• Lon Tonneson

    Another Wetland Snafu

    Inside Dakota Ag

     by Lon Tonneson
     on April 18, 2014

    About a dozen farmers near the small northeast South Dakota town of Claremont recently received wetland violation letters for a ditch they say they dug to save their town from flooding in 2011. They claim they received permission from the township, the county and even the local NRCS wetland specialist (now retired) for the project. No federal money was involved. No cost sharing. The landowners got together, pooled their money and dug the canal themselves. Now, three years later, someone has…

    Continue Reading


  • Lon Tonneson

    Check Out New Farm Building Foundations

    Inside Dakota Ag

     by Lon Tonneson
     on April 14, 2014

     If you’re looking at putting up a building this year, check out Morton Buildings’ new concrete post foundation system. It consists of precast concrete columns that go in the ground instead of wood posts. A threaded screw in the concrete post allows construction crews to easily and precisely level the posts for a flush, even and clean-looking framing point. Laminated wood posts are fastened securely to the top of the concrete posts with a rugged internal connection plate that…

    Continue Reading


  • Lon Tonneson

    Last Price Update Before Planting

    Inside Dakota Ag

     by Lon Tonneson
     on April 4, 2014

    If you’re like me, you went to a lot of meetings this winter and listened to someone talk about the outlook for corn, soybean and wheat prices. Well, it’s probably old news now and there’s no time to drive to another meeting to get an update before planting begins. But you can get an update from some experts – without leaving the farm or ranch. Join the Farm Futures® marketing team of Bryce Knorr and Bob Burgdorfer Monday April 7 at 7 p.m. Central Time for a…

    Continue Reading


  • Lon Tonneson

    Scholarships For Special Farm Kids

    Inside Dakota Ag

     by Lon Tonneson
     on March 29, 2014

    As the chief cook and bottle washer at the Dakota Farmer, I see a lot of press releases about scholarships for students. The programs are great. I remember from when my sons were applying for college what a shot in the arm scholarships were for them. So here is an interesting scholarship: The Gerald and Edith Wallace Fund provides multiple scholarship ranging from $2,000 to $10,000 for North Dakota farm kids have a physical disability. “This particular scholarship is very…

    Continue Reading


  • Lon Tonneson

    Behind The Scenes At Ag PhD

    Inside Dakota Ag

     by Lon Tonneson
     on March 27, 2014

    I enjoyed watching Brian and Darren Hefty doing their Ag PhD radio show for XM Sirius Radio live at the recent Western Corn Belt Precision Ag Conference. I grew up across the road from the Heftys near Baltic, S.D. I didn’t know Brian or Darren, though. I am 15-20 years older than they are. They were kids when I worked for their Dad, Ron Hefty, one summer. Ron started Hefty Farm Supply in 1969. With the help of his all of his children, it grew into the major regional seed, chemical…

    Continue Reading


  • Lon Tonneson

    Looking On The Bright Side Of Lower Prices

    Inside Dakota Ag

     by Lon Tonneson
     on March 10, 2014

    David Gillen, a White Lake, S.D., farmers sends his landlord and others regular updates on what’s happening on his farm. His latest crop report, was pretty interesting – especially he talked about the tough year that was coming up. Here’s an excerpt: “The 2014 corn crop will start to be seeded in about 2.5 months. We have the seed, fertilizer and weed control chemical already lined up and will be spreading fertilizer the end of this month. “The high input costs…

    Continue Reading


  • Lon Tonneson

    How Chicken Beat Beef And Pork

    Inside Dakota Ag

     by Lon Tonneson
     on March 6, 2014

    I just can’t seem to get the book about Tyson Foods out of my head. “The Meat Racket – the Secret Takeover of America’s Food Business,” is an anecdote-filled book by agribusiness reporter Christopher Leonard about the evils of contract chicken and hog farming. I’m not really buying the premise. There are plenty of local examples of younger farmers enjoying success with the newer, more fair methods of contract growing today. But I’m captivated with…

    Continue Reading


  • Lon Tonneson

    Fighting Words About Farming

    Inside Dakota Ag

     by Lon Tonneson
     on March 3, 2014

    Here are 61 words that might make you fighting mad: “Farming is immensely profitable. The agriculture sector is one of the richest, most productive money making machines in American life. After all, a lot of the business simply involves sitting around and letting plants grow and letting animals get fat. Mother Nature does the heavy lifting. Then the farmer harvests the plants, kills and animals and watches the money roll in.” That’s from agribusiness reporter Christopher…

