Jenny Schlecht / Agweek Staff Writer
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.
When you're out driving around, looking for stories in yet-to-be-planted fields, there are things you expect to see. Tractors, maybe. Farmers. Puddles, if you're talking this spring. But as I was out driving a quiet gravel road the other day, I saw something I most certainly did not expect. An elliptical machine. Yes, a piece of exercise equipment was sitting there, on a section line in rural Burleigh County, N.D. Unless someone is starting some kind of weird theme gym, it seems pretty likely that someone was using the section line as their personal dumping grounds.
ELGIN, N.D. — Amid the planting and harvesting, calving and feeding and other tasks that farmers and ranchers across the country complete, another task is on the list for many producers: providing a grassroots voice to the Farm Service Agency. FSA, the arm of the U.S. Department of Agriculture that administers farm programs, can seem like a bureaucratic government entity, placing demands and requirements on farmers across the country from its main office in Washington, D.C. What many people don't realize is that local farmers and ranchers make many of the decisions for FSA.
MENOKEN N.D. — Though many fields in the area remain damp from the wet, cool spring, the staff at Menoken Farm are finding plenty of projects to keep them busy, like no-till planting potatoes, working in the high tunnel garden, experimenting with biochar and making worm juice.
While countries across the globe work to eliminate African swine fever, John Deen says he hopes that U.S. pork producers continue to strive to block the highly contagious and deadly virus from ever infecting its pig herd. Deen is a professor in the College of Veterinary Medicine at the University of Minnesota. His expertise includes swine health and welfare, epidemiology of swine diseases, in both the U.S. and other pig producing countries. As part of his epidemiological work, he has visited China, talking to pig farmers and veterinarians about the new scourge to the industry.