Page 1

March 2014

ield F

OF DREAMS

A Product of

Plains Reporter


2

williston herald and plains reporter

March 2014

Agriculture



Family of farmers stay positive through good and bad By Larry Griffin Williston Herald

Floyd Miller is a veteran

farmer who has seen the times change. He sat down with the Williston Herald to talk about

the difficult past year for farming, the implications of the farm bill and the future of farming.

Unfortunately for Miller, the past season was a wet one — making it very difficult to farm. “My brother, son and I did not get all of our crops in,” he said.

“We had 1,000 acres never seeded. We are still growing around wet spots.”

See FARM, Page 3

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Agriculture FARM: Dry winter and new farm bill leave farmers hopeful for successful 2014 year March 2014

3

Photo by Larry Griffin/Williston Herald

Hard at work Calvin Miller tosses hay from a barn, just one of many tasks he performs on the family farm near Grenora.

See FAMILY, Page 7

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Miller said the lack of snow this winter was merciful, as it left their land fertile for farming soon. However, he said he hopes the summer will bring enough rain to make the crops grow. Though luck was not on Miller’s favor last year, he took it in stride and worked with it the best he could. “We worked longer hours to try and get crops in,” he said. “Last year, it started raining on Memorial Day and never quit.” On the farm bill recently passed, Miller saw both its upsides and its downsides. “I am upset that it tied cross compliance with wetland damage,” he said. “I can see some spots on my field that should be drained, but because of compliance, I can’t because I may drain a wetland a duck will use. It’s my land. I should be able to do whatever I want.” Miller said farmers could do what they wanted with their land with almost no restraints before the first farm bill was introduced in 1985. His father drained his land, Miller said, and that yielded “very productive cropland.” “If he hadn’t, it would have become a swamp,” Miller said. Overall, Miller does see the good a farm bill does by providing farmers with crop insurance. “Farmers need crop insurance,” he said. “It provides them with a safety net. Input costs are very high, such as fertilizer and chemicals. Because of the farm bill, the prices at the grocery store are cheaper.” The future of farming, Miller says, looks grim in one aspect especially: the cost of farming. “It’s going to be expensive,” he said. “Someone starting out will have to inherit and get a down payment for the rest.” Miller’s son Calvin chimed in, saying farming has become more of a specialty practice in later years. “You have to be a diesel mechanic with the equipment necessary to run a farm now,” he said. Miller said there was a huge difference between farming then and now — mostly having to do with the amount of produce generated from the work. He remembered his father in the old days combining 40 acres in a day and filling 1,600 bushels by the end of the day.

Miller said his father was “happy” with that turnout. Today’s yields have eclipsed the days of Miller’s father by so much that Miller said farmers can now clear 1,600 bushels in an hour. The high farming costs are apparent in the machinery used as well, Miller said, with “astronomical” prices for new equipment making it impossible for many farmers to buy their equipment new. “A brand new combine can do what two older combines can do,” Miller said. “Farms are big now. They have to be to afford new equipment, new tractors. New tractors have a buddy seat, so you can train your operator right.” One downside for the modern

XNLV144108

From page 2

williston herald and Plains reporter


4

williston herald and Plains reporter

March 2014

Agriculture



Ag continues to lead the way for North Dakota economy By Jerry Burnes Williston Herald

Oil gets the headlines, but behind the scenes agriculture remains the top moneymaker in North Dakota by a close margin. The state is in an interesting position compared to most other states. Rather than just one industry running at full speed, it

has two. Lower commodity prices and increased livestock prices have pulled the two closer together, but ag has been consistent as oil production has steadily increased. About one in every four jobs in North Dakota are supported by agriculture, both directly and indirectly.

“Agriculture is still the leading economic engine,” said Ag Commissioner Doug Goehring. “It’s about neck and neck with energy.” To properly understand how ag competes, one needs to look toward innovation, research and trade. Educating the public and people within the industry on its

three main factors is one of the many challenges faced by Goehring and others at the state level. About 90 percent of all North Dakota land is owned or managed by ag producers and about 9 percent of the jobs across the U.S. are directly supported by the ag industry. The ag community is also

about the more general association of food security. Goehring said that’s what most Americans think about when it comes to the industry, which is interesting to him because Americans have one of the lowest percentages of their budget spent on food —

