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AgweekTV Full Show: ND Mill and Elevator, potato harvest, soybeans, cheese plant expansion, new vet clinic

This week on AgweekTV, we'll visit an historic mill that's celebrating a century of making flour. We'll continue our Follow a Farmer series with potato harvest in Crystal, North Dakota. Our Agweek Corn and Soybean Tour continues as beans are nearing harvest time. An important cheese plant in southeast Minnesota marks 50 years with a big expansion. And a North Dakota woman opens up her own veterinary clinic.

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This week on AgweekTV, we'll visit an historic mill that's celebrating a century of making flour. We'll continue our Follow a Farmer series with potato harvest in Crystal, North Dakota. Our Agweek Corn and Soybean Tour continues as beans are nearing harvest time. An important cheese plant in southeast Minnesota marks 50 years with a big expansion. And a North Dakota woman opens up her own veterinary clinic.

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WELCOME TO AGWEEK TV, I'M EMILY BEAL.

THIS MONTH, THE NORTH DAKOTA MILL AND ELEVATOR IS CELEBRATING A CENTURY OF MAKING FLOUR FROM HARD, RED SPRING WHEAT, AND DURUM WHEAT, GROWN BY FARMERS IN THE NORTHERN PLAINS AND MONTANA.

WE TAKE A LOOK BACK, AND AHEAD, IN THIS WEEK'S AGWEEK COVER STORY.

Vance Taylor: IT REALLY STARTS WITH THE WHEAT. WE HAVE SOME OF THE BEST WHEAT IN THE WORLD.

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THE NORTH DAKOTA MILL AND ELEVATOR WAS ESTABLISHED IN GRAND FORKS 1922. IT OPENED ON OCTOBER 20TH OF THAT YEAR, AFTER SEVERAL DECADES OF ATTEMPTS BY FARMERS TO STOP THE HOLD THE GRAIN TRADE HAD ON PRICING AND GRAIN GRADING.

Vance: Back in those days, we made our own power with our own small power plant there. That's what the smokestack is for.

IT WAS, AND STILL IS, THE ONLY PUBLICLY-OWNED MILL IN THE U.S., AND IT REMAINS THE COUNTRY'S LARGEST SINGLE-SITE MILL.

Vance Taylor: AND IT'S ALSO ONE OF THE MOST AUTOMATED MILLS IN THE COUNTRY....

mill sound

... AND WE PRODUCE SOME OF THE HIGHEST QUALITY FLOUR.

MILL AND ELEVATOR PRESIDENT VANCE TAYLOR SAYS THEY GRIND 140 THOUSAND BUSHELS OF WHEAT A DAY, PRODUCING SIX MILLION POUNDS OF FLOUR PER DAY, 24-SEVEN.

Vance Taylor: IN A TYPICAL YEAR WE'LL GRIND ABOUT FORTY MILLION BUSHELS, NOW WITH OUR LATEST EXPANSION.

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THEY PRODUCE 90 PERCENT SPRING WHEAT FLOUR AND TEN PERCENT DURUM PASTA PRODUCTS... ONLY 4-5 PERCENT OF THEIR OUTPUT IS RETAIL SALES, WITH THE VAST MAJORITY TO COMMERCIAL USERS AROUND THE WORLD.

Vance Taylor: THIS YEAR WE HAVE A GREAT CROP TO WORK WITH, GOOD GROWING CONDITIONS, GOOD HARVEST CONDITIONS, BUMPER CROP. SO WE'RE EXCITED ABOUT THAT.

THE MILL HAS UNDERGONE MANY CHANGES AND EXPANSIONS OVER THE LAST HUNDRED YEARS, BUT ONE THING HAS NOT CHANGED, AS THE MILL HEADS INTO ITS SECOND CENTURY.

Vance Taylor: HIGH QUALITY AND GREAT CUSTOMER SERVICE. WE STRIVE TO BE NUMBER ONE IN BOTH.

YOU CAN READ MUCH MORE IN THE NEXT AGWEEK MAGAZINE, AND AT AGWEEK.COM . AND NEXT WEEK, WE'LL GIVE YOU A LOOK AT WHAT GOES ON INSIDE THE MILL WITH A RARE, BEHIND THE SCENES TOUR.

