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Students Tour Agronomy Seed Farm

The Plant Sciences 335: Seed Technology and Production class toured the NDSU Agronomy Seed Farm on March 23. The class is taught by Gonzalo Rojas, who is also the Assistant Director of the North Dakota Foundation Seedstocks program.

The Cass County Reporter featured the Plant Sciences 335: Seed Technology and Production class in the March 25, 2015 issue.  The entire article is reprinted here with permission of the author, Angela Kolden, and the Cass County Reporter.

A group of 18 students from NDSU’s Crop and Weed Sciences program toured the Agronomy Seed Farm west of Casselton Monday.

This year’s annual spring tour marked the 20th year students from the Seed Technology and Production class at NDSU have been coming to the seed farm.

Agronomy Seed Farm Director Tom Teigen, who will be retiring April 1, led the tour, as he has many times throughout his 32 year career.

Teigen began the tour with a brief history of the facility, explaining that it was established in 1950 with donations provided by local farmers. The donations totaled $110,000 which at the time was enough to purchase three quarters of a section of land and the equipment to farm it. Following the first harvest, money earned was invested into purchasing the remaining quarter of the section of land the seed farm now owns.

Since the first year, Teigen noted, the facility has been entirely self-funded, relying entirely on the sale of its seed. It is a unique facility in that it is a government facility, but 100-percent self supporting.

Following the history, Teigen gave a guided tour of the facility to the students along with Gonzalo Rojas, Assistant Director of the Foundation Seedstocks, and Research Specialist, Joyana Baumann.

The tour included demonstrations on the facility’s mills and information about the milling process. Teigen provided explanations for when each of the various mills are used, demonstrating that it depends on the seed that is being cleaned.

In addition, the group was shown the seed treatment tank, how the seed is warehoused and the bins and scales, which allows the facility to sell bulk seed as well as bags of seed.

The agronomy students also saw the mobile cleaning mill, heard that it was three times the size as the one in the plant and discussed its uses.

The tour concluded with a demonstration of the seed bagger, which is capable of filling seven bags of seed per minute.

Nathan Hazord, a senior student in the Crop and Weed Sciences program, said he had never seen a working mill and found the tour useful in that regard.

Agronomy Economics student, Charles Jacobs, said, “It was cool,” to see the direct impact NDSU has in agriculture production, as he helps breed some of the exclusive seeds that are released to foundation seed farms like the Agronomy Seed Farm.

The Agronomy Seed Farm in Casselton is one of five statewide seed farms.

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