Mikkel Pates / Agweek Staff Writer
GRAND FORKS, N.D.—American Crystal Sugar Co. stock share prices and trading ran steady to stronger in the trading season, which seems to be coming to a conclusion, says Jayson Menke, ag stock specialist at FNC Ag Stock LLC, in Grand Forks, N.D. American Crystal of Moorhead, Minn., is a farmer-owned cooperative in which members purchase shares, which offer the right and obligation to deliver beets. Shares typically are bought and sold from harvest until spring.
LAKE BENTON, Minn. — Jim Nichols campaigns like a politician, but he isn't running for office anymore. The 71-year-old former Minnesota agriculture commissioner is lobbying for farmers to learn more about how to boost their corn yields. He says he's achieved an impressive 300-bushel yield by paying better attention to nitrogen fertilizer timing.
ELBOW LAKE, Minn. — There are often glimpses of the quiet spiritual expressions of farmers in the Upper Midwest. One image that suggests Easter is on a farmstead two miles north of Elbow Lake, Minn. The sculpture garden is the eye-catching legacy of Allen Bakke, who farmed until he became ill with cancer, and then spent his twilight years building images of importance in his life. The site is just to the west of Grant County Highway 20.
ABERDEEN, S.D. — A relatively new service is offering high-accuracy Global Positioning System "corrections" for farm equipment in the region through a network of ground stations, rather than through familiar towers. MidStates VRS, based in Fargo, is linked to the Butler Machinery Co. MidStates VRS started taking subscriptions in the spring of 2015 and business has been building since then.
PERLEY, Minn. --Paul Houglum knows farming has taken its toll on his hearing. In mid-March he was hauling grain to the local elevator, emptying wheat from bins with a large vacuum machine. "It's a very loud machine," says Houglum after stopping the task. "The new ones have gotten better, but they're still loud." Noise is "one of the things you try to put up with" as a farmer, he says. "You try to wear ear muffs or ear plugs when you're doing it. But, there's certain things you have to hear, too. There's times you don't using hearing protection as much as you should."
WASHINGTON, D.C. — U.S. Sen. John Hoeven, R-N.D., is weighing whether and how to correct problems that have come up in the wake of a fix designed to restore a tax break for farmer co-op members. The first fix was a provision for the tax relief measure and was designed for beet cooperative shareholders and others. But some private grain elevators say the fix went too far and could be a fatal blow to their businesses if not repaired within weeks.
PERLEY, Minn. — It's been a popping good corn year on the Colten and Katie Gehring farm near Perley, Minn. — a hobby enterprise they call "Farmers Gold Popcorn." Gehring farms commercially by day, and she's a florist in Fargo, but in their spare time they're heating up an on-the-cob popcorn business. The 2017 season was their first year at the Red River Market, a farmers market which runs from 10 a.m to 2 p.m., Saturdays through the end of October in Fargo. Their products also are at gift stores in Fargo.
SISSETON, S.D.—Farmer Robert Hanson pulled up to the pumps on a moonlit Saturday night at Sisseton, S.D., but the horsepower was provided by the actual horses. "Methane," Hanson replied, when asked what kind of fuel the Percheron/Morgan team were associated with. Of course, they'd be producing it, not buying it.
WEST FARGO, N.D. — The Environmental Protection Agency predicted it might take six months to do an initial evaluation of "energy beets" for their environmental footprint as a feedstock for biofuels. Six years — not months — later the agency has a thumbs up on energy beets as a feedstock — rating it for greenhouse gases and other environmental issues. Proponents say it's a the first of three hurdles in making it accepted as a viable biofuel.
VALLEY CITY, N.D. — Dicamba damage on 2017 soybeans has shifted into a new phase of high-stakes public relations, regulatory and legal battles. The Arkansas State Plant Board on Aug. 25 recommended limiting the chemical's use to before April 15 in that state for 2018. Low-volatility dicamba herbicides include Monsanto's XtendiMax, DuPont's FeXapen and BASF's Engenia. The Environmental Protection Agency is reviewing label instructions for the chemicals for 2018.