Mikkel Pates is an agricultural journalist, creating print, online and television stories for Agweek magazine and Agweek TV. He writes about a wide range of farmers and agribusinesses throughout North Dakota, Minnesota and surrounding states. He earned his degree in agricultural journalism degree from South Dakota State University and has worked for what are now Forum Communications papers since 1979. He grew up on at Brookings, S.D., where his father was an agricultural journalist with the SDSU Extension Service.

Readers can reach Mikkel email at mpates@agweek.com, or by phone at 701-936-0686.

The Red River Valley Water Supply Project will sue farmland owners for eminent domain if they don’t sign easements before July 8, 2022. Farmers say the project is paying one-tenth what others pay for far smaller oil, gas and water pipelines.
The North Dakota Attorney General’s office is asking Red River Trust, a Washington-based entity with offices in the Kansas City, Kansas, area, and an address at Grafton, North Dakota, to prove that it doesn’t violate anti-corporate farming laws, which would require it to sell land it purchased from owners of Campbell Farms of Grafton.
Cattle producers who lost calves in the April 2022 snow storms -- especially in western North Dakota where drought or dry conditions persist -- say the government's Livestock Indemnity Program needs update its funding formula and rules if partial compensation will be relevant.
A series of April blizzards created a “long tail” of cattle illnesses, including pneumonia and scours. Losses range from zero to hundreds of calves, on top of record-setting drought and low feed and forage supplies. The numbers hide some of the effects — the loss in value when either a calf or a cow is lost, leaving orphans. 
Records show that the Campbell potato farming group based in Grafton, North Dakota, has transferred more than $13 million worth of farmland to entities tied to Bill Gates, the billionaire co-founder of Microsoft who is reputedly the nation’s largest farmland owner.
Reporter Mikkel Pates describes how the May 12, 2022, derecho wind storm hit close to home. He helped his brother, who farms near Volga, South Dakota, clean up building damage.
A North Dakota potato breeder brings in a speaker from Wyoming who has trained a dog to detect potato virus diseases using their nose.
Anne Waltner, Parker, South Dakota, left a full-time career as a concert pianist and educator to join her parents’ farming operation. Along the way she married, had triplet daughters and survived cancer. Of her journey and life, she says: “Can you think of anybody luckier than me?”
Meyers Tractor Salvage of Aberdeen, South Dakota, is the largest enterprise of its type in the region. The family sells recycled parts and also does its own scrap iron work. Many farms in the region have bought parts from them or sold them rough and fire-damaged tractors, combines and other implements.
U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., and John Thune, S.D., are moving a bill in the Senate, designed to pressure international ocean freight companies to fill freight “containers” with agricultural products instead of sending them back to Asia empty. Rick Brandenburger, president of Richland Innovative Food Crops Inc., Inc., of Breckenridge, Minnesota, says the company is getting only one-third of their needed containers. They want “teeth” in any efforts to fix the problem.