Dakota Farmer

Sustainable cattle feeding project set for North Dakota

Dakota Digest: Tractor ride through West, including South Dakota, will raise awareness and funds for Parkinson’s disease.

Sarah McNaughton, Editor, Dakota Farmer

May 17, 2023

3 Min Read
cows in a field
SUSTAINABLE PARTNERSHIP: Bion Environmental Technologies and Dakota Valley Growers have shared a letter of intent to develop a 15,000-head sustainable beef cattle operation in Bathgate, N.D.Allan Baxter/Getty Images

A partnership between Bion Environmental technologies and Dakota Valley Growers has announced a letter of intent to develop a 15,000-head sustainable beef cattle feeding operation in Bathgate, N.D., with annual production of about 42,500 head.

Dakota Valley Growers is a sixth-generation family farm in the northern Red River Valley, where Russell and Holly Edgar with son Justin farm cattle and cash crops. Bion is a leader in advanced livestock waste treatment technology and premium sustainable beef. Its Gen3Tech system will capture and stabilize ammonia nitrogen in manure and convert it to a low-carbon nitrogen fertilizer.

The cattle will be housed in barns to ensure optimum daily gains. These barns will feature slatted floors with continuous manure removal capabilities. Cattle in the operation are expected to produce around 4,000 tons of fertilizer annually, while data collected will measure improvements in resource efficiencies and animal health and welfare.

Russell Edgar, founder of Dakota Valley Growers, says they are looking forward to improving their bottom line and producing sustainable beef with the Bion partnership. “We have an opportunity to feed cattle right here in North Dakota, instead of sending more than 900,000 feeder calves south every year,” he explains. “This will increase local demand for corn, other feeds, services, and jobs. We all win,” he says.

Ed Schafer, who formerly held positions as USDA secretary and governor of North Dakota, is a member of Bion’s board. He says the partnership makes sense for the state. “North Dakota has a long and rich farming and ranching history. It may have made sense in the past to ship both our corn and calves south — no longer,” he says.

Tractor ride to raise Parkinson’s awareness

Mike Adkinson of Bellingham, Wash., is hitting the road on a tractor to honor his brother who has Parkinson’s disease. The 77-year-old will be traveling 2,600 miles on backroads and highways from Perch Lake, Minn., to his home of Bellingham to promote awareness and raise money for the American Parkinson Disease Association.

After his brother’s diagnosis in 2021, Adkinson and his family learned more about Parkinson’s disease and were inspired to create the cross-country tractor to bring awareness and donations.

In 2022, Adkinson drove his tractor 1,800 miles from Washington to Minnesota. This trip raised more than $56,000, and this year he has set his fundraising goal at $100,000.

Adkinson will depart around May 15 at an average speed of 12 mph. His route will head south through Minnesota and Iowa, then west all the way to Washington. He plans to stop in Hot Springs and Canton, S.D.

“I named my tractor ‘Spirit of Friends,’ which embodies all of the connections I made along the way,” he says. “We want to raise money so people like my brother can get the care and support they need. If driving my tractor gets people to pay attention or donate, then I have met my goal,” Adkinson explains.

Check in with his progress on “Tractor trip for Parkinson’s” on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

The American Parkinson Disease Association, Northwest Chapter and Bion Environmental Technologies contributed to this article.

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Rural Health

About the Author(s)

Sarah McNaughton

Editor, Dakota Farmer, Farm Progress

Sarah McNaughton of Bismarck, N.D., has been editor of Dakota Farmer since 2021. Before working at Farm Progress, she was an NDSU 4-H Extension agent in Cass County, N.D. Prior to that, she was a farm and ranch reporter at KFGO Radio in Fargo.

McNaughton is a graduate of North Dakota State University, with a bachelor’s degree in ag communications and a master’s in Extension education and youth development.

She is involved in agriculture in both her professional and personal life, as a member of North Dakota Agri-Women, Agriculture Communicators Network Sigma Alpha Professional Agriculture Sorority Alumni and Professional Women in Agri-business. As a life-long 4-H’er, she is a regular volunteer for North Dakota 4-H programs and events.

In her free time, she is an avid backpacker and hiker, and can be found most summer weekends at rodeos around the Midwest.

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