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North Dakota Farm Bureau: Expanding Horizons

Business and agronomy may be two very different vocations, but to Brandon and Erik Lindstrom, it turned out to be the perfect blend.

The Lindstrom brothers grew up in the farming industry and attended college at South Dakota State. However, that’s where the similarities ended: Brandon studied Political Science and Economics, whereas Erik studied General Agriculture and Agronomy.

Initially, Brandon didn’t see himself using his degree in farming, but he kept finding himself coming back home to help on the farm. “Sometimes you have to step away from [farming] to come back to it and appreciate it,” he said.

For Erik, it was all about taking a rare opportunity to farm with his dad. “How do you turn down an opportunity like this? A lot of kids would never have the chance to farm with their dad and join the family business,” Lindstrom said.

When it comes to the farming industry, the Lindstrom brothers believe their age plays a dynamic role. “It’s an interesting mix of old knowledge and young viewpoints,” says Brandon. “The average age of a farmer is 55…You can’t throw out old wisdom, but you need to be flexible in trying new things.”

This is where North Dakota Farm Bureau plays an important role. Although both Lindstrom brothers are involved with NDFB, Brandon has been in a leadership position within the organization for three years. He has represented his district on the Young Farmers and Ranchers Committee. Currently, he is the Cass County Chair of the local Farm Bureau.

When discussing the advantages of being a part of an organization like NDFB, Brandon believes there is a community aspect where one can connect with other people in the agriculture industry. “It’s almost like another family that you get to hang out with and share farming stories and experiences,” says Brandon. “It’s a great way to meet with a group of farmers that you can swap ideas and experiences with.”

In addition to community and sharing experiences, Brandon enjoys the support farmers receive from NDFB. “It’s nice to know it’s an organization that has my back,” he said.

However, it’s not just farming the Lindstrom brothers enjoy; Erik has expanded the business into syrup production. One might be thinking maple syrup–however, it is in fact syrup from Boxelder trees. “I like it better [than maple syrup], honestly,” says Erik. “We just did a little trial one year and then threw a little bit more money in equipment each year, but we’re also learning a little bit more as we go… Because it’s not close to anything we’ve ever done before,” chuckles Erik.

A Boxelder syrup small business is quite the venture for anyone, and Erik admits it’s an interesting challenge finding people who have acquired a taste for it. “We’re trying to kind of feel the market and also make sure it’s tested to make sure it’s a viable product because they don’t produce quite as well as sugar maples do,” says Erik. “We really have to find people that are sold on the taste of it.”

That isn’t stopping Erik, however. He has planned over the next couple of years to develop and expand his product into a profitable business.

Without the help of NDFB and its supportive community, this idea may have never gotten off the ground. That, coupled with farming soybeans keeps the Lindstrom brothers busy. A balancing act of that degree is made easier thanks to the resources from NDFB.

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