Young And Beginning Producers

I recently had the opportunity to work with the Farm Credit associations in Grand Forks and Bismarck on their Young and Beginning Producer program.

The weather cooperated and there was a big thaw. However, there was no meltdown in land values. Competition is extremely fierce in the Red River Valley. Most producers find that they are required to pay double the capitalized return to agricultural value.

Another interesting perspective was that soybean production is moving north and even up into Canada. In the Grand Forks area, I could feel that they had had a couple of good years. First, the parking lots were full of new pickups. Some families came to the seminar in three different new pickups driven by separate individuals!

Another perspective I gained was that there were few women in attendance, probably the least I have had in five years. Finally, the cell phones were ringing. I am going to start instituting a $20 on-the-spot fine for 4-H and FFA participants in future seminars.

Next was a trek down Interstate 29 toward Fargo, then I-94 to Bismarck. The western young producers were experiencing the same pressure on land values as their neighbors to the east, but from outside investors who demand land for hunting purposes.

Farmers and ranchers in this area were much more conservative. Family living cost averaged less than $30,000 per year and the new pickups were less abundant, with more women in attendance as well. It's still dry in this region of the country.

Time Machine

As I crossed over the Missouri River I thought back to the Lewis and Clark expedition. These guys were the real survivors, not the people we see on TV today. Boy, there is a lot to see in America, and following Lewis and Clark's trail should be on your list.

Side Notes

Thanks for the e-mails concerning the farmer’s wife article series. I am doing a full article and will devote a chapter in our new book to the issue.

Why is college and university tuition going up so much? Someone needs to call administrators on this issue!

My e-mail address is:sullylab@vt.edu

Editors' note: Dave Kohl, The Corn and Soybean Digest Trends Editor, is an ag economist at Virginia Tech. He recently completed a sabbatical working with the Royal Bank of Canada. He is now back at Virginia Tech with his academic appointment, which is teaching, extension, and applied research.

To see Dave Kohl's previous road warrior adventures type Dave Kohl in the Search blank at the top of the page.

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