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THOMPSON, N.D. — The word is lodging. To people who aren’t knowledgable about crops — and the overwhelming majority of Americans aren’t — the word means taking up residence somewhere, usually temporarily and away from home. But if you’re a farmer, or otherwise involved with the production of small grains, lodging refers to the stems of plants falling over from their normal near-vertical orientation or, more simply, plants falling over. The condition, usually caused by heavy winds, can hurt both yields and quality and makes combining more difficult.
I increasingly think that health insurance, not weather or prices, is the thing that most often keeps farmers and ranchers awake at night. My July 5 column looked at this crucial issue in modern ag.
A few years ago, I was listening to a guy talk about his new vehicle. After he called it a truck, I said innocently and automatically, "Oh, you mean your pickup." He glared at me and said, "No, I mean my truck." Well, the dictionary defines a truck as a "wheeled vehicle for moving heavy articles," and a pickup as "small truck that has an open back with low sides." Pickup was a better, more precise term for his vehicle, it seems to me.
This spring, during the annual convention of the North American Agricultural Journalists in Washington, D.C., I listened to Sen. Pat Roberts, R-Kan., and Sen. Debbie Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich., the leaders of the Senate Agriculture Committee, talk about the prospects for Senate legislation establishing a nationwide GMO labeling law. They both said that crafting, and then winning approval for, such a bill would be difficult, but doable.
Whenever I talk during the growing season with folks involved in agriculture, I ask how crops in their area are faring. Agweek country is such a big place that I always get a variety of answers. But there’s usually a single, overriding theme: On balance, it’s too wet. Or too dry. Or too hot. Or too cool. Click here to find out what farmers are saying this year...
DEVILS LAKE, N.D. — Devils Lake, N.D., has always been part of my life. I sometimes came here as a farm kid growing up, and now I come here as an ag journalist to cover the long, ongoing flooding. Devils Lake (the lake and the region’s largest city share the name) has been flooding since the mid 1990s during a protracted wet stretch. I’ve written about it many times, most notably here , drawing national attention.
GRAND FORKS, N.D. -- North Dakota agriculturalists are clashing over a proposal, known as Measure 1, that would weaken the state's longstanding ban on corporate farming Now, with a statewide vote nearing, a leading farm organization that opposes the ban has filed a lawsuit to overturn it altogether. The North Dakota Farm Bureau, which generally opposes government regulations and restrictions, announced the lawsuit Thursday at press conferences in Fargo and Bismarck.
The federal government and U.S. beekeepers now know a little more about the number of honeybee operations nationwide. The newly released, first-of-their-kind statistics, which help set a baseline, should be of more value later when new quarterly and annual numbers are available.
April is Soy Foods Month, which isn’t particularly meaningful to me. I cover agriculture in the Upper Midwest, where soybeans are an increasingly popular crop. I’ve lived and worked in North Dakota’s Cass County, already the nation’s leading producer of soybeans. And soybeans are grown on my family farm. Hey, to me, it’s always Soy Foods Month. But most Americans, including school kids, need a little encouragement to think about soybeans. And so Coolbean was born.
GRAND FORKS, N.D. -- U.S. farmers, facing poor prices for their favorite crops, will likely plant even more corn, the nation's top crop, a new government report predicts. Soybeans and wheat, which along with corn are the nation's three major crops, are expected to see fewer acres, with wheat suffering an especially big drop.