See ECONOMY, Page 5

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Agriculture

March 2014

williston herald and Plains reporter

5

ECONOMY: While oil gets the headlines, agriculture remains No. 1 factor in state From Page A1

about 6-7 percent. “It’s just not about food,” he said. “It’s about so much more.” North Dakota is the top producer of about 10 to 12 products and has many more that go fairly unrecognized throughout the state. For example, North Dakota has more than 100 vineyards and

produces about 1.2 million turkeys a year. A unique climate cluster across the state also produces an interesting relationship between its different parts. In Williston and the western part of the state, there is significantly less moisture than the Red River Valley, which has between three and 26 feet of good, usable

top soil. Moving west from Fargo and Grand Forks is the rolling plains, but even within the Red River Valley, there are different climates. Goehring cited Grand Forks, which has many differences from Devils Lake and even more from Williston. This affects the type of crops that can grown in different parts of the state. “We are located in the geographical center of North

America and in the state you can identify 10 to 12 different microclimates and regions that support different types of practices and soils,” Goehring said. From an economical standpoint, agriculture is more a cycle. As it continues to produce, money goes many different ways than the employers and producers. Once a product leaves the farm gate, the multiplier puts money in the hands of the trans-

porter, feed, food and fiber, fuel and more. When it comes down to it, farmers and ranchers get only cents on the dollar back in return. “There’s so many fingers the food pie,” Goehring said. “Ag producers only keep nine to 11 cents of the food dollar that stays in their pocket. The rest stays in the economy some place else because of the added value to a commodity.

Photo courtesy of Forum News Service

A farmer harvests a wheat crop. Agriculture continues to lead the state’s economy.

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williston herald and Plains reporter

Agriculture

March 2014

Decreases in corn, wheat prices impacts overall farm value By Eric Killelea Williston Herald

The value of field crops in North Dakota dropped from an estimated $10.67 billion in 2012 to $7.43 billion in 2013, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Keith Brown, extension agent in Divide County, said corn and soybean harvests declined during the drought of 2012. This increased the value of field crops, Brown said. But in 2013, an abundance of corn sent prices downward. The average price of corn in 2012 was $6.46 a bushel, according to the USDA. In 2013, the price of corn averaged $4. “Corn was the big driver in the

crop markets,” Brown said, especially in the Williams County area. “We were increasing corn due to the ethanol demand but now have met federal ethanol mandates, which have led to excess stock in corn.” Growing soybeans has sparked interest in the state in the past several years, Brown said. But the field crop didn’t fare much better. “There hasn’t been a lot of production in western North Dakota but producers are looking at soybeans in this area,” Brown said. Soybeans need moisture late into the growing season, when the crop fills its pods in midAugust. But since this area doesn’t ex-

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perience a lot of moisture during the summer months, growers are hesitant to plant the crop. “Through the years, there has been soybean varieties,” Brown said. “But we have to be careful because they have too long a growing season; we want the earliest maturing variety because they have no frost tolerance in the spring or fall.” The USDA’s crop value report, published in February, also had state-by-state break-downs of crop values and ranked the nations top five states: Illinois’ total value was $16.18 billion, Iowa at $15.86 billion; Nebraska’s $11.93 billion; Minnesota at $11.74 billion and Indiana at $8.33 billion. North Dakota finished just outside the top five. Lower prices in North Dakota tend to stabilize meat prices because corn and soybeans are welcomed livestock feed ingredients, Brown said. Wheat is still the biggest producing crop in Divide and Williams counties. The value of all wheat in the state was estimated at $1.8 billion in 2013, down from $2.74 in 2012, according to the USDA. The average price dropped from $8.07 a bushel in 2012 to $6.65 last year. The North Dakota Wheat Commission has reported markets have been showing strength in the past months, thought there are some concerns about the winter wheat crop and competition with Canada. “Canada had a terrific crop

See VALUE, Page 7


Agriculture

March 2014

7

williston herald and Plains reporter

FAMILY: Runs centenntial farm near Grenora From page 3

farmer is the change in how one attains his or her products. According to Calvin, the price of being able to raise a family and live on a farm is not what it once was. “When it started, you had cows for milk and chickens for eggs,” Calvin said. Now, he said, cows and chickens are increasingly hard to

afford. Despite the challenges of farming in the modern day and the somewhat grim outlook on the future of farming, the Millers have a lot of affection for their craft. “This is a centennial farm,” Calvin said, looking over the fields owned by his family. “It was purchased in 1906. In 2006, we celebrated its 100th anniver-

sary. There’s a lot of sentimental pride for me here. You feel like you’re contributing to what your family has done.” Miller said farming has been “in his blood all his life.” “I used to love it in the spring when I’d come home from grade school and I could smell diesel,” Miller said. “That meant dad had started the tractor. He was getting ready for spring.”

