The Planted Row: We want to talk to you

Farm Forum

Finding land is one of the biggest hurdles to someone trying to break into farming or ranching today. Competition to buy or rent land is fierce, and while land values and cash rents have declined slightly from peak prices a couple of years ago, they remain at historically high levels. Beginning farmers are at a disadvantage in this competition, and it can be challenging to find land to work.

Land can also be a source of conflict within farming families as it transitions from one generation to the next, especially if it is being passed on to more than one person. Finding the best way to transition your land can be difficult. Emotions can run high, and permanent rifts can be formed within families.

The Farm Forum is interested in taking a closer look at the issues surrounding access to land for farming. We’d like to explore these issues through the stories of people who are dealing with them.

If you are in or have recently been in the process of acquiring or transitioning farmland, we are interested in talking to you. If you’re willing to tell your story, please contact me at (605) 622-2304 or e-mail me at

50th Anniversary special section

If I’m not considered middle-aged yet, I can smell it from here. This fact is brought home to me all the time, especially when I encounter new technology. My younger coworkers mention new smartphone programs (apps) that I have no experience with, and the thought of trying to catch up on all the things these apps can do is a little bit intimidating. The same is true when I see new farming techniques.

Farming is so different today than it was when I was first introduced to it. I learned about farming in the 80s and 90s, and that seems like only yesterday in my mind. It’s staggering to realize that was 30 years ago. (Heck, the voice in my head still thinks he’s about 17 years old.) Today, the tractors and planters talk to satellites to precisely seed each field (sometimes with more than one hybrid). Plant genetics are tailored to soil and environmental conditions and engineered to resist insect attacks and herbicide applications.

Among my many character flaws is an overdeveloped sense of nostalgia. Reminiscing about stopping at the end of a row to rip open 50-pound bags of seed and pour them into the hoppers on the planter is something of a guilty for pleasure for me. I can still remember the smell of the seed treatment we mixed into the seed in each hopper with a stick.

If you’re like me and enjoy a visit to the past, then the Farm Forum 50th anniversary special section is going to be a treat for you. We’re going to take a look back at farming in our area during the last 50 years. Even better, we’d like to include your stories and/or photos. If you have a great farming tale or photo from anytime between 1966 and today that you’d like to share with your fellow readers, just email it to

Women in Ag

On page 6G of this paper is a special feature focusing on women in agriculture. In this feature, Farm Forum Writer Connie Sieh Groop interviews Krysta Harden, U.S. Deputy Secretary of Agriculture. Look for more special features in the future as the Farm Forum profiles local women in agriculture.

Contest winner

This week’s Farm Forum 50th anniversary cash giveaway contest winner is Larry Gilbertson of Webster, S.D. He will receive a replica windmill and is eligible to win the $5,000 cash grand prize. Prizes are mailed at the end of each month.