Me and my team are researching the
problem that is accumulating because of a byproduct of the sugar beet
purification process, and this byproduct is filling up landfills. And we wanted to
find and prove uses for this byproduct as the soil enhancer. University studies
have shown that it’s beneficial in preventing disease, so we want to growers to put it on their
fields to help that. It’s also a use as an adjustment for Ph. We planted
sugar beet seeds in soil from the Crookston area that has the Aphanomyces root rot. We started out with 5 tons per acre
of VersaLime and we’ve now applied 10 tons, and the more VersaLime we applied
it has shown to be better for the plant. The VersaLime is a natural soil enhancer
so it wouldn’t involve any chemicals or anything to prevent the Aphanomyces,
so it would be better for the environment. Jerry has helped us on learn more about
something that isn’t necessarily part of our area and he’s taught us a lot about
the sugar-making process, the beet sugar growing process, and it’s just teaching
us a lot about where our food comes from. Our company, like other ag companies in
the U.S., are having a hard time finding employees — qualified employees that have
an agriculture background, so getting the students interested in agriculture when
they’re in high school…when they get to college they have more awareness of
what type of job opportunities are out there. I’ve been looking into going into
agricultural science, such as an agronomist. Through this challenge I’ve learned a lot about agriculture, and
that’s actually led me to research and look at getting an ag-related degree.
And this has really opened the doors to that.