HIT VERY CLOSE TO HOME FOR MIKKEL.

HIS BROTHER, MARK, FARMS IN EASTERN SOUTH DAKOTA. THEY HAD A LOT OF DAMAGE FROM THE STORM, INCLUDING THE LOSS OF THEIR TWO STALL GARAGE. THE WIND LIFTED IT UP, AND THREW IT INTO THEIR FRONT YARD. BUT MARK AND HIS WIFE, PHYLLIS, SAY THEY MADE OUT BETTER THAN MANY.

Mark Pates: SOME ARE HIT WORSE, IT TOOK MORE BUILDINGS OR TOOK MORE TREES, JUST DEPENDING ON WHERE YOU LIVE.

Mikkel: After you've been through this, Phyllis, did you feel like you're just kind of glad to be alive?

Phyllis Pates: OH YES, WHAT WE LOST IS ALL REPLACEABLE, SO IT WASN'T ANYTHING TOO BAD. IT JUST IS CHANGING THE LANDSCAPE.

JOE STROMAN, WHO FARMS NEAR ALBERTA, MINNESOTA, LOST ABOUT HALF OF HIS ON-FARM GRAIN STORAGE. BUT HE KNOWS THERE ARE MANY OTHERS WITH STORAGE AND HANDLING SYSTEMS THAT NEED TO BE REPAIRED OR REPLACED, SO HE COULD HAVE A LONG WAIT.

GARDENING HAS REALLY BOOMED DURING THE PANDEMIC, AND MASTER GARDENERS WITH THE UNIVERSITY OF MINNESOTA EXTENSION WANT TO HELP NEW GARDENERS SUCCEED.

Terry Yockey: IT'S JUST GETTING BETTER EVERY YEAR.

TERRY YOCKEY IS THE VOLUNTEER LEADER FOR THE GOODHUE COUNTY MASTER GARDENERS. SHE SAYS LAST YEAR WAS A BANNER YEAR FOR THE PROGRAM, WITH A RECORD NUMBER OF NEW INTERNS PARTICIPATING. AND SHE EXPECTS ANOTHER ONE THIS YEAR.

Terry Yockey: GARDENING TOOK OFF HUGELY. SO THE MORE MASTER GARDENERS THE BETTER.

INTERNS HAVE TO PUT IN FIFTY VOLUNTEER HOURS TO BECOME A PERMANENT MASTER GARDENER. NANCY BERLIN IS A MASTER GARDENER WITH THE UNIVERSITY OF MINNESOTA EXTENSION IN GOODHUE COUNTY. SHE SAYS THE PROGRAM STARTED YEARS AGO. WHEN SO MANY HOMEOWNERS WANTED HELP WITH THEIR GARDENS, THE EXTENSION SERVICE NEEDED EXTRA HELP. SHE SAYS THE UNIVERSITY'S TRAINING TO BECOME A MASTER GARDENER IS UNMATCHED.

Nancy Berlin: WHAT'S GREAT ABOUT THE PROGRAM IS YOU'RE TRAINED BY THE UNIVERSITY OF MNNESOTA. SO YOU GO THROUGH A TRAINING COURSE AND THEN YOU GET TO WEAR YOUR BADGE.

THE PROGRAM HAS HAD A PARTNERSHIP WITH THE PRAIRIE ISLAND COMMUNITY GARDEN FOR FOUR YEARS, AND ON THE DAY WE VISITED THEY WERE WORKING WITH THEM ON THEIR NATIVE PLANTS GARDENS.

Nancy Berlin: TODAY WE LEARNED ABOUT TEA, WE LEARNED ABOUT SOME CULTURAL THINGS, WE LEARNED ABOUT BRAIDING SWEETGRASS. SO WE ALL WORK AND LEARN TOGETHER, SO IT'S BEEN A GREAT PROJECT.

BERLIN AND YOCKEY SAY IF YOU'RE INTERESTED IN GARDENING, YOU MAY WANT TO START SMALL, AND GROW WHAT YOU LIKE.

