What Star Trek, Androids And Agriculture Have In Common

The cast of Star Trek: The Next Generation featured a pasty-faced male android named Data. His name was always pronounced Day-ta (long “a” in the first syllable), never Da-ta (short “a” in the first syllable). I thought of Data recently as I worked on the May 30 Agweek cover package, which looks at big data.…
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Are Family Farms Doomed?

A lot of people involved in agriculture worry about the future of family farms. Some folks say the outlook is bleak; they worry family farms may be doomed. Well, I was out of the office Tuesday visiting with a family that runs a small farm. One of the grown children, who just graduated from college,…
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Hedging Aside, It’s Been A Great Spring

I wrote a story a few years ago about the ongoing harvest in the Upper Midwest. The story mentioned the “generally” and “overall” good yields that farmers “on balance” were enjoying. It also stressed that there were “pockets of poor yields.” The day the story was published, I received an email from a farmer who…
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Wanted: Your Definition Of ‘Family Farm’ And ‘Corporate Farm’

They’re two of the most emotionally charged terms in modern agriculture: “family farm” and “corporate farm.” And they’re at the heart of the controversial Measure 1, which would weaken North Dakota’s longstanding ban on corporate farming. The measure will be voted on June 14 in the state’s primary election. Measure 1 is drawing strong interest…
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And The Survey Says, Americans Like Farmers!

U.S. farmers and ranchers often complain they’re under attack. They say they’re misunderstood and unappreciated. Well, a recent poll commissioned by National Crop Insurance Services found that 86 percent of the people surveyed have a favorable view of farmers. The poll also found strong support for subsidized federal crop insurance, something near and dear the…
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