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Jorgensen wraps up seeding peas, works on canola, durum


A sure sign that spring has sprung on the northeastern Montana prairie is the blooming of the crocus flower. 

DAGMAR, Mont. – It is no secret that farming is a profession not for the weak of heart. The generations before that plowed and tamed the prairies of northeastern Montana possessed a tenacity and grit that have been passed down. Coinciding with the challenges of agriculture, there are also insurmountable blessings though.

For dryland farmer Tanner Jorgensen, he is thanking God for the spring moisture his neck of the woods has been receiving. It is springtime on the prairie, the sun is shining, the crocuses are blooming and the ground is laden with moisture.

“I am actually pleasantly surprised with where we are sitting. We’ve been seeding peas and everything is going into good moisture,” Tanner said during a phone update on May 10.

The moisture has been so good that Tanner even almost got stuck.  

“I told my dad if I got stuck out here it would really suck because I had a somewhat full cart, but at the same time, I really wouldn’t be that mad because it means we actually have moisture,” he added.

With such optimal conditions, the Jorgensen family was able to wrap up seeding their peas on May 7. Tanner admits, the first couple days of seeding earlier in the month were a bit of a challenge.

“The first 2-3 days were just an absolute battle, like they always are. We’ve gone all year without doing anything with the drill and its computer system, so then of course I have to re-learn it all after we are loaded and get started seeding and then explain it to my mother, who has never ran it and my dad who doesn’t remember it any more than I do. So those first few days I think we were all about ready to kill each other,” Tanner said with a laugh.

After the Jorgensens knocked the rust off and got their sea legs back underneath them, the trio was able to knock out a lot of acres. Next on the seeding docket will be canola, with durum seeding also tentatively scheduled to begin.

“I think we are going to send Dad out to get started on the canola tomorrow (May 11) and start rigging up our second drill so my mom can start seeding durum,” Tanner said.

The Jorgensen’s farm is the very epitome of a family operation, as it has always been. In addition to working alongside his parents, Tanner fondly remembers his grandparents helping out on the farm, as well, just a few years ago. The Jorgensens do have one hired man who is essential to their operation, but Tanner attests, he too is just like family.

Cultivating crops out of the ground is an honest profession that has a tendency to simply wrap family members around a common sense of purpose.

“Don’t get me wrong, working with family can be a double-edged sword. There are days when I say I am never working with my family again and then there are days when my grandma and grandpa show up and our hired man’s family is there and I wouldn’t trade it for the world,” he explained.

Tanner and his parents will be hammer down seeding canola and durum for the next several weeks. After that, the attention will turn to spraying. There is always something to do on the farm and what a blessing it is that the Jorgensens have each other to help get it all done.

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