Terry Yockey: JUST DO IT! YEAH. GET AHOLD OF A MASTER GARDENER IF YOU HAVE QUESTIONS, BECAUSE THAT'S WHAT WE'RE HERE FOR.

AHEAD ON AGWEEK TV, ONE OF OUR FAVORITE STORIES FROM THE AGWEEK VAULT... A MINNESOTA FAMILY "STALKS" AN UNUSUAL CROP...

COULD THE REGION BE IN FOR PLEASANT MEMORIAL DAY WEEKEND TEMPERATURES?

HERE'S JOHN WITH OUR AGRI-WEATHER OUTLOOK.

ASPARAGUS ISN'T COMMONLY GROWN AROUND HERE. BUT IN THIS STORY FROM OUR VAULT, RETIRED AGWEEK REPORTER, NOW AGWEEK COLUMNIST JONATHAN KNUTSON, FOUND A FAMILY IN NORTHWEST MINNESOTA THAT'S STAKED THEIR NAME TO THE GREEN STALKS...FOR MORE THAN A DECADE...

Started out just planting a few seeds in the garden.

JON: FOR SHARON WEISS, IT GREW INTO A PROJECT TO HELP PAY COLLEGE COSTS FOR HER FOUR CHILDREN.

Sharon: Pretty soon we had rows, which now have become fields for us!

JON: 13 ACRES OF FIELDS, WHICH SHOULD PRODUCE MORE THAN 15,000 POUNDS OF ASPARAGUS THIS SEASON. SHARON AND HER HUSBAND RON, A FULL TIME FARMER, OPERATE WEISS ASPARAGUS FARM, ALONG WITH THEIR FOUR GROWN CHILDREN. THEY ALSO HAVE 15 PART-TIME EMPLOYEES.

RON: A lot of hand labor.

JON: THE HARVEST IS EASIER WITH THE HELP OF CUSTOM DESIGNED AND BUILT HARVESTERS, THAT ARE OPERATED BY FOOT. THAT LEAVES HANDS FREE TO CUT STALKS.

RON: We went up to an asparagus farm up in Canada, took some pictures, talked to them...And then came home and built it out of the pictures. we took the rear end out of a hydrostatic drive lawn mower, bought an engine for it. The rest we had to build by scratch.

JON: THE ASPARAGUS IS THEN PROCESSED WITH SPECIAL EQUIPMENT FROM HOLLAND. BUT IT STILL REQUIRES EXTENSIVE HANDS-ON WORK.

RON: Get a good crop harvested and when you bring it into the stores and they say how good it looks, I guess that's satisfying.

Jon standup: In medieval times, asparagus was eaten mainly by the aristocracy and the wealthy. Today, everyone can enjoy it. For Agweek, I'm Jonathan Knutson.

STALKS ARE HARVESTED EVERY DAY FROM LATE APRIL THROUGH LATE JUNE.

STILL AHEAD ON OUR SHOW...GROWING YOUR OWN SALSA...

IF YOU LIKE SALSA, AND GARDENING, HOW ABOUT GROWING YOUR OWN SALSA GARDEN? CRISTEN CLARK AND AN EXPERT GARDENER HAVE SOME TIPS.

CLARK IS THE IOWA FARMER WHO WRITES THE "FOOD AND SWINE" BLOG. SHE'S ALSO A MONTHLY AGWEEK MAGAZINE COLUMNIST, AND SHARES VIDEOS AT AGWEEK.COM .

SHE SAYS SALSA GARDENS DON'T TAKE MUCH SPACE, AND CAN BE GROWN IN CONTAINERS. THIS WEEK, SHE SHARES SOME TIPS FOR A SUCCESSFUL SALSA GARDEN, AND HER FAVORITE SALSA RECIPE, AT AGWEEK.COM .

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

A NORTH DAKOTA FARMER IS THE STATE'S EXPORTER OF THE YEAR.

AND BELIEVE IT OR NOT, SOME FARMERS IN SOUTHEAST MINNESOTA ARE WRAPPING UP PLANTING.

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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