Jonathan Knutson/Agweek Staff Writer
BISMARCK, N.D. — Ross Lockhart says he normally doesn't get involved in politics. But Lockhart, who operates his family Heart and Soil Farm near Grandin, N.D., is making an exception for proposed North Dakota legislation that would help beginning farmers gain access to land. "I just hear over and over again, that beginning farmers have a major challenge getting land," said Lockhart.
If you have questions about the timeline for applying for federal conservation programs under the new U.S. farm bill, signed into law in late 2018, you're not alone. The National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition does, too. But the Washington, D.C.-based coalition, a grassroots alliance that advocates for sustainability of ag, natural resources and rural communities, has a few ideas, based on what happened after the 2014 Farm Bill was approved.
If you farm in northwest Minnesota — or grow wheat anywhere in the state — you almost certainly know Dave Torgerson. For three decades, he's played a key role in the Minnesota wheat industry, serving as executive director of both the Minnesota Wheat Research and Promotion Council and the Minnesota Association of Wheat Growers.
Brian Ryberg and Ryberg Farms are relatively new to some farming practices that promote soil health. He's also a fairly new member of the Soil Health Partnership. But Ryberg, who farms with his wife Sandy at Buffalo Lake, Minn., has taken well and quickly to both. He received the Soil Health Partnership's "Super Sprout" Award at the 2019 Soil Health Partnership Summit Jan. 15-16 in St. Louis. The award honors him as a first-year member of the organization who "has jumped right into active involvement" with the group, according to the Soil Health Partnership.
Though pulse crops face challenges, their long-term outlook remains bright — which an upcoming conference will help to illustrate, a pulse grower leader said. "This will be chance (for attendees) to catch up on the new developments with pulse crops," said Chris Westergard, the Northern Pulse Growers Association president and a Dagmar, Mont., farmer. The association holds it annual convention Jan. 28-29 at the Clarion Hotel in Minot, N.D. More than 300 people are expected to attend, if the weather cooperates.
Negotiation tips Experts offer these basic suggestions to help farmers and landlords reach agreement on farmland rental rates: • Reliable, impartial statistics and perspective are critical. Extension service officials and experienced ag bankers in your area can help to provide them.
CROOKSTON, Minn. — When Temple Grandin was 14, her parents divorced and her mother remarried, leading Grandin from Boston to an Arizona ranch and her first exposure to cattle. From that modest beginning, Grandin — who is autistic and as a child was written off by some as brain-damaged and destined to be institutionalized — has gone on to a remarkable career that includes revamping livestock handling facilities in North America and serving as a spokesperson for people with autism.
DEVILS LAKE, N.D. — Frayne Olson studied agricultural economics in college. But Olson, now North Dakota State University extension crop economist/marketing specialist, says, not altogether in jest, that he might have done better to study political science. "I'm not a political science major. I'm just a poor dumb economist trying to figure out what's going on in the world," he said.
DEVILS LAKE, N.D. — Area farmers invest a great deal of time and money to make the best use of productive farmland. But their effort should include improving parts of fields that aren't producing crops, a North Dakota State University extension agent said. "Get a plan, figure out what you have with a soil test and start moving toward your goal," said Brad Brummond, a veteran Walsh County extension agent.
DEVILS LAKE, N.D. — What happens in Europe, Mexico and Washington, D.C., in the next few months will help to determine how many acres area farmers plant to dry, edible beans. "We'll still have to wrestle with some of these trade issues for a little while longer," said Frayne Olson, North Dakota State University extension crop economist/marketing specialist.