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AgweekTV Full Show: Specialty crop harvest, diversified farmer, FFA chapter success, historic 4-H donation

This week on AgweekTV, edible bean, sunflower and canola yields all are exceeding expectations this fall for farmers in our region. We'll meet a man who's diversifying his family farm after unexpectedly taking it over, not because he needs to but because he enjoys it. A North Dakota FFA chapter is trying to build on its culture of success. And an historic donation is given to the National 4-H organization.

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This week on AgweekTV, edible bean, sunflower and canola yields all are exceeding expectations this fall for farmers in our region. We'll meet a man who's diversifying his family farm after unexpectedly taking it over, not because he needs to but because he enjoys it. A North Dakota FFA chapter is trying to build on its culture of success. And an historic donation is given to the National 4-H organization.

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WELCOME TO AGWEEK TV, I'M EMILY BEAL.

OPTIMAL WEATHER CONDITIONS ACROSS THE NORTHERN PLAINS AND MONTANA FOR SUNFLOWER, CANOLA, AND DRY EDIBLE BEAN YIELDS ARE PRODUCING, AT THE LEAST, BETTER-THAN-AVERAGE YIELDS, AND AT THE BEST, BUMPER CROPS THOSE COMMODITIES. WE TAKE A CLOSER LOOK IN THIS WEEK'S AGWEEK COVER STORY.

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Randy Mehlhoff: THIS YEAR TURNED OUT VERY WELL YIELD AND QUALITY WISE, BUT IT WAS BY FAR THE MOST STRESSFUL YEAR THAT I'VE EVER GONE THROUGH.

RANDY MELHOFF IS AN EXTENSION AGENT IN THE NORTHEAST CORNER OF NORTH DAKOTA. AFTER A COLD, WET, LATE START TO PLANTING, HE SAYS GOOD GROWING CONDITIONS OVER THE SUMMER AND LONG GROWING DEGREE DAYS UNTIL HARVEST HELPED MOST CROPS IN HIS REGION EXCEED EXPECTATIONS.

Randy Mehlhoff: I WILL SAY THAT EVERYTHING THAT WE HARVESTED WENT INTO THE BIN WET, BUT WE'VE BEEN ABLE TO GET IT ALL DRIED DOWN.

Anitha Chirumamilla: ALSO THERE ISN'T MUCH DISEASE PRESSURE TO BEGIN WITH THIS YEAR.

CAVALIER COUNTY OFTEN LEADS THE U.S. IN PRODUCTION OF CANOLA. DESPITE THE LATE START, IT WAS A GREAT YEAR FOR THE CROP IN NORTH DAKOTA. YIELDS ARE ESTIMATED TO BE A RECORD 3.4 BILLION POUNDS.

*nat snd edible bean harvest*

NEAR WALHALLA, NORTH DAKOTA, FARMERS ARE HARVESTING WELL ABOVE AVERAGE CROPS.

Roger Carignan: IT'S BEEN A GOOD CROP, BUT IT'S LATE. BUT WE'RE GOING TO GET IT THE WAY IT LOOKS, WEATHER SEEMS GOOD.

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RANDY CARNIGAN IS HARVESTING HIS PINTO BEANS. HE SAYS DESPITE PLANTING IN JUNE, THE CROP WAS PUSHED THROUGHOUT THE SUMMER, AND THEY'RE GETTING SEVERAL HUNDRED POUNDS ABOVE AVERAGE. HE SAYS A BIG PLUS IS THAT THEY DIDN'T' GET A KILLING FROST UNTIL EARLY OCTOBER.

Roger Carignan: WE'RE PROBABLY THREE WEEKS LATE INTO THE PINTOS, BUT IT'S BECAUSE THE OTHER CROPS WERE LATE TOO. WE HAD LATE WHEAT, LATE CANOLA, WE JUST COULDN'T GET TO THEM. IF WE'D HAVE HAD AN AUGUST FROST LIKE WE'VE HAD IN THE PAST SOME YEARS, THERE WOULDN'T HAVE BEEN A WHOLE LOT OF HARVESTING UP HERE.

FOR MORE IN DEPTH YIELD NUMBERS ACROSS THE UPPER MIDWEST, CHECK OUT THE NEXT AGWEEK MAGAZINE OR AGWEEK.COM .

THE SUGARBEET HARVEST IS WRAPPING UP, AND VANCE JOHNSON SAYS HIS HARVEST WENT FAIRLY WELL.

