By Sherry Lind
They say that money doesn’t grow on trees, but it does grow in the field.
Six organizations received the fruits of the labors from the Trinity Growers Project. This project raised a crop on donated land, with donated seed, equipment, and labor to give the proceeds from the crop to needy organizations.
In February of 2012, Pastor Mike Jacobson of Trinity Lutheran Church in Cooperstown was called by Ron DeWeerd of the Food Resource Bank who told him that Bryan and Laurie Nelson of Grand Forks wanted to donate the use of ninety-five acres of farmland just southeast of Coopertown to raise money for a mission project. Jacobson enthusiastically got the ball rolling on the project and assembled a meeting between DeWeerd and some church and community members: Mark Urness, Kent Dick, Brad McCullough, Tim Soma, Scott Saxberg, and Todd Edland. The groundwork was laid out at the meeting and the project, which DeWeerd called “quilting for men,” was dubbed Trinity Growers as it was to be led by Trinity Lutheran Church.
Bryan Nelson signed an agreement for Trinity Growers to farm his land for the project. Nelson designated that the funds should be given to food centered charities. It was decided to decide the proceeds among local, regional, and global organizations: 35% to Lutheran World Relief, 35% to Compassion International (Nelson’s chosen charity), 5% to Lutheran Social Services, and the remaining 25% to be disbursed between three local organizations: Pizza and Discussion (a Bible study at Griggs County Central High School), Red Willow Bible Camp, and the Bread of Life Food Pantry.
After much discussion, it was decided that soybeans would be grown. Urness spoke with several companies about seeing if they could give toward the project. Peterson Seed agreed to donate all of the seed which would have cost $6000. Dow Chemical provided Roundup. Micro-nutrient was contributed by Monty’s Plant and Soil Products. Arrowwood Prairie Co-op and Town and Country Co-op agreed to each provide 200 gallons of fuel for the equipment. Cooper Implement helped pay for crop insurance. Ihry Farms Seed donated seed treatment and Cooperstown Farmer’s Elevator stored, treated, and delivered the seed to the field. Jonathon Erickson of Ag Advantage was the crop consultant and Bank Forward provided dinner in the field, grilled by Dan Bakken, for the many (about 115 people) who helped harvest the crop.
Many area farmers donated time, effort, and the use of their farm equipment which included combines, sprayers, grain carts, grain trucks, diggers, rollers, rock pickers, and tractors. Tom Dahl coordinated the farming operation. In addition to Dahl, those helping with the field preparation, planting, treating, harvesting, and delivering of the seed and crop included: Ardys Dahl, Zachary Jacobson, Tim Ronningen, Tim Soma, Dale Hasenqinkel, Elmer Gronneberg, Frank Jessup, Roger Lausch, Roy Harding, Todd Stevens, Bryan Hedstrom, Derrick Hedstrom, Matt Haugen, Ron Hegvik, Don Zimprich, Scott Saxberg, Mark Urness, Todd Edlland, Jayson Gronneberg, and Travis Soma.
The field, harvested on September 30, 2012, yielded 30.8 bushels per acre with a total of 2,886 bushels. When the crop was sold on October 24, it garnered $42,306,87. The funds were disbursed as follows: Lutheran World Relief, $14,807.40; Compassion International, $14,807.40; Lutheran Social Services, $2,115.34; Pizza and Discussion, $3,511.47; Red Willow Bible Camp, $3,511.47; and Bread of Life Food Pantry, $3,553.79.