Kenmare ND - Upside Down Under

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Upside Down Under

By Marvin Baker, a new weekly column in The Kenmare News


Sitting on a 'gold mine'

Posted 11/04/14 (Tue)

Is it possible these days to create wealth, wealth that comes from an idea or a product that doesn’t currently exist in this part of the world?

Of course it is, but in order to make money, you have to spend money. That’s the unfortunate part of this scenario.

In my case it’s property, or the lack of it that hinders me from pursuing that wealth I know is available, primarily because of a perceived consumer demand.

For instance this idea takes property and uses it to produce an agricultural product. I’ve inquired numerous times about purchasing tracts of land in northwest North Dakota. Problem is, large tracts of land aren’t readily available and some that is might be expensive.

The optimum would most likely be 640 acres, but not farm land. In fact, the ideal scenario is the vast expanses of pasture land that exists in all 53 counties in North Dakota.

Some is better than others, such as in the southwest where there is more pasture land and less crop land.

Some of these land owners are literally sitting on ‘gold’ mines and don’t even realize it until they read this report.

My “visual” of this comes from the 10-15 miles of country from Linton west to the Missouri River. But Standing Rock Reservation, Adams and Bowman counties, that part of Emmons County, Nelson County and Logan County are ideal for this purpose.

Yes, if you start my program now, you can be on your way to financial independence, a winter home in Florida, no more late credit card fees and you would own your own business.

I’ll bet your asking why I’m not doing this? Quite frankly I can’t afford to purchase 640 acres to prove my point.

Here’s what it is... Organic honey, hence the ‘gold’ mine.

Most of us are aware that consumption of organic agriculture products is increasing at a 20 percent rate annually. And this has been going on seven consecutive years.

And, as an organic producer of vegetables on a small plot, I’ve lost count of the number of customers who have asked me about getting them organic honey.

I can’t get it. Let me rephrase that and say I can get it, but I’d have to travel to the forest of New Brunswick or Amish country in Ohio to find it. When I do find it, it’s prohibitively expensive because there is so little of it. Most of the organic retail honey in the United States comes from Brazil.

In addition, the farmers’ market I attend has a rule that restricts us from selling other than local products. I don’t think honey from Ohio would be considered local.

According to National Organic Program protocol, bees stay within a mile perimeter of their hive.

This is where massive pasture land comes in. A lot of that property in North Dakota has never been sprayed with any kind of chemical and already is, de facto organic.

If a land owner can prove it hasn’t been sprayed in the past three years, organic certification can be granted.

I’ll admit, building an organic apiary is no easy task and would take some time and some money, but lo and behold, there’s a residual stream of income to go along with cattle at auction.

People who own pasture land are most likely grazing their herds on “organic” pasture land and don’t even realize it.

Some land owners I’ve talked to in the past three years say they are intimidated by the paper work involved in becoming organic.

My answer to that is yes, initially, there is a lot of paper work. But once it is completed, the paper work becomes a working document.

Prairie Rose Organic Farm near Willow City is just such a farm, one of the few organic beef producers, if not the only one in North Dakota. They can name their price because of intense consumer demand.

Likewise with honey and I find it hard to believe that in a state that produces 34 million pounds of honey per year, No. 1 in the nation, none of it, zero, is organic.

But it could be with a little initiative to complete some paperwork that would essentially give someone a license to name their price to their product.

In addition, the North Dakota Department of Agriculture has an organic reimbursement program in which you can get up to 75 percent of your fee reimbursed. That drops the certification cost down to a minimum so the only hurdle is that initial paperwork.

If I was younger, I would be aggressively pursuing this idea because I’ve come to understand the incredible demand for this potential “Dakota Grown” product.