    Continue Reading


  • Lon Tonneson

    Blizzard Surprise

    Inside Dakota Ag

     by Lon Tonneson
     on February 26, 2014

    Ten minutes ago I walked out to the mailbox and the sky was blue, the sun was shining through bright white clouds and there was only a little snow drifting across the highway. Now, the farmstead is socked in. I can’t see much further than the barn, which is a few hundred feet from the house. Beyond it, the world dissolves into white. Had I lived out here in the Red River Valley 125 years ago, I probably wouldn’t have survived the Children’s Blizzard that hit in a similar…

    Continue Reading


  • Lon Tonneson

    The Meat Racket

    Inside Dakota Ag

     by Lon Tonneson
     on February 24, 2014

    The question of whether vertical integration in the poultry and swine industries, and packer concentration in the beef industry, is good or bad is a moot point. It’s how we do business today and it is here to stay. But you might like the new book, “The Meat Racket,” by Christopher Leonard. It’s about how Tyson Foods was founded and how it grew. What I like best about the book are the stories about the farmers — especially John Tyson, who founded the company. He…

    Continue Reading


  • Lon Tonneson

    Big Hurdles For Industrial Beets

    Inside Dakota Ag

     by Lon Tonneson
     on February 10, 2014

    What the heck are the industrial beet guys smoking? They’re proposing farmers grow beets as a feedstock for ethanol at a time when the EPA is proposing to cut the amount of renewable fuel sold in the U.S., and when the ethanol industry is still reeling from the food-versus-fuel debate. It makes no sense to me to try to produce more ethanol if the Renewable Fuel Standard is cut. New beet ethanol plants would have to compete with existing corn ethanol refineries. Also, ethanol’s…

    Continue Reading


  • Lon Tonneson

    A Fresh Look At Farm Profits

    Inside Dakota Ag

     by Lon Tonneson
     on February 6, 2014

    Try rearranging the formula for calculating profit and see how it affects your planning for 2014. The profit formula is: Income – Expenses = Profit. Joshua Dukart, a technician with Burleigh County, N.D., Soil Conservation District and a certified holistic management educator, says to rearrange the formula this way: Income - Profit = Expenses Looking at your farm or ranch through this formula gives you control of the amount of profit you desire. It also also gives you a ceiling for…

    Continue Reading


  • Lon Tonneson

    You Had Better Speak Up on the Renewable Fuel Standard

    Inside Dakota Ag

     by Lon Tonneson
     on January 23, 2014

    “Please don’t allow corn to be used for gas, we need it for food…” “We must not increase ethanol to E15 level. Ethanol is hard on machinery…” “Use of corn and soybean (for fuel) should be lowered or completed ended. They are planting on marginal land, wasting comondities (sic) for no good reason, driving up prices for food and land…” “Do not change the amount of ethenol (sic) put in gasoline. This is working…

    Continue Reading


  • Lon Tonneson

    Bright Future For Corn, But Does Danger Lurk Around Every Corner?

    Inside Dakota Ag

     by Lon Tonneson
     on January 18, 2014

    “I think the future is pretty bright for new crop corn… I think we have a lot of [profit] potential,” said Mark Pearson, host of the Market to Market TV show, at the South Dakota Corn Grower Association annual meeting. He said he expects corn to stay around $4 per bushel in 2014. With more aggressive marketing than was required in the past two years, farmers will be able make money on corn, he said. “Are we going back to $2.50, $1.25 [per bushel] corn? Are we going…

    Continue Reading


  • Lon Tonneson

    My 2 Cents On The Renewable Fuel Standard

    Inside Dakota Ag

     by Lon Tonneson
     on January 16, 2014

    There’s still time to let EPA know what you think of its proposal to cut the Renewable Fuel Standard. EPA wants to cut the RFS requirement from 14 billion gallons of biofuel this year to 13 billion gallons. The corn and ethanol industries make it sound like the world is ending. The deadline for comments is Jan. 28. I haven’t written to the EPA yet, but I’ll give you my two cents worth here. I don’t like mandates. I don’t like the government picking winners…

    Continue Reading


  • Lon Tonneson

    No Small Potatoes ...Or Tomatoes

    Inside Dakota Ag

     by Lon Tonneson
     on January 8, 2014

    Would a share of $1.3 million market interest you? That’s how much farmers’ market vendors sold in South Dakota in 2013, according to a South Dakota Department of Agriculture estimate. That’s up from $583,000 in 2102. “Farmers’ markets are growing,” says Alison Kiesz, SDDA marketing development director. Sales probably didn’t double from 2012 to 2013 because SDDA is improved its survey methods. But the trend is definitely up and the sales are…

