Jonathan Knutson / Agweek Staff Writer
If you're familiar with U.S. production agriculture, you know that the Conservation Reserve Program has seen a massive decline in enrolled acres. Now, a new government report provides more information on what happened to the CRP land after it left the program. The report, "The Fate of Land in Expiring Conservation Reserve Program Contracts, 2013-16," was prepared by the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Economic Research Service, or ERS. It draws on data from a number of sources, including USDA's Farm Service Agency and National Agricultural Statistics Service.
Mark Twain is supposed to have said, "The reports of my death have been greatly exaggerated." It appears the same can be said for the widespread perception that Americans on average have turned against eating meat. "There's a misnomer out there that meat consumption is falling. But the statistics show otherwise," said Tim Petry, North Dakota State University livestock marketing economist.
The difficult 2019 corn harvest didn't just complicate the lives of U.S. farmers. It also hurt the quality of the year's crop, a new grain industry report said. Uncooperative weather led to lower-than-average test weights and above-average amounts of broken corn and foreign material in corn overall, with most of North Dakota, most of South Dakota and all of extreme western Minnesota hit hard by some measures, according to the recently released 2019/2020 Corn Harvest Quality Report from the U.S. Grains Council.
Lauren Langworthy is no stranger to organic agriculture or the Midwest Organic and Sustainable Education Service, better known as MOSES. Now, as the organization's new executive director, she's working to help it better serve farmers. "We want to refocus our efforts to become more effective," she said. Addressing economic justice for ag producers is among the goals, said Langworthy, who is involved in grassroots organizing of farmers and represents her district on the board of the Wisconsin Farmers Union.
These are tough times for area farmers and ranchers. Modern agriculture is driven, for both good and ill, by commodity prices and the weather, so poor prices and the difficult 2019 crop season have inevitably hurt area ag. Our news staff here at Agweek really does understand that agriculture is cyclical and frequently hit with rough stretches. Certainly I understand it. Two examples of many:
The 2020 crop season will bring more financial challenges for area farmers, with some crops potentially showing a net loss per acre, a new North Dakota State University Extension report finds. Spring wheat, in particular, threatens to finish in the red in much of the state. Projections are mixed for corn and generally positive for soybeans. Spring wheat, corn and soybeans are the state's three major, or most widely grown, crops.
Family farms continue to be the core of U.S. agriculture, a new federal government report says. Family farms account for 98% of U.S. farms and 88% of U.S. ag production, according to "America's Diverse Family Farms — 2019 Edition" from the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Economic Research Service. The numbers reflect a longstanding pattern, Bryon Parman, North Dakota State University Extension agriculture finance specialist, said when asked by Agweek to comment on the report.
Come for the informational sessions. Come for the "fun atmosphere." Come for the free food. Come for all three, Bill Hodous said. "It should be another really good year for Roundup," said Hodous, North Dakota's Ramsey County Extension agent and an organizer of the annual Lake Region Extension Roundup farm show.
Upper Midwest agriculturalists are hardly strangers to difficult harvest conditions. But the 2019 crop season brought what many in area ag say was the worst, most onerous harvest in memory. The miserable harvest began with repeated rains in August that hampered combining wheat and other small grains. It continued with more rain in September and then widespread blizzards in October, November and December. All crops raised in the region suffered to some extent, as did virtually all farmers and ranchers.
GRAND FORKS, N.D. — It's been said many times that the customer is always right. And since beer makers increasingly want malting barley from two-row varieties, barley breeders are working to develop new and better ones — a process that they stress doesn't happen overnight. At Anheuser-Busch, "We started breeding for two-row in 2010. We're making progress, but it takes time," said Austin Case, North American barley breeder for the giant beer company.