Area Agriculturists Recognized During Annual Harvest Bowl


FARGO, N.D. ( – The success, dedication and hard work of outstanding agriculturists in 53 counties in North Dakota and nine counties in Minnesota were honored during the 44th annual Harvest Bowl program at North Dakota State University, on Nov. 10.

The following story contains local agriculturists who were recognized during the recent Harvest Bowl. Area agriculturists include:

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— Reuben and Beth Viland, Valley City

Reuben and Beth Viland live in Valley City. Reuben, a 1976 NDSU graduate, has worked for AgCountry Farm Credit Services in Valley City for 36 years, providing credit and other financial services to many producers in the area. He also has first-hand knowledge of farming, having grown up on a small-grain and livestock farm near Geneseo. In addition, he is a member of the Open Door Center board and his church board. Beth, a 1977 NDSU graduate, has been director of the Barnes County WIC (Women, Infants, and Children) supplemental nutrition program for 34 years and worked in the NDSU Extension Service’s Barnes County office for a year in 1982. They have two children.

Dickey — NaTanya Olson, Forbes

NaTanya Olson raises corn, spring wheat, alfalfa hay, beef cattle, and a few sheep and chickens near Forbes using no-till and minimum-tillage farming practices, and cover crops. She continued to operate the farm after the death of her husband in a farming accident in 2011. She serves as secretary-treasurer for the Dickey County Farm Bureau and Forbes Fire Department, secretary for the Forbes Equity Exchange Board and leader for the Dakota Stateliners 4-H Club. In addition, she is a member of the Dickey County Extension Committee; helps serve meals, and plays the harp at weddings, funerals and other gatherings at Bethlehem Lutheran Church; and sings in the Living Christmas Tree in Aberdeen, S.D. She has three children.

Eddy — Dennis and LeAnn Weber, Sheyenne

Dennis and Annie Weber and Darin and Sis Weber live near Sheyenne. They raise wheat, corn, soybeans, sunflowers, peas, lentils and pinto beans using minimum-tillage farming practices. They also do commercial trucking. Dennis and Annie have farmed for 37 years. Dennis serves as a township supervisor. Annie worked at the Central Dakota Veterinary Clinic in New Rockford from 2001 to 2010. Dennis and Annie have three children.

Eddy – Darin and Diana Weber, Sheyenne

Darin and Sis have been farming for 35 years and have worked with Farm Safety for Kids program. Sis also works at the Lutheran Home of the Good Shepherd in New Rockford. Darin and Sis have three children.

Emmons — Steve and Sally Huizenga, Hague

Steve and Sally Huizenga raise spring wheat, soybeans and sunflowers using no-till and minimum-tillage farming practices near Westfield with the help of their son Chris. They have been farming for 30 years on a farm that has been in the family since 1895. They received the Tree Establishment Award in 1991, Range Management Award in 1998 and Emmons County Soil Conservation Award in 2002. Steve has been a member of the Emmons County Farm Bureau and Westfield Reformed Church boards. Sally is president of the Emmons County Farm Bureau Women’s Board and has been a Bible school teacher at Westfield Reformed Church. They have four children.

Foster – Roger and Nurgul Gussiaas, Carrington

Roger and Nurgul Gussiaas live near Carrington, where he raised hard red spring wheat, barley, corn, soybeans and flax using minimum-tillage farming methods until retiring in 2015. Since then, he has concentrated on his specialty oilseed processing business, Healthy Oilseed LLC., which processes contracted flax, hemp and borage. The business mainly exports products such as oil, meal and flour to European, Asian, South American and South African markets. He farmed for 35 years, and was named the North Dakota Trade Office Exporter of the Year in 2010 and National Young Farmer in 1993. He also is a member of the District Export Council. Nurgul holds degrees in both physics and finance from universities in Kazakhstan. They have three children.

Griggs — Patrick and Jill Larson, Hannaford

Patrick and Jill Larson raise wheat, soybeans and corn on a fourth-generation farm near Hannaford using conventional-, vertical- and minimum-tillage and soil testing farming practices. They have been farming for 16 years. Patrick, a 2000 NDSU graduate, also is a Sunday school teacher and lay worship assistant at Faith Lutheran Church, and an Awana volunteer in Cooperstown. Jill, a 2001 NDSU graduate, is a member of the Griggs County Council on the Arts Board, a Sunday school teacher at Faith Lutheran Church and an Awana leader in Cooperstown. They have four children.

Kidder — Roger and Jan Koester, Steele

Roger and Jan Koester raise oats, barley and wheat, as well as alfalfa, soybeans and corn with their son, using no-till and minimum-tillage farming practices near Steele. They also have a commercial herd of Angus cattle. They have farmed for 54 years. Roger also supports Extension Service programs, including 4-H at the annual fair, and livestock and hippology judging teams, plus fair building and grounds improvement, and the Kidder County FFA Chapter. He has been a member of North Dakota Stockmen’s Association for 34 years. Jan is a volunteer with Kidder County Ambulance and Meals on Wheels, a 4-H volunteer and supporter of the Kidder County FFA Chapter. They have two children.