    Continue Reading


  • Lon Tonneson

    5 Tips To Help You Keep Your New Year's Resolutions

    Inside Dakota Ag

     by Lon Tonneson
     on January 3, 2014

     I’ve heard five things recently about New Year’s resolutions that might make them easier to keep: Don’t make so many. Bob Mulligan, senior consultant with Dairy Strategies, says to just make one. Make the resolution tiny – real tiny, advises Oliver Burkeman, a columnist for The Guardian and the author of “The Antidote: Happiness for People Who Can’t Stand Positive Thinking.” Like, resolve to exercise for 15 seconds. Or commit to having…

    Continue Reading


  • Lon Tonneson

    Oil Trains Up Risks In Rural North Dakota

    Inside Dakota Ag

     by Lon Tonneson
     on December 31, 2013

    In November, I was stopped at a railroad crossing in Leeds, N.D., as a mile-long oil train roared by. I wondered then when a North Dakota would have an oil train disaster like the one in Quebec. It didn’t take long. An oil train collided with a derailed grain train outside of Casselton, N.D. on Dec. 30 and several of the oil tankers exploded. The oil is still burning a day after the collision and the town of Casselton is evacuated. Fortunately, the accident occurred about ½ mile…

    Continue Reading


  • Lon Tonneson

    Spreading Christmas Cheer With Soybeans

    Inside Dakota Ag

     by Lon Tonneson
     on December 20, 2013

    North Dakota soybean farmers are in the Christmas mood. The North Dakota Soybean Council donated more than 200 SoySilk Plush Pals to children in Fargo, Bismarck and Grand Forks, N.D., hospitals this week. Plush Pals are stuffed animals made from SoySilk – a brand of fiber made from the waste produced during the manufacture of tofu from soybeans. “Tis the season of generosity and the North Dakota Soybean Council wanted to take the opportunity to brighten the holidays for young ones…

    Continue Reading


  • Lon Tonneson

    Rancher Relief Fund To Distribute $2 Million

    Inside Dakota Ag

     by Lon Tonneson
     on December 17, 2013

    More than $2 million has been donated by more than 4,000 individuals, organizations and businesses to the Rancher Relief Fund to help those who lost livestock in the early October blizzard. Dec. 31 is the deadline for applying to receive aid – or for nominating someone to receive aid. Any producer within or adjacent to the blizzard area is eligible to receive aid. There is no cut off or disqualification for age or percentage of herd lost. Producers who lost any species of livestock…

    Continue Reading


  • Lon Tonneson

    88 bu/a Tops South Dakota Soybean Yield Contest

    Inside Dakota Ag

     by Lon Tonneson
     on December 13, 2013

    There were a lot yields in the 70s and 80s in 2013  South Dakota Soybean Yield Contest. Winners were announced this week at the South Dakota Soybean Association annual meeting. Huron Colony, Huron, S.D., won first place overall with 88.75 bushels per acre. The entry was in the Group II or III maturity irrigated division. The variety was Integra 22410. Joey Waldner, who accepted the award, said they did a lot of work on the field. The colony applied lots of fertilizer…

    Continue Reading


  • Lon Tonneson

    Seed Trait Approval Slowdown

    Inside Dakota Ag

     by Lon Tonneson
     on December 5, 2013

    I heard an interesting discussion the other day at the Northern Ag Expo in Fargo, N.D., about how new seed traits aren’t getting approved as fast as they used to. It used to take 1-2 years to get new an okay to sell new seed traits. Now it takes 3-4 years to win approval, according to Keith Peltier, of ProSeed, and Carl Peterson, of Peterson Farms Seed. Both men are owners and general managers of regional seed companies based on North Dakota. Peltier and Peterson blamed the delay partly…

    Continue Reading


  • Lon Tonneson

    Al Gustin's New Book Chronicles Ag Changes

    Inside Dakota Ag

     by Lon Tonneson
     on November 28, 2013

    Al Gustin’s new book, “Farm Byline,” is a good read and it might be a good Christmas gift for someone on your list. Gustin recently retired from a 45-year career as an ag journalist in North Dakota. The book is a collection of the columns he wrote for the North Dakota Association of Rural Electric Cooperatives between 1974 and today. The columns in the book I liked best were about his own life on the farm and the everyday life of North Dakota farmer and ranchers &ndash…

    Continue Reading


  • Lon Tonneson

    Al Gustin's New Book Chronicles Ag Changes

    Inside Dakota Ag

     by Lon Tonneson
     on November 28, 2013

    Al Gustin’s new book, “Farm Byline” is a good read and it might be a good Christmas gift for someone on your list. Gustin recently retired from a 45-year career as an ag journalist in North Dakota. The book is a collection of the columns he wrote for the North Dakota Association of Rural Electric Cooperatives between 1974 and today. The columns in the book I liked best were about his own life on the farm and the everyday life of North Dakota farmer and ranchers &ndash…

