agriculture | Prairie Public Broadcasting


Growing hemp has its challenges

Nov 4, 2019

North Dakota has 64 licensed hemp growers.

Some of them are growing it for CBD oil.

The hemp coordinator for the North Dakota Agriculture Department said 2019 was the first year it could be grown for that purpose. And John Mortensen says there are a lot of differences between growing hemp and convention grain production.

"The CBD is more of a horticulture-type crop," Mortensen said. "It is a lot more labor-intensive."

Also, Mortensen said there are no pesticides listed for hemp.

"So it's a lot of hand-labor," Mortensen said.

A Mysterious Disease

Oct 24, 2019

On this date in 1912, concern was sweeping through the Dakotas, Kansas and Nebraska. Horses were dying. Back then, farmers still relied on flesh-and-blood horsepower. Losing hundreds of horses throughout the Great Plains was a terrible blow. While tractors were coming into vogue, many farmers could not yet afford the newfangled machines.

Harvesting Crunch

Oct 22, 2019

In fall of 1912, the crops seemed bounteous. The Washburn Leader even published a long article by Professor Thomas Shaw, who noted that North Dakota, South Dakota, and Minnesota had produced a crop that was larger and better than in the past two decades, with "conditions for growth, except in a few localities, … almost perfect."

ND farm financial stress

Sep 30, 2019

Many North Dakota farmers are under financial stress.

NDSU state agricultural financial specialist Bryon Parman said you see it in higher loan demand, as well as loan restructuring. He said, for example, loans of over $1 million have drastically increased.

"You can pretty much attribute that to the fact that most of the working capital is burned up," Parman said. "So most of the operating expenses is coming from borrowed funds."

And the biggest reason for that?

North Dakota's Agriculture Commissioner said the state's farming and ranching community has felt their fair share of challenges over the last six years.

Goehring said in a normal cycle, the market would likely start turning around. But he said that isn't happening now – because the market is still fraught with challenges.

"There's a trade war with China," Goehring said. "We're still dealing with high tariffs across the entire world, from many countries."

The House has approved a measure that its supporters say will make it easier to site large animal feeding facilities.

The measure says counties and townships cannot change zoning regulations after a permit application is filed. And it gives the county and township a 60-day window in which to approve or deny those applications. If the local government does not act within 60 days, the siting is approved.

Opponents said it takes away local control.

The Good Seed Train

Mar 15, 2019

The North Dakota Agricultural College was born in March 1890 when the governor approved a bill calling for its establishment. The land grant college opened its doors in January of 1892 with a president, three faculty members, and 123 students. Classes were held in six rooms rented from Fargo College. The first agricultural experiment station had been established two years earlier, and it was now incorporated into the program at NDAC.

Researchers in the late 1800s found that older farmers resisted new advances in agriculture. This was supported by the response of rural North Dakotans to the establishment of the North Dakota Agricultural College. The farmers wondered what “a bunch of college boys” could possibly teach them about farming. But the same researchers discovered that young people living on farms were more open to new ideas and more likely to experiment, and were able to introduce new ways to the older farmers.

Will tariffs against Chinese goods spark trade war?

Mar 23, 2018

The Vice President of the US Soybean Export Council says the country's ag industry cannot afford to get into a trade war.

Dave Thompson / Prairie Public

The 4th annual “Farming and Ranching for the Bottom Line” was held Tuesday at Bismarck State College.

The conference was held to talk about the weather outlook, crop production, grazing strategies and economics, especially in dry years.

David Archer is a research leader at the Northern Great Plains Research Laboratory, south of Mandan. His topic was “Economics of Improving Soil Quality.” Archer said one practice toward improving soil quality is “no-till” farming.