‘Evil Empire’ Or ‘Force For Good’? An Agweek Visit To Monsanto Research Facilities

Monsanto, the giant agrochemical and biotechnology company, has been described as both an “evil empire” and a “force for good.” Hate it or love it, Monsanto plays a leading role in U.S. agriculture. I’ll be visiting Monsanto’s research facilities in St. Louis during the week of July 24. I’m among 20 journalists, who come from…
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How You Define This Word Reveals If You’re A Farmer Or Not

THOMPSON, N.D. — The word is lodging. To people who aren’t knowledgable about crops — and the overwhelming majority of Americans aren’t — the word means taking up residence somewhere, usually temporarily and away from home. But if you’re a farmer, or otherwise involved with the production of small grains, lodging refers to the stems…
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The Thing That Most Often Keeps Farmers Awake At Night

I increasingly think that health insurance, not weather or prices, is the thing that most often keeps farmers and ranchers awake at night. My July 5 column looked at this crucial issue in modern ag. In the column, I stress how much I want to write an Agweek cover story on health insurance, one featuring…
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It’s Alive! (Easy As Pie)

This spring, I wrote about transplanting a 120-year-old rhubarb plant on my family farm in central North Dakota. Some readers, tickled by the existance of such an old plant, have asked me how it’s doing. I’m happy to report it’s faring just fine. Rhubarb is tough; even I couldn’t mess up transplanting it. (Especially not…
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Sometimes Our Much-Maligned Political System Works Pretty Well

This spring, during the annual convention of the North American Agricultural Journalists in Washington, D.C., I listened to Sen. Pat Roberts, R-Kan., and Sen. Debbie Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich., the leaders of the Senate Agriculture Committee, talk about the prospects for Senate legislation establishing a nationwide GMO labeling law. They both said that crafting, and then…
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