Jonathan Knutson / Agweek Staff Writer
The Upper Midwest soybean harvest is inching toward completion. But there's still a lot of work ahead for area corn and sunflower producers. North Dakota, South Dakota and Minnesota farmers made relatively modest harvest progress in the week ending Nov. 18, according to the weekly crop progress report released Nov. 19 by the National Agricultural Statistics Service, an arm of the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Much of the focus in agricultural circles is on soybeans, the harvest of which was delayed by uncooperative weather in October and early November.
Regular readers of this column (all three or four of you) have a pretty good idea of what I'm thankful for this Thanksgiving season. The long list includes science, technology, international trade, the perseverance of my ancestors and, in varying degrees, the wisdom and generosity of Agweek readers. So rather than repeat at length what I've written already, I'll focus here on a few things that, in my humble opinion, would make Thanksgiving even better for those of us whose lives revolve around agriculture. I'd give thanks for wimpier weeds
It's been a tumultuous year for Upper Midwest agriculture, with tariffs, weeds, weather, marketing and more demanding the attention of agriculturalists. The 2018 Northern Ag Expo, set for Nov. 27-28 at the Fargodome in Fargo, N.D., will help people in ag deal with at least some of that, said one of the event's organizers.
FARGO, N.D. — The National Agricultural Genotyping Center's big-picture mission remains the same: Taking so-called primary scientific research and helping farmers and other agriculturalists make practical use of it.
NEW YORK MILLS, Minn. — Darin Bauck, sitting at the kitchen table with his father and two brothers, hesitates a moment when asked what he's thankful for this Thanksgiving season. "Well, there are so many things," he says. He mentions the simple joy of watching farm cats at play, the pleasure of watching livestock grow and thrive, the satisfaction of remaining active in agriculture despite his physical challenges. "But most of all I'm thankful for being able to farm with my family," he says.
Nearly 250 organizations have sent a letter to the U.S. Senate Agriculture Committee opposing the nomination of Scott Hutchins as chief scientist of the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The letter, signed by 245 groups representing farming, farmworker, public health, labor, food safety and environmental interests, noted that Hutchins spent more than 30 years of his career working at Dow AgroSciences with a focus on pesticides.
Uncooperative mid-November weather has further slowed harvest and the Upper Midwest harvest pace remains behind normal, a new government report says. But farmers continue to make progress, albeit slow, combining soybeans, the crop that has been raising the most concern. More than 90 percent of soybeans in North Dakota, South Dakota and Minnesota are now harvested, according to the weekly crop progress report released Nov. 13 by the National Agricultural Statistics Service, an arm of the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
GRAND FORKS. N.D. — Net farm income is at lowest level in 10 years, reflecting poor crop prices, and some in agriculture are talking about being in an ag recession. Byron Parman, an assistant professor and agricultural finance specialist at North Dakota State University, said the numbers and historical perspective tell otherwise. "We not in some kind of ag recession right now This is just normal. This is what net cash income looks like in a normal period," Parman said. "That's a little bit sobering, I understand. A lot sobering," he said.
GRAND FORKS, N.D. — With so much attention on tariffs, harvest and the lapsed U.S. farm bill, you may not have heard a lot about corn ethanol recently. But the U.S. ethanol industry is alive and well, and offers promise, a biofuels specialist says. "There are opportunities in ethanol," said David Ripplinger, North Dakota State University Extension bioenergy specialist. Ripplinger spoke Oct. 29 in Grand Forks at Extension's annual ag lenders' conference. Ag bankers from northeast North Dakota and northwest Minnesota attended.
There are several things that alarm or annoy me about President Donald Trump's trade war. Here are the three most troublesome: First and foremost, I'm concerned for U.S. farmers and consumers worldwide. The Trump tariffs have cut into U.S. ag exports and threaten to hurt consumers worldwide. Yes, as I've heard many times from some Agweek readers, other countries, especially China, are cheating. Yes, as I've heard many Agweek readers say, let's be optimistic that things work out in the end.