    Continue Reading


  • Lon Tonneson

    Hot Topics At The Great Plains Land Expo

    Inside Dakota Ag

     by Lon Tonneson
     on November 22, 2013

    The three breakout sessions at the recent Great Plains Land Expo in Fargo, N.D., that appeared to attract the most people were about land values, land rents and mineral rights. Lynn Paulson, Bell State Bank, Fargo N.D., handled topic “Farmland Values From A Lender’s Perspective.” He said he didn’t think there was a land bubble. And he didn’t that bubble people fear is out there was about to burst, despite the fact that the local cash corn price in some parts of…

    Continue Reading


  • Lon Tonneson

    Crazy Timing For Ethanol Cutback

    Inside Dakota Ag

     by Lon Tonneson
     on November 17, 2013

    It’s ironic that EPA announced its proposal to cut the Renewable Fuel Standard precisely the same week the retail price gas fell below $3 per gallon and just as farmers were wrapping up a harvest that’s so big that there will be enough corn for food, feed and fuel with plenty to spare -- and corn will cost half of what it did last year. Isn’t this what consumers wanted? Cheaper fuel? Cheaper feed? Cheaper food? Some blame Big Oil for the proposed cutback in the Renewable…

    Continue Reading


  • Lon Tonneson

    Corn Comes Through

    Inside Dakota Ag

     by Lon Tonneson
     on November 13, 2013

     “This field is running 120 bushels an acre,” said Mitch Wanzek, Windsor, N.D., as I rode with him while he combined corn today. “This summer we didn’t think it would make 20 bushels per acre,” he added. On their farm in central North Dakota near Jamestown, they had too much rain early, which delayed emergence and even washed some corn seed out of the furrows on the slopes. Then it stopped raining and stayed dry for much of the summer.  “The rain…

    Continue Reading


  • Lon Tonneson

    Soybeans Looks More Profitable Than Corn In 2014

    Inside Dakota Ag

     by Lon Tonneson
     on November 9, 2013

    Move over corn. Soybeans may be more profitable than in 2014. And wheat may be a contender. In South Dakota State University’s early crop budgets, soybeans look as if they will be more profitable than corn given current market price projections and input cost estimates, says Jack Davis, South Dakota State University farm management specialist. Using a projected corn price of $4.15 per bushel and projected soybean price of $10.80 per bushel, returns to management and labor favor…

    Continue Reading


  • Lon Tonneson

    Carbon Credits Coming For Grassland

    Inside Dakota Ag

     by Lon Tonneson
     on November 6, 2013

    Farmers and ranchers who maintain grassland easements in the Dakotas might be able to earn an extra one time payment of $16 to $25 per acre in carbon credits in the future. Ducks Unlimited, NRCS and several private organizations have created a carbon credit program for grasslands. Enrolled land could not be tilled, but it could be put in a conservation program or used for grazing and/or haying. The carbon credit payment would be in addition to any conservation easement payments. The payment…

    Continue Reading


  • Lon Tonneson

    Biological Barcodes Could Track Food Back To The Farm

    Inside Dakota Ag

     by Lon Tonneson
     on November 2, 2013

    File this under “gee-whiz technology that might be coming soon.” Or maybe file it under “if you didn’t like premise identification, you’re going to hate this.” An Ohio based company says it is developing a biological barcode that would be injected into or onto produce so that food safety officials can tell what farm it comes from. The technology has its roots biological barcodes. Not long ago, scientists discovered that the bacteria, fungi and other…

    Continue Reading


  • Lon Tonneson

    Earth. Beer. Fire

    Inside Dakota Ag

     by Lon Tonneson
     on October 30, 2013

    Earth. Beer. Fire. Those words in an email got my attention. Turned out the email was a press release from Rogue Farm, an Oregon operation where a craft brewer grows malting barley. Theirs was not a fancy pants, touchy feeling story about how they carefully nurture the tiny barley plants and eventually make malt. They didn’t try to make the point that they were good farmers by shooting a video cartoon of a cute-looking scarecrow picking hops out of a garden like Chipotle…

    Continue Reading


  • Lon Tonneson

    Checking Out A New Beef Barn

    Inside Dakota Ag

     by Lon Tonneson
     on October 24, 2013

    Folks were in a good mood as they toured a new beef barn built built by John and Brenda Reisch and Jason Feldhoaus, Howard, S.D. The trio (Jason is John’s cousin) had just completed a 70- x 294-foot three-sided fabric covered hoop barn that they plan to finish cattle in. About 200 people were expected for open house. Some were neighbors -- who had been watching the gravel and cement trucks roll into the farm for weeks and came to see what the finished building looked…

