Meet Tom Kennelly, Northarvest Bean Director
March 30, 2009
Tom Kennelly is the newest director on the Northarvest Bean Growers Association board. His election was announced at Bean Day in January. Tom replaces Mark Myrdal, Edinburg, ND for the District 1 position.
Tom farms near St. Thomas with his brother Mark. They raise sugarbeets, wheat and edible beans. They farm 3,500 acres with approximately 800 of those acres put into dry beans. I have been farming pretty close to 20 years. We raise pintos, navies and pinks. Our parents farmed and grew dry beans and when we took over the farm, we continued to raise them. Our family has been in the edible bean business since 1965, says Kennelly.
Dry beans are a fun crop to raise and it is a challenge to get a nice, quality product, says Kennelly. We had a nice bean crop this year and didnt lose any acres to Mother Nature.
We pretty much follow the same routine planting dry beans as we do with our sugarbeets. We use 22 rows and sometimes drop the liquid fertilizer in with the seeds, says Kennelly. We use the best planter we have and try to get some accurate basing and go with that. Kennellys key to keeping dry beans profitable is patience. Patience is very important, especially at harvest. You strive for the best crop you can which will make it easier to market.
As for the future of the bean industry, Kennelly sees challenges ahead. We as an industry are going to have to find ways of raising higher yielding crops or a better quality crop in order to keep up with the corn and soybeans in the region. We will have to drive more revenue to make them sustainable.
Kennelly is involved in several other organizations, including the Red River Valley Sugarbeet Growers Association, Drayton Factory board member, Grafton Farmers Coop Grain Company board and more. I am happy to be elected to serve the Northarvest Bean organization. I want to learn more about the dry bean industry and look forward working with all aspects of the industry, he says.