Mikkel Pates / Agweek Staff Writer
Hunter Hanson: A look back at the start
EAST GRAND FORKS, Minn. — The Red River Valley potato season was over on Oct. 28, and the Folson Farms of East Grand Forks left 60% of their of their spuds in the field. Bryan Folson, 57, farms with three of his sons — Caleb, 28; Casey, 27; and Kyle, 23. A younger Riley, 21, is in college. The Folson family has seen a lot of seasons, and this is one of the toughest. Bryan's great-grandfather started Folson Potato Co. at Hoople, N.D., in early 1900s and Bryan's father, Bud, moved it here in 1952 as Folson Farms, Inc.
2015 — May 30 — Graduates from New Rockford (N.D.) High School, working after school for nearby elevators. July 1 — Registers "Dakota Biodiesel" with state. It is the first of a series of businesses he would register at fake addresses. October — Hires on at Equity Cooperative Elevator Co., Sheyenne, N.D., becomes a member of the Sheyenne Volunteer Fire Department. 2016 —
McCLUSKY, N.D. — Brian Larson is general manager of the Co-op Elevator of McClusky — ground zero for elevators that took a big hit with the Hunter Hanson grain scam in 2018. Hanson, 22, will be sentenced Nov. 12 after pleading guilty to fraud and wire fraud charges. Hanson likely will serve 6.5 to eight years in prison and has agreed to pay $11.1 million in restitution for defrauding farmers in a Ponzi scheme. Larson's business was hit for $768,370.40, accounting for 126,110 bushels of hard red spring wheat.
FARGO, N.D. — The Grand Farm project in the Fargo area on Nov. 9 will host a "Growers Social," to introduce their high-tech goals to farmers and ranchers. The Grand Farm project is coordinated by Emerging Prairie, a non-profit entrepreneurial development group based in Fargo.
FARGO — While the North Dakota State University football team was battling with a rival for bragging rights in the Dakotas, a multi-disciplinary group of academics back home was having a friendly competition to find research topics under an increasingly popular "Farm of the Future" theme. NDSU's Office of Research and Creative Activity hosted CoSearch NDSU on Oct. 25-26, pulled researchers from varying disciplines and challenged them to come up with collaborative ideas.
FISHER, Minn. — If ever there was a sugar beet harvest emergency, 2019 must be it. The National Agricultural Statistics Service on Oct. 28 said beet harvest in North Dakota had reached only 53% harvested, well behind the 97% five-year average. Minnesota's beet harvest was 60% complete, compared to 95% — about 17 days behind the five-year average.
FORDVILLE, N.D. — There was no way to get trucks into the fields in south-central Walsh County after 2 feet of snow and another inch of rain in October. But a neighborhood group of about 11 farmers resourcefully came together to get about 700 acres of corn silage corn out of the fields while the corn still had feed value. They started harvesting Oct. 13, the day after the blizzard that swept across North Dakota, and by Oct. 23 had only two farms left to go.
MANDAN, N.D. — Many North Dakota farmers have had trouble getting into wet fields for harvest in late October, but Lance Renner was going after the soybeans southwest of Mandan on Wednesday, Oct. 23.
AMENIA, N.D. — He's installed subsurface tile drainage on about 650 of his family's 6,500-acre farm, but Rodney Nelson says he thinks it should all be tiled. Rodney, 54, and his son, Bradley, 27, raise sugar beets, wheat, soybeans, corn, and even some industrial hemp, a total of about 4,500 acres, which ranges from Fargo clay to sandy loam. Rodney started tiling about 20 years ago on a piece of sandy loam soil that had salt deposits that ruined productivity. The ground is flat, so he installed lift pumps into the system.