    Continue Reading


  • Lon Tonneson

    Our Worst Blizzards

    Inside Dakota Ag

     by Lon Tonneson
     on October 19, 2013

    Atlas -- the blizzard that killed tens of thousands of cattle, sheep and horses in western South Dakota -- should go down in history as one of the top 10 worst snowstorms ion the U.S. Here are some of the other monsters: The Children's Blizzard -- Jan. 12, 1888. Temperatures dropped from a relatively balmy few degrees above freezing to a wind chill of minus 40 degrees Fahrenheit (minus 40 degrees Celsius) in Dakota Territory and Nebraska. Because of the warm day, thousands were…

    Continue Reading


  • Lon Tonneson

    Stories From the Storm

    Inside Dakota Ag

     by Lon Tonneson
     on October 17, 2013

    The western South Dakota blizzard that killed tens of thousands of head of livestock was truly devastating. But numbers don’t tell the whole story. I was moved most by what ranchers wrote and said about what they found on the Plains when the blizzard broke. They are alive: Jessica Bean, Summerset, S.D., wrote, “My parents found a drift that had covered who knows how many ewes and lambs. ‘You guys need to come here,’ my Mom said when she called, clearly distressed…

    Continue Reading


  • Lon Tonneson

    Ag & Oil: Which Is Bigger In North Dakota?

    Inside Dakota Ag

     by Lon Tonneson
     on October 11, 2013

    Is ag or oil North Dakota’s biggest industry? It matters for a couple reasons. There are the bragging rights, of course. And the top industry will likely get more attention from lawmakers. Policies made now will affect the future the industry. Here’s the facts on the size of ag and oil, as reported recently by the Grand Forks Herald: In the 12 months ending July 30, the value of crude oil and natural gas produced in North Dakota totaled $24.9 billion, based on…

    Continue Reading


  • Lon Tonneson

    Blizzard Takes Toll On Cattle

    Inside Dakota Ag

     by Lon Tonneson
     on October 8, 2013

    The loss of thousands of cattle in the blizzard that covered western South Dakota last week with as much as 4 feet of snow is a tough deal. I’ve read that some ranchers in the hardest hit area of the Black Hills lost half their animals. Out on the Plains, losses are said to be running 10-20%. The cows and calves that survived the storm aren’t completely out of the woods, either. The risk that they’ll come down with respiratory infections in the next two weeks…

    Continue Reading


  • Lon Tonneson

    Five Movies You'll Probably Hate

    Inside Dakota Ag

     by Lon Tonneson
     on October 4, 2013

    Here are five movies and short films about food and farmers that you’ll probably hate. They were among a list of recommended films suggested by food activists. The Hidden Cost of Hamburgers: The Center for Investigative Reporting tallies the waht they see as the cost of conventionally-raised beef. King Corn: Two guys from the East Coast move to Iowa, plant a one-acre crop of corn, and discover how much of the American diet corn infiltrates. Our Daily Bread…

    Continue Reading


  • Lon Tonneson

    Investment Opportunity

    Inside Dakota Ag

     by Lon Tonneson
     on September 28, 2013

    Northern Plains Nitrogen is now offering farmers and others the opportunity to invest directly in the proposed $1.7 billion fertilizer manufacturing plant to be located in Grand Forks, N.D. The plant, which organizers hope will begin operation in 2017, will make fertilizer out of natural gas. “We are very excited to announce that farmers, and others have the opportunity to invest directly in this project,” says Darin Anderson, chairman of Northern Plains Nitrogen board of…

    Continue Reading


  • Lon Tonneson

    This Seed Ad May Make You Laugh

    Inside Dakota Ag

     by Lon Tonneson
     on September 26, 2013

    Tired of all those serious seed ads that are running everywhere this time of year? An ad from Millborn Seeds, Brookings, S.D., will make you laugh. The company sells forage, grass and cover crop seeds. The commercial is a spoof. They were just having fun when they dreamed up, “Milton Tarkenton’s Super Mega Sugar Beet Seed Warehouse Store.” They thought their customers would enjoy the fake commercial. I did and it made me want to buy their seeds! Check it…

    Continue Reading


  • Lon Tonneson

    Turn Sugar Into Ethanol? You bet!

