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AgweekTV Full Show: Nature Energy, Butcher's Edge, Feast! and vintage International Harvester equipment

This week on AgweekTV, a Danish company is coming to Minnesota to turn manure into energy. Five friends open a new business in their North Dakota hometown to take the stress out of butchering. Small growers are getting a boost from the University of Minnesota to take their business to the next level. And we'll meet a farmer who stays out of the red — with vintage red.

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This week on AgweekTV, a Danish company is coming to Minnesota to turn manure into energy. Five friends open a new business in their North Dakota hometown to take the stress out of butchering. Small growers are getting a boost from the University of Minnesota to take their business to the next level. And we'll meet a farmer who stays out of the red — with vintage red.

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WELCOME TO AGWEEK TV, I'M EMILY BEAL.

A COMPANY FROM DENMARK THAT HARVESTS ENERGY FROM MANURE AND FOOD WASTE IS BRINGING ITS HIGH-TECH SYSTEM TO MINNESOTA.

JEFF BEACH IS HERE NOW TO TELL US MORE ABOUT IT.

NATURE ENERGY TAKES MANURE FROM DAIRY AND OTHER LIVESTOCK PRODUCERS, AND TURNS THE METHANE FROM THAT MANURE INTO NATURAL GAS. THEN, THEY GIVE THAT MANURE BACK TO FARMERS TO USE AS FERTILIZER.

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Alexis Glick: I WANT TO REMOVE THE MANURE, AND I WANT TO TURN THAT MANURE INTO VALUE.

AS CEO OF NATURE ENERGY'S NORTH AMERICAN DIVISION, ALEXIS GLICK WANTS TO GIVE FARMERS BETTER SOIL HEALTH BY TURNING THEIR MANURE INTO ENERGY AND GREENER FERTILIZER. THE NATURAL GAS PRODUCED CAN BE SOLD TO HEAT HOMES, OR FOR OTHER USES. WHAT GOES BACK TO THE FARMER IS A BETTER MANURE, WITH THE LEVELS OF NUTRIENTS BALANCED TO SUIT WHAT THEIR FARMLAND NEEDS.

Alexis Glick: IF WE CAN FIGURE OUT HOW TO TURN IT INTO VALUE, AND NOT JUST VALUE BUT ENERGY, AND NOT JUST ENERGY BUT INCREASING YIELD ON FARMS, AND HALF A DOZEN OTHER THINGS THAT WE WON'T TALK ABOUT YET BUT ARE STUDYING, WOW, THIS WILL BE LIKE NOTHING WE'VE EVER SEEN IN OUR LIFETIME.

GLICK SAYS IN DENMARK, THE PROCESS HAS INCREASED YIELDS BY THIRTY PERCENT. SHE SAYS THE COMPANY CHOSE MINNESOTA AS A PLACE TO START IN THE U.S. BECAUSE OF ITS RICH AG HERITAGE. AND OF COURSE, THE COWS.

Alexis Glick: WE'RE HELPING THEM DEAL WITH THOSE REGULATORY CONSTRAINTS, THOSE CLIMATE CONCERNS, HELPING THEM BECOME COMPLIANT WHEN THEY'RE DEALING WITH LARGER BUSINESSES, AND HELPING THEM REDUCE ON-FARM COSTS.

THE FIRST TWO COMMUNITIES WHERE NATURE ENERGY WILL SET UP ARE BENSON, IN CENTRAL MINNESOTA, AND WILSON, IN THE SOUTHEAST CORNER.

Terri Collins: I THINK WE HAVE A PARTNERSHIP THAT IS GOING TO BE VERY BENEFICIAL TO OUR COMMUNITY.

BENSON'S MAYOR TERRI COLLINS SAYS THE PROJECT WILL FIT PERFECTLY IN THIS AG COMMUNITY. SHE WAS PART OF A GROUP THAT VISITED THE COMPANY'S HEADQUARTERS IN DENMARK, TO MAKE SURE IT WOULD BE A GOOD ADDITION. IN BENSON, THEY'RE USING A PLANT THAT FORMERLY TURNED TURKEY MANURE INTO ENERGY.

