Who Has It Tougher: Modern Farmers Or The Pioneers?

It’s been a rough winter — cold, snowy and often miserable — in much of the Upper Midwest. That’s presented farmers, ranchers and other agriculturalists with extra challenges. The difficult winter reminds me of a disagreement I had years ago with a co-worker. She maintained that life is harder for modern Americans than it was…
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How Do You Define A Family Farm?

I wrote this story (it appeared in the Jan. 8 print issue of Agweek) that looked at a report on family farms from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Economic Research Service. The report, it seems to me, is straightforward and contains few, if any, surprises to anyone familiar with Upper Midwest agriculture. But there are…
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My Short, Successful Stint As A Livestock Surgical Assistant

COOPERSTOWN, N.D. — I’m here in Cooperstown on a chilly winter day for a future Agweek cover package. Been here many times before, both professionally and personally. I was raised in McVille, N.D., not far to the north. Four decades ago, when I was a high school student, I came to Cooperstown on a warm…
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Heard At A Farm Show

I heard this anecdote a few years ago at an area farm show. It’s relevant again now, so I’m repeating it here. I’ve shortened it and added one comment of my own in parentheses. It’s 2032 and the first woman has been elected president of the United States. (Make it sooner or later than 2032…
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A Story Of Cattle And Cold Weather

It’s bitterly cold across much of the Upper Midwest. And so I relate this story: Years ago, when I was a high school student, I helped to check our cattle during calving. One bitterly cold night — the thermometer read 19 below and the wind chill made it much colder — I went out at…
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