agriculture | Prairie Public Broadcasting


People around the country – and here in North Dakota – have received packages of unsolicited foreign seeds.

The seeds appear to have originated in China.

North Dakota Agriculture Commissioner Doug Goehring said he’s heard from at least 40 people who have received the seeds. And he said it’s various types of seed.

"Some of it looks like noxious weeds," Goehring said. "Some looks like birdseed, grain millet, all kinds of stuff."

Goehring said that is a concern.

File photo

A Mott cattle rancher has been awarded $7,225 by the North Dakota Agricultural Products Utilization Commission, for engineering and design of a beef processing facility in Mott.

John Roswech owns South 40 Farms. He said his goal is to take his cattle, slaughter them, and sell the meat products on-line, especially to buyers on both coasts.

"I'll be able to process about 150 to 175 head per month, when I'm fully up and running," Roswech said.

Farmers went through a number of hardships, following World War I, that affected their livelihood; "adverse crop conditions" and plummeting prices did not help the situation. Their struggles caused repercussions in other industries—such as affecting the sales of farming machinery.

North Dakota Game and Fish Dept.

For the first time since 2018, USDA is accepting applications for the Conservation Reserve Program.

And the state Game and Fish Department is offering help to farmers who are interested in signing up for CRP.

Game and Fish private land supervisor Kevin Kading said he hopes to show landowners that CRP-created wildlife habitat makes it a great fit for the department’s Private Land Open To Sportsmen program, or PLOTS.

"We might be able to help them out in some ways with cost-share assistance, or some other incentives, if they're interested in CRP," Kading said.

Sunflower harvest isn't finished

Jan 14, 2020
National Sunflower Association

Just like other commodities, the sunflower harvest was delayed because of the weather.

"We still have about 20 percent of the crop that still needs to be harvested in the US," said National Sunflower Association executive director John Sandbakken. "In North Dakota, it's probably a little bit higher -- closer to that 25 to 30 percent level."

But Sandbakken said weather permitting, producers are out, trying to get the crop off. He said it now looks like the crop will be about the same size as last year.

The Rearview Mirror

Dec 7, 2019

Some may say it is a sign I am in my dotage, but lately I have been thinking and writing more than ever about agriculture, farming and ranching. You see, I was never supposed to be a farmer. My eldest brother was that guy, and thanks to him and his capable wife, and the others gone before them, as well as the cohort coming on, I believe I will see the family farm into the seventh generation.

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?