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AgweekTV Full Show: Huntington's Disease sheep, Toy Farmer, sustainability, tree farm

This week on AgweekTV, as our Thankful for Ag series continues, we'll visit a farm that's helping find a cure for Huntington's Disease with some very special sheep. We'll meet a family who's thankful for "the little things." Commodity groups come together to promote sustainability. And a North Dakota tree farm is growing Christmas cheer.

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This week on AgweekTV, as our Thankful for Ag series continues, we'll visit a farm that's helping find a cure for Huntington's Disease with some very special sheep. We'll meet a family who's thankful for "the little things." Commodity groups come together to promote sustainability. And a North Dakota tree farm is growing Christmas cheer.

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WELCOME TO AGWEEK TV, I'M EMILY BEAL. WE HOPE YOU'RE ENJOYING THE HOLIDAY WEEKEND. THIS MONTH WE'RE CONTINUING OUR ANNUAL TRADITION OF SHOWING YOU SOME OF THE WAYS PEOPLE ARE THANKFUL FOR AG.

FOLKS INVOLVED IN AGRICULTURE OFTEN SAY IT PROVIDES FOOD, FUEL AND FIBER. BUT ONE AREA FARM IS ADDING PHARMACY TO THE LIST. I VISITED HARVEST HOPE FARM, WHERE THEY'RE USING THEIR SPECIAL HERD OF SHEEP TO FIGHT A DEADLY DISEASE.

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Jason: We always knew, about this farm, that we needed to do something more and something special with it.

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JASON AND LYNN KOTRBA OWN AND OPERATE THEIR NON-PROFIT, HARVEST HOPE FARM, JUST NORTH OF MOORHEAD, MINNESOTA. THE FARM OFFERS SUMMER CAMPS FOR CHILDREN. BUT IT ALSO DOES SOMETHING MORE IMPORTANT...

Baah!

USING THEIR FLOCK OF WHITE FACE, POLYPAY SHEEP, THE FARM FOCUSES ON HUNTINGTON'S DISEASE RESEARCH. THE FAMILY HAS A PERSONAL CONNECTION WITH THE RARE DISEASE, WHICH HAS NO CURE.

Jason: Lynn's family we knew had been affected with Huntington's Disease for a long time and her mom and her sister both died when they were 49 years old.

THEY DISCOVERED HUNTINGTON'S RESEARCH WAS BEING DONE WITH SHEEP WHILE SCROLLING ON FACEBOOK. THE KOTRBAS KNEW THEY NEEDED TO BE A PART OF THE EFFORT AND REACHED OUT TO GLYCOSE SCIENCE RESEARCH IN SOUTH DAKOTA, WHICH CONDUCTS THE STUDIES.

Kim: My training is in reproductive physiology, so I was pretty excited when Lynn and Jason asked me to help out as they went on this initial sheep venture.

KIM VONNAHME IS THE CO-CHAIR OF THE BOARD OF DIRECTORS FOR HARVEST HOPE FARM. AS AN ANIMAL SCIENTIST, SHE'S BEEN ABLE TO HELP THE KOTRBAS ON THEIR RESEARCH JOURNEY.

Kim: While all mammals make GM1, these sheep actually overproduce it. And why that's important is because certain people who have diseases like Huntington's Disease, they actually underproduce it. So they goal is if we can harvest the over-production made by these sheep, we can use that molecule to help treat individuals with Huntington's, Parkinson's and other neurological diseases.

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Jason: "Some of them carry an extra sugar in them that has stopped the effects of huntington's disease in mice.

THE ULTIMATE GOAL IS TO HELP FIND A CURE FOR HUNTINGTON'S, TO HONOR THEIR FAMILY MEMBERS WHO LOST THEIR BATTLE TO THE DISEASE.

Jason: I always kept wondering, what could we do about this? What can we do about this? And I didn't know at the time but upon getting the farm and having an avenue to do something about it really is near and dear to my heart

*Baaaaaa!