    Inside Dakota Ag

     by Lon Tonneson
     on September 20, 2013

    Should the U.S. start making ethanol out of sugar? I say, you bet. We have a glut of sugar on the market -- thanks mostly to Mexico dumping their surplus into the U.S. this year. Switching to sugar might be good for ag’s image, too. I doubt that anybody will complain about using sugar to make fuel, like they complain about using corn. The food police -- who seem to hate the fact that we use corn to make meat -- aren’t sweet on sugar. They say sugar is making us fat…

    Continue Reading


  • Lon Tonneson

    Beef Is What's For Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

    Inside Dakota Ag

     by Lon Tonneson
     on September 18, 2013

    If you like eating beef, there’s a restaurant in South Dakota that you should make a point of visiting. D&K Outpost, of Highmore, S.D., was recently recognized by the South Dakota Beef Industry Council with its Prime Promoters award. Owned and managed by Karen and Greg Swenson, D&K Outpost is best known for its prime rib entrée. In 2012, the restaurant sold approximately 3,600 pounds of ribeye, which is used for both the prime rib and ribeye steaks. It also…

    Continue Reading


  • Lon Tonneson

    King Corn's Secrets To High Yields

    Inside Dakota Ag

     by Lon Tonneson
     on September 12, 2013

    What’s Randy Dowdy’s secret to high corn yields? Dowdy won the irrigated division in the 2012 National Corn Growers Yield Contest with a 372-bushel-per-acre entry. He shared some of his secrets to high yields at a session at the recent Big Iron farm show in West Fargo, N.D. “The most important thing to see in your field…is your shadow,” said Dowdy, of Valdosta, Ga. He walks every acre of corn on his farm. “I walk with the crop…

    Continue Reading


  • Lon Tonneson

    $3.25 Corn? Soybeans Under $10?

    Inside Dakota Ag

     by Lon Tonneson
     on September 9, 2013

    Corn at $3.25 per bushel. Soybeans under $10 per bushel. Land prices down 5% to 35%. Those figures from Dan Basse, an analyst with AgResource Co., Chicago, Ill., got my attention. So did his phrases like “big changes are rocking agriculture” and “a new kind of farm crisis like back in the mid-1980s.” He did have some good news, too. He said livestock producers will soon have “their turn” at good times. And gas prices are going to fall…

    Continue Reading


  • Lon Tonneson

    CRP Conversion Alone Isn't To Blame For Pheasant Decline

    Inside Dakota Ag

     by Lon Tonneson
     on September 5, 2013

    South Dakota pheasant numbers are down, but farmers aren’t completely to blame. That’s what I conclude from reports about South Dakota Game Fish and Game Parks Department's annual roadside survey of pheasants. GF&P cited the decline in habitat -- the conversion of CRP and grassland to cropland -- as one of the reasons behind the drop in the index of pheasants per mile from 4.19 last year to 1.52 this year. But the GF&P says “months of persistent…

    Continue Reading


  • Lon Tonneson

    S.D. Farmers Ask HSUS To Drop Horse Processing Injunction

    Inside Dakota Ag

     by Lon Tonneson
     on September 2, 2013

    Are Frank Kloucek and Bob Mack tilting at windmills? The two South Dakota farmers recently met with the Humane Society of the United States President and CEO Wayne Pacelle and Vice President Joe Maxell at the Organization of Competitive Markets annual conference in Kansas City, Mo., and asked them to drop their opposition to humane horse processing in the U.S. Following the meeting with HSUS, Kloucek -- a former state legislator from Scotland, S.D., who is running for the State…

    Continue Reading


  • Lon Tonneson

    The Worst Cornfield

    Inside Dakota Ag

     by Lon Tonneson
     on August 26, 2013

    I saw what could be a 100-bushel-per-acre soybean field and a 285-bushel-per-acre cornfield last week in my travels through South Dakota and North Dakota (see my earlier blog post), but I also saw some fields that looked like they aren’t going to yield anything. The worst was near Ashley, N.D. See the photo. The corn probably had been planted on a gravel or sand ridge. Cornfields nearby looked better, but lots of fields from Selby, S.D., to Fargo, N.D., were firing in the…

    Continue Reading


  • Lon Tonneson

    Soybeans Could Yield 100 Bushels Per Acre

    Inside Dakota Ag

     by Lon Tonneson
     on August 22, 2013

    I saw a field of soybeans in South Dakota that I think could yield 100 bushels per acre. It was on the Kory Standy farm south of Platte. The soybeans were about chest high -- probably 4-½ feet tall -- and loaded from the top to bottom with pods. Last year, Standy won the South Soybean Yield Contest with an entry of nearly 90 bushels per acre. He’s thinking these will do a little better. What’s his secret? It’s part Mother Nature and part…

    Continue Reading


  • Lon Tonneson

    Is a Monsanto Ultra-Early Corn Coming Soon?