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Terri Collins: WE WANTED TO MAKE SURE IT WAS A FACILITY THAT WAS GOING TO HAVE AN ODOR, THAT IT WOULD HAVE EMPLOYEES, THAT IT WOULD FILL A VOID FROM ANOTHER COMPANY THAT HAD LEFT A FEW YEARS AGO. AND I WAS BEYOND IMPRESSED.

GLICK SAYS DEMAND FOR THIS TYPE OF FACILITY IS GREAT, AND URGENT, IN REDUCING GREENHOUSE GASES.

Alexis Glick: WHO WE ARE, WHAT WE CAN DO, AND HOW WE CAN SOLVE THE PROBLEM HAS NEVER BEEN MORE IMPORTANT.

NATURE ENERGY HOPES TO BREAK GROUND ON THE BENSON PLANT IN THE MIDDLE OF 2023, AND BE DELIVERING ENERGY, SOIL HEALTH AND OTHER PRODUCTS BY 2024. THE COMPANY ALSO PLANS A THIRD LOCATION IN WISCONSIN, ACROSS THE SAINT CROIX RIVER FROM MINNESOTA.

THANKS FOR THAT INTERESTING STORY, JEFF.

FARM LAND VALUE INCREASED DRAMATICALLY FROM 2021 TO 2022, BUT AT THE SAME TIME, RENTS DIDN'T, AND EXPERTS SAY EXPECT THAT TO CHANGE OVER THE WINTER.

AG FINANCE SPECIALIST BRYON PARMAN SAYS HE STILL SEES LAND PRICES TRENDING UP, BUT PERHAPS NOT AS STEEPLY AS IN THE PAST. AND HE EXPECTS A MUCH HIGHER INCREASE IN THE RENTAL RATE, AS LAND RENT NEGOTIATIONS HEAT UP AFTER HARVEST. LAST YEAR, FERTILIZER PRICES WERE RISING, AND PARMAN SAYS LANDLORDS WERE RELUCTANT TO RAISE RENTS ON FARMERS FACING A LOT OF UNCERTAINTY.

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Bryon Parman: NOW WE'VE SEEN COMMODITY PRICES STAY ELEVATED,WE'VE FIGURED OUT THAT EVEN IN THIS ENVIRONMENT THAT THE SHORTAGES AREN'T NECESSARILY AS BIG A CONCERN AS WE THOUGHT THAT THEY WERE. AND THE YIELDS HAVE STAYED STRONG THIS LAST YEAR. PERHAPS LANDLORDS WOULD BE MORE WILLING TO RAISE RENTS THIS YEAR, AND TENANTS WOULD BE MORE WILLING TO PAY THEM.

PARMAN SAYS MOST RENTAL AGREEMENTS CONTINUE TO BE A FIXED CASH DEAL, BUT THERE IS GROWTH IN FLEXIBLE LEASES. IN THAT CASE, THE LANDLORD MAY GET A BONUS BASED ON COMMODITY PRICES OR YIELDS.

THE QUALITY AND QUANTITY OF THE NORTH DAKOTA HARD RED SPRING WHEAT AND DURUM CROPS ARE GOOD THIS YEAR.

THE HARD RED SPRING WHEAT CROP WAS DISEASE FREE AND WILL BE A GOOD CROP TO MARKET, ACCORDING TO THE NORTH DAKOTA WHEAT COMMISSION. GROWING CONDITIONS IN NORTH DAKOTA AND MINNESOTA WERE GOOD, BUT MUCH OF SOUTH DAKOTA AND MONTANA WERE DRY FROM SPRING PLANTING UNTIL AUGUST. THE NUMBER OF ACRES PLANTED IN THE NORTHERN PLAINS AND MONTANA IN 2022 DECREASED BY FIVE PERCENT BECAUSE OF COLD, WET WEATHER IN THE SPRING. ALTHOUGH FARMERS PLANTED FEWER ACRES THIS YEAR THAN LAST, THE HARVESTED ACRES WERE UP, AS FARMERS ABANDONED ACRES IN 2021 BECAUSE OF DROUGHT.

