Jonathan Knutson / Agweek Staff Writer
GRAND FORKS, N.D. — The falling numbers test is important to Upper Midwest grain farmers, especially this crop season. The test also can be confusing and even a little mysterious. A demonstration Dec. 12 at the annual Prairie Grains Conference in Grand Forks sought to clear up some of the confusion and mystery. "Everyone's hearing about it this year. A lot of producers wonder about the test. How important it is. How it works," said Brian Sorenson, program manager with Northern Crops Institute in Fargo, N.D.
GRAND FORKS, N.D. — Despite reports suggesting otherwise, Americans still like beer. They still like it a lot, a beer economist said. "For the most part, we're very predictable and consistent consumers of alcohol," said Lester Jones, chief economist of the National Beer Wholesalers Association. That said, Americans' affection for, and consumption of, beer is taking new forms, which the beer industry needs to understand and take into account, he said.
There are people, or so I'm told, who write down the lessons they learn during the year — and then, late in the year, review the written list to reinforce the lessons. That would never work for me. I learn so much every day that I'd be hard-pressed to write down everything, much less study the list at year's end. But the many challenges of 2019 have taught me (or rather retaught me) some important lessons about agriculture. I suspect this list contains things that many Agweek readers also have relearned in the past year.
Given poor crop prices and limited farm profitability, many U.S. agriculturalists are looking for additional ways to earn money. A new federal government analysis confirms that agritourism is a growing source of income for farmers and ranchers, though much of North Dakota and Minnesota are identified as "cold spots" for agritourism. Agritourism refers to farms with an educational or recreational component such as tours of a working farm or a "U-pick" berry operation.
Erik Paulsen chuckled without humor when asked why the United States Mexico Canada Agreement — considered both beneficial and necessary by much of U.S. agriculture — hasn't been approved by the U.S. Congress. "That's Washington politics at work," he said. But encouragingly for people who want the agreement passed, "It has bipartisan support." Paulsen, a former Minnesota Congressman, is honorary co-chairman of the Pass USMCA Coalition, a group of trade associations and businesses advocating for the swift passage of the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement.
A post-Thanksgiving blizzard — the latest blow in a long run of uncooperative weather — has further slowed already tardy Upper Midwest harvest. Large amounts of corn and sunflowers remain in fields, especially in North Dakota, according to the updated weekly crop progress report reflecting conditions Dec. 1 and released Dec. 2 by the National Agricultural Statistics Service, an arm of the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
Farmers and ranchers in central North Dakota raise many different crops and kinds of livestock. As a result, the Central Dakota Ag Day will offer information on a wide range of agricultural topics. The annual farm show is set for 9 a.m. to 3:30 pm., Thursday, Dec. 5, at the Carrington (N.D.) Research Extension Center. About 100 people typically attend the event, which began in 2014. It's sponsored and organized by North Dakota State University extension agents in Foster, Eddy, Wells, Sheridan and Stutsman counties, as well as research center staff.
Many Upper Midwest farmers would give thanks this year for cooperative early winter harvest weather. Though harvest progress is being made, large amounts of corn and sunflowers remain in fields, according to the latest weekly crop progress report from the federal government. The report, reflecting conditions Nov. 24, was released Nov. 25 by the National Agricultural Statistics Service, an arm of the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
Rural America isn't quite what it used to be, a new government study finds. The nation's most rural counties lost population and had relatively minor or even negative economic growth between 2010 and 2018, according to "Rural America at a Glance: 2019 Edition" from the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Economic Research Service. In contrast, the nation's metropolitan counties — generally described as ones with at least one urban area of more than 50,000 people — gained residents and had relatively large economic growth
FARGO, N.D. — Tim Petry sits behind a table in a lobby. In front of him is the pre-registration list for the soon-to-start North Dakota State University Extension outlook conference for agricultural lenders. Bankers from northeast North Dakota and northwest Minnesota stream up to the desk to be checked in. But Petry rarely needs to consult the list. He greets most of the bankers by name — he's known them for years — and offers a friendly smile to all.