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AGWEEK'S BEEN FOLLOWING SEVERAL FARMERS IN OUR REGION THROUGHOUT THIS GROWING SEASON. KATIE PINKE CHECKED BACK IN WITH ONE OF THEM THIS WEEK...JUST IN TIME FOR POTATO HARVEST.

Katie Pinke: WE'RE BACK HERE AT SHEPHERD FARMS, CRYSTAL, NORTH DAKOTA. WE'RE HERE FOR A POTATO HARVEST. THOMAS, SHARE A LITTLE BIT ABOUT WHAT'S HAPPENING WITH THE HARVEST.

Thomas Shephard: YEAH. SO IT'S PROBABLY OUR BUSIEST TIME OF YEAR, BUT IT'S A GOOD THING. WE USUALLY SAY IT'S ABOUT A MONTH. WE SAY MID-SEPTEMBER TO MID-OCTOBER AS WHAT WE TEND TO PLAN AND THEN WE ADJUST AS WE NEED TO.

YOU HAD SOME RECENT RAIN, AND THAT'S ACTUALLY BEEN A POSITIVE SHARE WITH US ABOUT THAT.

Thomas Shephard: YEAH, YOU NEED A GOOD RAIN TO REALLY GET THE POTATO HARVEST ROLLING.YOU KNOW, WHEN THEY'RE COMING IN WITH THAT DIRT, IF THE DIRT IF THE DIRT HARD AND DRY, IT'S KIND OF LIKE A ROCK. AND SO IT'S IT'S BRUISED THE POTATOES A LITTLE BIT, WHICH YOU DON'T LIKE TO DO. AND THEN AS SOON AS YOU GET A NICE RAIN, THAT DIRT TURNS INTO A MUD AND IT'S A MUCH SOFTER AND IT'S ACTUALLY A CUSHION.

AND TO BE ABLE TO GET SWORD'S POTATOES INTO THE BIN, TO HAVE GOOD MOISTURE IN THE FIELD, IT'S A HUGE BLESSING.

SO WHAT IS THE VARIETY THAT YOU'RE HARVESTING?

Thomas Shephard: SO RIGHT NOW, OUR HARVEST IS CALLED THE DAKOTA PEARL, AND IT'S A BEAUTIFUL NAME, BEAUTIFUL POTATO FOR OUR AREA. AND IT'S OUR MAIN VARIETY OF A CHIPPING POTATO. AND THEN SO WE'VE GOT A FEW DIFFERENT VARIETIES FOR CHIPS THAT WE'RE GOING TO GO THROUGH AND THEN WE FINISH UP WITH OUR RED ONES.

FROM HEREWHERE DO THESE POTATOES GO?

Thomas Shephard: SO RIGHT NOW WE'RE PUTTING THEM IN OUR WAREHOUSE RIGHT HERE IN CRYSTAL, AND WE'VE GOT DIFFERENT BINS SEPARATED BY DIFFERENT VARIETIES. AND DEPENDING ON WHAT TIME OF YEAR THAT THEY'RE GOING TO BE SHIPPED. AND THEN WHAT WE DO THROUGHOUT THE WHOLE YEAR IS WE LOAD RAILCARS AND SEMI-TRUCKS AND REALLY GO THROUGHOUT THE WHOLE COUNTRY.

AND HOW LONG DO POTATOES IN A WAREHOUSE?

Thomas Shephard: YEAH. SO WE CAN KEEP THEM UP TO A YEAR, BUT WE LIKE TO SO PRETTY MUCH AS SOON AS WE FINISH HARVESTING, WE START SHIPPING AND THEN WE'RE THANKFUL TO HAVE DIFFERENT BINS IN HERE THAT WE WILL HOLD SOME LONGER THAN THE OTHER ONES, DEPENDING ON TEMPERATURE AND HUMIDITY CONTROLS. SO YEAH, WE'LL HAVE SOME THAT WON'T GO OUT TILL NEXT SUMMER.

WE'LL PLAN TO COME BACK LATER THIS FALL FOR SHIPPING. THOMAS SHEPHARD, THANKS FOR JOINING US.

THANKS KATIE.

THIS WEEK'S AGWEEK CORN AND SOYBEAN TOUR STOP TAKES US TO NORTHWEST MINNESOTA.