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THE KOTRBAS' RESEARCH FLOCK HAS GROWN FROM TEN SHEEP TO AROUND ONE-HUNDRED.

MINNESOTA STUDENTS ARE THANKFUL FOR AG'S CONTRIBUTION TO THEIR SCHOOL LUNCHES.

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THANKS TO THE FARM TO SCHOOL PROGRAM, SCHOOLS CAN GET FEDERAL AND STATE GRANTS TO BUY FRESH LOCAL PRODUCE, MEAT AND DAIRY PRODUCTS. THE DIRECTOR OF FOOD AND NUTRITION SERVICES FOR MOORHEAD PUBLIC SCHOOLS SAYS RIGHT NOW, THEY ARE ABLE TO SOURCE JUST A SMALL AMOUNT OF LOCAL FOOD, BUT HOPE TO KEEP INCREASING THAT EVERY YEAR. ASHLEY SCHNEIDER SAYS IT'S IMPORTANT FOR STUDENTS TO LEARN ABOUT WHERE THEIR FOOD COMES FROM, AND SHE SAYS THE KIDS LOVE TRYING NEW FOODS.

Ashley Schneider: WE ARE VERY THANKFUL FOR AG, BECAUSE IT ALLOWS US TO BE ABLE TO FEED OFFER LOCAL FRUIT AND VEGETABLES, SUPPORT OUR FARMERS, AND TEACH OUR KIDS WHERE OUR FOOD COMES FROM AND WITHOUT WE WOULDN'T BE ABLE TO DO THAT.

OCTOBER WAS NATIONAL FARM TO SCHOOL MONTH, TO CELEBRATE THE CONNECTION BETWEEN FARMS AND LOCAL SCHOOLS. THE MOORHEAD PUBLIC SCHOOLS HELD SEVERAL SPECIAL EVENTS THROUGH THE MONTH, FEATURING LOCAL PRODUCE.

ONE NORTH DAKOTA FAMILY IS THANKFUL FOR THE "LITTLE THINGS", THAT HAVE HELPED THEM GROW A BIG BUSINESS. MIKKEL PATES INTRODUCES YOU TO "THE TOY FARMER" IN THIS WEEK'S AGWEEK COVER STORY.

Cathy Scheibe: OF THE OLDER TRACTORS, ALMOST ALL OF THEM HAVE BEEN MADE INTO COLLECTOR TRACTORS. IF NOT A TOY, THEN A COLLECTOR TRACTOR.

CATHY SCHEIBE IS BIG INTO SMALL THINGS, MINIATURE FARM MACHINERY, THAT IS. IN THE LATE SEVENTIES, HER HUSBAND CLAIRE GOT INTERESTED IN COLLECTIBLE FARM TOYS. SOON, CLAIRE AND CATHY STARTED PRINTING A NEWSLETTER FOR FARM TOY ENTHUSIASTS THAT EVOLVED INTO A MAGAZINE.

Cathy Scheibe: WE STARTED OUT WITH THIS FOUR PAGE BLACK AND WHITE NEWSLETTER, NOW IT'S A FULL ONE HUNDRED PERCENT COLOR MAGAZINE.

This is the first one, as you can see.

IN 1978, THE SCHEIBES PAIRED WITH FARM TOY MANUFACTURER ERTL COMPANY TO LAUNCH THE NATIONAL FARM TOY SHOW AT DYERSVILLE, IOWA. THE SHOW WAS THE FIRST OF ITS TYPE AND AT THE HOME OF ERTL TOYS. THE SHOW CONTINUES TO THIS DAY, AND EACH YEAR THE SCHEIBE FAMILY AND ERTL PRODUCE A NEW COLLECTIBLE TOY TO SELL AT THE SHOW.

Cathy Scheibe: WELL WE CHOOSE WHAT WE'RE GOING TO DO EACH YEAR, WE KIND OF LOOK AT WHAT WE LIKE, AND USUALLY IT'S VINTAGE, AND ALTHOUGH WE'VE DONE SOME NEWER ONES. AND WE WORK WITH THE ERTL COMPANY TOO, TO FIGURE OUT WHAT WOULD PROBABLY DO WELL.

