The Planted Row: Now more than once a week

Farm Forum

Farm Forum website changes

If you’ve had any past experience with the Farm Forum website,, you know that we updated the content once a week—on Fridays when the paper was published. Sometimes the content would get a little stale. Well, that’s all changed. Thanks to some improvements in our technology, we’re now able to easily update the site more often.

For the last week, we’ve been updating the website with new stories Monday through Friday. Hopefully, you’ll enjoy the fresh content. Some of the stories you see there won’t be in the physical paper until a week later. Some of them may not make the paper at all due to space issues, so be sure to check our website regularly to catch all the latest news stories you might otherwise miss.

In the near future, our digital department will be performing a complete overhaul of our website, making it much easier to navigate, so your user experience should continue to improve.

Also, in recent weeks, we have been asking readers to complete a free registration in order to view content on our website. This has two purposes:

1. By registering, you join Club Greensheet, which will be our new rewards program. By joining, in the future you’ll have access to special tours, events and promotions.

2. The Farm Forum is a requester publication. This means that we get a reduced postage rate for our mail delivery, allowing us to serve more readers. However, it also means the majority of our readers must tell us they want the Farm Forum. By registering on our website, you are telling us you actually want to read our content. This allows us to count you as a Farm Forum requester, and doing so helps keep our mail delivery costs down.

I hope you take the few seconds it will take to complete the free registration on our website. Doing so will get you access to all of our content, and I don’t think you’ll be disappointed.

Ag-gag laws

Have you heard of “ag-gag” laws? The term was coined by Mark Bittman in a New York Times article. These are laws designed to prevent someone from taking undercover photos or videos on a farm, ranch, or processing facility and using those recordings to harm the operation.

Chances are good that you have seen some of these videos or photos showing animal abuse, and activists use them to paint the livestock industry in broad strokes as being inhumane.

Seven states have ag-gag laws: Idaho, Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, Montana, North Dakota, and Utah. The laws in Idaho and Utah are now being challenged in federal courts for violating federal whistleblower protection laws. You can find a story about these court cases on page 26G.

Personally, I believe each producer has a right to privacy; however, I wish there were no instances of animal abuse on farms or of meat packers processing downer cows to be recorded by undercover activists.

I support ag-gag laws, but I would also support an official process allowing workers to anonymously report instances of animal abuse or compromised food safety, automatically triggering an investigation by the USDA or state animal industry boards.

Harvest Edition

We try to time our annual Harvest Special Edition so that it arrives when the winter wheat harvest is in full swing in South Dakota. Well, this year we’re a little early or harvest is a little late. According to the USDA crop progress report released this week, only 4 percent of winter wheat was harvested in South Dakota, compared to 32 percent on average.

Despite the delayed crop, our Harvest Edition will hit newsstands next Tuesday, July 29, so be sure to the check your mailbox or head to your local store to find out the latest in harvest news.