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BINFORD, N.D. — I once attended a meeting in Fargo, N.D., the state’s biggest city, that featured a U.S. Department of Agriculture big shot from Washington, D.C. He began his presentation by saying he enjoyed coming to “small towns” like Fargo. Audience members — mostly farmers and ranchers from small towns — rolled their eyes.
It’s too early for barley growers in northeast North Dakota and northwest Minnesota to declare victory. But the crop, which had fallen on hard times in the area, is bouncing back — welcome news for both farmers and beer-drinkers. “There are some good things happening, but we still need a price where raising barley makes sense for us,” says Brian Lacey, a Wendell, Minn., farmer who’s active in his state Barley Growers Association.
DEVILS LAKE, N.D. -- Crop insurance is always crucial in this part of the world. But it's even more important now that crop prices and farm profitability have plunged, a crop insurance agent said "There's more emphasis on crop insurance, especially with bankers," Amy Ryan, manager of Progressive Ag Agency in Fargo, N.D., said.
I was talking on the phone with a Minnesota rancher about cattle prices when he mentioned a state agency’s plan to expand elk numbers in northwest Minnesota, home to all wild elk in the state. He was in his tractor at the time and I had a hard time hearing him clearly, but his concern was unmistakeable. “We don’t have anything against elk, but a lot of people don’t understand our side of it. They don’t realize how much damage elk can do,” he said.
FAIRDALE, N.D. — Yes, Dustin McGregor has heard the jokes and stories about farmers in winter: They goof off, they sleep late every day, they lounge on Mexican beaches. “It’s hard to tell if people are just giving you grief or if they’re serious,” said the Fairdale, N.D., farmer. But McGregor is sure of this: He stays busy even when he doesn’t have crops in the field.
GRAND FORKS, N.D. -- Andy Swenson has studied crop prices and farm profitability for decades. And for many years he's helped to prepare the annual North Dakota State University Extension Service Projected Crop Budgets, which estimate revenues and costs for selected crops in the coming year. The outlook for 2016?
GRAND FORKS, N.D. -- Michael Uhrich, aka "the beer economist," said the numbers are adding up for the beer industry. "I hear the U.S. beer industry isn't doing so well...
LANGDON, N.D. -- The long-dormant U.S. industrial hemp industry is enjoying a resurgence — and results from a Langdon, N.D., test plot could spur more interest in the crop. “It’s a start. But there’s still a lot of research to be done,” says Bryan Hanson, a researcher at the North Dakota State University Langdon Research Extension Center.
GRAND FORKS, N.D. -- El Nino is in full force. But the North Pacific Ocean "blob" and the Arctic Oscillation are battling El Nino for supremacy -- and the big winner should be Upper Midwest residents hoping for continued mild temperatures.
LANGDON, N.D. -- Bryan Hanson remembers when canola was a little-known Canadian import. He remembers research in the 1980s at the Langdon (N.D.) Research Extension Center, where he works, that investigated whether the crop could play a useful role in northern North Dakota. And he remembers watching canola production soar in the state in the 1990s, when North Dakota became the nation's dominant producer.