JOHNSON IS ONE OF THE FARMERS WE'VE BEEN FOLLOWING SINCE THIS SPRING. IN ADDITION TO CORN, SOYBEANS AND WHEAT, HE GROWS SUGARBEETS NEAR BRECKENRIDGE, MINNESOTA FOR MINN-DAK FARMER'S CO-OP. JOHNSON FINISHED HIS BEET HARVEST ON OCTOBER 14TH, A FEW DAYS AFTER THE AREA'S FIRST FROST. HE ALSO HAS FIELDS NEAR CHRISTINE, NORTH DAKOTA AND ROTHSAY, MINNESOTA, SO HIS YIELDS VARY BY REGION.

JOHNSON SAYS ALTHOUGH HIS SEASON STARTED TOO WET, AND ENDED TOO DRY, SO THE HARD GROUND HAMPERED HIS BEET HARVEST. NOW HE'S HARVESTING HIS CORN AND SOYBEAN CROPS , BUT HE SAYS YIELDS MAY BE DISAPPOINTING.

Vance Johnson: I GUESS IT WAS OUR TURN TO BE DRY. LAST YEAR WE WERE CATCHING SOME OF THOSE TIMELY RAINS AND FARED WELL, YOU KNOW, DECENTLY AT HARVEST. THIS YEAR WE'RE TAKING THE HIT, AND YEAH, YIELDS ARE SUB PAR AT BEST.

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JOHNSON SAYS ONE BRIGHT SPOT IS THAT THE DRY FALL MEANS WET CORN WON'T BE AN ISSUE.

SUGAR BEET HARVEST IS AN "ALL HANDS ON DECK" COUPLE OF WEEKS. THOUSANDS TAKE OFF THEIR REGULAR JOBS, OR COME OUT OF RETIREMENT, TO HAUL BEETS FROM THE FIELD TO PILING STATIONS EACH FALL. AND SOME GROWERS HAVE TURNED TO SOCIAL MEDIA TO FIND ENOUGH HELP.

RUSSELL SHIMEK GREW UP ON A FARM. NOW, HE SELLS AND REPAIRS MOTORCYCLES, BUT HE'S BEEN DRIVING TRUCKS DURING BEET HARVEST FOR FIFTEEN YEARS, SINCE MARRYING THE DAUGHTER OF A FARMER.

Russell Shimek: IT'S A CHANGE OF PACE, YOU KNOW, THERE'S ALWAYS SOME SORT OF EXCITEMENT. IT'S ABLE TO DO SOMETHING DIFFERENT THAN YOUR REGULAR JOB.

THE RED RIVER VALLEY SUGARBEET HARVEST REQUIRES SEVEN TO TEN THOUSAND WORKERS FOR DRIVING A VARIETY OF EQUIPMENT. THE HARVEST GOES 24-SEVEN, WITH DRIVERS WORKING TWELVE HOUR SHIFTS. SHIMEK WORKS NOON TO MIDNIGHT.

Russell Shimek: I GO INTO MY BUSINESS AROUND EIGHT A.M., LEAVE AROUND ELEVEN. JUST TO STAY ON TRACK OF WHAT'S GOING ON THERE.

MOST HARVEST DRIVERS COME FROM THE RED RIVER VALLEY, BUT NOT ALL OF THEM. SOME FARMERS HAVE TURNED TO SOCIAL MEDIA TO ATTRACT WORKERS FROM FARTHER AWAY. JAMES HAYS HAD JUST RETIRED FROM HIS JOB AS A DEPUTY SHERIFF IN FLORIDA, WHEN HE LEARNED ON SOCIAL MEDIA ABOUT THE OPPORTUNITY TO DRIVE A BEET TRUCK.

James Hays: I SAID LISTEN I HAVE NO EXPERIENCE ON A FARM, BUT I'M WILLING TO COME UP AND HELP OUT AS NEEDED. AND HE SAID LISTEN, WE'LL PUT YOU RIGHT TO WORK. AND IN FACT, IF YOU WANTED TO COME UP EARLY YOU CAN HELP OUT IN THE OTHER HARVESTS THIS FARM ALSO HAS SOYBEANS AND WHEAT.

TWO DAYS LATER, HAYS WAS MAKING THE 19-HUNDRED MILE DRIVE NORTH. ALTHOUGH FARMING IS NEW TO HIM, HAYS DOVE RIGHT IN.

James Hays: I SAID I'LL BE THERE AT THREE IN THE AFTERNOON AND HE SAID MEET US IN THE FIELD. I RODE SHOTGUN FOR A DAY, THEN I SAID LET ME TRY DRIVING. SOMETIMES YOU'RE RIGHT WITHIN A FEW FEET OF VERY LARGE EQUIPMENT THAT'S VERY VALUABLE EQUIPMENT AND YOU'RE PACING YOUR SPEED TO THE HARVESTER AND THAT'S THE MOST STRESSFUL. I WENT THROUGH A LARGE BOTTLE OF ANTACID TABLETS.

