WISHEK, N.D. – With sunflower hauling complete, the Bettenhausens have been busy trying to make hay on their farm in Wishek, N.D., but the weather wasn’t exactly conducive for hay making just before the third week of July.
“I think we’ve gotten rain four mornings in a row,” said Adam Bettenhausen. “Hay making has been tough, but it looks like we’ve got a good stretch of weather this week – hot and dry – so we’ll be doing a lot of that.”
The family has some other stuff to truck out, as well as some bins to clean out. Adam also says they’re “pretty well” wrapped up with spraying and he’ll be doing some field scouting to see if there’s anything going on that needs to be addressed.
As a young farmer working within a family operation, Adam hasn’t had to look too far for mentorship. Whether it’s from his father, Reggie, or his uncles, Kerry and Cordell, there’s a wealth of experience for Adam to draw from right at home.
“Like anybody farming with their family, Dad is probably the one I’ve learned the most things from,” he said. “Dad and my uncles all have their own skillset, and they really utilize those skillsets to divvy up responsibility on who does what, who knows what, and who has final say on certain things. Depending on what specifically we’re talking about, I can go to whoever I’m used to seeing take on that leadership role in a specific area.”
When Adam came back from school and returned to the farm, his father was the “crops guy.” Whether on the agronomy side, doing marketing or dealing with the bank, Reggie dealt with a lot of the big picture stuff on the farm, including working with landlords and business partners. Adam has taken on some of those responsibilities.
Adam describes his uncle Kerry as the most “people person” out of the family – skilled at building relationships and gathering information from neighbors and others.
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“If I want to know what’s going on, I talk to Kerry,” Adam said.
Cordell is the Bettenhausen family’s ace mechanic, says Adam. They don’t lean on him too heavily to fix every little thing that comes up, but if something is broken and a family member isn’t sure about how to go about it, he’s who they put their trust in.
It’s a true family operation, and Adam knew from as far back as he can remember that he wanted to contribute.
“I’d say probably like age 2,” laughed Adam, on when he knew working in the family operation was something he wanted to pursue. “It was pretty much written on the wall for me. Since I can remember, I was always around playing with tractors and riding with Dad. As soon as I was able to go around the yard by myself, I would pretend to drive every piece of equipment that was sitting around. It’s been pretty well established my whole life. There was never a point where I suddenly realized this is what I wanted to do, it was just a constant for me.”
As the calendar shifts to August, Adam says they’re going to start gearing up for harvest.
“Probably by the middle or the second week of August we’ll be pretty close. We’ll see how it goes,” Adam concluded.