ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

Felton sugar beet farmer honored for 50 years in the field

On Wednesday, Oct. 5, traffic was heavy out in the country, with combines in the bean fields and lifters in the beet fields. But it was no ordinary day. There was a party for a Felton, Minnesota

looking.jpg
Kenny Dahl, 87, watching his family harvest beets near Felton, Minnesota.
Ryan Longnecker / WDAY News
We are part of The Trust Project.

FELTON, Minn. — In the fields, it felt like fall. It was a picture-perfect harvest day. The beets were coming off by the truckload at Dahl Farms near Felton.

Still supervising his sons and grandchildren during the harvest is 87-year-old Kenny Dahl.

"Are you going to leave the trucks out here?" Dahl asked his boys.

"Don't tell me you lost your phone again," Dahl said.

Kenny Dahl's dad farmed potatoes back in the early 1900s. Dahl says he made the switch to sugar beets in 1974.

ADVERTISEMENT

Today on the 160-acre farm, the family brought in the beets. Dahl remembers harvests that weren't this easy.

"There was one year we were harvesting east of our farm, and we went down the field, and it was snowing so bad, I couldn't find the rows when I got to the end to turn around," Dahl said.

More from WDAY's Kevin Wallevand
A retired couple in lakes country hope to pay heat and housing bills after a scammer drained their retirement account. Now, they have a message for others on how quickly life can change.

Like many beet farmers, it took manual labor to hoe those beets until the industry game changer.

On Wednesday, there was even a law-enforcement escort to the Felton Piler. Family then came to hand out cupcakes to truck drivers to mark Kenny's 50-year career in farming.

While his work ethic and dedication hasn't changed, the technology has.

"They've got all kinds of things to look at, and they don't even steer," Dahl said.

With a half century of calling the fields his workplace, he now enjoys the view away from the tractor.

"Right now, health wise, I can't do much, but I just love to drive around and being a windshield farmer," he said.

Kevin Wallevand has been a Reporter at WDAY-TV since 1983. He is a native of Vining, Minnesota in Otter Tail County. His series and documentary work have brought him to Africa, Vietnam, Haiti, Kosovo, South America, Mongolia, Juarez,Mexico and the Middle East. He is an multiple Emmy and national Edward R. Murrow award recipient.

Contact Email: kwallevand@wday.com
Phone Number: (701) 241-5317
What to read next
John Denver spent a lot of time in the upper Midwest touring and living here. Some readers share memories of their 'brushes with his greatness.'
The newest arrivals in the Fargo area
West Fargo's newest arrivals
Food columnist Sarah Nasello will give away a dozen Italian Butter Sweets next week as part of her weekly SarahBakes Holiday Giveaway.