Jenny Schlecht / Forum News Service
VALLEY CITY, N.D. — Arlen Bonde has a lot of corn to combine, but he was moving at about half speed in mid-November. On Nov. 19, Bonde had combined about 3,500 out of 10,000 acres of corn. Time was of the essence. The fall had, for a time, turned mostly dry, but Bonde — and other farmers across the region — knew the conditions wouldn’t last. Even with the time crunch of knowing winter could come in earnest at any time, Bonde had one combine parked and one running in a field west of Valley City.
WASHINGTON — U.S. Department of Agriculture officials stressed the importance of the “dignity of work” while announcing a final rule that they estimate will kick 688,000 people off the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program. “Government can be a powerful force for good, but government dependency has never been the American dream. We need to encourage people by giving them a helping hand but not allowing it to become an indefinitely giving hand,” U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue said.
MEDINA, N.D. — I got a call from my husband the other day in which he said some words I’m pretty sure he had never said in that combination before and doesn’t want to ever have to say again: “I’m baling hay over the ice.”
MCVILLE, N.D. — Amy Smith recalls going through a bit of a restless phase in college. “I didn’t know what I was doing in college,” she says. She cycled through majors, trying art, education, business and others. “I was having a hard time trying to figure out what I wanted to do, and everything I tried just wasn’t working,” she says. “And then one day, Dad mentioned, ‘Well, there’s room back here.’”
Farm bankruptcies continue to increase nationwide, with the largest number of such filings coming in the Midwest region, according to a report from the American Farm Bureau Federation . The report, by Farm Bureau economist John Newton, details the number of bankruptcies per state in the 12-month period ending in September 2019, how those bankruptcy numbers compare to the year prior, and an overall discussion of farm income.
A number of years back, before I had kids and possibly before I was married, a lady at Faith Evangelical Church in Crystal Springs, N.D., asked me if I would be able to come help out at a kuchen baking fundraising for a team raising money to go on a mission trip. The church sends out such teams every few years, and they typically complete some sort of task in foreign countries — helping with construction projects and the like — and try to follow the “Great Commission” in Matthew 28 to “make disciples of all nations.”
SPIRITWOOD, N.D. — The roads leading to the Dakota Spirit Ag Energy ethanol plant are lined with uncombined corn. In some places, stalks are in standing water about knee-high. David Freeman, merchandiser at Dakota Spirit Ag Energy, owned by Midwest Ag Energy, says conditions in the 30-40 mile radius from which the plant typically buys corn have been as wet as anyone has seen in at least a decade. Stutsman County, where the plant is located, in October declared an emergency because of flooding. High water is common throughout the region.
FARGO — A while back, I wrote a column that looked back on an item from a North Dakota newspaper in 1925 that had the optimistic belief that tractors and washing machines would “keep children on the farm.” Since we now know that those items did little to stem the exodus away from farms, I asked readers what they thought might keep people on the farm. I had a lot of calls and emails, and I read plenty of thoughts online. Most of the thoughts seemed to go into three categories: 1. Change farm policies. 2. Sell to end consumers.
FARGO, N.D. — County Farm Service Agencies have a lot on their desks this fall. “We have programs that are popping up left and right, and we are just having to implement those programs,” says Brad Thykeson, North Dakota FSA executive director. Farm Service Agency is a division of the U.S. Department of Agriculture that administers farm programs through county-based offices
Had we not had weather forecasts, Tuesday would have been a beautiful day. Wednesday would have seemed like a pretty typical early fall day, a little dreary and blustery.