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Walking into Harrison Weber’s office, your eyes quickly wander to two battered toy tractors sitting on the forefront of his desk. Clearly banged up and bruised from years of rough housing and play, the toys have a stark contrast to the rest of the well-polished and professional room. Those toy tractors, one green and the other red, tell the story of Weber’s agricultural background and where he came from.
“This John Deere tractor is the tractor that sat on my grandfather’s kitchen shelf, and the Case tractor is the one I used to play with in the sandbox. That’s why it is so dirty, it reminds me of my childhood,” Weber said.
Weber grew up in Casselton, N.D., helping on his family’s farm. The farm encompasses a variety of crops, ranging from wheat, corn, sugar beets, sunflowers and more. For Weber, growing up on his family’s farm was an experience he will never forget.
“I grew up driving trucks and sweeping bins and doing all the stuff that farm kids do. I remember the smells of harvest and spending time with my family. I remember the long days and long hours working, but how rewarding they were. It brings back a lot of good memories just thinking about the farm,” Weber said.
Weber went on to attend Valley City State University where he majored in business and was also on the men’s basketball team. After he received his undergraduate degree, Weber began attended the University of North Dakota, where he received his law degree.
Weber began working for the North Dakota Legislature as a clerk for the Senate Ag Committee. It was there that he found his calling.
“My time spent in the Legislature really solidified where I wanted to be. As a law clerk, I got to be a fly on the wall and see a lot of the commodity group leaders come in and lobby for farmers. That really solidified what I wanted to do and where I wanted to go. Shortly after that, I knew I wanted to be in the commodity group world,” Weber said.
After spending some time with the Minnesota Soybean Research and Promotion Council, as well as the North Dakota Soybean Council, Weber took a position with The Red River Valley Sugarbeet Growers Association, where he still works today.
Weber is the executive director of the association and represents the sugar beet growers within the Red River Valley. Through this position he communicates with growers in the region, helps producers with crop insurance issues, studies the market, interacts with their partners in D.C., and much more.
Much like the rest of the agricultural industry, sugar beet producers have been having some tribulations as well.
“We're coming off of two really challenging harvests for us. Last year was actually a historic disaster for us. We left about 30% of our crop in the field for American Crystal. And it really hit our guys and Valley hard,” Weber said.
However, things seem to be looking up for sugar beet growers this year and Weber is hopeful about the outcome.
“We are excited about this year’s harvest and to get back in the fields, and do what we do best: make sugar,” Weber said.
Weber is excited to see where the future of the ag industry is headed, and looks forward to seeing what advances come next.
“I think we always need to be optimistic looking into the future. Things are challenging on the farm. I am excited for the future in all of the ag industry. I am excited to see how we continue to grow and advance,” Weber said.
As for the upcoming years for Weber in the industry, he hopes to stay with the Red River Valley Sugar beet Growers Association, with those memory-filled tractors still seated on his desk.
“Sugar beets have been a really big piece of our farm and our family. I hope to be here continuing to be the voice for sugar beet growers in the Red River Valley,” Weber said.
Sugar Beet News |
via Agweek https://www.agweek.com
September 29, 2020 at 05:19PM