CLAIRE SCHEIBE DIED IN THE YEAR 2000, BUT CATHY, THEIR CHILDREN AND STAFF CONTINUE TO RUN, AND DEVELOP THE BUSINESS.

Wendi Larson: I DON'T KNOW THAT WE NECESSARILY SELL TOYS, PER SE, WE SELL EMOTIONS.

TOY FARMER SUBSCRIPTION MANAGER WENDI LARSON SAYS TOY FARMER HAS SOME SEVEN THOUSAND SUBSCRIBERS AROUND THE WORLD. SHE SAYS THEY'RE KIND OF CELEBRITIES IN THE FARM TOY WORLD.

Wendi Larson: WHEN THEY RECOGNIZE THAT YOU'RE FROM TOY FARMER, BOY, THEY GOT A LOT TO TELL YOU. THEY WANT TO TELL YOU ABOUT THEIR COLLECTION, WHAT THEIR DAD USED TO COLLECT.

SCHEIBE SAYS IT'S HARD TO DEFINE THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN COLLECTOR TRACTORS AND FARM TOYS. BUT SHE ADVISES, GO WITH YOUR HEART.

Cathy Scheibe: PEOPLE ASK ME ALL THE TIME WHAT TRACTOR SHOULD I BUY TO INVEST IN? AND WE'VE ALWAYS TOLD THEM, BUY THEM BECAUSE YOU LOVE THEM.

NEAR LAMOURE, NORTH DAKOTA,THIS IS MIKKEL PATES FOR AGWEEK.

YOU CAN READ MORE IN THE NEXT AGWEEK MAGAZINE, AND AT AGWEEK.COM .

GROWERS MAY NEED A "PLAN A" AND "PLAN B" TO COUNTER HERBICIDE RESISTANT WEEDS IN 2023.

PLAN A IS PUTTING PRE-EMERGENT HERBICIDES DOWN IN THE FALL. PLAN B INVOLVES A PRE-EMERGE IN THE SPRING, AND LAYERING RESIDUAL HERBICIDES WITH POST-EMERGENT SPRAYING. THE GOAL WITH CHEMICALS IS 100 PERCENT CONTROL, BUT MOST CHEMISTRIES HAVE A LABEL THAT INDICATES BETWEEN SEVENTY AND NINETY PERCENT CONTROL. AGRONOMIST KEVIN ERIKSON SAYS MOST LABELS RECOMMEND USING THEM ON WEEDS LESS THAN THREE INCHES. ERIKSON SAYS SPRAYING WEEDS LARGER THAN THAT ISN'T EFFECTIVE. HE SAYS YOUR BEST CHANCE IS TO KEEP THEM FROM COMING UP, EITHER WITH TILLAGE OR PRE-EMERGENTS.

Kevin Erikson: ONCE THEY'RE OUT OF THE GROUND, YOU'RE UNDER THE GUN TO SPRAY THEM BY A CERTAIN HEIGHT. MOST WEEDS WILL SAY, YOU KNOW, TWO TO THREE INCH WEEDS, WELL ALL OF A SUDDEN TWO TO THREE INCH WEEDS TURN OUT TO BE FIVE TO SIX. AND THEN THE CHEMISTRY'S, YOU JUST CAN'T GET ENOUGH CHEMISTRY ON THE GROWING POINTS TO TAKE THEM OUT.

ERIKSON DOESN'T SEE ANY PROBLEMS WITH SUPPLY. HE SAYS SOME INPUT PRICES ARE UP FOR NEXT YEAR, BUT NOT LIKE THE JUMP FROM '21 TO '22.

COMING UP ON AGWEEK TV, MINNESOTA FARM GROUPS LOOK FOR WAYS TO "BEEF UP" MEAT PROCESSING IN THE STATE.

