Impressed By New Ag Leaders in N.D.

Inside Dakota Ag

North Dakota Farmers Union and North Dakota Farmer Bureau both elected new presidents in November. The groups will be well served.

Published on: December 2, 2011

I am impressed with the new leaders of the North Dakota Farmers Union and North Dakota Farm Bureau.

They may represent a new era for Dakota agriculture.

Elwood Woody Barth was elected president of the North Dakota Farmers Union in November. He replaces Robert Carlson, who decided not to run after holding the post for 15 years. Barth has served as vice president of the organization since December of 2008. He was first elected to the State Board of Directors in 2003 as the District 5 Director and served two terms as state secretary. He is a member of NDFU’s legislative team and represents NDFU on the board of directors for North Dakota Natural Beef and the Cattlemen's Beef Promotion Board. This year, he was appointed to the USDA agricultural technical advisory committee for trade in animals and animal products. He is an active community volunteer in Flasher, N.D. Woody, his wife, Carmell, and daughter Rachel, farm south of Mandan where they raise cattle and grow corn.

Doyle Johannes, Underwood, N.D., was elected president of North Dakota Farm Bureau. He took over the gavel from Eric Aasmundstad, who has been the NDFB’s president, for the past 12 years. He also decided not to seek re-election. Johannes and his wife, Patsy, have a diversified small grain and row crop farm. They also operate a custom backgrounding feedlot. Their operation is one of the three Discovery Farms in the state. They're working with local, state and federal natural resource managers to reduce their farm’s environmental footprint and have given officials access to drill test wells and do other research on the farm. So far, the resource managers have documented about a 50% reduction in the impact the farm's feedlot is having on the Missouri River. They expect to lighten their footprint even more in the future.