North Dakota corn is being harvested at “a furious pace,” according to one of my elevator manager’s words. Pretty much everybody finally has had their killing frost. South of Grand Forks, corn was coming in at 15 to 19 percent moisture this week, with an average of 17 percent, test weight at 56 pounds and yields from 120 to 175 bushels, says Paul Coppin, at Reynolds, N.D. Not bad.
Coppin says he’s “excited” about former Gov. Ed Schafer’s expected nomination to be Secretary of Agriculture. “The down-side is he will only serve for one year,” Coppin says.
I got one question today that asked whether Schafer was a good governor. My response: Schafer was re-elected to a second term. He is well-liked enough by the Republicans to have been repeatedly disappointed he wouldn’t take on Sens. Kent Conrad or Sen. Byron Dorgan. But that seems to go for Gov. John Hoeven, too. Schafer will be a ditto to Mike Johanns. If Bush had wanted a truly knowledgeable ag secretary from North Dakota, he might have picked someone like Lt. Gov. Jack Dalrymple. (But of course Jack is busy farming, chairing the Dakota Growers Pasta Co., and serving in his current post.) One good thing about Schafer is that he has no messy farm business entanglements to extricate himself from. I can see the former governor, moving about in Washington for a year in the department limousine.
As for North Dakota congressional races, I’m thinking the Republicans will trot out someone new for these big races — maybe Doug Bergum? Drew Wrigley? Surprise me. No doubt the breathless Scott Hennen will tell us, first.
But enough about the corn harvest. Have a good day.