Family Tradition

(first published, January 2006 in the Grand Forks Herald newspaper)



I started the morning with a rather strange new habit-salt water irrigation. My wife has advised me to gargle with salt water when I get a cold. Some of my co-workers come to work when they’re sick so everyone can see how brave they are and to spread their germs. I now have a cold and so have been trying out Lisa’s home-spun salt remedy with a little twist. Seems that people are rinsing our their nostrils with salt water to remove cold germs. I purchased a cattle syringe recently and had just finished this disgusting little hygienic exercise prior to Jamie’s arrival at our home. The trip to Carrington went by quickly as we visited in between stops for coffee.

We found David at his new shop answering the constant stream of phone calls. Dave has an office adjacent to the shop so we sat and talked tractors and farming of which our conversations mostly consist. Dave told us an interesting fact. Case/IH sells the highest concentration of auto-steer units in North Dakota and Western Minnesota. The auto-steer combines a GPS unit and an override for the tractors steering for reduced spray overlap and very straight rows. No, we’re not lazy around here but there is a reason for all of those sales. David said the auto-steers sold in North Dakota are the base models while western Minnesota prefers a more accurate model. It makes sense because North Dakota has vast stretches of land where an auto steer removes much of the fatigue from one mile stretches of land. Meanwhile, western Minnesota farms a lot of rows crops like sugar beets that really benefit from the increased accuracy of a system that spends all of those expensive inputs more efficiently. There’s also the matter of staying in between Minnesota’s rows of corn or beets versus reducing spray or air seeder overlap in North Dakota. My brother Dave would never tell you but he really helped introduce GPS mapping and auto steer in the region. He went from café to restaurant educating farmers about this space age technology when most considered the height of agriculture technology to be a laser trailer when ditching. I’m always in awe of him but I may be a bit biased.

Jamie and I drove home through New Rockford, Sheyenne and Devils Lake without missing even one used machinery lot. Dave told us a lot about the Garrison Diversion so we had plenty to talk about on the way home which is where we arrived at five that afternoon just twelve hours after we had begun. Some traditions are just too good not to honor.

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