Jenny Schlecht / Agweek Staff Writer
Journalism can be a tough gig. Even when we know that what we've written is important, it's tough to judge whether it makes a difference in the world. It's not unusual for something frivolous — a cat video, for instance — to capture the attention of millions while a well-written, deeply reported article goes largely unnoticed. And reporters receive more than their fair share of negative feedback. But every once in awhile, we get a reminder that what we're doing matters.
Q: What is your role in agriculture? I am an owner of a ranch supply business, Western Ranch Supply, with Keith Robinson and Rob Erickson. In my eyes the ranchers and farmers are the ones that have huge roles in agriculture. They are the ones putting food on our tables. Our role would be to have expertise in the products we sell to help the rancher with his decision as to what products to use for the health and well being of his herd. Q: How has agriculture shaped your life?
MANDAN, N.D. — The North Dakota State Board of Agricultural Research and Education has dropped a proposal that would have made counties with populations less than 2,000 pay more to keep their own extension agents. The board made the unanimous decision at its meeting on Jan. 12 at the Northern Great Plains Research Lab south of Mandan. While it has agreed all counties will be treated equally in extension funding, the board has not finalized how the state and counties will split the costs.
WASHINGTON — The Task Force on Agriculture and Rural Prosperity has presented President Donald Trump with a report on ways to improve life in rural areas. Trump on April 25, 2017, established the Interagency Task Force on Agriculture and Rural Prosperity through an executive order. Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue was made the chair of the group, which then held listening sessions and took comments through an online portal.
NASHVILLE — If a rancher gets plowed over by a cow and ends up in the hospital, people come to help fix fence. If a farmer learns he has cancer, a neighbor will come combine his grain. But when someone in a rural area is struggling with addiction, that response may not come. And that’s something National Farmers Union President Roger Johnson and American Farm Bureau Federation President Zippy Duvall would like to see change, particularly in the case of opioid addiction.
At Hub City Livestock's Dec. 30 cow sale in Aberdeen, S.D., a group of 3-year-old bred cows brought $2,030 per head. The day before, at Stockmen's Livestock Exchange in Dickinson, N.D., a set of 4-year-old cows brought $2,050 and a group of bred heifers brought $2,150. It's a positive sign for areas of the region that were hit hard by summer drought, but representatives of the barns say it doesn't necessarily mean that ranchers who sold down are buying back.
When we bought an Australian Shepherd puppy in the 2015, my older daughter was in a phase of naming things with random syllables. The little black and brown puppy was going to be "hers," and she wanted naming rights. After running through a variety of sounds, she stumbled onto "Cocoa." We immediately agreed, since it was an actual word and not a hodgepodge of letters. It also fit her coloring and was easy to scream.
ELGIN, N.D. — Dakota Farm Equipment in Elgin, N.D., is back up and running after a New Year's Eve fire destroyed the John Deere dealership and one of its service shops. Co-owner Mike Ballard says the building was a total loss, and he has not heard yet what the cause of the fire might have been. He says the business will work through insurance to determine what happens next and to compensate owners of equipment that was in the shop that burned.
WASHINGTON — Seventy five percent of farmers and farm workers surveyed in conjunction with an online study say they are or have been directly impacted by opioid abuse — compared to less than half of all rural residents. Only 31 percent of all survey respondents indicated they know that rural communities are affected most by the opioid crisis. The online survey of 2,201 rural adults in October 2017 was conducted by Morning Consult on behalf of American Farm Bureau Federation and National Farmers Union.
Here at Agweek, we’ve been working on a number of year-end and best-of-2017 stories. They’re typical stories written and put together in newsrooms across the country and probably the world.