ALTHOUGH HAYS SAYS THIS WAS AN EXPERIENCE HE CAN CROSS OFF HIS BUCKET LIST, HE'S NOT RULING OUT COMING BACK UP TO HELP WITH HARVEST NEXT YEAR.

James Hays I'D LOVE TO COME BACK UP IF THE OPPORTUNITY ARISES.

HAYS SPENT TWO MONTHS HARVESTING IN MINNESOTA BEFORE RETURNING TO FLORIDA.

AFTER YEARS OF PLANNING, GROUND HAS OFFICIALLY BEEN BROKEN FOR THE GRAND FARM INNOVATION CENTER BEING BUILT IN CASSELTON NORTH DAKOTA.

NORTH DAKOTA POLITICIANS AND OVER 300 WELL-WISHERS CAME TO THE BIG EVENT. IN A UNIQUE TOUCH, GROUND WAS BROKEN USING BOTH A REMOTE-CONTROLLED BOBCAT, AS WELL AS A SINGLE-BOTTOM, MOLDBOARD PLOW WITH CLYDESDALES. GOVERNOR DOUG BURGUM SAYS HE'S EXCITED TO SEE WHAT THE INNOVATION CENTER HAS IN STORE FOR THE STATE.

Doug: Its not just about North Dakota, its about the opportunity, the combination of innovation with unmanned aerial systems for precision ag, you throw in energy for biofuels and where the world's going. The sky is the limit here in North Dakota.

A NEW BUILDING AT THE SITE IS EXPECTED TO BE BUILT AND USABLE IN 2023.THE CENTER IS EXPECTED TO BE A TEST GROUND FOR AG TECHNOLOGY ENTREPRENEURS AND RESEARCHERS.

COMING UP ON AGWEEKTV....A NEW GENERATION RETURNS TO THE FAMILY FARM AFTER TRAGEDY STRIKES...AND ISN'T AFRAID TO MIX THINGS UP!

ABOUT TEN YEARS AGO, JON BERTCH UNEXPECTEDLY FOUND HIMSELF FARMING, WHEN HIS DAD DIED SUDDENLY. NOT ONLY HAS HE HAD TO LEARN FARMING FROM THE "GROUND UP", HE'S ALSO EXPANDED INTO A COUPLE OF OTHER ENTERPRISES AS WELL...

Jon Bertsch: IT WAS DRINKING OUT OF A FIRE HOSE.

JON BERTSCH. DIDN'T PLAN TO FARM. IN FACT, HE WAS WORKING IN I-T.

So That was my dad there, and that's my grandpa.

BUT WHEN HIS DAD DIED UNEXPECTEDLY TEN YEARS AGO, WHEN JON WAS JUST 25, IT FORCED HIM TO MAKE A BIG DECISION, ABOUT MOVING BACK TO HILLSBORO, NORTH DAKOTA AND TAKING OVER THE FAMILY FARM.

Jon Bertsch: SIT HERE AT THIS DESK AND REGRET IT LATER ON, OR GO JUMP INTO THE DEEP END AND START TREADING WATER. AND NOW WOULD BASICALLY BE THE ONLY TIME TO GO ACTUALLY GIVE A SHOT AT THIS FARMING THING.

Grandpa Otto here...

TO MAKE MATTERS WORSE, BOTH HIS GRANDFATHERS, ALSO FARMERS, PASSED AWAY THE SAME YEAR AS HIS FATHER, SO BERTSCH WAS LEFT WITHOUT ANYONE TO SHOW HIM THE ROPES.

Jon Bertsch: THE BIGGEST THING THAT I FOUND AND I LEARNED WAS, START ASKING THE STUPID QUESTIONS.

BUT BERTSCH DOESN'T JUST FARM. HE OWNS ONE LINE TEK, A TECHNOLOGY EQUIPMENT AND CONSULTING BUSINESS.

This is made for video conferencing in a group setting.

HE ALSO RUNS BERTCH COMMERCIAL TRUCKING. AND HIS LATEST VENTURE IS CALLED "TRUCKIN' GOOD FOOD". HE BOUGHT TWO FOOD TRUCKS, AND DURING THE FARMING SEASON, HE PARKS THEM WHERE FARMERS ARE WAITING IN LONG LINES.