NOVEMBER IS USUALLY WHEN THE COWS COME HOME, AND WE CAUGHT UP WITH ONE RANCHER WRAPPING UP THE ANNUAL JOB.

WALLACE KNOCK HAS A CROP AND LIVESTOCK FARM NEAR WILLOW LAKE, SOUTH DAKOTA. HE HAS ABOUT 175 COW-CALF PAIRS. THEY USUALLY KEEP THE CALVES AND BACKGROUND FEED AND SELL THE STEER CALVES IN JANUARY AND THE HEIFER CALVES IN APRIL.

KNOCK STARTED TO BRING CATTLE HOME IN OCTOBER, EARLIER THAN USUAL, BECAUSE HE HAD NO RAIN IN AUGUST OR SEPTEMBER, SO PASTURES WERE BECOMING DEPLETED. BUT BECAUSE IT WAS SO WET A YEAR AGO, HE DID GET ADEQUATE FEED FOR THE WINTER, THANKS TO SEVERAL ACRES OF PREVENT PLANT.

Wallace Knock: SO CONSEQUENTLY A LOT OF THOSE ACRES GOT SEEDED TO EITHER MILLET OR SOME KIND FEED AND WE BALED THAT UP DURING THE COURSE OF THE SUMMER, SO THAT WAS ONE SOURCE OF FEED THAT WE PROBABLY NORMALLY WOULDN'T HAVE HAD.

THE KNOCKS ALSO HAVE A FLOCK OF EWES.

INFLATION AND THE COST OF NEW FARM EQUIPMENT IS A COMMON COMPLAINT OF FARMERS TODAY. BUT LEROY HELBLING, STAYS "IN THE "BLACK" BY FARMING WITH DECADES-OLD EQUIPMENT THAT'S "RED!'

MIKKEL PATES GIVES YOU A LOOK IN THIS WEEK'S AGWEEK COVER STORY.

Mikkel Pates: EMILY, HERE'S A FELLOW WHO LIKES HIS FARM EQUIPMENT RED, AND FROM THE SIXTIES, SEVENTIES AND EIGHTIES.

LeRoy Helbling: A LOT OF IT IS '78, 78 MODEL EQUIPMENT.

LEROY AND ROSEMARY HELBLING RAISE CORN, OATS AND ALFALFA TO FEED THEIR CATTLE. ALL USING WHAT MOST WOULD CONSIDER VINTAGE, EVEN COLLECTIBLE I-H MACHINERY.

SOME OF THIS EQUIPMENT WAS ALREADY CONSIDERED OLD WHEN HELBLING STARTED FARMING FULL-TIME IN 1980. BUT HE STILL FINDS IT PREFERABLE TO NEW.

LeRoy Helbling: Economical to run, easy to work on, so no computers of any kind of course you know, because it's 1978 and older.

HE KNOWS HIS JOB MIGHT BE EASIER WITH SOME OF THE MODERN PRECISION AG EQUIPMENT, BUT HE RECKONS HIS MACHINERY COSTS FOR PUTTING IN A CROP ARE ABOUT A THIRD OF WHAT THEY'D BE WITH TODAY'S EQUIPMENT.

LeRoy Helbling: I FEEL IT'S BETTER FOR THE BOTTOM LINE, YOU KNOW. I'M NOT A BIG OPERATION, SO I TAKE THE TIME AND FIX IT AND KEEP IT GOING. SO I DON'T NEED A COMBINE WITH A FORTY FOOT HEADER.

HELBLING SAYS HE DOESN'T HAVE MUCH TROUBLE GETTING PARTS. MOST COMES FROM DEALERS OR JOBBERS -- SOMETIMES SALVAGE YARDS.

LeRoy Helbling: YOU KNOW, YEAH, THEY'RE FADED AND WHAT, BUT YOU KNOW, BRING THEM HOME AND CLEAN THEM UP A LITTLE BIT AND PUT THEM ON.

