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Friskop becomes new Northarvest president
June 25, 2003

Friskop becomes new Northarvest president

Wahpeton, N.D., grower works to keep dry beans as one of his farm's - and the region's - profitable enterprises.

"The crop and the people in the business have been good to me Ð they are why I raise dry beans," says Gary Friskop, Wahpeton, N.D., the new president of the Northarvest Bean Growers Association.

The Northarvest board of directors recently elected Friskop - who has served on the board in various capacities since 1995 Ð to a one-year term as president of the board. He will replace Mark Streed, Milan, Minn., who was not eligible for re-election. Board members are eligible to serve two terms as president.

Friskop, who farms with his wife, Jody, has been growing dry beans since 1980, when he joined the operation started by his father, Arvid.

He has grown pinto, navies and other classes of beans over the years. In 2003, he planned to plant only pinto beans. He markets pintos through ADM, Casselton, N.D., for use in the ADMÕs packaging and processing plant at Enderlin, N.D.

Friskop grows dry beans on his lighter better drained soils in rotation with sugarbeets, wheat, corn, soybeans, natto beans (a food-grade soybean exported to Japan) and sunflowers.
In the southern Red River Valley, many farmers have replaced dry beans with corn and soybeans. But Friskop is one of the growers who has kept beans in the rotation.

On the right land, and with the proper management, dry beans are still one of his most profitable crops, he says.

High yields and high quality are keys to making money on dry beans. Friskop pays close attention to all the production details that help him maximize production. He has invested in an edible bean combine to preserve the quality of beans, and he maintains two lines of knifing equipment Ð a homemade knifer for use on hard, wetter soils and a Pickett One Step for drier, looser soils.
"We try to knife the beans as cleanly as possible so we don't get dirt in the combine when we pick them up. It's the dirt that smears the beans and reduces quality," he says.

Dry beans are an important part of Friskop's business strategy, too. He uses them to increase diversification and stretch out harvesting and planting windows. It usually works out that he can plant dry beans after sugarbeets, wheat, corn, and soybeans and harvest them after wheat but before sugar beets, soybeans, corn and sunflowers.

Growing beans in an area where acres have declined has presented some special challenges. One of them is trucking. Friskop used to only have to truck beans a few miles from the field to a plant in Barney, N.D. Now, he has to make a 70-mile trip to Casselton, to deliver dry beans.

To remain efficient, he switched from tandem trucks to semis to haul dry beans, and converted two hopper bins he had been using for seed into holding bins for dry beans. He can keep combines running and fill the bins if a semi isn't available. He bought a belt auger to minimize damage to the bean seed coats when moving beans in and out of temporary storage.

Friskop says he is looking forward to his role as president of the Northarvest board of directors. There will be plenty of issues to keep him and other board members busy, including:
* Getting Roundup labeled for late-season weed control.
* Serving existing foreign markets and developing new ones, particularly in Iraq and Cuba.
* Increasing domestic consumption of dry beans.


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Northarvest Bean Growers Association | 50072 East Lake Seven Road | Frazee, MN 56544
Ph: 218-334-6351 | Fax: 218-334-6360 | Email: