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NDSU Extension’s Pierce County agent ready to help – even remotely

By Sue Sitter - | Dec 5, 2020

In spite of a schedule that has Pierce County Extension Agent Brenden Klebe splitting his time between the North Dakota State University Extension Office and home, Klebe says he’s looking forward to working with area farmers and ranchers soon.

“For about three weeks now, I’ve been at home. I’ve been three weeks in the office and three weeks at home,” Klebe said in a recent phone call. “It’s different, for sure, especially with this kind of position, I usually work in person, talking to people that way, but now I work over the phone and email and Zoom; that’s been popular now.”

“I’m looking forward to when we have more in-person things, but I guess until them, it’s a lot of Zoom meetings and things like that,” he added.

Klebe said he stops in the NDSU Extension Office in the Pierce County Courthouse sometimes “just to go over things and work there a few hours on something and go home to work on the rest of it but I haven’t heard about when we’re going to be open to the public,” Klebe said. “Hopefully, it’s sooner rather than later.”

Klebe said his first major accomplishment since taking the county agent position has been putting together a 2021 outlook for crops in Pierce County.

“We’re going to hold meetings on Zoom, but it covers more of a wide base for the coming year,” he said of the report.

“I think we’re a little dry right now, but they’re saying farmers will have the most acres planted in a couple of years. I think the way programs are set up, a lot of acres are going to be planted out there, which is great,” Klebe said of the 2021 outlook for Pierce County.

“We’re way too dry right now, especially around the Rugby area. We have a lot of needed moisture right now. That’s the biggest worry right now, the moisture aspect. We’ve seen the prices come back around some, and with a few of the programs, that’s helped, but now it’s more one thing that we can’t control – the environment, I would say for the coming year,” Klebe noted.

What if rain comes and the drought conditions improve?

“I think it looks pretty bright then,” he said. “I think we’re going to get the snow eventually, so it would help a lot if we get a decent spring. I think there’s a lot of optimism out there. Talking with farmers in the past couple of years, it’s been a little tough, but just talking with them now, you can tell there’s a little more of a sense of optimism, which is finally great to hear. It’s been a little while since people have been excited about the coming year. I really think it’s looking better than the last few years we’ve been through.”

“The markets have made a big difference,” Klebe noted, describing the optimism in ag. “Soybeans are maybe three dollars (a bushel) higher than they were, I’d say, or at least two dollars higher than where they were last year at this time. That makes a huge difference. Wheat is looking okay. That one has a long way to go, but even corn’s looking a lot better, and canola.”

“With the main crops we grow in Pierce County, the markets have made a pretty decent turnaround to make a little bit more optimism that we can take to these planning meetings and actually plan for the next year instead of waiting and seeing,” Klebe added.

Klebe said the NDSU Extension Office offers information on a wide variety of topics.

“I have a crop and weed science background. So, I’m up for identifying any weed you might have, or going out and looking at herbicide problems and things like that,” Klebe said.

“We also deal with horticulture, so any questions on trees and whatnot. I may not have an answer right away, but that’s the great side of the extension – there are a great deal of resources that I can check into.”

“We’ve started doing feed rations for ranchers in the area as well. Any ranchers in the area, I’d encourage them to give me a call,” Klebe added. “We can go over the information a little more. I don’t have the biggest livestock background, but the training I’ve gone through in the past months really helps. A few neighboring county agents have been experienced in this for years, so that really helps, too,” he said.

“Information comes pretty fast,” Klebe noted. “You can send us an email and later that day or maybe the next day, you’ll have a really good answer. So far, what I’ve dealt with has been that way. The experts and specialists are really on the ball about getting back to people with questions like that.”

Klebe added, “I’d love to visit people (when things return to normal). I really look forward to it. Now that the numbers (for COVID infections) are tapering off, I look forward to getting back out there.”

Klebe said his past experience as a salesman in agronomy for Envision allowed him to talk often with farmers and ranchers. “That was my biggest joy,” he said. “With the way things are now, I don’t think people would be so comfortable having somebody out there talking to everybody, but when things taper off, I’m definitely going to be out there talking and just chatting and seeing what people think. I look forward to that.”

“I just want to encourage people to reach out with any questions they have,” Klebe added. “I can offer a lot of unbiased opinions on things that all has researched background on it, so it’s researched-based, not a sales pitch. I want to encourage them to let me to be an outlet if they have questions. Just give me a call, because I look forward to chatting with people.” Klebe is available at 776-6234 extension 5 or by email at b.klebe@ndsu.edu.

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