    Inside Dakota Ag

     by Lon Tonneson
     on August 12, 2013

    A new ultra-early corn hybrid -- the first from Monsanto’s Canada Corn Expansion Project -- may be on the market in just two or three years, says Mike Claywell, Monsanto's northern test lead specialist. At a meeting I attended at Dekalb’s Glyndon, Minn., plant breeding station (Dekalb is one of Monsanto’s brands), Claywell said that a new early-maturing line developed in Ontario looks very good. If it performs as expected this season, it will be developed quickly…

    Continue Reading


  • Lon Tonneson

    Farm Bill Shopping List

    Inside Dakota Ag

     by Lon Tonneson
     on August 8, 2013

    Sen. Heidi Heitkamp (D-N.D.) recently sent a letter to the House and Senate Ag Committee leaders listing 15 things she wants them to include in the Farm Bill. It’s a pretty good list. The 15 things are: Create an option for a farm-level commodity program. To ensure the program reflects the losses that occur for North Dakota growers and growers in other states with large-sized counties, it is important the option to elect into a farm-level program is provided. Each year North…

    Continue Reading


  • Lon Tonneson

    No Farm Bill, No Sugarbeets Up North

    Inside Dakota Ag

     by Lon Tonneson
     on August 5, 2013

    I didn’t see a lot of difference in the farms when I crossed the border into Manitoba last week to attend a Wolf Trax field day. Wolf Trax makes micronutrients that fertilizer dealers market across the U.S. On the North Dakota side of the border, there were a lot of corn, soybean, wheat, canola and sugarbeet fields. On the Manitoba side, it was nearly the same, but the sugarbeet fields were missing. Manitoba’s sugarbeet industry dried up in the late 1990s. According…

    Continue Reading


  • Lon Tonneson

    More Sprayer Smarts Needed With Monsanto's Newest Biotech Crop

    Inside Dakota Ag

     by Lon Tonneson
     on August 1, 2013

    The new biotech Roundup Ready Xtend Crop System is at least two growing seasons away -- thanks to court-ordered delay for an environmental impact study -- but the training blitz has started. I’ve recently been to Monsanto and Asgrow/DeKalb field days where company representatives talked about what it’s going to take to use the Roundup Ready Xtend Crop System successfully. Roundup Ready® 2 Xtend Soybeans will contain the Genuity® Roundup Ready 2 Yield® trait…

    Continue Reading


  • Lon Tonneson

    SD Farm Takes Conservation To Higher Level

    Inside Dakota Ag

     by Lon Tonneson
     on July 29, 2013

    One great thing about my job is that I get to visit a lot of farms. I have never seen a  farm with such an impressive conservation effort as one I visited near Aberdeen, S.D., last week. The father and son (who I’m not going to identify yet because I hope to feature them in upcoming edition of the magazine) had purchased several farms along a river in Brown County and created a new unit that spans several thousand acres. About 30% of the farm is enrolled in conservation…

    Continue Reading


  • Lon Tonneson

    New Export Terminal Really Moves Soybeans

    Inside Dakota Ag

     by Lon Tonneson
     on July 17, 2013

    I enjoyed traveling to Seattle, Wash., recently with the North Dakota Soybean Council. We visited EGT, a new export grain terminal in Longview, Wash., built by Bunge and partners from Japan and South Korea. The terminal is a marvel. I was most impressed by the capacity and unloading speed. EGT can unload a shuttle train in  five to six hours and can handle six 110-car shuttle trains at any given time without decoupling the locomotives. There’s room at the terminal for…

    Continue Reading


  • Lon Tonneson

    Don't Call Them Super Weeds

    Inside Dakota Ag

     by Lon Tonneson
     on July 11, 2013

    Every time I read an article about “super weeds” sweeping across the American farms, I want whack the writer with my hoe.  “Super weeds” seems to have become the catch phrase for herbicide-resistant weeds. Folks who have an anti-GMO agenda use the term a lot. What gets me wound up is that they make it sound as if weeds have genetically altered themselves during the growing season to withstand applications of Roundup or some other herbicide. "I…

    Continue Reading


  • Lon Tonneson

    Getting Down And Dirty At Dakota Lakes

    Inside Dakota Ag

     by Lon Tonneson
     on June 27, 2013

    I got a kick out of seeing Dwayne Beck on his hands and knees looking for earthworm holes in a cornfield at the Dakota Lakes Research Farm’s Field Day near Pierre, S.D. That’s exactly where you'd expect to find him. Beck, a South Dakota State University agronomist and manager of the Dakota Lakes Research Farm, has led a revolution of no-till on the Great Plains, and now he’s teaching us about soil health. Other interesting things I saw at the field day…

    Continue Reading


  • Lon Tonneson

    Fantastic Feedlot Tour

    Inside Dakota Ag

     by Lon Tonneson
     on June 19, 2013

    I just got back from the 11th annual North Dakota Feedlot Tour, hosted by the North Dakota Stockmen’s Association and the North Dakota Feeder Council. We saw four new beef feedlots in central North Dakota: Kline Simmental Ranch, Hurdsfield, N.D. Dockter Land and Cattle, Denhoff, N.D. Raugust Whitetail Ranch, Harvey, N.D. Heitman Feedlot, Harvey. N.D. Young producers are involved in all of the operations. Building new feedlots or expanding…

    Continue Reading


  • Lon Tonneson

    Does Monsanto Own Oregon's Glyphosate-Resistant Wheat?

