Jenny Schlecht / Agweek Staff Writer
FARGO, N.D. — Pollinators are in trouble, but home gardeners can make a difference, says Esther McGinnis, North Dakota State University horticulturist and director of the Extension Master Gardener program. Honeybees have faced problems from varroa mites, diseases, nutritional deficiencies and pesticide issues, leading to steep losses. "Historically, we've been losing a quarter to a third of all colonies each year," she tells AgweekTV. Native bees, including bumblebees, are in the worst shape, with some species going extinct and others considered endangered.
TOWNER, N.D. — While much of the Midwest struggles with flooding and soggy conditions, farmers and ranchers in northern North Dakota and southern Canada are dealing with their third consecutive year of drought conditions. "Everyone I've talked to around this area has said the same things: The grass in the pastures is not there; the hay meadows are not there; the water holes are low. What are we going to do?" says rancher Robert Green.
WASHINGTON - The U.S. Department of Agriculture has decided to allow agriculture producers to hay or graze cover crops planted on acres in prevented planting on Sept. 1, rather than Nov. 1. Producers will be able to hay, graze or cut cover crops for silage, haylage or baleage on prevented plant acres beginning on Sept. 1 and remain eligible for their full 2019 prevented planting indemnity.
WEST POINT, Neb. — As farmers in many parts of the Midwest continue to struggle with planting and planting decisions, Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue put out a statement on June 10 that confused matters even more. Perdue and other U.S. Department of Agriculture officials previously had announced that another Market Facilitation Program would be coming that would provide a per-acre payment for growers of certain crops. The stipulation required in law was that only planted acres would be eligible, not acres in prevented planting.
BISMARCK, N.D. — An interim committee of the North Dakota Legislature will study how food gets into rural areas and how the system can be improved. One of four studies assigned to the interim Commerce Committee, the purpose of the study is to look at the "distribution and transportation of food in the state necessary to the lives of individuals in rural communities and the roles of state entities in facilitating the movement of food to rural areas of the state."
Years ago, after I had devoured normal first-grade reading offerings, my mom suggested I might enjoy Laura Ingalls Wilder's "Little House" books. I dove in at age 7 and never looked back. For my ninth birthday, my parents bought me the box set of Wilder's books, from "Little House in the Big Woods" to "The First Four Years." I've reread some of them so many times that their covers are bent and faded.
BISMARCK, N.D. — About six years have passed since Dean Ulmer and Jess George began contemplating building a new livestock sale barn in North Dakota's capital city. Now, after a few false starts brought on by health issues and zoning confusion, the partners are working to get Bismarck Livestock Auction up and running by fall. The blue building, about a mile and a half north of Interstate 94 a few miles outside Bismarck, lacks most of its exterior doors, and little progress has been made on its interior. Dirt work hasn't been completed, and no pens have been built.
WASHINGTON — The U.S. Secretary of Agriculture announced Thursday, June 13, that the department's Economic Research Service and National Institute of Food and Agriculture will move to the Kansas City area — a plan that continues to be criticized by a broad spectrum of government, science, agriculture and agency employees. Ag Secretary Sonny Perdue announced in August 2018 that the ERS and NIFA would move from Washington, D.C., to new, undetermined locations around the country. The USDA received 136 proposals from across the country for the relocation.
CARRINGTON, N.D. — Victoria Vollmer stood out from the crowd at LegenDAIRY III, an open house at VanBedaf Dairy. No one else there was wearing a sash and tiara. Vollmer, of Grace City, N.D., is representing North Dakota in the Miss United States Agriculture program, and she likes to go to public events to talk to people about all the positives of agriculture. Vollmer's family has an Angus ranch, and she enjoys communicating about the care farmers and ranchers take with their livestock. "At events like this, I try to promote things like animal welfare," Vollmer said.
FARGO, N.D. — National FFA President Luke O'Leary visited North Dakota on Wednesday, June 5, for the state FFA convention, and he addressed concerns raised by a former FFA member's blog post that accused the organization of not being inclusive enough. The blog post by former FFA member Brandon Roiger was entitled, "Why FFA is not actually for everybody" and said the organization remains geared toward white men and hasn't done enough to make people of different genders, races, sexual orientations, sizes and more feel comfortable.