Serving Minnesota and Northern Iowa.

"Ask a Farmer" column helps deliver farming message

By Carol Stender

Date Modified: 09/23/2013 9:34 AM

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RAYMOND, Minn. — Noah Hultgren knows corn.

He grows it — both field corn and sweet corn — and sugar beets, kidney beans, soybeans and peas on 5,000 acres with his father, Duane, and his brother, Nate.

While he obviously knows the difference between field and sweet corn, the young Minnesota Corn Growers board member realizes many others don't. Hultgren used the state corn growers new "Ask a Farmer" column to deliver his educational message.

Ask a Farmer is a new column that will be written by a different corn farmer each month. The column will cover farm issues and questions that farmers often hear from the non-farming public.

He's received comments on his educational piece from people across the state and he was interviewed last week by a Fargo farm radio station.

But it was the comments he received from his hometown that surprised him the most.

"You think of Raymond and it's an agricultural town," he said. "But many didn't know there was a difference in the types of corn. People were shocked. That's what was scary. Many people in these small towns don't understand agriculture."

It's not his first writing effort. The May 13, 2011, issue of the Huffington Post included an article he authored called "Face of a Giant Agribusiness."

Noah described how, according to the USDA, his farm falls within the top 6 percent of U.S. farms. It's family run, passed down to him from his father and grandfather. It requires a full-time effort to support his family.

He relies on the communications staff at Minnesota Corn Growers to help him develop the articles.

Taking the time to talk about agriculture is important, he said.

"Somebody has to say something and who better to do it than someone who is living it and breathing it," he said. "... People used to believe the farmer. I don't know if that's always the truth anymore. We have a great country and our ag sector is top of the line in the world. It's not perfect, but we have a country that embraces technology and has the infrastructure. Those things are important."

Noah, his father, brother and mother, Nancy, have a four-way general partnership.

After he graduated from MACCRAY High School, he earned a two-year sales and management degree from St. Cloud Technical College. He realized in early 2000 that he wanted to farm and said he was "welcomed with open arms" by his father and brother.

He and his wife, Paula, have three daughters, Ella, Samantha and Hannah.