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Research Extension Center takes over Boehm land

RICHARDTON -- The NDSU Dickinson Research Extension Center will be doing preliminary work this summer at the newly acquired Boehm Research Farm located 5 miles southeast of Richardton.

2403959+0320 Chantra and Duane Boehm 1.jpg
Duane Boehm and his wife, Chantra, relax on their farmstead southeast of Richardton in this undated photo. Chantra currently lives in Bismarck after the family transferred the title to the farm to the NDSU Dickinson Research Extension Center. (Submitted Photo)

RICHARDTON - The NDSU Dickinson Research Extension Center will be doing preliminary work this summer at the newly acquired Boehm Research Farm located 5 miles southeast of Richardton.

The North Dakota Legislature drafted a bill in November 2014 authorizing the sale of 240 acres of DREC property at Dickinson, and the acquisition of replacement property from the estate of the late Duane J. Boehm.

“Occasionally, opportunities come up that one does not expect in their career,” DREC Director Kris Ringwall said. “Duane desired that his farm be purchased by the DREC for the purpose of conducting agricultural research. That process was initiated and after almost two years of effort, the property transfer was completed Jan. 4 of this year.”

Boehm’s daughters, Jennifer Tufaro of New York and Sandi Boehm of Fargo, feel fortunate to have had him as their father.

“My dad was a passionate, hard-working and generous man,” Tufaro said. “We were incredibly blessed to have him not only as a father, but also as a role model, mentor and friend. We loved and respected him so much. He is greatly missed.”

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The family was aware of Boehm’s wishes to transfer the land to the DREC after his death.

“My parents were very dedicated to farming and ranching, organic farming, family farms,” Tufaro said. “For over 40 years, it was their life. Every moment of every day.

Never easy, but rewarding and fulfilling. It’s only natural that he would want to continue to contribute to the future of farming long after he is gone. We are very proud to honor his wishes to sell land to DREC for development of the Boehm Research Farm.”

Tufaro described her sister and herself as farm girls at heart and proud of it.

“Whether they knew it or not, our parents shared countless life lessons with us in the field, working cattle or just sitting around the dinner table talking about the business and importance of farming,” Tufaro said. “We’re delighted to share those values with our children.”

During the first year, the DREC will use the farmland for forage production.

“We want to restore native grass plantings and basically take inventory of what’s there,” Ringwall said. “We want to take our time and do it right. We want to use the land as effectively as we can.”

The purchase was essentially an “exchange” of DREC land for the farm so that the DREC can continue its mission. The DREC has land within the city limit, adjacent to the city and three miles northwest of Dickinson. These acres have been impacted by pending development.

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The DREC land proposed for sale includes 160 acres to the north of 21st Street West and 80 acres to the south near the new Dickinson Middle School. The remainder of land will continue as DREC headquarters for its agronomic, range and livestock research, Ringwall said.

The Boehm Research Farm will be used for long-term agriculture research, Ringwall said.

“It will provide the opportunity for the DREC to conduct larger scale research to evaluate cropping, range and beef cattle systems, with cooperation throughout the North Dakota Agricultural Experiment Station,” he said.

“At the Boehm property, we have a variety of habitat for research and for understanding nature. Right now, we will be raising cover crops and hay for the Manning ranch.”

Headquarters for the DREC will remain in Dickinson, where research will continue on grain varieties and horticulture.

“Our grain varieties will be done here, that’s not going to change,” he said. “All of our plant breeders are in Fargo, and those breeders send the materials we plant.”

The grounds of the DREC are always open for the public to enjoy the newest varieties of horticultural plantings.

“We have already ordered our plants,” Ringwall said. “We sit down at the end of each year, and evaluate what works and what doesn’t work. We’re trying a new hibiscus breeder out of Nebraska, hopefully with a heartier winter stock.”

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The DREC’s ranch southwest of Manning will continue with its research related to range work, along with beef cattle breeding, feeding and management.

“We will be expanding our soil health concept and continue working with the cattle,” he said. “Our goal right now is to market cattle directly from forage to market.”

The DREC will celebrate its 110th anniversary on July 13. It’s mission has remained the same - to assist agricultural producers in solving production problems with agronomy, animal science and range science.

“Today, we struggle a little bit - so much of the population is no longer land-based,” he said. “The United States produces copious amounts of food and food safety is always a concern. We’re trying to combine where the future of agriculture is going with how we can become better meet the demands of our urban friends and keep production economical.”

Ringwall also is pleased about the purchase of the Boehm farm.

“We did organic research out there - Duane was very involved,” he said. “He was thinking about the future, and for Jan and her sister Sandi. This is really happening.”

Tufaro said her dad planned to set aside funds from this sale to create a scholarship program for students at Richardton-Taylor High School with an interest in farming or agricultural careers.

“We are in the process of establishing a foundation - The Duane Boehm Family Foundation - for that exact purpose,” she said.

Related Topics: RICHARDTON
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