Jonathan Knutson / Agweek Staff Writer
BOZEMAN, Mont. — Gordon Holt believes in agriculture and wants to make it his lifelong career. He's off to a great job — the 23-year-old Montana State University student, who graduates this spring with a bachelor's degree in agricultural business, has had a full-time ag job waiting for him since last summer. That's not unusual, in his experience. "Everybody who's looking for a job in the ag sector is, for the most part, not having to look too hard before something pops out," Holt says
Americans in general are living longer than ever. So are farmers and ranchers, some of whom are remaining active into their 70s, 80s and even 90s. Agweek plans to recognize senior farmers in an issue this summer — and we're inviting you to submit candidates. Know an older farmer — friend, neighbor or relative — who's still active? Either full- or part-time? If so, drop us a line and tell us about him or her. Here's what we're looking for: Name: Address: Age and length of service in farming:
WASHINGTON, D.C. — Rural Americans sometimes complain they're unfairly portrayed as uneducated, especially in comparison to urban residents. A new U.S. Department of Agriculture report finds that rural Americans are increasingly well educated — but, on balance, still less educated than their urban counterparts. "Rural Education at a Glance, 2017 Edition" was prepared by the USDA's Economic Service. Agweek talked with Alexander Marre, the report's lead author.
GRAND FORKS, N.D. — Frank Matejcek grew up a stone's throw from the Red River of the North, so the Grand Forks, N.D., farmer and rancher is no stranger to spring flooding. But even Matejcek wasn't quite prepared for the 1997 flood. "It was a real doozy," says Matejcek, 67, still an active ag producer just north of Grand Forks, where his family has farmed since 1953.
GRAND FORKS, N.D. — It may not be as well known as the Conservation Reserve Program, or CRP, but the Conservation Stewardship Program, or CSP, is the nation's largest working lands program with more than 80 million acres enrolled. Now, the U.S. Department of Agriculture is accepting contract renewal sign-ups for CSP. Producers with CSP contracts that expire Dec. 31 have until May 5 to apply for renewal. The program was updated last fall with changes to help producers better evaluate conservation practices that could benefit their lands.
"That story you had in Agweek about WOTUS and federal crop insurance and those other things — I want to talk about that," the caller said. "Sure. Be glad to," I said. "But just let me say first, it was a column, not a story. A news story is an objective look at something. A column is subjective, based on opinions and judgment."
FARGO, N.D. — Tim Geinert saw both need and opportunity. So the Nortonville, N.D., high-tunnel operator approached extension officials and others with a proposal for a multi-day educational session on high tunnels. They thought it was a good idea. "There's a lot of opportunity here, I think. But there's also a need for more information," Geinert said.
Health insurance is usually confusing and almost always expensive. Here are some sources that might reduce the confusion and, possibly, cut the cost: — www.healthcare.gov: Federal government web site with key information on health insurance and the Affordable Care Act. — www.healthcare.gov/small-businesses: information on health insurance options for small business related to the Affordable Care Act. — www.healthcare.gov/small-businesses/employers: Information of the Small Business Health Options Program, or SHOP.
This is the second in a two-part series on the challenges that rising health insurance costs pose to U.S. agriculture. The first part, published in the March 24 issue of Agweek, focused primarily on one farm family. WISHEK, N.D. — Like other agricultural business owners, Troy Scherr understands the value of offering health insurance to employees. And like most other business owners, he's struggling with escalating costs that make doing so increasingly difficult.
WASHINGTON — If you're involved in U.S. agriculture — and value reliable statistics to help you make important decisions — you'll be interested in the upcoming 2017 Census of Agriculture, now available online.