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FARGO — With sugar beet planting likely delayed until early May because of snow and cold, Tom Peters says farmers should set their sites on using pre-emergence herbicides to control waterhemp, and focus on that as much as they do on getting seed in the ground.
FARGO — Alex Kubicek wants you to make your farm into an automated weather network. "It's about using that network to help make daily decisions easier by having knowledge about what's happening," he says. Kubicek, 30, in 2012 founded Understory Inc. of Madison, Wis. Raised in Wisconsin, he holds a master's degree in atmospheric science from the University of Wisconsin. In the past six years the company has raised $10 million and has partnered with entities including Monsanto to launch "hyper-local" weather networks for agriculture and other purposes.
PRIOR LAKE, Minn. — Minnesota Agriculture Commissioner Dave Frederickson is on his last lap as the state's top ag official, pushing to the end for the water protection priorities of his boss, Gov. Mark Dayton. "I'm in, I'm hooked," said Frederickson, 74, in an interview after speaking at the recent Minnesota Grain & Feed Association in Prior Lake. "I want to make the case to Minnesota agriculture that you should get ahead of this issue and not behind it."
MIDLAND, S.D. — The Steve Daly family missed the big snow at the farm and ranch west of Midland on March 5. Heavy, wet snow this time of year is "good for everything but the baby calves," says Daly, 41. "The wind was awful." Daly farms and ranches with his wife, Julie, and sons Carson, 14, and Dane, 12. They raise winter wheat, spring wheat, milo, safflower and other specialty crops on about 3,000 acres near Midland, about 70 miles west of Pierre.
LaCROSSE, Wis. — Fake organic grain imports are becoming an increasingly heavy weight that could sink some U.S. organic farmers. Fraud allegations loomed large at the Midwest Organic and Sustainable Education Service (MOSES) conference and trade show in LaCrosse Feb. 21-23. It's billed as the largest event in the U.S. about organic and "sustainable" farming, with dozens of workshops and roundtable discussions. The trade show attracts 170 vendors and 3,000 attendees.
LaCROSSE, Wis. — The dicamba volatilization controversy in rural America is a new top-of-mind target for those who already criticize pesticide use. Kristin Schafer, executive director of a group called Pesticide Action Network, was one of the speakers Feb. 23 at the Midwest Organic and Sustainable Education Service (MOSES) conference and trade show in LaCrosse. PAN North America has special emphasis in California, Hawaii, Minnesota and Iowa, 120,000 supporters in North America and is supported by foundations and organizations.
BRECKENRIDGE, Minn. — George Schuler IV, a co-owner and grain and logistics manager for Minn-Kota Ag Products Inc., is upset because of a tax law snafu that favors cooperative competitors over corporate grain companies. Schuler says a "fix" in the federal tax reform bill in January has artificially and suddenly given a 15- to 20-cent-per-bushel advantage to his cooperative competitors in North Dakota and Minnesota.
APPLETON, Minn. — If necessity is the mother of invention, then tom turkeys are fathers of Barn Boss, an invention designed to make working in turkey barns a whole lot easier. Appleton turkey farmer Brad Mitchell and his colleague Jeff Stitt led the creation of the machine that can help cut the workload in large turkey barns.
FARGO — Farmers and even corporate elevators are considering creating their own co-op entities due to the market-destabilizing effect of the so-called 199A tax reform provision, which favors cooperatives over other corporate grain marketers. Frayne Olson, North Dakota State University agricultural economist and director of the Quentin Burdick Center for Cooperatives, says "If the current tax law is not changed — if it goes on as-is and we don't make any adjustments — there's going to be tremendous incentive to form new co-ops to take advantage of this."
MELROSE, Minn. — The "We Do Cows" billboards make a big impression on Interstate 94 as people travel to and from the Twin Cities. Ag-savvy motorists often smile at the slogan, but few know Leedstone Inc. is a creative and transformative business in the region's animal health industry. Leedstone is led by veterinarian brothers, David and Dan Tomsche. David, 61, is Leedstone's president and chief executive officer. Dan, 62, is vice president.