Agribusinessman loves the road

A veteran agribusinessman loves the road and selling farm equipment in North Dakota, South Dakota, Minnesota and Wisconsin.

Dwight Johnson of West Fargo, N.D., is a regional representative for Mandako Agri Marketing Ltd., of Plum Coulee, Manitoba covering the Dakotas, Minnesota and Wisconsin. Photo taken Sept. 15, 2020, in West Fargo, N.D. Mikkel Pates / Agweek

WEST FARGO, N.D. — Dwight Johnson of West Fargo, N.D., enjoys what has become a long and varied career in agriculture.

Johnson, 65, was born and raised on a farm near Fingal, N.D. He is a regional representative for Mandako Agri Marketing Ltd., of Plum Coulee, Manitoba, and was promoting the products in a booth at the 40th Big Iron farm show in mid-September.

As the story goes, Mandako was started in 2001 by John Redekop, just across the line from Walhalla, N.D. Redekop started manufacturing land-rollers and eventually rolled into tillage — machines with names like Storm, Twister and Chisel Flex.

The land rollers proved valuable for farmers for pushing rocks into the ground so that when harvest comes the headers can move across the field without the worry of picking up rocks.


“But over the years they have found out that the soil-to-seed contact made a huge difference,” Johnson was quick to add. “A lot of guys land-roll beans when they’re pop can sized high. They say they don’t get as (tall) but they get pods all of the way down to the ground, which means about four to five bushels more per acre.”

Johnson travels North Dakota, South Dakota, Minnesota and Wisconsin and guesses that today about 80% of farmers have the land-rollers, countrywide. Areas of Illinois and Indiana, for example, haven’t adopted them. Some Nebraskans are concerned about land-rollers “packing” their ground, while Johnson and others tell them they’re “firming” the ground.

Johnson graduated high school in 1973 and went to college at Botteneau, N.D., collecting a degree in parks and recreation management. But he got a job in Bottineau Cooperative Creamery (Pride Dairy) and worked his way up to manager, and then took a job with Cass-Clay Creamery in Fargo, N.D. He finished with Enoch Schultz Creamery in Bismarck, and retired from that in 2006.

Johnson worked at North Country Marketing and then hired on with Mandako.

“I’m on the road a lot,” he said. “I would highly recommend doing this. It’s very rewarding — just the fun of getting out on a farm and helping a farmer understand the equipment has always been my highlight. It’s not all about selling; it’s to make sure the end-user is happy.”

None of his four children went into the business.

Johnson still enjoys studying what he’s selling, listening to customers, and helping to make changes in the machines.

“Do I plan on retiring?” he asks, rhetorically, and then answers, flatly, “No.”

Mikkel Pates is an agricultural journalist, creating print, online and television stories for Agweek magazine and Agweek TV.
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