• 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…

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  • 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…

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  • 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…

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  • 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…

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  • 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…

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  • Lon Tonneson

    Why No Ag In State-Of-The-State Speeches?

    Inside Dakota Ag

     by Lon Tonneson
     on January 10, 2013

    I was surprised that North Dakota’s and South Dakota’s governors didn’t say much about agriculture in their state-of-the-state addresses this week. Agriculture is still the No. 1 industry in South Dakota and is probably tied with oil and mining in North Dakota. But N.D. Gov. Jack Dalrymple, a farmer himself, only mentioned agriculture twice in his speech. Once it was in reference to an agritourism venture. The second was about CHS’ plans to build a fertilizer…

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  • Lon Tonneson

    Drive To Build More Dairies in South Dakota

    Inside Dakota Ag

     by Lon Tonneson
     on October 1, 2012

    Two South Dakota milk processors are floating an interesting idea to encourage dairy and other livestock development in the state. Valley Queen Cheese and Lake Norden Cheese are proposing that the sales and excise taxes collected during the construction of a dairy go to county and township where the project is being built being sent to the state. The money could be used by local officials to maintain rural roads. It would amount to about $207 per cow. A 3,500-cow dairy, like the one recently…

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  • Lon Tonneson

    Ag Isn’t Sexy Anymore

    Inside Dakota Ag

     by Lon Tonneson
     on August 24, 2012

    Agriculture in the Dakotas isn’t sexy anymore. Drilling for oil, not farming and ranching, is get getting all the attention. Agriculture is still the No. 1 industry in South Dakota, but it’s probably No. 2 in North Dakota. Ag and oil were about the same in 2010 -- $7.4 billion for ag versus $7.3 billion for oil, according to a North Dakota State University economic base analysis. Agricultural sales probably grew in 2011, given high grain prices and good yields that year. But oil…

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  • Lon Tonneson

    How The Cookie Crumbles In the Sugar Program

    Inside Dakota Ag

     by Lon Tonneson
     on June 6, 2012

    I get razzed by some of my colleagues about the U.S. sugar program. They argue that the only reason the U.S. restricts imports is because the sugar growers in the Red River Valley and elsewhere spend a lot more money lobbying Congress than other commodity groups. Protection money, they call it. True, the political contributions might give farmers who grow sugar access to tell their story, but maybe their story rings true. Consider this: Cheryl’s, a $50 million mail order cookie…

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  • Lon Tonneson

    Kudos For Ag's Pet Rescuers

    Inside Dakota Ag

     by Lon Tonneson
     on February 17, 2012

    Kudos to the folks at the North Dakota State University’s North Central Research Extension Center. They were recently honored by state ag and emergency services departments for providing shelter to pets during the 2011 flood in Minot. The NCREC staff housed more than 500 hogs, cats, rabbits, iguanas, birds, snakes and other pets the center’s garages, machine sheds and seed warehouses. The first of the animals began arriving in May when the Mouse River began rising and the last…

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