    Inside Dakota Ag

     by Lon Tonneson
     on June 6, 2013

    Who owns the glyphosate-resistant wheat that was discovered in Oregon? Monsanto? The farmer? I’d like to know, because after the market settles down, I might like to buy some seed. Weed control would be pretty cheap and convenient with glyphosate-resistant wheat. Some reports say USDA identified the wheat as the same variety that Monsanto tested in Oregon 10 years ago. Monsanto says it isn’t the same strain. Nevertheless, the case got me thinking that maybe I…

    Continue Reading


  • Lon Tonneson

    How Long Can Corn, Soybean Survive In Water Logged Soils?

    Inside Dakota Ag

     by Lon Tonneson
     on May 30, 2013

    After last year’s drought, I didn’t think I’d see water logged fields this spring. But there’s water standing in fields all along the I-29 Corridor in South Dakota. Over the last five days, some areas have received more than 6 inches of rain. How long can corn and soybeans plants at early growth stages survive in these waterlogged soils? Nathan Mueller, South Dakota State University Extension agronomist, says it depends. "We know that the crop growth…

    Continue Reading


  • Lon Tonneson

    Best Beef In North Dakota? Try Peacock Alley

    Inside Dakota Ag

     by Lon Tonneson
     on May 16, 2013

    How could I have not eaten at Peacock Alley yet? Peacock Alley American Grill and Bar, Bismarck, N.D., was named the Beef Innovator of the Year at the 2013 Cattle Industry Convention. This is a big deal. It’s a national award given to only one restaurant in the nation each year. The award recognizes a restaurant that does the best job innovating its menu and growing its business with beef. “Having a North Dakota restaurant win the Beef Innovator of the Year award is a…

    Continue Reading


  • Lon Tonneson

    Buying Farmland -- A New China Connection

    Inside Dakota Ag

     by Lon Tonneson
     on May 7, 2013

    Greg Smeenk, a Bel Fourche, S.D. land broker, wrote in his blog at DakotaProperties.com in March that he “recently had an interesting experience showing two gentlemen from China farmland.” “We looked at thousands of acres of farmland from the west end of the state to the east end of the state and beyond. When asked what they envisioned for their purpose of buying farmland they responded that they intended to supply China with 20% of their soybean purchases,” he…

    Continue Reading


  • Lon Tonneson

    New Livestock, Specialty Crop Projects Proposed In N.D.

    Inside Dakota Ag

     by Lon Tonneson
     on May 3, 2013

    A new livestock auction, a new regional processing plant and new small market crops are among some of the new ag projects percolating in North Dakota. The North Dakota Agricultural Products Utilization Commission (APUC) will review funding requests for seven projects totaling $381,065 at its quarterly meeting next week. APUC is a program of the North Dakota Department of Commerce which administers grant programs for researching and developing new and expanded uses for North Dakota…

    Continue Reading


  • Lon Tonneson

    Bring Back TIP In New Farm Bill

    Inside Dakota Ag

     by Lon Tonneson
     on April 29, 2013

    Congress ought to bring back the Transition Incentive Program. The program gave landowners an additional two years of payment if they rented or sold land coming out the Conservation Reserve Program to beginning farmers. TIP helped Richie and Michael Heinrich, Medina, N.D. Richie is a recent graduate from North Dakota State University and Michael is a senior at NDSU. Both are back home farming with their father and starting their own operations. “We were lucky to have landowners…

    Continue Reading


  • Lon Tonneson

    Beginning Farmers Find Land

    Inside Dakota Ag

     by Lon Tonneson
     on April 26, 2013

    How do you find land when you are a beginning farmer? John Overboe, Kindred, N.D., is looking everywhere. He is talking to relatives, neighbors and friends; running ads in newspapers; and even visiting courthouses to track titles to land. Overboe has to hustle. He has to compete with large, established farms in the southern Red River Valley for land and he has to deal with urban sprawl from Fargo, N.D. Overboe has turned one those challenges into an opportunity. He’s met…

    Continue Reading


  • Lon Tonneson

    Yield, Not Price, Is King

    Inside Dakota Ag

     by Lon Tonneson
     on April 22, 2013

    You have probably been told more times than you care to remember that you need be a good grain and livestock marketer to survive in agriculture today. It’s probably true, but it may not be as important as being a good producer. Jay Olson, a North Dakota Farm Business management instructor at Devils Lake, N.D., wrote an interesting column about the topic in the April Dakota Farmer magazine. He says that his analysis shows that in recent years yield, not price, has driven net…

    Continue Reading