Mikkel Pates looks back on his career on the Agweek Podcast – Agweek

Mikkel Pates has long been one of the top agricultural reporters in the country, working for what are now the Forum Communications newspapers since 1979. Pates currently writes on a wide range of agricultural and agribusiness for Agweek.

Agweek reporter Noah Fish spoke to Mikkel Pates about his career in journalism for the Agweek Podcast.

Pates grew up in Brookings, South Dakota, a town around South Dakota State University. His father was an agricultural journalist who worked in the extension service at South Dakota State University.

“For about 30 years, he was the communications director of the Extension Service and the Experiment Station,” Pates said of his father.

University and farming soon became a part of Pates’ life, he said.

Agweek Podcast: Mikkel Pates (Part 1)

Thu, Aug 18 05:15:04 EDT 2022

Agweek reporter Noah Fish talks to Mikkel Pates about his storied career in journalism. Pates has long been one of the top agricultural reporters in the country, working for what are now Forum Communications newspapers since 1979. Pates currently writes on a wide range of agricultural and agribusiness for Agweek. In this episode, he talks about growing up around agriculture in Brookings, South Dakota, his introduction to journalism at South Dakota State University, and his interviewing and reporting process.


“So this whole idea of ​​the land grant college where people research agriculture and then spread it out into the fertile plain through the Extension service was a big part of my life,” Pates said. “I grew up in this town with kids that you grew up with, and their parents were sometimes agricultural scientists whose work you didn’t really know about, but in the end you learned that here’s an oat grower and here’s a wheat flour breeder — and these are people who you were in the church choir … you learned about this idea of ​​the land grant college and, you know, the importance of agriculture that way.”

Pates’ first job as a reporter after graduating from SDSU in 1979 was with the Worthington Daily Globe.

“It was a neat little paper,” Pates said. “I remember I applied the day an elevator burned down in a nearby town, and they didn’t have a photographer in the newsroom the day I applied — and I said, well, I’ll go over there and take a picture of it.” , so I published a photo in the Worthington Daily Globe of a burning elevator before I got the job.”

Agweek Podcast: Mikkel Pates (Part 2)

Thu 25 Aug 18:30:57 EDT 2022

Agweek reporter Noah Fish talks to Mikkel Pates about his storied career in journalism. Pates has long been one of the top agricultural reporters in the country, working for what are now Forum Communications newspapers since 1979. Pates currently writes on a wide range of agricultural and agribusiness for Agweek. In this episode, we learn about Mikkel’s first job as a professional reporter and some of the first big stories he covered.


One of the first big stories Pates covered was American Energy Farming Systems’ artichoke crop, a pyramid marketing plan that cost $25 million to $30 million in 18 months from the pockets of some 2,500 farmers in several states – mainly Minnesota, South -Dakota and North Dakota.

Heading to the Fargo Forum in the early 1980s, Pates shares his memories of the 1983 Midwestern murders—first when a failed farmer and his son lured a bank president and loan officer near Ruthton, Minnesota, to shoot them. Then months later, when farmer and taxpayer Gordon Kahl killed two US Marshals in a firefight in Medina, North Dakota — sparking a massive manhunt in which a SWAT team fired hundreds of rounds at Kahl’s ranch in Heaton, North Dakota. Kahl eventually died in another gunfight in which he killed a local sheriff.

Agweek Podcast: Mikkel Pates (Part 3)

Fri 02 Sep 12:56:54 EDT 2022

Agweek reporter Noah Fish talks to Mikkel Pates about his storied career in journalism. In this episode, Mikkel shares his memories of the 1983 Midwestern farm crisis and murders — first when a failed farmer and his son a bank president and loan officer near Ruthton, Minn. lured to shoot them. When farmer and taxpayer Gordon Kahl killed two US Marshals in a firefight in Medina, ND, which led months later to a massive manhunt in which a SWAT team fired hundreds of shots at Kahl’s farm in Heaton, ND Kahl eventually died in another firefight that left him killed a local sheriff. Mikkel then shares stories of his many travels abroad to report, and reflects on life after journalism.


In the podcasts, Pates then shares stories of his many travels abroad to cover, and reflects on life after journalism.

“It was a very unstable time for farming, and a volatile time with tractor cades, and people getting shot and people going bankrupt,” Pates said.

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