AFTER A LATE START, THE SOYBEAN CROP IS CATCHING UP, WITH JUST A FEW WEEKS TO GO BEFORE HARVEST.

MARK FILLBRANDT IS A CROP CONSULTANT IN FELTON, MINNESOTA. HE SAYS THINGS ARE LOOKING GOOD, CONSIDERING THEY DIDN'T PLANT UNTIL MAY 25TH.

Mark Fillbrandt: YEAH E PLANTED CORN AND BEANS THAT SAME DAY AND I TELL YOU WHAT I WOULD HAVE NEVER BET THAT OUR CORN WOULD HAVE BEEN KNEE HIGH BY THE FOURTH OF JULY, BUT WE MADE IT THIS YEAR. WE REALLY CAUGHT UP, EVERYTHING POPPED OUT OF THE GROUND QUICK. WE HAD GOOD MOISTURE, WE HAD GOOD TEMPERATURES, SO THAT WAS, KIND OF GOT US CAUGHT UP AND I THINK WE'RE PRETTY CLOSE TO AVERAGE, WITH GDU'S ALL THE WAY ACROSS THE BOARD.

FILLBRANDT SAYS TIMELY RAINS, ABOUT HALF AN INCH TO AN INCH A WEEK THROUGHOUT AUGUST, REALLY HELPED.

Mark Fillbrandt: I THINK IT'S GOING TO BE ALL OVER THE BOARD, IT ALL DEPENDS ON, YOU KNOW, WHERE YOU GOT YOUR RAIN. I'M HOPING THESE ARE GOING TO RUN INTO THE FORTIES. YOU KNOW, THAT WOULD BE GOOD FOR HERE.

FILLBRANDT HAS TEST PLOTS ONTHE SANDY BEACH RIDGE OF WHAT WAS ONCE LAKE AGASSIZ, A GLACIAL LAKE THAT FORMED THE RED RIVER VALLEY. HE SAYS COVER CROPS ARE IMPROVING THE SOIL, HELPING IT ABSORB AND RETAIN MOISTURE.

Mark Fillbrandt: WE JUST NEED TO TRY TO FIND WAYS THAT WE CAN DO THE BEST JOB OF TRYING TO HOLD ONTO OUR SOIL, AND MAKE IT BETTER AND TRY TO CREATE A LEGACY AND MAKE THE SOIL BETTER AFTER, WHEN WE GET DONE USING IT.

FILLBRANDT ALSO HAS CLIENTS IN SOUTHEAST SOUTH DAKOTA, WHERE DRY CONDITIONS ARE COSTING YIELDS, AND ROCHESTER, MINNESOTA, WHICH HE CALLS THE "GARDEN SPOT" OF THE REGION, WITH A GREAT CROP OF CORN AND BEANS.

COMING UP ON AGWEEK TV, WE'LL MEET A YOUNG VET WHO'S RETURNED TO HER HOME STATE TO OPEN HER OWN PRACTICE.

THANK YOU TO OUR SPONSORS: CRARY AND FULL POD 2022, FARMERS MUTUAL OF NEBRASKA, NORTH DAKOTA SOYBEAN COUNCIL, NORTH DAKOTA CORN COUNCIL, MINNESOTA SOYBEAN, AND GERINGHOFF

MINNESOTA RECENTLY GOT A CHANCE TO SHOW OFF ITS AGRICULTURAL PROWESS TO THE WORLD. ABOUT 35 REPRESENTATIVES OF FOREIGN GOVERNMENTS SPENT A WEEK TOURING FARMS, RESEARCH SITES AND AGRIBUSINESSES ACROSS THE STATE.

JEFF BEACH JOINS US NOW WITH MORE.

EMILY, VISITS RANGED FROM HORMEL AND SOYBEAN FARMS IN SOUTHEAST MINNESOTA...TO SUGARBEET FARMS AND PROCESSING IN THE RED RIVER VALLEY.

Cordell Huebsch: I JUST LOVE HAVING PEOPLE COME SEE HOW WE DO THINGS HERE.

