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The go-go '70s, the Farm Crisis and Jerusalem Artichokes: Agweek looks back at early career of Mikkel Pates

Longtime Agweek and Forum Communications ag reporter Mikkel Pates will retire at the end of January. This is the full version of the first part of a sit-down conversation about his career.

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After 44 years reporting agriculture news for publications now owned by Forum Communications, Mikkel Pates is calling it a career.

Pates, who has worked for Agweek since 2000, will retire at the end of January. He sat down with AgweekTV's Rose Dunn to talk about some of his memories. This is the extended version of the first part of that conversation. They talk about his start in the "go-go" 1970s, when farmers were still planting every inch of land they could, into the 1980s Farm Crisis and the Jerusalem Artichokes scandal that was among the first ag crime stories that Pates investigated.

Read Mikkel's latest work:
Commercial farmers in Nebraska, the Dakotas, and Minnesota start using drones for spraying, seeding.
South Dakota Public Utilities Commission hits Banghart Properties LLC, with cease-and-desist on grain trades.
John and Sharon Leiferman's bale-grazing success at Dakota Winds Ranch Inc. is just the latest development in a life of frugality born in part by the 1980s farm crisis.
Mikkel Pates reflects on his time as an ag journalist in a three-part series.
David Karki of SDSU underlined that planting cover crops like rye is not so much about big yield increases, but it will make the land more tolerant of fluctuations in weather.
A recent $30,000 per acre land sale in Sioux County, Iowa, sends signals into the land market in North Dakota, South Dakota, Minnesota and even as far away as Indiana.

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As Mikkel Pates approaches his retirement from Agweek after 44 years in journalism, he talks to Rose Dunn about learning TV, covering ag's characters and scandals and looking toward the future.
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“In our industry there aren’t a lot of young people in it. I like the fact that there are a lot of young people in agriculture here,” he said of the Mitchell area.