North Dakota electric co-op members still harvesting corn well into March

Winter jackets and Carhartt beanies aren’t what most people wear during harvesting season, but for some North Dakota farmers, spring in 2020 is being spent in the combine.

David Johnson, a farmer near Kensal, North Dakota, is harvesting his corn well into March. Johnson is a member of Northern Plains Electric Cooperative, a Class C member of Basin Electric.

“We’ve harvested in the snow before but it’s never been this bad. Most of this snow has been here since October,” Johnson says.

He’s been running his family farm for about 20 years now. “February has been pretty nice, allowing us to get into the fields,” he says.

Many farmers still harvesting have had to plow the snow drifts from highways in order to access their muddy fields.

As of Jan. 1, only 48% of North Dakota’s corn had been harvested, as compared to 90% in South Dakota, according to Mary Kennedy, DTN Basis Analyst with Progressive Farmer.

Weather has been unkind to quality of the crop, with farmers reporting low test weights. “We have a large grain dryer on our property so we will dry most of the corn before we take it to the ethanol plant in Spiritwood, North Dakota,” Johnson says. “The love of farming is what keeps me going. I’ve always wanted to be a farmer and ultimately we depend on Mother Nature.”

Watch video interviews with David Johnson, and his father Jim Johnson, from March 10. Celebrate National Ag Day on March 24: #NationalAgDay


  1. Had the pleasure of interviewing and talking with both Jim and David Johnson and they were both an amazing example of what the family farm is all about. They had such a good attitude about what they were going through and it reflected positively on farmers and ag producers around the region. The farmers in the upper Midwest have been dealing with some harsh weather conditions, but they are a resilient group of people, and I for one am glad they are who they are, and are in the profession farming.

    Thank you for what you do.
    Kurt Capouch

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