OTTER BERRY FARM WELCOMES GUESTS ALL SEASON, WHETHER IT'S PICKING THEIR OWN STRAWBERRIES OR PICKING OUT THE PERFECT PUMPKIN. BUT ON THIS SEPTEMBER DAY, OTTER BERRY IS HOSTING A DELEGATION OF PEOPLE REPRESENTING AG INTERESTS IN FOREIGN COUNTRIES. AT OTTER BERRY, THEY LEARNED ABOUT THE AGRITOURISM ASPECT OF THE BUSINESS, AS WELL AS THEIR NORTHARVEST EDIBLE BEANS.

Cordell Huebsch: NOT EVERYBODY KNOWS A LOT ABOUT DARK RED KIDNEY BEANS, IT'S KIND OF AN OBSCURE CROP, AND SO TO HAVE AN OPPORTUNITY TO SHOW WHERE YOU ARE, WHAT YOU DO, IT'S JUST SUPER POWERFUL.

LEADING THE GROUP IS JEFF PHILLIPS. HE'S THE INTERNATIONAL TRADE REPRESENTATIVE FOR THE FOOD AND AG SECTOR OF THE MINNESOTA DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE. HE SAYS THESE TOURS ARE AN IMPORTANT LEARNING EXPERIENCE FOR OUR AG PARTNERS AROUND THE WORLD.

Jeff Phillips: SO IT'S A GOOD OPPORTUNITY TO SHOW THEM FIRST HAND WHAT OUR AGRICULTURE IS, AND HOW WE PRODUCE IT.

MATTHEW WORRELL WORKS IN AG FOR THE AUSTRALIAN GOVERNMENT. HE 'S CURRENTLY STATIONED IN WASHINGTON DC, AND THIS IS HIS FIRST TRIP TO MINNESOTA, SO HE SAYS IT'S A GREAT LEARNING EXPERIENCE.

Matthew Worrell: WE'VE HAD THE CHANCE TO GET OUT ON FARMS AND MEET SOME FARMERS, BUT ALSO WE'VE BEEN SORT OF TALKING TO SOME OF THE LARGE AGRI-BUSINESSES LIKE CARGILL AND HORMEL FOODS. SO IT SEEMS LIKE THERE'S REAL COMPETITION, BUT THERE'S ALSO SORT OF THIS COLLABORATION HERE.

SOME OF THE INFORMATION LEARNED ON THIS TOUR WILL BE USED TO IMPROVE FARMING PRACTICES IN THEIR HOME COUNTRIES, OR STRENGTHEN TRADING TIES.

Emily: Thanks for sharing this story, Jeff.

CATTLE DON'T THINK OR ACT LIKE HUMANS, SO IF CATTLEMEN UNDERSTAND THAT, THEY CAN HANDLE THEM MORE EFFECTIVELY.

THAT WAS THE MESSAGE FROM ONE CATTLE EXPERT, AT THE CATTLEMEN'S EDUCATION SERIES AT THE NORTH DAKOTA STOCKMEN'S ASSOCIATION CONVENTION. RON GILL IS A LIVESTOCK SPECIALIST AT TEXAS A&M.

THE TECHNIQUES HE TAUGHT WERE ABOUT LEARNING HOW CATTLE THINK, SO PRODUCERS CAN GET THE CATTLE TO WORK THE WAY THEY NEED THEM TO. HE CALLS THE TECHIQUES "EFFECTIVE STOCKMANSHIP," RATHER THAN LOW-STRESS HANDLING. GILL SAYS LESS STRESS IMPACTS GAIN, DEATH LOSS AND REPRODUCTION.

Ron Gill: THIS IS ONE OF THE FEW THINGS WE CAN DO TO IMPROVE PRODUCTIVITY ON ANY KIND OF CATTLE OPERATION WITHOUT SPENDING ANY MONEY. WHAT IT TAKES IS US CHANGING OUR BEHAVIOR, AND THAT'S PRETTY HARD FOR SOME PEOPLE TO DO. EVERYTHING THAT WE GET PAID ON WE CAN IMPROVE, IF WE HANDLE THE CATTLE BETTER.

THE SEMINAR WAS FUNDED IN LARGE PART BY BEEF CHECKOFF FUNDS THROUGH THE NORTH DAKOTA BEEF COMMISSION.