BOTH THE MINNESOTA FARMERS UNION AND MINNESOTA FARM BUREAU HELD THEIR ANNUAL CONVENTIONS RECENTLY, AND SET PRIORITIES FOR THE UPCOMING YEAR.

THIS YEAR, MUCH OF THE STATE RECOVERED FROM DROUGHT THE PREVIOUS YEAR, SO MANY GROWERS ENDED UP WITH A BETTER CROP THAN 2021. SO, EVEN WITH HIGHER INPUT PRICES, MINNESOTA FARMERS UNION PRESIDENT GARY WERTISH SAYS FOR THE MOST PART, FARMERS WILL DO ALRIGHT THIS YEAR.

Gary Wertish: FOR THE MOST PART, YOU KNOW, WE DID FINE THIS YEAR. IT'S ALWAYS A STRUGGLE. THE INPUT PRICES ARE HIGH, BUT YOU KNOW, THAT'S A CONCERN GOING INTO THE NEXT COUPLE YEARS. YOU KNOW THIS YEAR THE COMMODITY PRICES ARE STRONG, SO WE CAN WEATHER THAT, BUT WE CAN'T WEATHER IT FOR LONG.

ALTHOUGH THE TWO GROUPS MAY HAVE A DIFFERENT POLITICAL BENT,

BOTH GROUPS AGREE SOME OF THE MAJOR ISSUES FACING FARMERS INCLUDE THE 2023 FARM BILL, AFFORDABLE HEALTH CARE, CLIMATE RESILIENCE AND EXPANDING LOCAL MEAT PROCESSING. MINNESOTA FARM BUREAU PRESIDENT DAN GLESSING SAYS BUILDING RURAL COMMUNITIES IS A PRIORITY.

Dan Glessing: ANYTHING WE CAN DO TO STRENGTHEN THAT RURAL COMMUNITY TOO, LIKE BROADBAND. RURAL CHILD CARE, RURAL HOUSING, SO ALL THAT IS KIND OF WHAT WE'RE EXPERIENCING NOW.

BOTH GROUPS ARE WORKING TO INCREASE MEMBERSHIP AMONG YOUNGER FARMERS.

ONE OF THE TOPICS OF A PANEL DISCUSSION AT THE FARMERS UNION CONVENTION IS THE NEED TO BUILD A MORE RESILIENT SYSTEM FOR MEAT PROCESSING IN THE STATE.

WHEN LARGE PACKING PLANTS SHUT DOWN DURING COVID, IT SHOWED THE NEED FOR MORE LOCAL PROCESSING. SINCE THEN, A BROAD ARRAY OF PARTNERS HAVE BEEN WORKING TO BUILD A MORE DISTRIBUTED SYSTEM FOR MEAT PROCESSING IN THE STATE. THAT INCLUDES SEVERAL MINNESOTA COLLEGES NOW OFFERING COURSES FOR MEAT PROCESSING, AS WELL AS BUSINESS SKILLS TO TRAIN YOUNG PEOPLE TO TAKE OVER CURRENT BUSINESSES FROM PEOPLE READY TO RETIRE. THE MINNESOTA AG DEPARTMENT HAS A NUMBER OF GRANTS AVAILABLE TO PEOPLE WHO ARE INTERESTED IN GETTING INTO MEAT PROCESSING.

SUSTAINABILITY CONTINUES TO BE A HOT BUTTON TOPIC IN AGRICULTURE.

COMMODITY GROUPS CAME TOGETHER AT THE NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF FARM BROADCASTING CONVENTION TO SHARE WHAT THEY'RE DOING TO HELP FARMERS WITH THEIR SUSTAINABILITY PRACTICES AND WHY WORKING TOGETHER IS IMPORTANT.

Jack Cornell: 85% of soybean growers are also corn growers. and so it's really a great opportunity for all the major commodity groups to work together. To all grow in the same direction. to work toward increasing resilience on the farm, and increasing profitability through sustainability measures.

