Jonathan Knutson / Forum News Service
It may seem obvious: Crop prices are poor, profit margins are tight and much of the Upper Midwest suffered through horrible harvest conditions in the fall of 2019. So area farmers naturally will pay less to rent cropland in 2020, right? But that’s not what’s happening, area farmers, agricultural bankers, real estate agents and Extension officials say. With most 2020-crop year negotiations completed, in progress or set to begin soon, rates generally are holding steady, ag officials say.
Mark Twain is supposed to have said, “The reports of my death have been greatly exaggerated.” It appears the same can be said for the widespread perception that Americans on average have turned against eating meat. “There’s a misnomer out there that meat consumption is falling. But the statistics show otherwise,” said Tim Petry, North Dakota State University livestock marketing economist.
Lauren Langworthy is no stranger to organic agriculture or the Midwest Organic and Sustainable Education Service, better known as MOSES. Now, as the organization’s new executive director, she’s working to help it better serve farmers. “We want to refocus our efforts to become more effective,” she said. Addressing economic justice for ag producers is among the goals, said Langworthy, who is involved in grassroots organizing of farmers and represents her district on the board of the Wisconsin Farmers Union.
The 2020 crop season will bring more financial challenges for area farmers, with some crops potentially showing a net loss per acre, a new North Dakota State University Extension report finds. Spring wheat, in particular, threatens to finish in the red in much of the state. Projections are mixed for corn and generally positive for soybeans. Spring wheat, corn and soybeans are the state’s three major, or most widely grown, crops.
Devils Lake, N.D. — Local foods, usually defined as foods purchased within 100 miles of where they’re produced, offer both potential and challenges for agricultural producers in lightly populated northeast North Dakota, according to a newly released study. Though local foods hold considerable appeal to many consumers and other potential buyers, significant obstacles hamper producers from fully meeting that interest, the study found. The study also reaffirms how important local foods are to the people who produce them, the study coordinator said.
Family farms continue to be the core of U.S. agriculture, a new federal government report says. Family farms account for 98% of U.S. farms and 88% of U.S. ag production, according to “America’s Diverse Family Farms – 2019 Edition” from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Economic Research Service. The numbers reflect a longstanding pattern, Bryon Parman, North Dakota State University Extension agriculture finance specialist, said when asked by Agweek to comment on the report.
Upper Midwest agriculturalists are hardly strangers to difficult harvest conditions. But the 2019 crop season brought what many in area ag say was the worst, most onerous harvest in memory. The miserable harvest began with repeated rains in August that hampered combining wheat and other small grains. It continued with more rain in September and then widespread blizzards in October, November and December. All crops raised in the region suffered to some extent, as did virtually all farmers and ranchers.
Farmers worldwide are getting better at raising food, but the world’s food needs are growing even faster than the increase in agricultural productivity, a new study finds. The 0.1% gap — world ag productivity is growing 1.63% annually, with an annual increase of 1.73% needed to sustainably produce food, feed, fiber and energy in the future — threatens global ability to provide ag products for 10 billion people in 2050, the study says. The world now has about 7.7 billion people.
CAVALIER, N.D. — This is a story about a term and agricultural practice — silvopasture — that you’re probably never heard of. But if you like trees or livestock, or want to better protect pasture for future generations, keep reading. Chase Furstenau, a Cavalier rancher, cares about all three things. And so he’s interested in silvopasture, a largely unknown but starting-to-gain-traction ag practice that emphasizes incorporating trees into pasture to benefit both.
PARK RIVER, N.D. — Aaron Kjelland says he’s “inherently an optimist.” That’s a good thing, even a necessity, in modern agriculture. But it’s especially important this growing season — one that began for Kjelland with too little rain and that’s now plagued with excess moisture, harvest delays and major quality concerns in his wheat crop. “It’s been a challenging year, that’s for sure. And there are farmers who’ve had greater challenges than we've had,” said the 38-year-old who farms with his father, Orville, near Park River in northeastern North Dakota.