Farmers, ranchers and people working in ag-related businesses are honored annually by North Dakota State University in a celebration of the North Dakota agriculture.
Mark and Sarah Ressler partner with Mark’s brother, Bryan, in raising registered Red Angus and commercial Angus near Binford. They hold a bull sale every January. They also raise corn, wheat, soybeans, tall fescue and hay crops using no-till, irrigation, cover crops and rotational grazing farming practices. They retain ownership of many of the cattle from birth to slaughter, dry and clean their own corn, and feed the screenings to the cattle. Mark, a 2010 NDSU graduate, also is a member of the Griggs County Farm Service Agency Board, Griggs County Crop Improvement Association and Griggs County Extension Advisory Council. Sarah, a 2014 NDSU graduate, is a pharmacist at Cooperstown Drug. They have one child.
James and Tracey Johnson raise wheat, canola, corn, sunflowers, peas and dry beans on a fourth-generation farm near Mott. They have been farming for 20 years and use no-till farming practices. James, a 1998 NDSU graduate, also has been a member of the Hettinger County Crop Improvement Association for the past 10 years and is a 4-H leader in the shooting sports program. He also was part-time High School Ag and FFA instructor. Tracey, a 1997 NDSU graduate, taught elementary school for two years. She is a 4-H, Meals on Wheels and community garden volunteer and Sunday school teacher. The Johnsons have two children.
Robert and Margaret Subart raise wheat, barley, canola, soybeans and alfalfa near Robinson on the family farm that was homesteaded in 1914. The Subarts, who have been farming for 32 years, also have 200 head of Angus cattle and background calves in the winter. In addition, they operate a hunting rental business. Robert, a 1985 NDSU graduate, also is president of the Kidder County Farm Bureau and Bethany Lutheran Church Council, treasurer of the District 14 Republican Party and a member of the Golden Manor Board. Margaret, who works at First Security Bank-West, also is secretary of the Kidder County 4-H Council, a 4-H leader and member of the Kidder County Library Board and St. Mary’s Altar Society. The Subarts have three children.
Bill and Judy Hanson raise cattle and grain on a second-generation farm near LaMoure. To improve soil health, their no-till cropping system includes a four-crop rotation with cover crops. They also test their soil annually so that they apply the proper amount of nutrients, and they use a rotational grazing system for their cattle. They have been enrolled in the North Dakota Farm Management program since 1978 and received the LaMoure County Soil Conservation Achievement Award in 2016. Bill, a 1976 NDSU graduate, is also a member of the LaMoure County Weed Board and LaMoure Farm Ag Marketing Club. Judy graduated from Valley City State University in elementary education. She is a farm wife and avid gardener. The Hanson’s have one daughter.
Robert and Susan Erbele have a livestock operation, providing custom backgrounding and grazing, on a fifth-generation farm near Lehr. The Erbeles, who have been farming for 46 years, raise crops for livestock feed as well. Robert, also a state senator, has received the North Dakota Landowners Association’s Legislator of the Year, North Dakota Veterinary Medical Association’s Public Service Appreciation and Rangeman of the Year awards. In addition, the Erbeles have received the Logan County Soil Conservation and Soil Conservation District Clean Tree awards. Robert also serves on the Logan County Economic Development Board, Western Commission on Higher Education Veterinary Advisory Board and North Dakota Senate Appropriations Committee. Susan is a piano teacher and church organist. They have four sons.
Curtis and Suzy Lee provide field research, technical support and data analysis to sales, development and regulatory sectors of the agricultural chemical and seed industries. The Lees, who have been farming for 15 years near Velva, complete 100 to 250 field trials and harvest 6,000 to 15,000 yield plots annually. They use minimum-tillage farming practices. They received the IR-4 Meritorious Service Award for their work in minor-use crops in 2014 and were members of the American Society of Agronomy Education Task Force in 2007. Curtis, a 1991 and 1993 NDSU graduate, is a member of the Velva Community Development Corp., McHenry County Farm Service Agency Committee, North Central Grain Marketing Club and McHenry County Crop Improvement Association. Suzy is a member of the Community Youth Program, Velva Association of Commerce and Women Working Wall Street. They have four children.
