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Pipestone man is finalist for Operator of the Year

By Janet Kubat Willette

Date Modified: 12/27/2012 8:36 AM

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SAN DIEGO, Calif. – Pipestone's Carl Petersen was enjoying sunny 74 degree weather in California last week, courtesy of AGCO.

Petersen was named a finalist for the 2012 Operator of the Year, a program that recognizes the industry's top custom applicators in North America for the dedication they demonstrate on and off the field. Four professional applicators are selected by AGCO Application Equipment for the honor.

The four finalists were AGCO's guests at the Agricultural Retailers Association Conference and Expo, held Nov. 27-29 in San Diego. Petersen said they were keeping them busy from early morning to 10-11-12 at night. They dined aboard the USS Enterprise and were able to visit San Diego's Market Street. It was his first visit to the city. His wife, Sharon, accompanied him.

Petersen didn't know his boss, Ryan Ridl, had nominated him for the award and found out only a week before the conference that he was one of the four finalists.

In his nomination, Ridl, who is the location manager for Crop Production Services in Pipestone, wrote that Petersen treats every field as if it were his own.

"Known for always giving 100 percent, Carl goes out of his way to make sure the machines are ready for the field and the customer is completely satisfied," Ridl wrote.

Petersen has worked at Crop Production Services for six years. He applies fertilizer and chemicals in spring, summer and fall, and hauls propane in the winter.

"I feel honored (to be a finalist) because I take pride in my work and just try to do the best I can for our farmers to fill their needs," Petersen said.

Finalists are selected not only on their customer service, but also their community service. Petersen, a Tracy native, has lived in Pipestone for 17 years. He and Sharon are the parents of four grown children. Petersen helps out at the Pipestone County Fair, working at the church booth and patrolling the barns for showmanship. He has been a blood donor for six to eight years, donating because it saves lives in his community.

Petersen has a hobby farm where he raises a few horses, which he uses for trail riding. He also gardens and hunts deer and pheasants.

Glen Slabaugh of Clunette Elevator Company, Inc., in Leesburg, Ind., was chosen the 2012 Operator of the Year. He receives a new Harley-Davidson motorcycle. The other finalists were Paul Lang of CHS Inc. in Royal City, Wash., and Paul Folden of Garrison Farmers Union Elevator in Garrison, N.D.