80 years of agriculture at the North Dakota Winter Show

VALLEY CITY, N.D. -- Growers and vendors say the North Dakota Winter Show running through Saturday in Valley City is as important in slow years as in boom years.

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Children play Wednesday in a box filled with corn at the North Dakota Winter Show in Valley City. John M. Steiner / The Sun

VALLEY CITY, N.D. - Growers and vendors say the North Dakota Winter Show running through Saturday in Valley City is as important in slow years as in boom years.

“This is our 80th year, and the event is very important to a lot of people,” said Dawn Riley, manager of the Winter Show. “This is their business, what they do and how they make their living.”

Paul Metcalf, a Valley City rancher, said he visits the Winter Show every day and is pricing cattle chutes. He enjoys talking to vendors to try and get a deal.

“That’s a big decision; they’re kind of spendy,” Metcalf said.

NaTanya Olson raises cattle and grows corn and wheat in Forbes, N.D. She came to the Winter Show to get some estimates on building a heated shop and to just look around.


“This is the first time I’ve been here,” Olson said. “It’s nice to have a heated spot and out of the wind.”

Dana Didier, a Winter Show board member, said the event is a place for farmers to interact. The mission of the Winter Show is youth ag education, promoting ag and honoring heritage.

“It’s one of the highlights of the year to come in and meet guys from other parts of the country and talk shop all day long,” Didier said.

The tractor pull, rodeo and concerts also bring in a lot of people from the area, he said. There are plenty of food vendors and children’s activities as well, he said.

“Attendance varies day to day, but the foot traffic is pretty good,” he said.

Dan Bremer, a salesman with Cooper Implement in Cooperstown, said there is a lot of pricing going on. The big-ticket items are not moving, but smaller machinery is selling with zero interest incentives.

“Smaller tractors, compact tractors, skid-steers, side by sides with cabs on them and a lot of mowers are going out,” Bremer said.

The company recently became a dealer for the Kubota and Versatile tractors and machinery. There is a lot of interest in the brands and the Winter Show is the place to show them, he said.


“They are a bit more competitive on pricing,” he said. “The incentives mean a lot right now for a lot of people.”

Shannah Plehal, a logistics coordinator with Anchor Ingredients based out of Fargo, said she is meeting with growers about growing barley, chickpeas and other specialty crops for the processing facility. More growers are considering alternative crops as the margin becomes more attractive to declining soy and corn prices.

“A lot of growers come to the Winter Show so it's more about building relations with existing growers and finding new growers who are considering growing another commodity that we can bring into our plant,” she said.

Cal Schaefer of Vermeer Equipment in Valley City said his baler sales have dropped to nothing with the drop in commodity prices.

“They ain’t buying nothing; they’re locked up tight,” Schaefer said. “The last two years have been like this. Before that it was booming.”

The Winter Show is still important as an event to show new machinery, along with talking about parts and services, he said.

“You meet a lot of people that you might not contact otherwise,” he said.

Dana Rosendahl, owner of General Irrigation in Oakes, said his turbine-powered water pump sales are slower this year.


“We manufacture these in Oakes and have managed to keep the price down, but when money is short, they’re not buying things that they don’t need right now.”

Kelly Hanson, fertilizer plant manager for Central Plains Ag Services in Hannaford, said that with a depressed market there is a yield benefit from using microessentials versus traditional phosphate products.

“This event gives us a little more access to people we haven’t met before that aren’t in our area,” he said. “We get to interact with more farmers and get to know them and give them another option.”

For more information on the Winter Show, visit .

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