Jonathan Knutson / Agweek Staff Writer
GRAND FORKS, N.D. — Ralph Eichler was born and raised in Colorado, moving to Canada with his family in 1968. Though initially unenthusiastic about the change, he eventually became a proud Canadian agriculturalist and now serves as Manitoba minister of agriculture. "Agriculture doesn't know boundaries,"and certainly not the one between Manitoba and North Dakota to the south, Eichler said.
A new government report confirms what most people in Upper Midwest agriculture knew already: The region's 2019 corn and soybean harvests have begun, a little sooner than usual. Harvest of the two crops is under way in North Dakota, South Dakota and Minnesota, according to the latest weekly crop progress released Sept. 17 by the National Agricultural Statistic Service, an arm of the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
If you've been around Upper Midwest agriculture as long as I have, you know a whole lot more than you want to about tough times. You've lived through the sky-high interest rates of the 1980s, you've experienced drought, you've suffered flooding, you've endured poor crop and livestock prices. You understand the economic pain that farming and ranching often brings, just as you know that ag brings good times, too.
WEST FARGO, N.D. — The annual Big Iron farm show in West Fargo, N.D., has a two-fold mission: allowing agricultural companies to show off their latest products and giving ag producers an opportunity to look over the companies' wares and ask questions. This year's event, held Sept. 11-13, attracted more than 600 exhibitors that filled more than 900 exhibit spaces. Agweek visited four exhibitors with strong area ties — Anchor Ingredients, Unverferth Manufacturing, Thunder Seed and Pulse USA — to get their front-line perspective.
If you ask Upper Midwest agriculturalists about potential yields for this year's corn and soybean crops, they'll probably answer "highly variable," or words to that effect. The latest crop report from the U.S. Department of Agriculture confirms that crop conditions vary greatly. On balance though, a majority of the corn and soybean crops remains in good or excellent condition.
Palmer amaranth — voted the most troublesome weed in the United States by the Weed Science Society of America — has made its way to North Dakota. The weed, also known as Palmer pigweed, recently was discovered in McIntosh County, the first official sighting in the state. DNA testing at the University of Illinois confirmed that the weed is Palmer. The weed already had been found in South Dakota and Minnesota.
This is the story of a young man who was "nuts about farming" and later developed a passion for firefighting — and now, against the odds, is doing both. It's also the story of a man and his family who are slowly but persistently coming to terms with a terrible loss. "We're still trying to figure it all out. We still have a long ways to go, and we may never get all the answers. But we're working at it," Adam Schiller says. Amber Schiller, Adam's wife and the mother of their three young children, died unexpectedly of natural causes on Jan. 27.
If you go What: Big Iron Farm Show When: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sept. 11-12, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m . Sept. 13 Where: Red River Valley Fairgrounds, West Fargo, N.D. Info: https://bigironfarmshow.com/ .
U.S. agriculture would be hurt if the U.S. Department of Agriculture follows through on its plan to move the Economic Research Service, or ERS, out of Washington, D.C., the American Statistical Association says. The relocation, announced in early August, "will drive a brain drain from a vital research component in the nation's $1 trillion food, agriculture and rural economy," the statistical group said.
If you know anything about growing sunflowers — and South Dakota and North Dakota dominate the nation's production of them — you know that blackbirds can be a huge problem in sunflower fields, especially at this time of year. With that in mind, the Mandan, N.D.-based National Sunflower Association reminds sunflower producers that a number of options are available to combat the troublesome pests and control the damage they do. More information: www.sunflowernsa.com/growers/black-birds/ .