VALUE: Wheat remains king in Williams County From Page A6

this past year,” Brown said. “They had the largest spring wheat crop they ever had, and their durum crop was the second highest ever.” In Williams County, spring wheat and durum wheat reign, but the latter caused some concern due to some loss in protein, Browns said. No matter, yields across the board remained above average, he said. The county received more than five to six inches of rain in September to prevent the planting winter wheat on time, Brown said. Those who planted are waiting to see how the wheat grows with

cold temperatures experienced and minimal snow coverage. The snow helps insulate soil and keeps the temperatures from going so low in the soil. “What’s going to happen next year is anyone’s guess at this point,” Brown said. “It all depends on the environment.” Moving into the spring season, the county still has good levels of storage soil moisture, which will help field crops. This provides a reserve per se, but the county still needs timely precipitation to grow the wanted yields. “We haven’t had a lot of snow this winter so hopefully we aren’t facing problems that we did in the past,” Brown said.

About 35 percent of the acreage in Divide County never got planted during the drought in 2012, Brown said. “A lack of snow is a double edge sword,” Brown said. “We don’t want too much snow because it would add moisture to the ground that’s already fairly well saturated. Our soil profile is pretty well full after the moisture last year.” 1946 – 68 Years of serving the MonDak Region - 2014

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williston herald and Plains reporter

Agriculture

March 2014

Partners in Pulse United Pulse Trading, Inc. - Williston 701-572-4070 MonDak Field Pea Acres

650,000 600,000 550,000 500,000 450,000 400,000 350,000 300,000 250,000 200,000 150,000 100,000 50,000 0

Northeast Montana - Chick Peas Acres - Dryland

Compiled by Chet Hill, NDSU Area Extension Specialist - WREC

County Custer Daniels Dawson Fallon Garfield McCone Praire Richland Roosevelt Rosebud Sheridan Valley Wibaux TOTAL

1990 1995 1998 --506 89

2001 20 3,044 824

2002 --737 97

---

---

---

---

---

---

0

116 --204 255 --145 ----0 1,315

1,316 288 1,076 5,642 --3,274 1,386 728 17,598

335 550 228 3,545 --2,321 1,534 304 9,651

2003 2004 ----606 1,063 194 ----------336 ----------136 ------117 25 736 392 100 70 2,225 1,550

2005 2006 ----1,537 2,341 ------------------------1,886 373 --70 942 3,209 1,274 1,786 --61 5,639 7,840

2007 --600

2008 --318

---

---

-----

-----

829

170

---

---

145 --869 421 ----5,647 501 158 422 223 --8,471 1,832

2009

2010 --88 1,019 ------------495 1,212 ----20 ----100 ----131 1,232 920 1,195 344 516 1,998 5,274

2011 --760 272 ----1,694 229 --1,768 --1,169 513 833 7,238

2012 --2,100 1,422 119 --4,075 72 64 1,813 --2,365 2,101 1,136 15,267

2013 --549 1,048 ----4,380 --325 1,188 --948 1,875 601 10,914

Northwest North Dakota - Chick Peas Acres - Dryland County Billings Bottineau Burke Divide Dunn G Valley McKenzie Mountrail Renville Stark Ward Williams TOTAL MONDAK US Total

PERCENTAGE

1990 1995 1998 --------285 334 50 ----375 30 --0 0 1,074 0

0

2,389 28,500 8.38%

2001 190 ----3,502 1,987 2,242 1,888 1,212 150 2,047 246 828 14,292

2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 91 ----------------------------------405 144 ------------114 1,810 379 163 120 234 810 555 ----581 15 --- 386 843 990 187 442 156 1,053 1,205 536 158 74 264 80 329 182 233 106 51 261 441 787 250 345 825 342 498 --- 229 1,012 1,084 629 1,696 714 ------------------1,055 ----- 112 971 598 359 525 526 195 12 261 317 333 421 470 540 1,088 163 1,376 1,325 2,356 5,706 9,483 4,042 5,431 6,513 5,928 3,734 2,336 3,939 9,614 14,437 6,572 9,308 10,118

31,890 148,700 21.45%

15,579 5,959 3,886 9,578 17,454 22,908 8,404 11,306 15,392 85,500 43,500 45,000 89,800 136,800 125,000 83,500 96,100 146,500 18.22% 13.70% 8.64% 10.67% 12.76% 18.33% 10.06% 11.76% 10.51%

2011

160 --------229 --146 --1,035 --178

1,748

2012 --------19 630 --1,097 --593 111 4,670 7,120

2013 ------408 456 635 --961 ----410 3,957 6,827

8,986 132,900 6.76%

22,387 184,000 12.17%

17,741 184,000 9.64%

Custer Daniels Dawson Fallon Garfield McCone Praire Richland Roosevelt Rosebud Sheridan Valley Wibaux TOTAL

