PARSHALL, N.D. — Jim Huus has been the face of the United Quality Cooperative at Parshall, N.D., for 45 years.
Huus grew up on a grain farm southeast of Parshall and graduated high school in 1975. He took welding training at what is now Bismarck State College and came back to take a driveway worker job at what then was the Parshall Farmers Union Co-op Elevator.
He turns 63 on July 5 and will retire on July 31.
Gary Urlacher, the operations manager for the co-op, says Huus has been a “very dedicated” employee, gaining the respect of his colleagues and the farmers they serve.
When Huus started, the Parshall co-op had three different elevators in town at the time, and three employees, dealing with less than a half-million bushels of storage. In those days, they loaded mostly durum wheat into boxcars..
Last year, United Quality Co-op demolished one of the concrete structures and replaced it with a concrete and steel combination of about 3 million bushels. The Parshall site can load shuttle trains on the Canadian Pacific Railway tracks.
United Quality Co-op has elevators in the western North Dakota towns of Ross on the BNSF Railway line, and New Town and Parshall on the CP tracks. It’s been interesting to see things get bigger, Huus said. Train loading started at five cars and went to 25 cars, to 50, and then 100 cars or more. “And now they’re talking about 134,” Huus says.
Initially, Parshall area farmers were growing mostly durum. “It was fairly simple to handle,” he says. “Color was basically all you had to worry about too much.” Today, spring wheat is a bigger crop in the area, and “soybeans are getting to be a big one,” he says, adding there is also barley, canola, corn and flax.
Huus says he’s always enjoyed talking to farmers and says there were more face-to-face opportunities in the old days before more efficient truck probing and dumping. He says the career worked well for him and he hopes he added value. “Hopefully we did OK,” he says.
Huus’ wife, Lori, works at the local telephone cooperative. They have two grown children and five grandchildren in the area. He’ll spend more time hunting, golfing and four-wheeling.