Hello, blogging world! I’m happy to be offering a new spot for you to check in on agricultural news and the news and whispers behind the news. I’ve been a staff reporter for Agweek magazine since January 2000, and also am a reporter for the Grand Forks Herald of Grand Forks, N.D. The Herald is owned by Forum Communications Corp., based in Fargo, where I live. The puddle I play in daily is in the Dakotas, Minnesota and Montana, as well as Saskatchewan and Manitoba. I already write a column called Ag-at-large in Agweek on a monthly basis, so now this format should fill in the blanks and offer a chance for some of you to comment more directly on ag matters. So, here we go!

I have often made the point to agricultural sources that I am not an advocate for agriculture. I’m an observer of agriculture, and write things that I hope will be of interest to farmers and other agribusiness folks. Sometimes I write about people who would rather not see themselves in print. That’s not always bad. One person this week phoned me to say that she couldn’t believe I’d use her family’s name in print when they had expressly refused to be interviewed for a story. Too bad. The family is a significant player in southeast North Dakota agriculture, and occasionally they’re going to be in the news, whether they like it or not. I don’t work for them. Truth is, journalists could write A LOT about just about anybody, just about any time we’d like, just from the public documents associated with people. In fact, when people are especially secretive it makes me think I should do a whole lot more checking about them.

Along those lines, people often greet me with "Staying out of trouble?" My response almost always should be, "Nope." In every issue of Agweek there should be at least one thing written that SOMEBODY didn’t want published. Of course it should be free of libel-free, but that’s a topic for another blog.