Mark Steil Feature Archive

Rain and hail have made a mess of thousands of acres of Minnesota farmland, so much so that U.S. Agriculture Department officials are out assessing the toll. They don't have a state-wide damage estimate yet, but farmers don't need an official assessment to know that the storms have created a lot of extra work. (06/19/2014)
Farm fields became ponds and roads flowed like rivers this week as downpours in Minnesota soaked saturated ground, damaging crops and threatening homes from the Iowa border to International Falls. (06/17/2014)
A state judge has declined to punish a southern Minnesota farmer for selling raw milk and violating the terms of his probation. (06/11/2014)
Ethanol producers like those in Minnesota's $2 billion a year industry are worried the EPA will effectively order a cut in ethanol production. (06/08/2014)
For the first time, the Minnesota Department of Agriculture wants to restrict the fall application of nitrogen. (06/04/2014)
Minnesota farmers may be looking at a financial squeeze this year. The wet spring has eliminated drought in much of the corn belt, suggesting a big crop could be on the way. That's helping drive down prices below the break even level for a lot of producers. (05/27/2014)
Minnesota lawmakers agreed to supply about $60 million to bring Missouri River water into dry southwestern Minnesota. Local officials now need to determine whether they can come up with some matching money. (05/20/2014)
The state Department of Natural Resources has completed a new online water permit system that will cut the time it takes to obtain a state water appropriations permit. (05/16/2014)
From Marshall to Mountain Lake to Worthington, southwestern Minnesota communities are finding that the hunt for an adequate supply of good water can get expensive. (04/29/2014)
In the last year, the nation's hog population has dropped at least three percent. About a thousand cases of the disease have been found on Minnesota farms. (04/18/2014)
An MPR News investigation shows that several hundred Minnesota farmers are probably pumping groundwater to irrigate their crops without required permits, making it harder for the state to understand and regulate what's happening to a water resource increasingly seen as vulnerable. (04/07/2014)
A meeting in Greenbush, Minn. on Thursday evening will look at possible changes in the state's elk management plan that expires at the end of next year. (03/09/2014)
The cost of oats is going up, and a big reason is because it's difficult getting a rail shipment of oats from Canada. (03/02/2014)
Minnesota's largest rural water system says its facing a "phenomenal" problem with frozen water pipes. (02/27/2014)
The nation's largest agricultural organization, the American Farm Bureau Federation, launched a major effort this month to influence the immigration debate. The group is pushing for a guest worker program to help furnish the labor for California vegetable farms to Midwest dairy operations. (02/23/2014)