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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The One Thing I Hate About Living Here. You Probably Hate It, Too

Though I frequently sing the praises of the Upper Midwest, particularily its many rural areas, there’s one thing about it I absolutely detest. It’s not drought. Oh, I’ve lived through them and know, both personally and professionally, how devastating they are. Nor is it blizzards, another persistent enemy of Upper Midwest residents. Drought and blizzards,or…
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This Phrase Reveals Whether You’re An Old Or Young Aggie

A few years ago, I was talking with a veteran Upper Midwest agriculturalist about crop conditions in his immediate area. He mentioned a recent shower and described it as the “million-dollar rain.” Then he stopped, chuckled ruefully and said, “I should probably stop using that term. It show my age. Nobody young uses it any…
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