Jonathan Knutson / Forum News Service
EAST GRAND FORKS, Minn. — Rhonda Larson has just spent a busy late-winter day substitute teaching kindergarten in the morning and second grade in the afternoon. But she’s happy to spend the last part of her afternoon talking about agriculture and promoting wheat and U.S. Wheat Associates. “It’s boots-on-the-ground marketing and a long-term commitment,” she said of the organization.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture has narrowed its search for the new homes of two of its agencies and hundreds of its employees with three proposed sites in Minnesota remaining in the running, USDA announced Tuesday, March 12. Of the initial 136 “expressions of interest” received by USDA, 67 locations remain under consideration, including these Minnesota plans: Falcon Heights, as proposed by Buhl Investors.
CROOKSTON, Minn. — When Temple Grandin was 14, her parents divorced and her mother remarried, leading Grandin from Boston to an Arizona ranch and her first exposure to cattle. From that modest beginning, Grandin — who is autistic and as a child was written off by some as brain-damaged and destined to be institutionalized — has gone on to a remarkable career that includes revamping livestock handling facilities in North America and serving as a spokesperson for people with autism.
Specialization generally is beneficial in economics. But too much of anything, even economic specialization, may not be a good thing. “We need to be asking if putting all our eggs in one basket is wise when the basket is more sensitive,” said Ariel Ortiz-Bobea, assistant professor of applied economics and management at Cornell University.
ALEXANDRIA, Minn. — Minnesota often is associated with lakes, trees, corn and soybeans. But cattle are important to the state, too, Minnesota cattle industry officials say.
GRAND FORKS — Stacey Jones and Michael O'Donnell believe strongly in sustainable agriculture and are committed to learning more about it. Their first visit to North Dakota helped them do that. "This is a great opportunity. There's a lot to see and learn," Jones said. Jones is area specialist agent for greenhouse and nursery crops with the North Carolina State Extension. O'Donnell is Extension educator for organic and diversified agriculture with the Purdue Extension in Indiana.
NORTH PLATTE, Neb. — Pesticides are an important and controversial part of U.S. agriculture. Now, a North Dakota State University and University of Minnesota extension official is spearheading an effort to establish a pesticide application testing laboratory on the NDSU campus in Fargo. "Why not us?" said Tom Peters, NDSU and U of M extension sugar beet specialist, pointing to the growing need for pesticide application testing and the very small number of labs that offer it.
HOFFMAN, Minn. — Many farmers say their career is what they always wanted, what they always planned on. Not Andrew Barsness. But the happenstance organic farmer from Hoffman is making the most of his unexpected profession, in part by advocating for other beginning farmers. "Farming once seemed so foreign to me. Now I can't imagine doing anything else," he said. "Beginning farmers like me have some things we have to deal with, though."
The caller said he'd enjoyed my column on rental rate negotiations between farmers and landlords. He also had a question for me. "What happened to crop shares?" he asked, adding that they seem fair and reasonable to him. "Good question. It's one I've asked many times, too," I said, adding that I like them, too.
FARGO — Andrew Robinson is a familiar face in the Red River Valley potato industry. Now some of the players in Angola's potato industry know him, too, and that could lead to closer ties between the African country and the Red River Valley. Robinson, Extension potato specialist with both North Dakota State University and the University of Minnesota, visited Angola in early March to share his expertise with potato farmers there. "There's great potential for Angolans to increase their potato production," he says.