Jonathan Knutson / Agweek Staff Writer
FARGO — Lanny Faleide is a farmer turned technological pioneer whose work has been praised by NASA. For 24 years, his self-described "bleeding-edge" company has used space-age technology, particularly satellite imagery, to help agricultural producers better understand their fields and farm them more efficiently. But Faleide said greater interest in precision agriculture, including the use of satellite and drone imagery, doesn't mean he and his company, Satshot, have finally reached the promised land.
Gerald Stokka wasn't quite sure what to expect when he traveled to Washington, D.C., recently to take part in one stage of the Pew Charitable Trusts' "Supermoms Against Superbugs" initiative. But Stokka, North Dakota State University extension veterinarian and livestock stewardship specialist, said the Feb. 27-March 1 event — in which parents, doctors and agriculturalists met with policymakers and shared their perspective on the growing threat on antibiotic resistance — was both positive and encouraging.
GRAND FORKS— The U.S. potato industry likes to describe its product as "America's favorite vegetable." But the industry acknowledges that critics have put potato marketing efforts "on the defensive," causing "us to say that it's OK to eat potatoes," said Blair Richardson, president and CEO of Potatoes USA, the nation's potato marketing agency. Now, his group is close to approving a marketing push that would put potatoes "on the offensive," with "us saying that you should be eating potatoes," he said.
LAWTON, N.D. — Justin Zahradka says that when he was a high school freshman, "I was the kind of kid who sat in the back of the class and never said a word." He pauses for a second and adds, "That's obviously changed, and it's because of FFA." Zahradka, now a 24-year-old full-time farmer from Lawton, N.D., says his involvement with FFA made him a better person and better farmer and opened up wonderful opportunities both during and after his time with FFA.
NEKOMA, N.D. — It's November — a Friday, late afternoon — in Nekoma, population "26 on a good day." Snowflakes dance in the chill breeze before settling to the ground. From as far as 60 miles away, people are leaving their farms, homes and businesses to drive through the dusk over snow-covered roads. They want food and drink. They want camaraderie and companionship. And they know it's all waiting for them here at the Pain Reliever.
Q: What is the Land Stewardship Project? The Land Stewardship Project is a membership organization of about 4,000 households, primarily in Minnesota and Wisconsin. It works through members to foster an ethic of land stewardship, to promote sustainable agriculture and build healthy communities. Q: What do you raise on your own farm?
If you ask farmers what skill or attribute is most important in their occupation, the majority will pause for a few seconds before saying "optimism" or "faith in the future." Some will answer "capital," "vision," "access to land" or "willingness to change with the times." I agree, all those things are important, even vital. But here's what I firmly believe is the trait that modern farmers and ranchers need most to survive and thrive:
The North American Free Trade Agreement is a big deal to U.S. agriculturalists. NAFTA is even more important to their Canadian counterparts, a Canadian attorney with close ties to agriculture says. Given that, ongoing efforts to revise NAFTA are "a huge concern," Kenton Rein says. Rein is a partner in Cassels Brock's Calgary, Alberta, office, where he leads the firm's agribusiness practice. He also is on the executive committee of the Canadian Bar Association's Food and Agribusiness Section.
Editor's note: Jonathan Knutson received a fellowship from the North American Ag Journalists to attend the Society of Environmental Journalists' recent annual convention in Pittsburgh. He is not a member of the group. PITTSBURGH — Andrew Dessler compares current public debate over climate change to the long-concluded debate over smoking.
PITTSBURGH — Understanding the U.S. farm bill isn't easy even for full-time agriculturalists. Journalists with limited exposure to ag may face an even greater challenge. But three veteran agricultural journalists, with extensive experience in covering the farm bill, have some insights that can make the task a little less difficult.