Jonathan Knutson / Agweek Staff Writer
PARK RIVER, N.D. — Aaron Kjelland says he's "inherently an optimist." That's a good thing, even a necessity, in modern agriculture. But it's especially important this growing season — one that began for Kjelland with too little rain and that's now plagued with excess moisture, harvest delays and major quality concerns in his wheat crop. "It's been a challenging year, that's for sure. And there are farmers who've had greater challenges than we've had," said the 38-year-old who farms with his father Orville near Park River northeastern North Dakota.
September brings shorter, generally cooler days, as well as dew that stays longer in the morning and arrives earlier in the evening. Those things are working against area farmers, who need warm, dry conditions to get into soggy fields and combine wet wheat and also to boost the late development of still-maturing crops.
WEST FARGO, N.D. — Crop prices are poor, and farm profits are limited, even non-existent. So it stands to reason that the price farmers pay to buy and rent cropland is slipping, right? But that's not the case. Though trends vary from area to area, "Land values are resilient" overall, holding steady or even inching higher, said Brent Qualey, veteran area real estate salesman and appraiser with Farmers National. His company describes itself as "the nation's leading agricultural landowner services company."
American consumers are increasingly interested in organic food. So it should be no surprise that organic commodity farmers will harvest a record 3.1 million acres of U.S. land certified for organic field crop production this year, 7% more than a year ago, according to a new report. Total organic acres, which includes pasture and rangeland, now stands at 8.3 million acres, according to the report from Mercaris. The Silver Spring, Md.-based organization provides market data and a trading platform for organic and non-GMO markets.
North Dakota ranks 10th in U.S. ethanol production. Brazil, already the world's biggest buyer of U.S. ethanol, almost certainly will buy even more in the future. Recognizing opportunity, state trade and ethanol industry officials recently visited Brazil to build relationships they hope will lead to future sales of North Dakota-produced ethanol to the South American country.
April was a memorable month for me. On April 8, I wrapped up my one-year term as president of North American Agricultural Journalists by leading our annual meeting at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C. I didn't feel well at all, but being a good North Dakota farm kid, I toughed it out.
Warm temperatures and the absence of early frost are always important to Upper Midwest agricultural producers in September. But cooperative weather is critical this crop season, with the wheat harvest and corn and soybean development still far behind normal.
Rising carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere could be both good and bad for wheat, according to a new study. Researchers reporting in the American Chemical Society's Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry found that a much higher level of carbon dioxide, or CO2, could increase wheat yields but slightly reduce its nutritional quality. More CO2 in the atmosphere could produce more droughts and hotter temperatures. That could be advantageous because plants use the gas to make food by photosynthesis, the study said.
American farmers and ranchers spent a little less on farm expenses in 2018 than they did in 2017, according to a new federal report. Total U.S. farm production expenditures fell to $354 billion in 2018 from $357.8 billion in 2018, according to an August report from the National Agricultural Statistics Service, an arm of the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
Computer use and internet access on American farms continues to rise, with the Upper Midwest remaining ahead of the national average, according to a new report. Much of the new use comes from smartphones the National Agricultural Statistics Service, an arm of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, said in its August 2019 report. The National Agricultural Statistics Service also surveyed farm computer usage and ownership in 2017.