LaMoure — Don and Eileen Geske, Verona

Don and Eileen Geske raised corn, soybeans, wheat, flax, barley and oats near Verona using conventional-tillage farming methods until retiring recently. They continue to take advantage of Extension programming that keeps them in touch with agriculture. Don also was a member of the LaMoure County Soil Conservation District board. Eileen was a music teacher and received several awards, including the National Music Teacher of the Year Award in 2004. She was named a Foundation Fellow by the Music Teachers National Association in 2013. They have four children.

Logan — Richard and Sonya Gross, Napoleon

Richard and Sonya Gross raise wheat, corn, soybeans, field peas and oats using no-till farming practices and cover crops near Napoleon. They also have a beef cow-calf operation and practice intense rotational grazing. They have been farming for 32 years and have received the Logan County Soil Conservation District’s Rangeman of the Year Award and the Sustainable Ag and Achievement Award. Richard also is a Napoleon Fire Department Board director, township superintendent, Napoleon Economic Development Board director and church parish council member. Sonya is a typesetter for the Napoleon Homestead and a Mary Kay consultant. She also is a director of the Logan County Farm Bureau and township clerk/treasurer. They have three children.

McIntosh — Lloyd and Lila Raile, Wishek

Lloyd and Lila Raile raise wheat, corn, sunflowers and soybeans on a fourth-generation farm near Wishek. They use no-till and conservation-tillage farming practices and plant a diverse mix of crops to help reduce disease and weed resistance. They have been farming for 42 years. Lloyd also operates Raile Repair, an auto repair business. Lila owns the Raile Insurance Agency. She also is a member of the Association of Commerce, Wishek Economic Development and Renaissance Zone Committee, and has been a church organist for 42 years. They have four children.

Ransom — Ardis Taylor, Lisbon

Ardis Taylor and her late husband, Harvey, raised corn, small grains, hay, Hereford cattle, Quarter horses, goats and chickens near Lisbon beginning in 1962. She started showing horses locally and became recognized by a horse trainer for her potential in working with horses. She worked with a trainer in Aberdeen, S.D., and traveled to Quarter horse shows in North Dakota and South Dakota. She teamed up with other horse breeders and trainers in North Dakota to start the North Dakota Quarter Horse Association and served as its secretary-treasurer while Harvey served on the board of directors. In addition she was a science teacher for 30 years. She has received numerous honors, including Sargent County Teacher of the Year, Centennial Farm, Ransom and Sargent County Friend of 4-H, and North Dakota Quarter Horse Association Hall of Fame awards. They have one son.

Sargent — Randy and Cheri Pearson, Milnor

Randy and Cheri Pearson raise corn, soybeans and wheat using no-till, minimum-tillage, strip-till, and variable-rate seeding and fertilizing farming practices, and cover crops on a fourth-generation farm near Milnor. They have been farming for 45 years and received the Wild Rice Soil Conservation District Conservation Award in 2006. Randy also works with Marquette Construction in Rutland and serves on the Sargent County Job Development Authority and Sargent County Soils Committee. Cheri is a Meals on Wheels volunteer. In addition, both have been 4-H club leaders. They have three children.

Steele — Jeremy and Lindsey Johnson, Sharon

Jeremy and Lindsey Johnson are co-owners of Johnson Stock Farm which operates a 600 head Simmental cow-calf operation and raise wheat, corn, soybeans and edible beans near Sharon using conventional-tillage farming practices. They have been farming for 18 years and received the Commercial Simmental Producer of the Year Award in 2006 and were named the North Dakota Stockmen’s Rancher of the Year in 2017. Jeremy, a 2003 NDSU graduate, is a member of the Steele County Committee and Finley Farmers Grain and Elevator Co. Board, former board member of Northwood Coop Oil, and is the treasurer for Beaver Creek Lutheran Church. Lindsey, a 2007 NDSU graduate, is a former Dow AgroSciences sales representative. She currently helps on the farm and is a stay at home mom caring for their three children.

Stutsman — Ryan and Whitney Huebner, Jamestown

Ryan and Whitney Huebner raise corn, soybeans, wheat, barley, field peas and cover crops near Jamestown using minimum-tillage farming practices. They also have a cow-calf operation. They have been farming for nine years. Ryan also is a township supervisor and a director of the Jamestown Rural Fire Department Board. Whitney is a house cleaner and secretary for Still Waters Prairie Retreat.

Wells — Sam and Amy Ongstad, Harvey

Sam and Amy Ongstad raise hard red spring wheat, soybeans, pinto beans and corn near Harvey using no-till, and reduced- and conventional-tillage farming practices. They received the North Dakota Crop Improvement Association Premier Seed Grower Award in 2015. Sam, a 1997 and 2001 NDSU graduate, is a Fram Township supervisor and a member of the Harvey Airport Authority and North Dakota Dry Edible Bean Seed Growers Association. Amy, a homeschool teacher, is involved in children’s ministry at their church. They have three children.

An agribusiness award recipient also is chosen annually. This award recognizes
individuals who have distinguished themselves in the field of agriculture and
business in North Dakota and beyond. This year’s award recipient was Jack
Dalrymple, former Governor of North Dakota.

Several scholarships also were awarded to outstanding male and female athletes
during Harvest Bowl.

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