OAKES, ND – In the gentle rolling acres of southeast Oakes near North Dakota, fifth-generation farmer Drew Courtney and his wife, Lindsey, operate a family farm together with Kyle Courtney (Drew’s cousin), and his wife, Megan.
Drew and Lindsey share three daughters: Avery, Ella and Claire, and Lindsey also works at the farm, teaching special education in Oakes; While Kyle and Megan share five children: Everett, twin daughters, Stella and Marie, Vivienne and Eva.
“Kyle and I operate the family farm together, and we grow corn and soybeans,” Drew said. They also grow some wheat and rye for special projects on the farm.
This spring, they hope to seed Pioneer, DEKALB, CROPLAN, and LG Seeds corn and beans.
“We also produce soybean seeds for Remington Seeds. We are a seed grower for them, “he said.
In addition, Drew and Lindsey own a small herd of registered Hereford cattle.
“We’ve been calving and have a couple left to calve,” said Drew on April 19.
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The Hereford cows come from Lindsey’s family, the Friedts, who own Friedt Herefords, a well-respected seedstock hereford operation in the southwestern region.
“I got into raising herefords from my in-laws who own a seedstock hereford business near Mott, and they have a production sale in Dickinson every year,” Drew said.
The weather has not been calving for the best, but the Courtneys can easily move their eight pairs into the barn.
“The weather is cooler today – about 22 degrees, and there is little snow left in the trees,” Drew said, adding that they missed the blizzard that hit a large portion of the state on April 12-14.
The Courtney family farm began in 1907, when Drew’s great-great-grandparents, Frank and Louis Courtney, purchased the family farmland in southeastern North Dakota.
“That exact quarter they bought, we’re still farm today,” Drew said. “Our bin site is located there, and my Aunt Geri is still living there, as well,” he said.
Frank and Lois passed the farm to one of their sons, Everett, and his wife, Margaret, who were Drew’s great-grandparents.
Later, Drew’s grandparents, Vernon and Anna Mae Courtney, started operating the family farm.
While Drew’s parents, Doug and Connie Courtney, did not farm, his uncles and their wives, Bob and Brenda Courtney and Kurt and Geri Courtney, later took over the farm. Kurt passed away in 2010 and Bob retired in 2012, but still plays a vital role on the farm.
Drew grew up going to the family farm on weekends and stayed there this summer to help out.
“Every summer, I would work down at the farm, and it would get into your blood,” he said.
Kurt and Geri’s son, Kyle, started farming on the family farm in high school in 1999, and came back to the farm full-time in 2006.
Now, Drew and Kyle make the farm decisions together. As soon as the snow fades, leaving a moist seedbed, the planting season will be here.
“We like to plant a quarter or so of wheat so we can get in early and do some drain tiling in late summer and early fall,” he said. “We’ll also seed some rye in any saline seep areas in the fields.”
Currently, Drew and Kyle are finishing up preparations for the growing season.
“We finished the tail end of some shop work, and Bret hauled in the last of the seed beans that got released,” he said. “We’re making sure the final T’s are crossed and the I’s are dotted, so when it’s time to go, we can go.”
The Courtneys are also going through what many farmers are going through this spring with the supply chain.
“My cousin ordered a new planter back in October, and it hasn’t been shown up yet. We kept our old planter on the farm, so we’re going to be running it yet this spring – a White AGCO planter, “Drew said.
The planter on the repairing and repairing maintenance was the last major project they completed this spring.
“We’re hooking things up, and pulling things out of the shed, so we’re getting ready to go,” he added.
Ideally, they like to start planting corn by the middle of the end of April. They strip-till plant corn so they can fertilize the band in the row and then come back in and plant the 6-inch row.
“We’d like to be open wide by now,” Drew said. However, the soil has been “frozen” in the mornings. “We actually spread some urea on some corn ground today because the ground was cold enough that we could get it across the spreader. Once it hits no, we’ll stop. “
It has been warming up in the afternoons.
Sometimes, depending on the year, they will plant some soybeans before seeding corn on a few fields.
“If you can get some beans early, it can yield more bushels,” he said. They use no-till seed soybeans, but tillage when necessary on the fields.
The two farmers have been pleased with the way their hybrids have been working on their farm over the last few years.
“With the seed treatment and the hybrids we use, we have pretty good luck so far,” he said.
Last year, they seeded some rye as a cover crop for soil health and supplementing winter feed.
“Some I cut and baled on first of June, and then the planted soybeans back into that residue, which I combined that fall,” Drew said. “I only had to spray once, save us inputs, and I shipped a semi-load of rye bales back to my in-laws in Mott, as they were dealing with a drought early last year, and it was looking. Like they wouldn’t be able to bale a lot of hay for winter. “
Drew and Lindsey also let their cows in the corn field around the house after their fall to harvest some tasty corn stalks.
The Courtneys have gotten some good fertilizer contracts for this year, but they don’t know about next year.
“Next year, it will be a challenge, especially with fertilizer and chemical prices continuing to rise,” he added.
The Courtneys also believe in giving back to the community.
Drew, 34, is a secretary / treasurer of the North Dakota Corn Growers Association, and is a member of the North Dakota Corn Growers Association, the North Dakota Soybean Association, the Knights of Columbus, and the local snowmobile club.
He also serves as the rural community’s chairman of the Hudson Township Board.
As chairman of the township board, Drew emphasized he wants to keep the rural areas in the state strong, but “still keep it appealing to kids,” so if they grew up on a farm or ranch or city, they might return to the rural. communities after college.
“You don’t really value serving and volunteering in your community or on a township board unless you have your own kids. Then you realize somebody has to take it up and keep things moving and going, or our communities aren’t going to be there for our kids to come back to, “Drew said.
Lindsey and Drew are also members of the North Dakota Stockmen’s Association and St. Charles Borromeo Church.
The Courtneys are an active family, enjoying snowmobiling as a pastime in the winter and spending time outside and at the lake and pool as a family in the summer.
In addition, Drew and Lindsey got their daughters their first pony this spring.
“We got a gelding named Bert for the girls, and this will be our first summer with him,” he concluded.
Farm & Ranch Guide Thanks to Drew and Lindsey, as well as the rest of the Courtney family for sharing their story with readers this growing season. We wish them the best of luck this year!
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