1990 ----7 ----2 --------11 ----20

1995 1998 2001 --278 10 752 1,819 2,171 6,229 2,700 313 331 239 52 --- 819 833 1,238 466 --431 ----- 1,476 3,322 540 150 3,547 --281 403 137 1,177 4,476 131 353 912 158 543 423 4,345 12,961 19,404

200,000

0

2002 2003 --93 2,773 2,773 4,395 2,308 60 128 558 507 1,023 559 ----3,272 1,250 6,995 5,351 28 --5,289 5,497 2,829 6,491 1,517 1,156 28,832 26,020

1990 1995 1998 2001 2002 ----206 229 275 --- 1,141 5,800 2,186 7,256 --- 2,589 5,664 3,430 5,830 --- 4,240 5,940 20,608 38,500 --111 89 301 743 --- 1,003 3,002 3,247 4,086 --42 513 2,140 3,672 ----- 2,584 6,538 15,669 2,353 --595 2,835 889 1,413 57 184 862 1,155 7,465 50 58 3,042 2,274 53 459 1,277 8,477 15,966 160 10,422 31,814 51,474 103,228

MONDAK 180 14,767 44,775 70,878 US Total 166,000 210,400 323,400 206,800 PERCENTAGE 7.02% 13.85% 34.27%

300,000

100,000

2004 2005 30 127 10,265 33,754 2,073 1,211 378 357 885 2,779 607 2,623

MT

2006 ---

54,289 2,958 361 1,624 6,475

---

---

---

2,830 10,238 268 11,968 15,992 3,765 59,299

5,537 23,788 --23,397 27,153 2,495 123,221

4,581 30,313 ---

37,131 37,941 2,982 178,655

ND

2007 16 47,536 3,776 897 2,068 5,535 20 4,630 27,121 ---

47,185 16,722 2,753 158,259

MonDak

2008

2009

---

---

42,456 38,815 6,231 5,283 --3,098 3,352 3,069 11,591 14,953 164 325 5,327 4,238 28,305 30,796 168 18 49,605 43,125 47,890 44,183 4,563 3,771 199,652 191,674

2010 30 30,277 4,947 2,945 1,954 14,501 906 2,846 22,276 --36,523 33,733 3,000 153,938

2011 2012 2013 --- 1,066 1,557 21,173 28,183 42,185 4,924 13,040 20,554 745 2,724 2,727 2,138 3,959 4,072 7,145 18,346 29,783 2,106 3,953 2,839 3,137 4,021 5,350 10,741 20,439 36,017 ----741 20,130 37,765 54,377 30,670 38,488 55,440 878 3,005 3,904 103,787 174,989 259,546

132,060 308,700 42.78%

2003 496 9,863 7,082 37,472 602 4,820 3,764 17,015 4,830 850 10,198 14,644 111,636

2004 1,817 27,936 10,871 48,824 1,173 12,564 6,042 30,852 16,517 1,682 23,983 23,602 205,863

137,656 337,500 40.79%

265,162 530,000 50.03%

2005 2006 2007 2008 417 624 386 158 42,398 36,555 33,405 41,936 22,206 25,674 23,288 26,765 61,731 61,258 64,442 79,081 2,072 1,532 1,906 819 8,037 11,305 10,699 9,361 12,461 19,068 18,080 20,268 43,538 60,297 55,617 60,287 34,222 31,120 26,293 32,798 850 698 179 481 48,483 50,214 37,374 45,706 42,195 51,685 55,498 59,062 318,610 350,030 327,167 376,722 441,831 808,000 54.68%

528,685 925,500 57.12%

485,426 847,500 57.28%

576,374 882,500 65.31%

2009 532 30,859 32,728 66,385 1,148 11,524 22,082 58,230 31,565 360 38,002 53,815 347,230 538,904 863,000 62.45%

2010 2011 2012 2013 725 644 902 --27,965 839 5,637 4,438 27,976 3,346 7,900 9,979 55,851 3,296 31,147 40,068 619 148 210 146 11,591 2,034 6,501 8,888 15,056 2,803 10,071 9,902 52,698 19,516 23,429 40,997 453 6,662 8,457 33,482 327 1,357 592 228 35,789 4,130 14,233 22,196 40,691 9,162 36,044 51,733 303,800 46,054 143,070 197,934 457,738 756,000 60.55%

149,841 362,000 41.39%

318,059 629,000 50.57%

457,480

Data Source - Chet Hill, Area Extension Specialist 22 East Broadway, P.O. Box 1306 Williston, ND 58802-1306 www.willistonnd.com Business: (701) 577-8110 Toll Free: (800) 735-6959 Fax No.: (701) 577-8880 e-mail: TomR@ci.williston.nd.us

