Farmers from Bowman, Slope County gather at Southwest Ag Forum

Once a year, farmers in Bowman and Slope counties gather to hear about new farm equipment, shifts in the market and various methods of procuring crops at the annual Southwest Ag Forum.

UAV propeller (RGB)

By COLE BENZ | Herald Editor | cbenz@countrymedia.net

Once a year, farmers in Bowman and Slope counties gather to hear about new farm equipment, shifts in the market and various methods of procuring crops at the annual Southwest Ag Forum.

This year’s forum was held Jan. 12 at the Sweetwater Golf Course in Bowman. The event featured multiple speakers highlighting the future of farming to the 30-some attendees.

John Nowatzki, ag machine systems specialist for the NDSU Extension based in Fargo, was first to speak on a variety of topics regarding precision agricultural practices.

Nowatzki briefed the group about smaller hand-held devices and the different types of software farmers can use, but the big feature was the information he provided about unmanned ariel vehicles (UAVs), more commonly known as drones.

Nowitzki displayed two different models for the audience—one was what most typically expect a UAV to look like: a small, erector-set like craft with eight propellers that move the device up and down and side to side.

The device was equipped with a camera and the camera is attached with a device that allows it to stay level when the craft leans or turns.

The second UAV Nowitzki had was a fixed wing craft. This type of craft allows farmers to operate it in higher wind speeds. It also has a camera but it is fixed in the middle pointing downwards, unlike the propeller-based craft in which the camera is in the front.

The second speaker was Greg Busch. Busch is President of the Manitoba-ND Zero Till Association and Supervisor of the Burke Soil District.

Busch spoke to the group about ‘no-tilling’ procedures, a method for operating on damp land or  farm land that doesn’t break up the soil.

The audience was particularly perceptive of Busch’s speech because Busch himself is a farmer and he was speaking to the group as a first-hand source of the ‘no-till’ procedures.

After Busch’s presentation was finished, the headline of the day was up.

Mike Pearson, host of ‘Market to Market’ spoke to the group regarding the upcoming year.

Market to Market is a television series covering a wide range of agricultural topics. Pearson’s biggest topic was on cattle prices. Cattle prices are up right now, and according to Pearson, those prices should last until 2017, good news for farmers with livestock.

Each year the Soil Conservation District gives out an award for tree care. This year a Bob and Mary Simonsson from the Rhame area were the recipients and were given custom embroidered jackets to commemorate the honor. As a part of the Soil Conservation District, people can sign up for grant money to plant trees, the organization can help with the process.

At a particularly important time in the farming, LaVonn Wegner gave an update on the farm bill.

And Randy Gaebe gave a presentation from the Weed Board to prepare farmers on detecting harmful weed plants for the upcoming season.

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