Kerry and Pam Bettenhausen and Cordell and Ann Bettenhausen raise wheat, corn, soybeans, canola and sunflowers in the Venturia-Wishek area, using minimum-tillage and no-till seeding practices. They are part of Bettenhausen Farms Inc. They also have about 400 cow-calf pairs, using rotational grazing practices. Kerry and Pam have been farming for 35 years and received the 2018 Soil Conservation District Achievement Award. Kerry is also a member of the Wishek Wildlife Club, McIntosh County Ag Improvement Board and McIntosh County Advisory Council, and he is a trustee at First Baptist Church. Pam is a bookkeeper and teller at Security State Bank, a Sunday school teacher at First Baptist Church and a member of the local quilting guild. Kerry and Pam have four children. Cordell and Ann have been farming for 30 years. Cordell is also a McIntosh County Soil Conservation District supervisor, a director of the North Dakota Association of Soil Conservation Districts and a trustee at First Baptist Church. Ann is a school counselor for kindergarten to grade six, a family and consumer sciences teacher for grades seven to 12 and a paraeducator, all for Wishek Public Schools. She also is involved in many school extracurricular activities, including serving as adviser for the junior class and junior prom, and she is a volunteer for the Tri-County Fair and a member of the local quilting guild. In addition, she has been a 4-H judge.
Kirk and Heidi Olson raise spring wheat, durum and field peas on a fifth-generation farm near Arnegard, using no-till and minimum-tillage farming practices. They have been farming for 15 years and received the North Dakota Farm Bureau Cultivation Award in 2011. Kirk, a 1997 NDSU graduate, also is a District 8 representative to the North Dakota Farm Bureau Board and a member of the North Dakota Ag in the Classroom Board. In addition, he is a McKenzie County 4-H volunteer, Arnegard Township road superintendent and Watford City Wolves girls’ seventh-grade travel team coach. Heidi is a vice president and trust officer at First National Bank & Trust Co. in Williston. She also is a District 8 representative to the North Dakota Farm Bureau’s Political Action Committee and District 8 Special Assignment Pizza coordinator; McKenzie County 4-H Ragged Butte Roughrider Club leader; and a member of the Northwest Estate Planning Council, Williston Chamber of Commerce Leadership Committee, Williston Family Crisis Shelter Board and McKenzie County 4-H Council. The Olsons have two children.
Rick and Laura Tweeten raise hard red spring wheat, pinto beans, corn, soybeans and field peas near Washburn. They also have a certified seed business, selling seed to local producers. They have been farming for 34 years, and the North Dakota Crop Improvement Association named them the 2016 Premier Seed Grower in North Dakota. Rick, a 1987 NDSU graduate, is president of the McLean County Crop Improvement Association and Washburn School Board, and a member of the Board of Visitors for NDSU’s North Central Research Extension Center near Minot. Laura is a special education instructor for Washburn Public School and was a 4-H leader for 10 years. The Tweetens have three children.
Gaylen Sailer operates a greenhouse, nursery and landscape installation business near Beulah. He raises bedding and garden plants, perennials, trees and shrubs, and does grass seeding for lawns and pastures. He has been in the business for more than 50 years. The 1970 NDSU graduate also is a member of the North Dakota Nursery, Greenhouse and Landscaping Association; the Beulah Chamber of Commerce; and the Beulah High School advisory board for the Vocational Agriculture Department and FFA activities. In addition, he participates in 4-H achievement days in Mercer, Oliver and McLean counties, is an active supporter of all 4-H activities, and has worked at the North Dakota 4-H Camp near Washburn. He received an honorary FFA chapter degree in 2011.