Mikkel Pates is an agricultural journalist, creating print, online and television stories for Agweek magazine and Agweek TV. He writes about a wide range of farmers and agribusinesses throughout North Dakota, Minnesota and surrounding states. He earned his degree in agricultural journalism degree from South Dakota State University and has worked for what are now Forum Communications papers since 1979. He grew up on at Brookings, S.D., where his father was an agricultural journalist with the SDSU Extension Service.

Readers can reach Mikkel email at mpates@agweek.com, or by phone at 701-936-0686.

Nathan Faleide has spent about 20 years in agribusinesses, helping farmers use aerial and satellite imagery in precision farming. Now, he’s started “Boundri,” a business that prints those images on novelty items including travel mugs, play rugs and functional or wall hangings, based on views of farmland anywhere in the U.S. and Canada.
Flax has been central to Archer Daniels Midland’s Red Wing, Minnesota, plant that is the biggest of its type in North America, and was one of ADM’s first locations when it took ownership in 1971. The plant has always produced flax seed oil for industrial purposes and has been certified for human food in a specialty market under the Knwble Grwn (“noble grown”) brand.
Archer Daniels Midland is paying Paul and Diane Overby, regenerative farmers from Wolford, North Dakota, to produce flaxseed to be sold in specialty food production markets.
Becky Kopp Dunham, co-owner of Together Counseling and its “Farm to Farm Services,” talks about pressures from uncertainties coming to bear on North Dakota farm and ranch families. Sean Brotherson, a North Dakota State University Extension family specialist, describes the multi-state grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture that can help farmers under stress.
A Halstad, Minnesota, family has created a business of producing early-generation potato seed for potato seed producers. The business is a two-generation effort, with numerous employees here on H-2A visas.
Agtegra Cooperative provides grain rescue training for workers in its many locations, as well as a close-up rescue drill exposure for medical students at the University of South Dakota. Agtegra and USD also are supporters of a new program that provides training and a “ditch kit” for rural people who help if someone is injured.
A group of farmers near Leola, South Dakota, and Aberdeen, South Dakota, say they are ethanol supporters but that the proposed Summit Carbon Solutions pipeline will cause them far more than what the company is paying for easements. They also say the lurking threat of eminent domain is inappropriate because the pipeline is not for a public utility. They think the long-term strategy of installing a pipeline to satisfy what may be of environmentally uncertain value is wrong, substituting their loss for likely a temporary gain for ethanol and pipeline investors.
The state of Minnesota has launched an advertising campaign designed to inform livestock producers of the dangers of purchasing sunflower screenings, non-certified hay and other feeds from out-of-state, including North Dakota, because of the Palmer amaranth threat. State officials say the concerns are particularly strong at the Red River border between Minnesota and North Dakota, where several counties have Palmer amaranth infestations. The danger is particularly acute for the sugarbeet crop, which has few chemical tools to fight it.
North Dakota’s State Conservationist Mary Podoll talks about the realities behind the rhetoric involving the Biden administration cooperation with the so-called “30 by 30” initiative, a worldwide effort to protect resources.
The Conservation Stewardship Program, delivered by the Natural Resources Conservation Service, is highly popular with farmland owners in North Dakota as a way to increase environmentally-friendly practices. Todd C. Hagel, assistant state conservation, describes the basics in the rules.