SIXTY PERCENT OF PORK PRODUCERS' CARBON FOOTPRINT COMES FROM THE FEED THEY GIVE THEIR ANIMALS, MAKING IT IMPORTANT FOR THEM TO WORK WITH THE ROW CROP COMMODITIES.

Ashley McDonald: Working with our feed commodity partners, since it is our biggest piece, obviously that's the biggest bang for our buck. So anything that we can work with our row crop partners on to improve sustainability in the field reflects positively on US pork.

SUGAR WAS ALSO AT TOPIC OF DISCUSSION AT THE NAFB CONVENTION. THE RED RIVER VALLEY HAD A SUCCESSFUL SUGARBEET HARVEST THIS YEAR.

LILLIE ZENG, DIRECTOR OF COMMUNICATIONS FOR THE AMERICAN SUGAR ALLIANCE, SAID BOTH SUGARBEETS AND SUGAR CANE HARVEST IN THE U.S. DID WELL THIS YEAR. SHE BELIEVES SUSTAINABILITY EFFORTS MAY HAVE BEEN A PART OF THE SUCCESS.

Lillie Zeng: Harvest was great this year, we've got about 9 million tons coming in. 5 million of that beets, 4 will be cane. You know, We've gotten more sugar than we expected in both the beets and cane. With sustainability efforts has been really strong. We've been getting a lot more production for less land.

THE U.S. IS THE FIFTH LARGEST SUGAR PRODUCER IN THE WORLD.

COMING UP ON AGWEEK TV, WE'LL MEET A FARMER WHO'S RETURNED SOME OF HIS LAND TO ITS NATURAL STATE, FOR A PROFIT.

WILL THE REGION HAVE FAVORABLE WEATHER FOR THANKSGIVING WEEKEND?

HERE'S JOHN WITH OUR AGRI-WEATHER OUTLOOK.

WETLAND MITIGATION IS AN EFFORT TO OFFSET THE LOSS OF WETLANDS, FROM PROJECTS LIKE A HOUSING DEVELOPMENT, ROAD CONSTRUCTION, OR FARMING.

IF SOMEONE WANTS TO DRAIN WETLANDS FOR OTHER USES, THEY HAVE TO REPLACE THOSE WETLANDS. ONE WAY IS THROUGH WETLAND MITIGATION BANKING. ROSE DUNN EXPLAINS HOW IT WORKS.

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Kevin Root: WHEN WE FIRST STARTED, EVERYBODY WAS JUST BAFFLED WHAT WE WERE DOING.

KEVIN ROOT BOUGHT THIS LAND NEAR SAINT CLOUD, MINNESOTA IN 2015, BUT SOON DISCOVERED IT WAS NOT GREAT FARMLAND.

Kevin Root: IT'S HEAVIER, HIGH AREAS THAT ARE ACTUALLY PEAT GROUND. VERY PEATY, VERY WET. HOLD THE MOISTURE AND NOT WELL DRAINED. A WET YEAR'S VERY TOUGH.

SO AFTER A FEW YEARS OF BATTLING WET CONDITIONS, SOMETIMES MAKING HARVEST NEARLY IMPOSSIBLE, ROOT HEARD ABOUT WETLANDS BANKING. IT'S A STATE AND FEDERAL PROGRAM THAT ALLOWS A LANDOWNER TO SELL CREDITS TO WHOEVER IS IMPACTING OTHER WETLANDS, BY RESTORING SOME OF THEIR OWN LAND TO ITS NATIVE STATE.

Wes Boll: VERY HIGH QUALITY WETLAND AND BUFFER HABITAT.

WES BOLL OF MOORE ENGINEERING WORKED WITH ROOT ON THIS PROJECT. MOORE HAS SCIENTISTS, SURVEYORS AND ENGINEERS WHO WORK WITH LANDOWNERS TO BUILD THESE PROJECTS.

Wes Boll: THE MOORE TEAM HAS EXPERTS THAT CAN HELP YOU WITH EVERY STEP OF THE PROCESS, FROM INITIAL SITE EVALUATION THROUGH THE DEVELOPMENT AND IMPLEMENTATION OF THE PLAN, AND FINALLY THE MONITORING OF THE PROJECT AND HELPING DEPOSIT THE CREDITS.