MT

ND

Northeast Montana - Lentil Acres

Compiled by Chet Hill, NDSU Area Extension Specialist - WREC

County Custer Daniels Dawson Fallon Garfield McCone Praire Richland Roosevelt Rosebud Sheridan Valley Wibaux TOTAL

Northwest North Dakota - Field Peas Acres County Billings Bottineau Burke Divide Dunn G. Valley McKenzie Mountrail Renville Stark Ward Williams TOTAL

MonDak Lentil Acres

500,000 400,000

MonDak

County

Viterra - Ray 701-568-3315 or 1-800-543-5561

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1990 1995 ------46 14 491 ----------168 ----110 ----238 --113 --163 --236 --26 124 1,481

1998 2001 21 --185 593 --79 --791 --20 --161 ------974 623 4,802 1,188 847 1,719 6,334 1,067 362 70 355 4,873 15,318

2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 ----------1,633 1,662 20,119 44,719 20,859 249 142 --888 1,519 1,356 657 419 592 563 ----------402 538 721 795 1,528 --287 612 291 565 1,358 1,495 1,947 3,376 2,868 4,028 5,285 8,261 13,276 8,456 918 669 675 492 936 8,951 11,033 32,366 58,920 78,156 387 1,182 4,995 13,496 14,885 753 1,204 2,201 2,033 3,484 20,035 24,154 72,316 138,878 133,819

2007 --7,718 1,923 148 --1,516 --2,282 3,626 568 55,088 5,854 901 79,624

2008 --11,198 2,407 ---

--2,523 679 3,275 3,604 564 44,646 7,015 1,449 77,360

2009 2010 2011 ----1,619 14,297 30,629 35,304 2,457 5,150 5,989 403 1,073 1,770 286 615 1,216 2,860 8,086 4,488 854 897 1,157 2,767 4,261 4,225 5,413 23,064 27,961 1,032 2,082 988 67,741 115,122 86,578 11,821 18,527 15,363 1,333 3,925 1,200 111,264 213,431 187,858

2012 --28,791 7,234 1,941 1,534 4,666 910 2,421 15,682 493 65,043 20,321 3,838 152,874

2013 --28,284 3,692 1,434 790 2,176 278 624 8,142 680 50,114 11,390 2,001 109,605

Northwest North Dakota - Lentil Acres County Billings Bottineau Burke Divide Dunn G. Valley McKenzie Mountrail Renville Stark Ward Williams TOTAL

1990 1995 1998 2001 --24 --------103 ----455 3,128 1,947 --- 1,020 6,457 14,145 --150 255 348 --297 712 4,262 ----626 5,000 613 2,995 1,435 2,899 --126 ------145 --477 215 839 587 1,238 --- 2,091 3,045 10,343 828 8,142 16,348 40,659

MONDAK 952 9,623 21,221 US Total 104,000 163,000 1,585,000 PERCENTAGE 0.92% 5.90% 1.34%

55,977 197,000 28.41%

2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 ------------------------1,260 1,085 1,078 1,590 691 2,555 15,726 13,931 22,438 31,685 36,903 28,030 621 439 367 59 21 189 7,270 8,925 10,208 14,602 14,868 8,674 8,954 5,306 5,722 4,399 7,578 11,670 3,116 2,667 4,661 6,623 4,283 3,089 ------------29 --146 193 186 --726 1,751 1,799 2,437 1,772 2,266 15,811 17,570 43,157 69,193 81,645 53,393 50,011 50,123 93,163 138,102 150,063 101,895

--92 1,718 2,588 52,825 85,832 91,232 156,198

70,046 74,277 165,479 215,000 237,000 329,000 32.58% 31.34% 50.30%

168,592 261,000 64.59%

276,980 439,000 63.09%

283,882 407,000 69.75%

181,519 295,000 61.53%

2008 ----933 22,733 ---

5,905 5,052 2,066 ---

2009 ----889 46,469 ---

10,973 4,712 4,643 ---

267,462 406,000 65.88%

2010 --1,242 2,692 67,024 743 14,969 14,226 6,763 1,212 454 6,087 125,384 240,796

2011 ----1,447 9,557 99 3,299 6,966 2,500 --616 1,221 37,819 63,524

2012 ----1,176 41,916 242 11,931 7,716 651 --1,430 1,553 76,881 143,496

2013 ----1,182 37,063 --6,852 3,986 1,238 ----442 67,033 117,796

454,227 634,000 71.64%

251,382 411,000 61.16%

296,370 450,000 65.86%

227,401

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