Jonathan Knutson announces retirement from Agweek

Jonathan Knutson first came to Agweek in 1989 and returned for a longer, second stint in 2010. He plans to retire Aug. 30.

Jonathan Knutson.jpg
Jonathan Knutson

GRAND FORKS, North Dakota — Longtime Agweek reporter Jonathan Knutson has announced his retirement, effective Aug. 30.

In his career, which began in the mid-1980s, Knutson has become a respected and renowned agriculture journalist. He is a past-president of the North American Agricultural Journalists.

"I've particularly enjoyed and appreciated the opportunity to work with talented people at Agweek and so many outstanding agriculturalists in the Upper Midwest and beyond," he said.

"We know from Agweek readers and AgweekTV viewers how well-read and appreciated Jon's reporting is. Jon is a highly respected agriculture journalist who sets a high bar for the next generation of ag journalists to model. He is the most consistent reporter I've ever worked with, and our entire team will miss his presence," said Katie Pinke, Agweek publisher and general manager.

Knutson, who describes himself as a "farm kid," grew up on his family farm near McVille, North Dakota. He graduated from Concordia College, then spent five years at the Bismarck (North Dakota) Tribune.


Knutson first came to Agweek in 1989. He spent two years there before moving on to the Forum of Fargo-Moorhead in February 1991, where he covered agriculture and business. Knutson returned to Agweek on "April Fool's Day" in 2010.

"Jonathan's knowledge of agriculture and journalism is surpassed only by his humbleness," said Agweek editor Jenny Schlecht. "He is a polished, professional writer and reporter, and we'll miss his strong stories and his quiet presence."

After so many years in agriculture, Knutson said it's difficult to pick favorites among his stories. However, he did choose "five fairly representative stories of which I'm proud" and included some comments on the stories:

  1. A long, wet ag disaster : "Many Agweek readers remember the long rise of Devils Lake adjacent to the North Dakota city bearing the same name. This story, which took first place in the annual North American Agricultural Journalists writing contest, examined how farmers were affected."
  2. The man from Moccasin, Mont. : "I've had the great, good fortune to write many personality stories, or feature stories on individuals. This one involved a trip to Great Falls, Mont. — a long drive that proves Agweek's commitment to serving the region — to profile a wheat farmer and national commodity leader whom I dubbed 'the Man from Moccasin, Mont.'"

  3. Cultured meat: Good or bad, promise or peril? "I'd like to think I've always written fair, balanced stories. Even though I grew up on a ranch and once owned cattle, this award-winning story, which looked at the pros and cons, friends and foes of cultured meat (aka cell-based meat) fairly reflected the cell-based industry's point of view, or so an industry official told me after the story ran."

  4. Flood control creates tough times for farmers, ranchers : "This is the longest story I ever wrote. It looked at disastrous flooding around Towner, North Dakota. I received a second-place in the annual NAAJ writing contest; the first-place winner that year visited China for his story, the third-place winner went to New Zealand. Ah, well, Towner was fine by me; nice town, nice people."

  5. 'Arrogant journalists' not found in Upper Midwest ag : "My "Plain Living" columns typically focus on the joys and challenges of modern agriculture. This one looks at the joys and challenges of being an ag journalist.

Knutson plans to continue writing his Plain Living column in his retirement. Knutson's full-time reporting position will be filled immediately by Agweek and announced in September.
Readers who would like to write Knutson a note can do so via Agweek:


ATTN: Jonathan Knutson

101 5th St. N

Fargo, ND 58102

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