Tim Huether, 58
4th Generation Farmer, TK Huether Farms

Hometown: Lisbon, ND, pop. 2300
Family: Wife, Faye; 2 adult children; 2 grandchildren
Community Involvement: Board Member Ransom County Water Resource, Former School Board Member

Tim Huether (at left) with his family.

Tim Huether has been farming his North Dakota land for more than 40 years now.  Tim and his son Kyle (31) along with his wife Faye make up TK Huether Farms where they grow 4 to 5 different crops throughout the year.

We caught up with Huether as he was harvesting his beans.  Farming has changed significantly since he began working the land more than four decades ago. Like many farmers, Tim feels technology has made a major impact.

“If you would have told me 15 years ago that a sprayer would be the highest-powered machine on the farm annually, I would have said you were nuts,” Huether said.  “I never saw that coming.  We have so many more passes now than we did years ago with the use of insecticides, fungicides, resistant weeds and post spraying.  Farm management is much more intensive; we are trying to squeeze more bushels out of the same acres by covering all our bases to give our crops the best chance.”

Machinery isn’t the only thing that shifted how TK Huether Farms does business; factors outside his control have them growing entirely different crops from when they first started. Huether acknowledges most of that is due to market demands, but nature also has a hand in dictating what gets planted.

“We used to raise a lot of wheat and then we were into sunflowers,” Huether said.  “We raised a lot of sunflowers at one point, but white mold changed that picture; everyone in our area had to shut off sunflowers. If the mold is bad enough you’re supposed to wait 5-10 years before you replant. It was a big deal in our area because there was a sunflower crushing plant next to us.  We switched what we put in the ground and that plant near us now crushes beans instead of sunflowers.”

Huether says farmers need to keep learning about their industry and be informed about their businesses.

“I read a lot,” Huether said.  “I read a lot of articles. I watch Ag PhD and get a lot of good information from the Heftys. I go to winter workshops and try to stay ahead. I think the younger generation is better at educating themselves. They have so much information; they have the world literally right at their fingertips with their cell phones and the internet. It makes them better with all that information so close.”

Being informed has helped Huether grow his farm that at times struggled to get by into a thriving business which he proudly shares with his son.

“It used to be we were just trying to survive the 80s; we went through some really tough times back then,” Huether said.  “Now that I’m older and we are a bit better off it gives me a lot of satisfaction about how much better off we’ve got it for the next generation of farmers.  They’ve hopefully got it set up a bit better and have good futures ahead of them.”

Good futures for farmers means good things for the rest of the population. Huether is proud of his farm and his farming background and says national recognition at the Rose Bowl Parade is important for the Ag Industry.

“We bear the initial burden of keeping food affordable,” Huether said.  “By that, I mean we need to produce plenty because if we don’t food prices go up. We are the first step in feeding our nation, and I think that needs to be out there and acknowledged.”