Jon Bertsch: EVERY SPRING AND EVERY FALL I WOULD ALWAYS SEE THE LINES OF TRUCKS AT THE ELEVATOR AND AT THE AGRONOMY PLANTS, THAT'S WHERE KIND OF THE IDEA HAD STARTED WITH.

BERTSCH SAYS HE'S ALSO WORKING ON SOME AGRI-TOURISM IDEAS. WITH SO MANY IRONS IN THE FIRE, ONE OF THE HARDEST THINGS TO LEARN HAS BEEN GIVING UP A LITTLE BIT OF CONTROL OF SOME OF HIS ENTERPRISES. BUT HE SAYS HIS PRIORITY IS HIS TWO SONS.

Jon Bertsch: IT'S FUN TO DO ALL THESE OTHER THINGS, BUT ALL THESE OTHER THINGS CAN'T GET IN THE WAY OF FAMILY.

BERTSCH SAYS HIS UNCLE AND FARM NEIGHBOR, MIKE KOZOJED, WAS A BIG HELP WITH AG PRODUCTION AND CROP INSURANCE QUESTIONS.

THE NATIONAL 4-H COUNCIL IS GETTING A BIG GIFT FROM ONE OF THE WORLD'S RICHEST WOMEN. PHILANTHROPIST MACKEZNIE SCOTT IS GIVING 4-H FIFTY-MILLION DOLLARS. TO BOOST TRAINING AND PROGRAMMING FOR BOTH ADULT LEADERS AND THE CHILDREN THEY SERVE.

4-H IS THE LARGEST YOUTH DEVELOPMENT ORGANIZATION IN THE NATION, SERVING SIX MILLION KIDS AND FAMILIES ACROSS THE U.S.

NATIONAL 4-H IS EXCITED TO SEE HOW THIS DONATION WILL HELP STRENGTHEN THE ORGANIZATION.

Jennifer Sirangelo: We are building 4-H for the future. This is our 120th year, and with this historic investment from from philanthropist Mckenzie Scott, we are looking to not only meet some of the urgent needs of young people today, but to lay the groundwork for the relevant, vibrant 4-H program into the future.

SCOTT IS THE FORMER WIFE OF AMAZON FOUNDER JEFF BEZOS.

THE RICHLAND 44 FFA CHAPTER, LOCATED IN COLFAX, NORTH DAKOTA WILL SOON BE COMPETING FOR TOP HONORS AT THE NATIONAL FFA CONVENTION IN INDIANAPOLIS.

THE CHAPTER PLACED IN THE TOP THREE IN THE NATION FOR THEIR PROJECT THAT PROMOTES AGRICULTURE. THEY WILL COMPETE AGAINST TWO OTHER CHAPTERS THAT PLACED IN THE TOP THREE IN THE STRENGTHENING AGRICULTURE CATEGORY AS WELL.

Eric Moen: Our chapter creates a placemat each and every year and the National FFa thought it was a really great idea. So we get to present it and promote it and try to compete for the number one spot on the national level.

THE PLACEMAT HAS FACTS AND TRIVIA ABOUT AGRICULTURE AND FFA ON IT AND ARE USED AT LOCAL CAFES AND RESTRAUNTS. THIS YEAR OVER TWO-HUNDRED PLACEMATS WERE DISTRIBUTED.

COMING UP WE'LL MEET A NORTH DAKOTA WOMAN WHO IS MAKING A NAME FOR HERSELF IN THE WORLD OF AG.

WILL HARVEST BE COMPLETE BEFORE FROST OFFICIALLY TAKES OVER THE REGION?

HERE'S JOHN WITH OUR AGRI-WEATHER OUTLOOK.

A NORTH DAKOTA NATIVE IS MAKING A BIG NAME FOR HERSELF IN THE WORLD OF AG. MAGAN LEWIS EARNED A PHD IN PLANT SCIENCES AT NDSU. AND NOW, JUST TEN YEARS LATER, SHE'S THE EQUIPMENT AND AUTOMATED FIELD SENSING LEAD FOR BAYER CROP SCIENCE. LEWIS WAS ON THE COVER OF LAST MONTH'S SEED WORLD MAGAZINE, AND SHE RECENTLY SPOKE AT NDSU, WHERE AGWEEK'S ROSE DUNN CAUGHT UP WITH HER.

Rose Dunn: Joining me now is Dr. Magan Lewis, Global Lead for Bayer Crop Science, based in Des Moines, Iowa. Magan, tell me about your job with Bayer.

Magan Lewis: Yes. So at Bayer, I'm the equipment and automated field sensing lead. It's such a fun job to work globally on innovation, technology, adoption, training and sleep strategies. So thinking about planters combines drones and any of the unknown technology opportunities. We get a chance to enhance data quality data collection, efficiency and safety of field testing.

