News: N.D. farmers Vertically Integrating with Investments in East Coast Restaurants

How do you make a product or a company more profitable? There are lots of ways including reducing costs through innovative practices, creating a differentiated product that commands a higher price. And there’s also vertical integration — the method of getting control of the supply chain and middlemen that separate a raw product from the end user. Here’s a story from Philly.com about a couple ND farmers using...  summary by: Josh Wolsky

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News: Backyard chicken trend linked to spike in salmonella cases

The discussion about allowing backyard hens in Minot is taking place right now. One of the factors being considered is whether these animals a risk to public health? And how do we balance that against the benefits of fresh, locally sourced food? On the public health side of the equation, this story out of Des Moines is worth reading.  summary by: Josh Wolsky

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Learn: What Mongolian Nomads Teach Us About the Digital Future

North Dakota’s prairie-grass ecosystem and nomad economy were converted to an agriculturally based economy by the area’s early European settlers, but across the Pacific in the heart of Asia, the Mongolian nomads still live a lifestyle largely free of the traditional modern conveniences. This in-depth article from Wired captures the spirit of the lifestyle; it also makes it hard not to conjure images of North Dakota’s past.  summary by: Josh Wolsky

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News: Farmer promotes food, farming, and ranching in Saskatchewan

More and more, modern food consumers have less and less sense of where their food comes from and how it’s produced. And in a place like North Dakota and our agricultural neighbors to the North, that’s a problem we need to be conscious of. That problem is what’s inspired many farmers and ranchers to take up the task of educating the rest of us who aren’t intimately connected...  summary by: Josh Wolsky

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News: In ‘This Blessed Earth,’ the outdated romance of the family farm

The farms and small towns of our parents and grandparents generation are less and less each season. New technology, out-migration, changing geopolitics — they’re all factors contributing to the ebb of the family farm culture. If the topic interests you, “This Blessed Earth” is a new book featured in this MPR article.  summary by: Josh Wolsky

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News: Optimistic investors pumping $75 million into meatless burgers

There are two companies chasing the concept of the meatless burger, and before you dismiss the idea with some picture of a bean patty or veggie burger, the goal is a burger that looks and tastes like real beef, and they’re closer than you realize. It may seem far-fetched or impossible, but the impacts on ranchers will likely be real as a more environmentally-focused food consumer comes of age....  summary by: Josh Wolsky

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News: The Gulf Of Mexico’s Dead Zone Is The Biggest Ever Seen

When agricultural producers use too much fertilizer, the surplus that isn’t absorbed into the land and plants runs off into the water shed. When it gets to the end of the downstream line, it dumps into the ocean or a lake. In North Dakota’s case, one of those end-of-the-line watershed deposits is the Gulf of Mexico. The environmental damage that’s done is hard to see, particularly from 2,000 miles...  summary by: Josh Wolsky

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News: EPA chief to discuss water regulations during visit to state

Scott Pruitt, the EPA’s top administrator, will be visiting North Dakota next week, and the Waters of the U.S. rule making is expected to be a hot topic of conversation. Between agricultural and energy industries and our cultural disposition toward property rights, environmental regulations and rules have big impacts on North Dakota, and it sounds like those are some of the messages that will be carried to Mr....  summary by: Josh Wolsky

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News: How, and why, some farmers are bringing livestock back to the prairie

The way people are eating and sourcing their food is changing, and as a result, so are the farms that produce that food. More and more, consumers are attuned to concepts like animal welfare and locally sourcing. That means there’s a growing market for the farms of our grandfathers — the smaller operations with a diverse set of revenue sources, and perhaps, a more environmentally sustainable model.  summary by: Josh Wolsky

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News: Western wheat crop down by a third or more

The yields are starting to come in, and it’s what would be expected in a drought year. Numbers vary widely across the state, but in the areas with less rain, the yields per acre are down from the averages of the recent good years. The Bismarck Tribune has the story on the early data. Hopefully, the decrease in supply will drive a price increase in some form that...  summary by: Josh Wolsky

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Learn, News: 10 Farming Myths to Think About on Your Next Grocery Run

It’s true, here in North Dakota we’re closer to our food production here than most parts of the country, but that doesn’t mean some misperceptions about dinner gets from the farm to the table aren’t out there. This quick article from Science Alerts calls out the common myths about modern agriculture and food production and replaces them with the current best information.  summary by: Josh Wolsky

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