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Longtime Bean Grower Shares His Story
March 30, 2009

By Loren Halvorson, Galesburg, ND

I started farming in 1957 here in Galesburg, ND. I started an implement business -- Halvorson Farm Supply -- where I invented a pinto bean weed re-cutter. When chemicals came out, I invented the Big H Bean Rod. I sold a lot of them. I also made four major improvements to the Speedy Bean Cutter in the late 70s. This helped make Speedy the best bean cutter on the market at the time.

I was a little leery about raising dry beans because it was a high risk crop at the time.  I started raising beans in 1972 with my neighbor and good friend, Eldon Saunders. He had been raising beans in Hunter for several years and hauled his beans to Borup. He will be 96 this spring. I had known Eldon since 1958 when I lived in Hunter.

Loren seeded his first bag of beans in Galesburg, ND in 1972 with Eldon Saunders, who will turn 96 this spring.
All I ever raised was pinto beans. I raised the pinto variety 166.  I did try growing cranberries one year but they didnt work out. After my son, Rickie, went into business with me back in the 80s, we started growing navies.

My best year raising pintos was 1974. We had a heck of a crop that year. I had 1,017 acres of pintos that year and the prices were up around 38 cents. I really didnt do anything different that year. Timing was really important. I guess I planted at the right time and had a lot of luck. Nowadays, when you can get 25 - 30 cents on a 1,500  1,800 lbs per acre crop, its pretty good money.

Chemical was the most wonderful thing that ever happened during my years of farming. Before chemicals, I had to use my re-cutter.

Larry Erickson at ADM, Galesburg, ND giving Loren his last check for growing pintos.

Soybeans and corn have taken over so many acres these past few years. Producers can get better insurance with these crops. I fear that the edible bean business around here will drop off.  When you can insure your other crops for $500-$700 dollars per acre, it is kind of foolish to take a chance on beans.

Even though I retired from farming about four years ago, I still go down to the ADM plant in Galesburg every day to visit the guys to keep them on their toes. I like to attend the Northarvest Bean Day in Fargo but I missed it this year.

Halvorsons receiving ticket for his first sale of pinto beans, October 1972.

Halvorsons scale ticket, October 1972.  Price: 7.5 cents


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