April Baumgarten joined the Grand Forks Herald May 19, 2015, and covers crime and education. She grew up on a ranch 10 miles southeast of Belfield, where her family raises registered Hereford cattle. She double majored in communications and history/political science at Jamestown (N.D.) College, now known as University of Jamestown. During her time at the college, she worked as a reporter and editor-in-chief for the university's newspaper, The Collegian. Baumgarten previously worked for The Dickinson Press as a city government and energy reporter in 2011 before becoming the editor of the Hazen Star and Center Republican. She then returned to The Press as a news editor, where she helped lead an award-winning newsroom in recording the historical oil boom.
Have a story idea? Contact Baumgarten at 701-780-1248.
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PARK RIVER, N.D.—For her last year in 4-H, Bailey Schroeder of Fordville, N.D., decided to do a little bit of everything. A little bit of everything means showing eight animals—sheep, beef, horse and pigs—at the Walsh County Fair. She was up at 5:30 a.m. Thursday so she could be at the fairgrounds in Park River by 7 a.m. to get her exhibits ready for the show ring. "This is my last year, so I wanted to go big," the senior in high school said just before heading into the steer class shortly before 10 a.m.
A Libertarian candidate who ran for North Dakota secretary of state this year before being told he couldn't appear on the general election ballot is asking voters to write him in as agriculture commissioner. Roland Riemers of Grand Forks announced Tuesday night we will seek the office held by Ag Commissioner Doug Goehring. Goehring is seeking re-election for a third term but faces a challenge from state Sen. Jim Dotzenrod, D-Wyndmere.
DEVILS LAKE, N.D. — A proposed swine farm near Devils Lake that would house hundreds of hogs wouldn't be the first of its kind in North Dakota. Yet the one proposed by Grand Prairie Agriculture has attracted a lot of attention from advocates and opponents. "There certainly have been a large number of comments" regarding the farm, said Karl Rockeman, water quality director for the North Dakota Department of Health.
RURAL MANVEL, N.D.—October rains had stalled farmers in the Red River Valley trying to get their crops off the field, and this week's early snowstorm has pushed the finish line back even further. Still, sugar beet and soybean farmer Scott Johnson is optimistic about the harvest. "We're just hoping for some sunshine and warm weather," said Johnson, who has crops near Manvel. As of Tuesday, the National Weather Service in Grand Forks reported 1.82 inches of rain for October, more than an inch above the average for the month to that date.
The sugar beet harvest is about to go full steam ahead, and Red River Valley farmers are set up to see higher yields than expected at planting, officials said.
GILBY, N.D.—Brent Schmitz was expecting a 50- to 60-bushel soybean crop this year, but he said he'll be lucky to get half of that after heat and dry conditions burned out his plants as they started to form pods. "This year started out good," the Mekinock farmer said. "It just all of a sudden turned dry. Everything just shut off."
Red River Valley farmers are hitting the fields early to get small grains in the bin, but some are worried later crops such as soybeans and corn could be in trouble if rain doesn't come soon. Combines started rolling in the fields this week, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture received scattered reports of producers beginning the hard red spring wheat harvest in North Dakota and Minnesota, according to crop progress reports released by the agency early this week.
ROLETTE, N.D.—A multibillion-dollar package meant to combat agricultural losses in a trade war with China has left farmers and economists wondering how the money will be distributed. U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue announced Tuesday plans to authorize up to $12 billion in assistance for farmers "in response to trade damage from unjustified retaliation," referring to China's tariffs against U.S. products. China imposed those sanctions after President Donald Trump announced tariffs on Chinese imports.
GRAND FORKS—Anyone who is for less trade is for fewer farmers, according to Democrat Mac Schneider. "North Dakota is an exporting state," he said Tuesday during a Grand Forks Herald editorial board meeting. "We have to maintain those markets if we want to maintain our economy." The Grand Forks attorney is running against Republican Kelly Armstrong as they seek North Dakota's lone seat in the House of Representatives, an office held by Rep. Kevin Cramer, R-N.D.
LAKOTA, N.D.—The U.S. Supreme Court will not hear the case of a North Dakota rancher who claims law enforcement used excessive force on him when they struck him multiple times with a Taser. Tim Lamb, an attorney representing Rodney Brossart in the civil case, received a letter Monday, May 21, saying a writ of certiorari has been denied, effectively ending the review of the lawsuit by Supreme Court officials.