Harvest is wrapping up for a crop that’s not very widespread in this part of the state.
Potatoes are being put up in bins at Kasowski Farms near Karlsruhe as the family puts the finishing touches on a very busy harvest.
Jim Olson was there as a crew of close to 50 took the last of the spuds off the field.
(Alex Kasowski, Potato Farmer) 2000 “It’s a beautiful thing when it works.”
And it’s been working at Kasowski Farms near Karlsruhe for the past few weeks. Potato lifters with the space-age name of Spudnik have been crossing the sandy soil in McHenry County, dumping tubers into rapidly-filling tandem axle trucks that make the trek to the farm’s storage area, where a series of converor belts transport the crop to its temporary resting place – bins that are specially made to provide climate control for the next several months of storage.
(Alex Kasowski, Potato Farmer) 2030 “Organized chaos is the word I use.”
(Robert Kasowski, Potato Farmer) 3800 “It’s a specialty crop. You have to have the right equipment to do the job right and successfully.”
The Kasowski brothers are standing above the ever-growing pile of spuds – in a warehouse that will hold about 16 million pounds of potatoes. In total, this farm will produce close to 100 million pounds of potatoes that could easily end up on your plate after processing at the Simplot plant in Grand Forks.
(Robert Kasowski, Potato Farmer) 3650 “They process potatoes for McDonald’s, Bojangles, Whattaburger, our potatoes can be made into anything. Our potatoes fit their needs.”
But it takes a lot of work to make sure things go smoothly – keeping all of this equipment working when it’s needed is critical. And sometimes, things have to be fixed in the field.
(Alex Kasowski, Potato Farmer) 1345 “Downtime is a lot of money. Every hour, every minute is crucial. Maintenance is crucial.”
But this was a minor problem, and soon Alex was back behind the wheel…
(Alex Kasowski, Potato Farmer) 1510 “Let’s go back to digging potatoes…”
In a year that the brothers say has been a success.
(Alex Kasowski, Potato Farmer) 1725 “This year’s actually shaping up pretty good. It’s shaping up to be a pretty fair year for us.”
(Robert Kasowski, Potato Farmer) 4020 “Crop’s been great. Can’t complain about anything. Been going really well.”
And in the next couple of days, it will be all done and these full warehouses will slowly be emptied to make room for another year’s crop.
Near Karlsruhe, Jim Olson, KX News.
NDSU reports about two-thirds of potato production in the state is in the Red River Valley. The rest is spread out in small pockets in places like Lisbon and Karlsruhe.
North Dakota is the third-leading potato producer in the nation.