FINDING VETERINARIANS IN RURAL AMERICA IS A GROWING CHALLENGE. I VISITED ONE YOUNG VET WHO TOOK ACTION AGAINST THE SHORTAGE, OPENING HER OWN CLINIC IN SOUTHEAST NORTH DAKOTA .

Erin:First you got to learn just how to be a vet

ERIN CHRIST ALWAYS KNEW SHE WANTED TO BE A VET.

Erin Christ: I had a dog when I was a kid that had a vaccine reaction after we got his vaccinations and I just wanted to help him and I didn't know how to help him. So it kind of all just fell into place. I was also the kid that was saving the sick kittens and worried about all the little animals.

CHRIST ATTENDED NDSU AND THEN WENT TO IOWA STATE UNIVERSITY FOR VET SCHOOL. SHE THEN RETURNED and WORKED IN A VET CLINIC IN SOUTH DAKOTA FOR FOUR YEARS, WHERE SHE MET SOME CHALLENGES.

Erin Christ: Sometimes the community isn't as receptive to get new young vets in there, especially sometimes women, and right now the majority of the vets coming out of vet school are women. Some are very good and they understand that that's what you're going to get, but there still are some that are going to push back at you.

DESPITE THIS, CHRIST OPENED UP HER OWN VET CLINIC, A DREAM SHE HAD FOR YEARS. COUNTRY ROADS VETERINARY SERVICES IN ELLENDALE, NORTH DAKOTA, TREATS BOTH LARGE AND SMALL ANIMALS.

*barking*

SHE'S SEEN FIRST HAND THE NEED FOR MORE VETS IN RURAL AREAS.

Erin Christ: there's definitely some areas where clients have to travel an hour or more to see a veterinarian.

CHRIST OFFERS TO TEACH HER CLIENTS WHAT TO DO IN CERTAIN EMERGENCY SITUATIONS. SHE HOPES THIS HELPS KEEP MORE LIVESTOCK ALIVE.

Erin Christ: It's forty-five minutes, it's going to save, you know, that's the difference between a calf living and dying.

COUNTRY ROADS VETERINARY SERVICES OPENED IN JULY OF 2021.

AHEAD ON AGWEEK TV, A MINNESOTA PLANT THAT MAKES POWDERED CHEESE FOR SOME OF YOUR FAVORITE SNACKS IS EXPANDING.

WILL THE WEATHER BE FAVORABLE AS THE REGION HEADS INTO HARVEST SEASON?

HERE'S JOHN WITH OUR AGRI-WEATHER OUTLOOK.

A SOUTHEAST MINNESOTA CHEESE PLANT HAS JUST FINISHED A MAJOR EXPANSION. DAIRY FARMERS OF AMERICA'S PLANT IN ZUMBROTA RECENTLY CELEBRATED ITS 50TH ANNIVERSARY, AND COMPLETION OF AN 87 MILLION DOLLAR UPGRADE.

THE ZUMBROTA PLANT PRODUCES HARD ITALIAN PARMESAN AND ROMANO CHEESE, AS WELL AS AMERICAN CHEESES LIKE CHEDDAR AND MONTEREY JACK. THE CHEESES ARE MOSTLY DRIED INTO POWDER, AND GO TO OTHER DFA PLANTS IN THE REGION, TO BE USED IN FOOD PRODUCTION. WITH THE 86 THOUSAND SQUARE FOOT EXPANSION, THE PLANT WILL PRODUCE AN ADDITIONAL 7.5 MILLION POUNDS OF CHEESE AND DAIRY POWDER A YEAR.

Bill Taylor: THIS WAS AN EXCITING PROJECT. IT'S A BIG DEAL TO SPEND 87 MILLION DOLLARS TO UPDATE AND IMPROVE OUR CAPABILITIES TO SERVE THIS MARKET.

THE RENOVATION STARTED IN JULY OF 2020. THEY REPLACED THE 50-YEAR-OLD SPRAY DRYER AND ADDED A NEW WASTEWATER TREATMENT PLANT.

Bill Taylor: AS WE DESIGNED AND BUILT THIS PLANT WE INCORPORATED IMPROVEMENTS PARTICULARLY AROUND ODOR CONTROL AND NOISE.

PLANT MANAGER TERRY JOHNSON SAYS THE PLANT TAKES IN MORE THAN 1.5 MILLION POUNDS OF RAW MILK EVERY DAY.

