Jenny Schlecht / Agweek Staff Writer
When my husband and I purchased our first home together, I was excited to start planting a garden in the backyard. My friend Crystal Reid was amused by my new hobby, but she never teased me. She just told me to grow an extra cherry tomato plant so that I could give her some.
MOTT, N.D. — Hettinger County won't have any 4-H exhibits on display at the North Dakota State Fair due to the tornado that ripped through Mott on Friday, July 12. The tornado struck during the Hettinger County Fair, so the 4-H exhibit building on the fairgrounds was full of projects and a variety of heirlooms, said Duaine Marxen, North Dakota State University Extension agent for Hettinger County. The building was destroyed by the storm.
MOTT, N.D. — Nathan Thomas had 20 or 30 acres of hay down on the afternoon of July 2. It wasn't much, really, but "just enough to make it rain," Thomas laughed. Rain it did, with a North Dakota Agricultural Weather Network station a mile north of Mott registering .62 inches that day. The week that followed added even more. Thomas was more than welcoming of the moisture. "We farm in southwest North Dakota. You're always a week away from a drought," he said.
HETTINGER, N.D. — Tatum Fitch was in fourth grade when her classmate's encouragement to join 4-H brought her to a livestock show. She watched other kids showing sheep and goats, and she was hooked. "So then I told my mom, 'Mom, I want to show a goat,'" she recalls. Fitch's family member had owned livestock in the past, but Fitch lived in town — a problem for many 4-H and FFA members intrigued by the idea of owning and showing livestock.
As I was roaming the countryside for a story a few weeks ago, I was listening to music from the late Chris Ledoux, a legendary rodeo star turned western musician from Wyoming. I've heard his song, "Western Skies," probably thousands of times, but this time it made me stop and think.
FARGO, N.D. — Michael Goodis took his first trip on the North Dakota Grain Growers Association's "E-Tour" — a guided tour of North Dakota agriculture for Environmental Protection Agency employees — about a decade ago. Since then, he's been a big promoter of the annual trip and this year was selected to go on the tour again.
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.