AFTER CLEANING UP WEEDS ON THE LAND, AND BUILDING A BERM TO RESTORE HYDROLOGIC CONDITIONS REMOVED BY HISTORIC DITCHING AND TILING, IT WAS TIME TO PLANT NATIVE SPECIES GRASSES AND FLOWERS. ROOT STILL OWNS THE LAND, BUT IT'S NOW PERMANENTLY RESTRICTED FROM FARMING OR DEVELOPMENT. AND, HE SAYS IT'S PROFITABLE.

Kevin Root: I WOULDN'T MAKE AS MUCH IN A HUNDRED YEARS AS I PLANT TO MAKE ON THIS. AND THEN WE STILL HAVE THE LAND.

ROOT CAN STILL USE IT FOR HUNTING. AND IT'S DRAWN SEVERAL NEW BIRD SPECIES.

Kevin Root: SINCE WE PUT IT TO A WETLAND IT'S JUST BEEN AMAZING THE AMOUNT OF BIRDS AND WATERFOWL. WE HAVE PEOPLE STOPPING ON THE ROAD WITH CAMERAS AND TELESCOPES. IT'S VERY SATISFYING, VERY REWARDING.

NEAR ST. CLOUD, THIS IS ROSE DUNN FOR AGWEEK.

FOR MORE INFORMATION ON WETLAND MITIGATION OR WETLAND MITIGATION

BANKING, YOU CAN CONTACT MOORE ENGINEERING.

STILL AHEAD, WHILE MOST FARMERS HAVE WRAPPED UP HARVEST, IT'S PEAK SEASON FOR SOME...

THE CHRISTMAS TREE BUSINESS IS "EVER GREEN" FOR A NORTH DAKOTA FARMER.

THIRTY YEARS AGO, JEROME SUCHOR PLANTED 200 EVERGREEN SEEDLINGS ON SOME LAND HE OWNS AT THE EDGE OF TOWNER, NORTH DAKOTA. SEVEN YEARS LATER, HE STARTED SELLING TREES.

TODAY, SUCHOR PRAIRIE PINES HAS FIFTEEN HUNDRED COLORADO BLUE AND BLACK HILLS SPRUCE TREES IN VARIOUS STAGES OF GROWTH. EACH CHRISTMAS HE SELLS ABOUT FIFTY TREES, AND PLANTS SEEDLINGS TO REPLACE THEM IN THE SPRING. HE SAYS HE JUST LOVES GROWING CHRISTMAS TREES.

Jerome Suchor: I STARTED BACK IN 1992 AND EVER SINCE I'VE GROWN MANY, MANY TREES FOR PEOPLE TO ENJOY THE CHRISTMAS TREES DURING THE HOLIDAYS, AND JUST A GOOD FEELING THAT I HAVE DOING THIS.

SUCHOR SAYS ONLY ABOUT SEVEN OR EIGHT FARMS STILL GROW THEM IN NORTH DAKOTA. SUCHOR SAYS THIS IS A HOBBY FOR HIM---HE ALSO WORKS AT THE STATE NURSERY.

STORIES YOU'LL ONLY SEE ON AGWEEK.COM AND IN AGWEEK MAGAZINE THIS WEEK...

MINNESOTA STATE SENATOR ARIC PUTNAM WILL LEAD THE SENATE COMMITTEE ON AGRICULTURE, RURAL DEVELOPMENT AND BROADBAND.

AND A LATE SEASON DROUGHT HAS SOME ETHANOL PLANTS PAYING A PREMIUM PRICE FOR CORN.

WE APPRECIATE YOU WATCHING AGWEEK TV.

REMEMBER TO CHECK US OUT DAILY ON FACEBOOK, TWITTER, INSTAGRAM AND TIK TOK TO KEEP UP ON ALL YOUR AG NEWS. HAVE A GREAT WEEK.

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