Tracy Frank is a SheSays, Variety, and Farmer's Forum reporter for The Forum of Fargo-Moorhead. Have a comment to share about a story? Letters to the editor should include author’s name, address and phone number. Generally, letters should be no longer than 250 words. All letters are subject to editing. Send to firstname.lastname@example.org
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FARGO – As researchers uncover more health benefits of flax, more food companies are including the ingredient in their products. And that means more opportunities for farmers. A clinical trial in Canada has shown that hypertensive patients who ate 3 tablespoons of flaxseed every day for a year had large decreases in blood pressure. Grant Pierce, director of research for St. Boniface Hospital in Winnipeg and a University of Manitoba professor, talked about the results at the recent 66th Flax Institute of the United States in Fargo.
FARGO—Farmers plan to plant more corn and less wheat than expected this year, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture's recently released annual Prospective Plantings report. The report is based on a survey of about 84,000 farmers around the country and shows the acreage they expect to plant for each crop. Frayne Olson, North Dakota State University crop economist and marketing specialist, said the report is the first glimpse traders, market analysts and buyers get into what U.S. farmers are thinking as they prepare to plant.
MOORHEAD—For some producers, 2016 will be a "make-or-break year," said Lynn Paulson, Bell State Bank & Trust senior vice president and director of agribusiness development. There is still a lot of strength in agriculture, he said, but producers who just did OK between 2006 and 2012 are probably having problems now, he said. "There's been about a 50 percent reduction in commodity prices," he said. "There isn't any business that can handle that extended squeeze for those period of times and remain profitable."
FARGO -- When talking about the quality of soybean meal for livestock feed, Scott Gauslow wants farmers and buyers to think more about amino acids than crude protein. Soybean quality is often measured by protein. But animals don't have a protein requirement, they have an amino acid requirement, said Gauslow, North Dakota Soybean Council director, who farms corn and soybeans near Colfax in Richland County.
"Just by nature, Easter lilies are a plant that will flower three weeks earlier than the one sitting right beside it," he said. "Our shipping window is relatively short for Easter lilies, so some we try to move forward with warm temperatures and some we try to hold back with cooler temperatures." Because Easter floats over almost a month's time period, Bergen said Easter lilies are one of the most technical crops to grow.
FARGO – It's important to know your competition, Walter Lanza told a room of farmers before detailing the difficulties farmers have transporting soybeans in Brazil. Lanza, a graduate student studying agricultural economics at North Dakota State University, is from Brazil. He talked about impassable roads, inefficient railroads and trucks that can take weeks to unload at the North Dakota Soybean Council's Soybean Marketing and Risk Management seminar held recently in Fargo.
FARGO—Julie Larson said she can tell when her kids have eaten artificial food dyes. "My daughter always complains of stomachaches, and both kids get super hyper," the Fargo mom said. Since her family rarely eats artificial food dyes, Larson said when her kids do—at birthday parties, for example—it's easy to see how it affects them. "It's been kind of an inadvertent experiment because their bodies react right away, and you can't seem to pair the symptoms with anything else," she said.
VALLEY CITY, N.D. – Shayne Powers, who farms small grains, corn and soybeans near here, said he's "kind of worried" about the commodity markets. "It's kind of a tough year to make a dollar," said Powers, who listened to JR Kassian, a Russell Consultant and CHS Hedging branch manager, give a market review and outlook at the North Dakota Winter Show in Valley City earlier this week. "The market's been going down lately," he said. "I'm just trying to see if there's an upside at all."
FARGO – Innovations in agriculture can mean more business opportunities for farmers. Alex Sinclair wants to use ag residuals, like corn stalk, soy hulls and wheat straw, to replace petroleum-based sources for plastics. Bonnie Cobb and Joseph Kallenbach have come up with a way to increase the market potential of corn byproducts. The innovators are North Dakota State University students who participated in the NDSU Research and Technology Park's seventh annual Innovation Challenge.
FARGO – Farmers never used to have to worry about wheat prices in Russia or Ukraine. "We were worried about what was happening in our backyards," said Paul J. Georgy of Allendale, an Illinois-based futures trading brokerage and agricultural economic research firm. Now farmers have to think globally when it comes to marketing their products. National experts in ag economics were in Fargo recently to talk about the impacts of today's economy on agriculture.