IN ADDITION TO THE FARM MACHINERY, HELBLING HAS FIVE INTERNATIONAL PICKUPS, SEVEN FARM TRUCKS, AND EVEN A COUPLE OF EARLY 1950s INTERNATIONAL HARVESTER HOUSEHOLD REFRIGERATORS -- ALL IN RUNNING ORDER.

LeRoy Helbling: STILL WORKS LIKE NEW YET, CHILLS REAL GOOD.

HE ALSO HAS A COLLECTION OF INTERNATIONAL TOY EQUIPMENT. AND TO TOP IT ALL OFF, HE EVEN HAS SOME INTERNATIONAL CLOTHING.

LeRoy Helbling: INTERNATIONAL GLOVES AND SUSPENDERS, AND AN INTERNATIONAL CAP. Mikkel: I-H never made long johns or anything did they? YEAH, THEY DID. MINE ARE ALL WORN OUT!

Mikkel Pates: SO WHILE FARMERS ARE CONCERNED ABOUT THE RISING PRICE OF INPUTS, AND INFLATION, THERE ARE WAYS AROUND IT. FOR AGWEEK, THIS IS MIKKEL PATES AT MANDAN, NORTH DAKOTA.

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

COMING UP ON AGWEEK TV, FIVE FRIENDS TAKE BUTCHERING TO THE NEXT LEVEL IN THEIR HOMETOWN...

YOU CAN EXPECT TO PAY MORE FOR YOUR THANKSGIVING TURKEY AND OTHER HOLIDAY MEAL STAPLES THIS MONTH.

THE UPTICK IN PRICES COMES FROM BOTH AVIAN INFLUENZA AND INFLATION. THE USDA SAYS MORE THAN FORTY-SIX MILLION BIRDS IN FORTY STATES DIED FROM THE DISEASE SINCE FEBRUARY, EIGHT MILLION OF THEM TURKEYS. U.S. AG SECRETARY TOM VILSACK WARNS THAT SOME OF THE TURKEYS BEING RAISED RIGHT NOW FOR THANKSGIVING MAY NOT HAVE ENOUGH TIME TO GET TO THE TWENTY POUNDS THAT MANY PEOPLE WANT FOR THEIR HOLIDAY TURKEY.

IT'S THE TIME OF YEAR WE THINK ABOUT FEASTING...

AND THE ANNUAL "FEAST" FOOD SHOW IN ROCHESTER, MINNESOTA HAD LOTS OF FEASTING IDEAS. BUT WHAT MAKES IT DIFFERENT FROM OTHER FOOD SHOWS IS THAT "FEAST" REQUIRES SELLERS TO SOURCE FROM LOCAL FARMS AS MUCH AS POSSIBLE. SHOW ORGANIZER BRETT OLSON SAYS EVENTS LIKE THIS ARE IMPORTANT FOR SELLERS TO GET THEIR PRODUCTS IN FRONT OF PEOPLE, BUT HE'D LIKE TO SEE MORE OF THEM INTO WHOLESALING. THE UNIVERSITY OF MINNESOTA IS WORKING WITH SMALL GROWERS ON A PROGRAM CALLED "WHOLESALE READINESS".

Brett Olson: THE REAL PROFITABILITY COMES IN THAT WHOLESALE MARKET. WHOLESALE DOESN'T MEAN YOU TAKE HALF THE PRICE, SO THAT RETAIL CAN MARK IT UP. A LOT OF TIMES IT'S VERY SIMILAR TO THE PRICE AT A FARMERS MARKET, BUT YOU'RE SELLING IN PALLET LOADS OR TOTES, AND SO YOU CAN MOVE A LOT MORE FOR FEWER HOURS.

THE TWO MAIN ORGANIZATIONS PUTTING ON THE SHOW ARE THE SOUTHERN MINNESOTA INITIATIVE FOUNDATION AND THE MINNESOTA DEPARTMENT OF AG.

