Dale Nothdurft, 49
2nd Generation Farmer

Hometown: Beresford, SD
Acres: 2,000
Crops: Corn and Soybeans
Farms With: Older Brother, Dan
Family: 3 daughters

Dale Nothdurft with his three daughters.

“When you grow up with your entire family working on the farm – you know, I just think it is one of the most honorable professions,” said farmer Dale Nothdurft.  “We were always together walking the beans, working the land – our entire family made so many memories and worked hard together, and that is one of the many things that makes farming so special.”

Dale Nothdurft planned to spend his life working on the farm, but sometimes the best laid plans don’t immediately come to fruition.

“In the 80s and 90s there was no money in farming, so after college we had to go find work elsewhere,” Nothdurft said.  “My brother opened up the first Tires Tires Tires store and in 1991 I joined him when I finished school.”

Since 1991 Dale and his brother Dan have made Tires Tires Tires a franchise with 2 stores in Sioux City, IA and 2 stores in Sioux Falls, SD.  While Dale and Dan have seen great success with their business, their hearts were always back in Beresford.

Nothdurft’s dad had never left the land, so Dale was able to keep a hand in farming by helping out, but soon helping out turned into more of a full-time responsibility.

“My dad had cancer,” said Nothdurft.  “I would take him to the hospital.  He would have his lung drained, and then we’d go back to the farm together.  I would hop in the combine.  He would hop in the truck, and we would get to it.  He just kept going.  My dad farmed until he was 83, right up to the day he died, and I had a great last year with him.”

When Nothdurft’s dad passed away, he made his son promise to never sell the land.  It’s a promise Nothdurft has been happy to honor.  He has doubled the size of the operation and has plans to keep expanding.

“We want to go back to the farm full time eventually,” said Northdurft.  “That is what we really enjoy.  It’s kind of like a vacation from our day job.  We are very fortunate to have great employees, and we just love being out working the land.”

Dale acknowledges that a lot changed in the two decades he had been pursuing his other business interests.

“In the ‘old’ days you just… farmed.  We planted a crop and hoped it would grow.  These days everyone has a plan,” said Northdurft.  “We are precise in that we farm by information that technology has made available.  Thirty and forty years ago we didn’t have the means to understand how to optimize yields like we do now.  This has been one of the most interesting, challenging, and fun things about getting back into farming; seeing how we can increase yields through information and education that all these advancements have made possible.”

Nothdurft says he reads, networks, and attends seminars to learn as much as he can.

“Marketing is also one of those places where farmers need more education, because it is an extremely challenging part of the industry,” Nothdurft said.  “We have enough information out there where people can raise a good crop, but one of our biggest downfalls is trying to be smarter marketers to get better prices for our products.”

Grain marketing, soil sampling, microbial soil health, seed selection, fertilization, optimal planting times, irrigation scheduling, weed control, equipment purchasing and maintenance – Nothdurft says farming is an extremely challenging business venture.

“I think some people think farming is easy and maybe farmers as a whole aren’t all that intelligent…totally false,” said Nothdurft.  “This is a high level business where farmers have to be self-motivated and self-taught to manage effectively.  I don’t think the general public gives farmers they credit they deserve because they don’t understand what goes on behind the scenes.  Most farmers are salt of the earth people.  They love what they do, and in the backs of their minds, they know they are feeding the Earth.  It’s a tremendous source of pride.”