Jonathan Knutson / Forum News Service
It’s no secret that the U.S. dairy industry is suffering. New statistics help to document the extent of the pain. The United States lost 2,731 licensed dairy farms from 2017 to 2018, a drop of 6.5 percent, according to a U.S. Department of Agriculture report. The percentage loss was even worse in Minnesota, where the number of dairy operations fell from 2,380 in 2018 to 1.980 in 2017, a 10.2-percent decline, according to USDA.
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.
As many farmers and their landlords renegotiate rental agreements that expired after the 2018 crop season, this generalization about farmland rental rates appears sound: “In places with good (2018) yields they’re steady. Where the yields were average or below-average, they’re going a little lower,” said Jack Davis, South Dakota State University Extension crops business management field specialist.
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.
GRAND FORKS — “Average” is one of those terms that can mean different things to different people. Daryl Ritchison, interim director of the North Dakota Agricultural Weather Network, cautioned that could be the case when he predicts “average” or near-average 2019 weather in North Dakota. “The ‘80s were dry. The ‘90s and early 2000s were about as wet as this area can get,” he said. “People have forgotten what dry is,” skewing some area residents’ expectations for 2019 weather.
GRAND FORKS — Doyle Lentz has been working to win federal funding to fight scab for nearly 30 years. Now, he and others in the battle have scored a double-headed win. “We’re pretty happy with what’s in the farm bill for scab research,” said Lentz, a Rolla barley farmer and the former co-chair of the U.S. Wheat and Barley Scab Initiative.