This room we're standing in here is where we do all of the finished product testing. So this is kind of the end of the line for our process.

THE NEW DRYER WILL PRODUCE UP TO 23 MILLION POUNDS OF SPECIALTY CHEESE POWDER A YEAR, WHICH IS SOLD TO COMPANIES THAT MAKE CHEESE SNACKS AND MEALS.

Terry Johnson: WE ARE TAKING IN 35 TO 40 LOADS OF MILK EACH DAY, A L OT OF THAT COMING FROM THE IMMEDIATE AREA, BUT SOME OF IT ALSO COMES IN FROM WISCONSIN AND IOWA.

Bill Taylor: OUR COMMITMENT WAS TO BUILD THE BEST SPECIALTY POWDER AND SPECIALTY INGREDIENTS DRYER IN THE WORLD, AND WE BELIEVE WE'VE DONE THAT.

THE PLANT HAS ALSO INCREASED THE NUMBER OF EMPLOYEES, FROM ABOUT 138 TO 175.

FOOD INSECURITY CONTINUES TO RISE AFTER YEARS OF BEING ON THE DECLINE.

THE COVID-19 PANDEMIC CAUSED A LOT OF PEOPLE TO LOSE THEIR JOBS AND THEIR SOURCE OF INCOME. GEB BASTIAN, SDSU NUTRITION SPECIALIST, SAYS THAT, ALONG WITH INFLATION ARE THE DRIVING FORCES BEHIND THE UP-TICK OF FOOD INSECURITY.

Geb Bastian: Especially for those families on the cusp or are already struggling to make ends meet week to week, now they're stuck with these really tough decisions. Do I pay for healthcare, do I get my medications or do I get food? Do I pay rent or do I feed my family?

ONE IN EIGHT HOUSEHOLDS WITH CHILDREN ARE CURRENTLY FOOD INSECURE.

STILL AHEAD ON OUR SHOW...WE'LL MEET A MAN WHO ADDED A TRUCKING BUSINESS TO HIS ALREADY BUSY FARMING SCHEDULE.

FARMING IS A STRESSFUL OCCUPATION... SO ONE FARMER DECIDE TO KICK IT UP A NOTCH, AND ADD A TRUCKING BUSINESS.

IN 2010, RANDY MARTIN HAD A NEWLY-ESTABLISHED FARMING OPERATION NEAR WADENA, MINNESOTA, WHEN HE DECIDED TO BUY A 1985 MACK TRUCK. IT NEEDED A LOT OF WORK, BUT HE FIXED IT UP AND STARTED HAULING GRAIN. TODAY, BECKER TRANSPORT HAS GROWN INTO A REGIONAL COMPANY. THEY HAUL LOADS LIKE FARM MACHINERY, CONSTRUCTION EQUIPMENT, GRAVEL AND GRAIN ACROSS THE UPPER MIDWEST.

BECKER SAYS HE ENJOYS BOTH JOBS, BUT HE SAYS IT CAN BE HARD TO BALANCE TRUCKING AND FARMING.

Randy Becker: WHEN YOU'RE IN THE TRUCK HAULING YOU LOOK AROUND, THEN YOU THINK YOU NEED TO BE IN THE TRACTOR BECAUSE YOU SEE GUYS OUT IN THE FIELD DOING FIELD WORK. BUT THEN WHEN YOU'RE IN THE TRACTOR DOING FIELD WORK YOU THINK YOU NEED TO BE IN THE TRUCK.

BECKER TRANSPORT NOW HAS SEVEN TRUCKS AND SOME OTHER HEAVY EQUIPMENT. IT HAS ABOUT A DOZEN EMPLOYEES, INCLUDING HIS WIFE JODI, WHO WORKS FULL-TIME RUNNING THE OFFICE.

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

A U.S. DISTRICT JUDGE RULED IN FAVOR OF UNITED STATES SUGAR CORPORATION, IN ITS BID TO ACQUIRE IMPERIAL SUGAR COMPANY.

AND WHEAT FARMERS ACROSS NORTHEAST NORTH DAKOTA GOT A LOT OF COMBINING DONE DURING THE LAST WEEK IN SEPTEMBER

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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