A Parent And Child: The Magic Of Agriculture

I stopped at the Schaunaman farm near Aberdeen, S.D., this past week. I didn’t recognize Chad, right off though he looks the same after 9 years. (Sorry, Chad, no improvement.) Chad reminded me that I’d taken this picture. It all came back when he recalled our conversation about our wrestling son, Nick, going off to be a custom-combiner that…
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Black Gold Starts Texas Reds Harvest

While we’re just getting into the fields in North Dakota, I see that Black Gold Farms, based in Grand Forks, N.D., is just starting to harvest their 2016 crop of Texan Reds potatoes near Pearsall, Texas. The company has been growing reds for the fresh market about an hour from San Antonio on Interstate Highway…
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New NDSU Nitrogen Calculator For Sunflower

The North Dakota Sunflower N calculator is now operational on Dave Franzen’s website at https://www.ndsu.edu/pubweb/soils/sunflower/ Franzen is a North Dakota State University Extension Service soils specialist. I think this will be a year when farmers will be highly aware of their expenses for fertilizer and other inputs. The best advice available on how much is economical comes…
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Farmers work soil for planting corn south of Moorhead, Minn., on May 3, 2013, nearly a month later than the previous year.

Why Plant Crops In Face Of Negative Outlook?

I am often asked an obvious question. If farmers are projected to lose money raising crops, why do it? And if they grow them on owned land, why do they continue to rent that is projected to lose money? The answer has to do with fixed costs and long-term optimism. Fixed costs such as land…
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A glimpse of the future near West Fargo, N.D.  on June 23,  2015. -- Photo by Mikkel Pates

Seeing Beyond The Horizon Vital In Tough Times

Farm meeting season gets a bit frenzied. I have heard concerns this winter about weather, about markets and about big problems in production agriculture like herbicide-resistant weeds. The facts are often challenging, sometimes daunting. One of the most important things I’ve heard lately was a quote from John Phipps, an editor with U.S. Farm Report.…
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