FIVE FRIENDS, WITH ROOTS IN AG, HAVE COME TOGETHER TO OFFER A STRESS-FREE BUTCHER EXPERIENCE FOR RANCHERS. I VISITED BUTCHER'S EDGE IN EDGLEY, NORTH DAKOTA, WHERE THEY'RE TAKING THE HASSLE OUT OF GOING TO THE BUTCHER.

Garitt Irey: Just one morning while having coffee on main street in Edgeley we started talking about the idea of maybe someday putting together a plant.

BROTHERS JAY AND GRANT MATHERN AND THEIR FRIENDS GARRIT IREY, TIM MOCK AND MIKE SCHLOSSER SAW THE DEMAND FOR A PLACE TO BUTCHER LIVESTOCK IN THEIR COMMUNITY. SO THEY OPENED BUTCHER'S EDGE IN JUNE OF 2022. THE USDA INSPECTED FACILITY CAN PROCESS UP TO TWENTY CATTLE A WEEK.

Tim Moch: If there wasn't agriculture here, there would be nothing right. I mean, so There's a lot of cattle in this area.

THE FIVE ALL HAVE DEEP ROOTS IN THE AG INDUSTRY, WORKING IN INSURANCE, FARMING AND RAISING CATTLE. THEIR KNOWLEDGE OF THE INDUSTRY GAVE THEM AN INSIDE LOOK AT WHAT CUSTOMERS WANT WHEN DROPPING OFF THEIR LIVESTOCK. WHILE THEY WORK WITH CATTLE MOSTLY, THEY ALSO BUTCHER LAMB, HOGS AND WILD GAME SUCH AS DEER.

Jay Mathern: Being a cattle person, we know how people want their animals treated as their coming off the trailer into your facility. I mean, I don't like hot shots, a lot of people don't like to see that stuff. So we try to treat these cattle as humane as possible and as comfortable as possible.

RANCHERS CAN DRIVE IN, UNLOAD THEIR CATTLE AND DRIVE OUT OF WITH EASE. THIS SYSTEM MAKES THE UNLOADING PROCESS LESS STRESSFUL ON RANCHERS AND THEIR LIVESTOCK.

Mike Schlosser: We had a pretty good idea I guess just talking to people about what their pains were a lot of it was to do with it took so long to get cattle in and that was our biggest clue that you know, this was a need for ranchers around here.

BUTCHER'S EDGE HAS A STOREFRONT WHERE CUSTOMERS CAN COME IN AND BUY FRESH AND LOCAL CUTS OF MEAT.

AHEAD ON AGWEEK TV, WE'LL TAKE YOU TO A GREENHOUSE THAT GROWS TOMATOES ALL YEAR ROUND...

ARE THE COLD TEMPS AND LINGERING FROST HERE TO STAY?

HERE'S JOHN WITH OUR AGRI-WEATHER OUTLOOK.

60 MILES NORTHEAST OF GRAND FORKS, NORTH DAKOTA, YOU'LL FIND MEADOWLARK GARDEN.

THEY GROW TOMATOES IN A 4,300 SQUARE FOOT GREENHOUSE, FOR LOCAL RESTAURANTS AND GROCERY STORES, ALMOST ALL YEAR.

KATIE PINKE GIVES YOU A TOUR, IN THIS STORY FROM THE AGWEEK VAULT.

AND WE HAVE BEES. THERE'S A BEE FOR POLLINATING.

KATIE: IT ALL STARTED WHEN DENNIS LOEWEN, HIS WIFE AND FAMILY, RETURNED TO THE U.S. AFTER 25 YEARS OF FARMING IN BRAZIL.

Dennis Loewen: They're very friendly, very nice people.

THEY WANTED TO START A BUSINESS, SO THEY BOUGHT THIS GREENHOUSE FROM A RELATIVE.

Dennis: I think of it as a good retirement job.

Katie Pinke: Did you have experience with greenhouses?

Dennis: No.

Katie Pinke: AND SO WHY DID YOU DECIDE TO GO THE GREENHOUSE ROUTE IN NORTHEASTERN NORTH DAKOTA?

