Jenny Schlecht / Agweek Staff Writer
WEST FARGO, N.D. — The Big Iron International Visitors Program received more applications than ever from international buyers who wanted to visit the annual farm show here. But because of visa denials from the U.S. State Department, only about 50 participants ended up making it to the show, said Simon Wilson, executive director of the North Dakota Trade Office.
FARGO—Tim McGreery hasn't seen prices this low for pulse crops in 12 years. Peas, he said, are down 25 percent, lentils 40 percent and chickpeas 50 percent. McGreery, chief executive officer of the USA Dry Pea & Lentil Council, based in Moscow, Idaho, said tariffs in India and China—formerly the two top international destinations for U.S. pulse crops—are "definitely having an impact."
WASHINGTON — Producers who have raised soybeans, wheat, corn, sorghum, cotton, pork and dairy found out on Aug. 27 how much of the $12 billion trade compensation package they will receive. But many in agriculture would prefer a strong market to a government check. "It's nice to get a little money, make a little cash flow happen," said Nancy Johnson, executive director of the North Dakota Soybean Growers Association. "Everybody is appreciative of a payment; everybody is kind of wishing the payments would go away."
FAULKTON, S.D — Drivers heading west on U.S. Highway 212 into this north central South Dakota town this summer have found themselves gawking in amazement at the image of the back of a small boy in jeans and a T-shirt on the Agtegra elevator. The image shows every wrinkle of fabric, every strand of hair and the softness of a child's form, as if a giant black-and-white photo had been pasted to the side of the towering structure. Aussie Dave even has joked about starting a pool on when the first crash will be.
REDWOOD FALLS, Minn. — A pair of monarch butterflies fluttered by Grant Breitkreutz as he stood in a field of cover crops. "The wildlife we got back here on the farm is unbelievable," he said. Besides the butterflies, there are pheasants, quail and partridge, and "you can't even count" the deer, he explained in a visit to his farm this month. Many of the species hadn't been seen in decades until they reappeared in recent years. Breitkreutz attributes the increase in wildlife to the soil health practices implemented on the farm
MANDAN, N.D.—The colorful chart behind Holly Johnson looks a little like the periodic table of elements, only instead of elements, there are carefully arranged columns of crops.
FARGO, N.D. — Many Upper Midwest wheat farmers have been hoping that good-looking wheat fields will produce record or near-record yields this year. The results of a widely watched annual tour indicate that won't happen. Spring wheat will yield an average of 41.1 bushels per acre this year, up from 38.1 bushels per acre in drought-ravaged 2017 but down substantially from estimated per-acre yields in 2012 to 2016, including the record 49.9 bushels per acre in 2014, according to results of the Wheat Quality Council's hard red spring wheat and durum tour.
CUT BANK, Mont. — Farmers in Montana planted 1,535,905 acres to pulse crops in 2017, up 24 percent from 2016's 1,209,039 acres, which was itself a 38 percent increase from 2015, according to the Montana Department of Agriculture. While eastern Montana, and northeastern Montana in particular, remain the heart of pulse crop acreage, the crop has spread west, into the state's "Golden Triangle" in the north central.
"It's really, really a small percentage that are doing it right." I saw that quote while perusing Twitter. The speaker, apparently, was actress Natalie Portman on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, talking about animal agriculture in June. It's disheartening, of course, for those of us involved in raising livestock to see people believe we aren't "doing it right." It's more disheartening when it seems unlikely that either of the people involved in the conversation has ever spent the night doctoring a sick calf or rushed an old cow to the veterinarian.
WASHINGTON, D.C.—U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., says the kind of bipartisan, across-the-board support the U.S. Senate's version of the farm bill received doesn't happen often. "That doesn't happen for anything but basketball resolutions," she says. "The vote ... shows the rest of the world that America has the backs of our rural communities."