The Harvest Bowl Agribusiness Award is an annual award that recognizes individuals who have distinguished themselves in the field of agriculture and business in the state of North Dakota and beyond.
2021 Award Honoree
Eddie Bernhardson ’60, ’76, the fifth of eight children, was born in Comstock, Minnesota, in 1928. He grew up during the Great Depression and helped with all the chores on the family farm. He remembers early years of working the land with horses and making all the modern advancements along the way.
After graduating high school from Comstock in 1945, Eddie was awarded a scholarship to Concordia College. He attended for one year but didn’t return for his second year. He was drafted by the Army in 1952 where he saw the very different paths for those in service who had completed higher education compared to those who hadn’t. He returned from Korea in 1954, married his wife, Barbara, in 1955, and enrolled at NDSU to study animal science and agricultural education shortly after.
Eddie continued working on the farm while attending NDSU and became involved in the Livestock Judging Team. In 1962, he and his brothers took over the family farm, but the first year was tough and extremely wet — they couldn’t harvest even a bushel. Fortunately, they had dairy, so the farm survived. That experience led Eddie to Minnesota Extension where he started as the associate agent in Clay County; his family moved to Moorhead in Nov. 1962. Eddie thought it would be a temporary break from the farm, but he worked with Minnesota Extension for 30 years, eventually becoming the Clay County Extension Director.
He kept close ties to NDSU and often worked with his colleagues in North Dakota Extension. He returned to NDSU and earned his master’s degree in agronomy in 1976. Eddie mostly worked with crops, livestock, soils, and horticulture and continued his involvement in 4-H.
Shortly before his retirement, Eddie became involved in Harvest Bowl. He served as Harvest Bowl Chair for many years. During his time as chair, he named a sponsorship committee and an agribusiness award committee. He is credited with elevating the event and helping build a model awards program that celebrates agriculture in the region.
Past Award Recipients: