Farming

courtesy Phil Davey

 On this episode of Field Days, Stillwater County farmer Phil Davey waits for a break in the weather so his fertilizer can be delivered and applied—the only way he can make any money on the crop at harvest.


courtesy Phil Davey

On this episode of Field Days, Columbus farmer Phil Davey shows us around the farm.


courtesy Phil Davey

On this first episode of the third season of Field Days, we meet Columbus farmer Phil Davey, who we’ll follow this season from planting to harvest.


Neha Viswanathan / Flickr Creative Commons

Montana farmers planted fewer acres of wheat this year than they have in the past, thanks to significantly lower prices last year for the crop.

This year’s crop across the country is just under 46 million acres, the smallest since 1919.

Growing up, Youa Yang did not envision himself taking over his family's business. His parents were Hmong refugees from Laos who arrived in Fresno, Calif., in the late 1980s and settled down to become farmers. He went to college for economics and mathematics and found himself knee-deep in the finance industry immediately after graduating.

This spring was strange in Oregon's Lane County.

"It rained every day. I'm exaggerating, but only by two days," says farmer Jason Hunton.

When Mother Nature rears her ugly head, Hunton watches his fields. He farms both organic and conventional land in Junction City, Ore.

"We're struggling. We've got a couple of [organic] fields that have some real thistle problems. I want to get some tarps and solarize it — cover it up and see if we can get that to cook itself in some of the thicker areas," Hunton says.

Tim Mueller has raised corn and soybeans on 530 acres near Columbus, Neb., for decades, but now he is planning to take a huge gamble.

The big-box retailer Costco is building a new chicken-processing plant in Fremont, Neb., about an hour away from Mueller's farm. The company plans to slaughter 2 million birds per week. To raise all those chickens, Costco is recruiting about 120 farmers to sign on as contract poultry farmers.

Mueller wants in. But to do that, he plans to take out a massive $2 million loan to finance the construction of four chicken barns.

Endangered Species Act protections for grizzly bears that have been in place for more than three decades are poised to be peeled back soon. This week state and federal land managers from the Rocky Mountain west are meeting talk about what that means for the future of grizzly bear management and recovery.

The Interagency Grizzly Bear Committee, or IGBC is spending three days in Choteau this week working on a five-year-plan to guide management of grizzlies as the bear’s population grows.

World leaders have called President Trump’s withdrawal from the Paris climate accord “regrettable” and “disappointing.” But for Honduran farmers, climate change is personal.

New U.S. Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue spoke in Great Falls Thursday. Perdue suggested reforms for a couple of big safety net programs important to farmers.

Perdue has only been on the job as ag secretary since the end of April, and part of his job is to help President Trump push forward a budget that calls for big cuts in the Department of Agriculture.

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