Rose Dunn: Can you tell us anything about what's in the pipeline maybe in the next five or ten years?

Magan Lewis: Yeah, I'm so excited about agriculture. Imagine all the data we have today with drones and robots and rovers and satellite imagery. Now imagine what it's going to look like in five or ten or 15 years. I'm excited because of all the potential data, all the things that we don't know today could be unlocked and uncovered with the use of technology.

Rose Dunn: Here in the Midwest, we don't really like to toot or our own horn, but you have got a lot to brag about. September cover of Seed World magazine, a life size statue. Tell me a little bit about some of that.

Magan Lewis: It's so cool. So the lifesize statue. I was one of 120 women selected as a women STEM trailblazer. It's an orange statue. It looks like those butter statues at state fairs. Fantastic exhibit was in Smithsonian Castle in Washington, D.C. and now the statue's in Dallas, Texas, until December. As far as Seed World magazine, I was selected as the future leader of the seed industry for 2022. It's also goosebump worthy because it's a female on a cover of a seed World magazine. In a male dominated industry.

Rose Dunn: Never too young to get your kids into those STEM classes and get them on that track. Thanks for taking some time to be with us today. Dr. Magan Lewis.

STILL AHEAD. HAVE WEEDS GOT YOUR GOAT? A MINNESOTA BUSINESS MAY HAVE THE SOLUTION!

DO YOU HAVE A PIECE OF LAND THAT'S BEING OVERRUN WITH WEEDS AND BRUSH, BUT IT'S HARD TO CLEAN UP? A MINNESOTA BUSINESS MAY BE ABLE TO HELP... WITH GOATS!

Goat sounds

GUS MAXFIELD AND HIS WIFE ANN GOT THE GOATS TO CLEAN UP THEIR LAND A FEW YEARS AGO, AND IT WORKED SO WELL THEY JOINED THE FRANCHISE GRAZING BUSINESS "GOATS ON THE GO". THEY RENT THEIR GOATS OUT FOR CONTROLLING BRUSH AND NOXIOUS WEEDS.

Gus Maxfield: ABOUT ANYTHING THAT NOTHING ELSE WILL EAT. THEY EAT THISTLES, THEY EAT WILD PARSNIP, GARLIC MUSTARD, BUCKTHORN, ALL KINDS OF INVASIVE SPECIES.

THEY HAVE THREE HERDS, TOTALING 120 GOATS. A HERD OF 40 GOATS CAN CLEAN UP ONE ACRE IN ABOUT A WEEK.

Gus Maxfield: THEY PRETTY WELL CLEAN OUT EVERYTHING THAT'S GREEN. THE IDEA IS TO OVERGRAZE TO GET RID OF THE NOXIOUS WEEDS AND UNWANTED BRUSH.

THE GOATS ARE CONTAINED BY TEMPORARY ELECTRIC FENCING. MAXFIELD SAYS THEY STAY BUSY FROM JUNE THROUGH SEPTEMBER. TODAY THEY'RE WORKING AT A GOLF COURSE.

Gus Maxfield: IT'S A GOOD NATURAL WAY TO DO THINGS WITHOUT USING CHEMICALS OR SPRAY OR STUFF LIKE THAT. THE GOATS ARE CAPABLE OF GETTNG IN PLACES WHERE MECHANICAL MEANS ISN'T POSSIBLE, YOU KNOW IN ROUGH TERRAIN, STUFF LIKE THAT. THE GOATS CAN GET AT IT. AS THEY GO THEIR HOOVES KIND OF STIR THE GROUND UP A BIT, AND FERTILIZE IT.

AND THERE'S ANOTHER BENEFIT FROM THE GOATS.

Gus Maxfield: YUP. THEY'RE FERTILIZING AS THEY GO. GOES IN ONE END AND OUT THE OTHER.

Baaaah!

Gus Maxfield: IT'S A GOOD CLEAN WAY TO TAKE CARE OF IT.

MAXFIELD SAYS THEIR AVERAGE JOB IS ONE ACRE, BUT THEY CAN DO UP TO FIVE OR SIX ACRES AT A TIME.

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

SOYBEANS OF COLORS OTHER THAN YELLOW ARE BEING FOUND MORE OFTEN IN LOADS, AND THAT CAN BE TROUBLESOME FOR EXPORTERS, BUT NOT FOR QUALITY.

AND A WEED SCIENTIST SAYS NORTH DAKOTA SHOULD DO MORE TO KEEP PALMER AMARANTH FROM SPREADING IN THE STATE.

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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