Dennis: I enjoy working with plants, it's intriguing, it's challenging, to know what all the nutrients that a plant needs, and to keep it healthy and balanced with fruit and leaves.

KATIE: THE PROCESS STARTS AROUND THE FIRST OF THE YEAR, WHEN THE PLANTS ARE SEEDED. MEADOWLARK GETS THEM IN MID-FEBRUARY, WHEN THEY'RE PLANTED IN THE GREENHOUSE.

DENNIS: THEY'RE JUST GROWN IN THAT LITTLE BAG, NOT IN THE SOIL, WE PUT THAT LITTLE DRIP TUBE IN THERE, WE SET THAT IN THE BAG, AND THAT'S HOW WE PLANT THEM.

KATIE: THE FIRST TOMATOES ARE READY TO PICK AND DELIVER IN LATE APRIL. THESE "INDETERMINATE" PLANTS CONTINUE TO PRODUCE UNTIL DECEMBER.

Dennis: THAT MEANS THE PLANT KEEPS GROWING, AND IT KEEPS BLOSSOMING. IF YOU SEE UP TOP THERE'S BLOSSOMS, AND THEN THERE'S SMALLER TOMATOES AND THEN THE BIGGER ONES AND THE RIPE ONES AND WHEN IT GETS TO THE TOP WE LOWER THAT.

KATIE: AS YOU CAN IMAGINE, HEAT IS THEIR BIGGEST EXPENSE IN THIS CLIMATE.

DENNIS: THESE PIPES, THE CARTS ROLL ON THERE, PLUS THEY ARE HOT WATER AND OVERHEAD HAD RADIATORS.

KATIE: THEY GROW SEVERAL VARIETIES, WITH BEEFSTEAK BEING THE MOST POPULAR. AND THE SECRET TO THEIR SUCCESS? LOEWEN SAYS IT'S THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN TOMATOES BEING PICKED GREEN AND SHIPPED A LONG DISTANCE, OR VINE-RIPENED, PICKED FRESH.

Dennis: IT'S PICKED TODAY AND YOU CAN HAVE IT FOR LUNCH. THAT'S THE QUALITY. I HAVE NO OTHER SECRETS.

KATIE: AT PARK RIVER, NORTH DAKOTA, THIS IS KATIE PINKE FOR AGWEEK.

THEY ALSO GROW MICROGREENS, WHICH THEY SUPPLY TO HIGH-END RESTAURANTS.

STILL AHEAD, THE GREAT PLAINS FOOD BANK GETS A HEALTHY DONATION, JUST IN TIME FOR HOLIDAY MEALS.

A LOCAL DAIRY HAS DONATED A HIGHLY-SOUGHT AFTER ITEM TO THE GREAT PLAINS FOOD BANK.

CASS-CLAY CREAMERY DONATED 24,000 CARTONS OF THE GIVING COW, A SHELF STABLE MILK. THE EIGHT OUNCE CARTONS HAVE A SHELF LIFE OF A YEAR, AS OPPOSED TO FRESH MILK BEING GOOD UP TO TWENTY DAYS. THE MILK WILL HELP MAKE HEALTHIER MEALS.

Kramer Stuth: This can help enrich like a full meal. We try to give every client or neighbor a full meal the best that we can. And so having this type of product will be another staple in the meal we can provide for them.

THE MILK WILL BE DISTRIBUTED TO ONE-HUNDRED COMMUNITIES JUST IN TIME FOR THE HOLIDAYS, WHICH IS GREAT PLAINS SAYS IS WHEN DONATIONS ARE NEEDED THE MOST.

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

AN AG LOBBYIST SAYS CONSERVATION, CLIMATE POLICY AND THE CHANGING FACE OF AG COMMITTEES WILL SHAPE UPCOMING FARM BILL DISCUSSIONS.

AND SUMMIT CARBON SOLUTIONS AND A FARMER HAVE SUED TWO SOUTH DAKOTA COUNTIES AS THE COMPANY PUSHES AHEAD WITH ITS PLANS FOR A CARBON CAPTURE PIPELINE.

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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