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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Will Those Horrible Canadian Wild Fires Hurt Upper Midwest Crops?

If you live in the Upper Midwest, parts of it anyway, you’ve noticed haze in the air caused by Canadian wild fires. If you live in the Upper Midwest and are involved in ag, you’ve probably wondered if the haze will hurt crops. After all, growing plants need sunshine. I wondered, too, in the summer…
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Fraternity Of Farmers? Be Skeptical

Farmers like to represent themselves as a band of brothers (and sisters), a fellowship, a fraternity. At their best, they are. I’ve seen it many times, especially when a group of neighbors comes together to plant or harvest the crops of a farmer with health problems. The full reality, however, is that some farmers benefit…
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