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.
2023 Agribusiness Award Recipient
Growing up on the family farm near Walum, North Dakota, inspired a life-long love of agriculture and public service for Dan Wogsland, the 2023 NDSU Harvest Bowl Agribusiness Award recipient.
Born in 1956 to Dick and Evelyn Wogsland, Dan was raised on his family’s wheat and barley farm. He was active in a variety of activities at Hannaford High School including baseball, basketball, swimming, Boy Scouts, band, choir, and theater. He was also active in St. Olaf Lutheran Church’s youth group, the Luther League.
“My parents and uncle Vernon inspired my passion for agriculture and instilled in me the value of hard work, dedication, and attention to detail,” Dan said. “I was blessed by their love and guidance for many years.”
After graduating high school, Dan had an interest in agricultural marketing and business.
“I learned how to grow wheat and barley on the farm, but I knew I wanted to understand more about the economics of farming, and that was something NDSU was instrumental in,” Dan recounted.
Dan graduated from NDSU in 1980 with a Bachelor’s degree in agricultural economics. During his time at NDSU, he was active in the Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity and credits his fraternity brothers, NDSU advisors, and many friends with providing wonderful memories and mentorship.
During his time at NDSU, he met and married Debra (Grindberg) Wogsland in 1977. Coming back to the family farm, Dan and Debra farmed for the next 27 years at Wogsland Farms, growing wheat, barley, sunflowers, dry edible beans, and soybeans.
While farming in the ’80s was challenging, Dan says his biggest triumph was raising his three children on the family farm in the supportive and loving communities of Walum and Hannaford.
In 1982, Dan channeled his dedication to his community into running for the North Dakota Senate in District 23. He won the election and went on serve for 16 years in the North Dakota Legislature.
“I participated in virtually every Senate Legislative Committee available during my time in office,” Dan said. “As a farmer, I was very involved in agricultural and environmental issues as a member of both the Senate Agriculture Committee and Senate Natural Resources Committee. Transportation is critical to North Dakota agriculture which is why I also participated in the Senate Transportation Committee.”
Dan also served on the Senate Appropriations Committee, Senate Finance and Tax Committee, Education Committee, and Legislature Redistricting Committee during his time in office. He was elected North Dakota Senate majority leader in 1993.
“I am truly humbled that the voters of District 23 gave me the opportunity to serve our state and am forever grateful for that time,” Dan said.
In 2002, U.S. Senator Bryon Dorgan tapped Dan to join his staff as an agricultural legislative assistant in Washington.
“Working for Senator Dorgan was like going to governmental affairs graduate school,” Dan laughed. “Every day you pinch yourself as a kid from Walum, North Dakota, going to work. During my time on staff, I was involved in providing agriculture policy recommendations, helping to implement the 2002 Farm Bill and working on disaster assistance for farmers and ranchers.”
In 2004, Dan became the executive director of the North Dakota Grain Growers Association (NDGGA), where he worked to build strong relationships with legislators in North Dakota and in Washington, in order to help increase the profitability of North Dakota wheat and barley.
During his time at the NDGGA, Dan helped with many of the organization’s efforts to move North Dakota agriculture forward. This effort includes the NDGGA joining the Midwest Council on Agriculture and the North Dakota Ag Mitigation organization and helping to form the National Ag Rail Business Council and North Dakota Ag Rail Council bringing rail stakeholders together to help bring about better dialogue regarding transportation issues. Dan also helped NDGGA with getting Margin Protection Crop Insurance off the ground as well as providing farmers access to important crop protection products.
In order to foster a better understanding of North Dakota’s environmental stewardship efforts, Dan aided NDGGA in hosting personnel from the Environmental Protection Agency for a week-long “e-tour” of the state. The NDGGA has hosted the EPA e-tour every year since 1992.
“One of the things I’m most proud of is where the NDGGA is today,” Dan said. “That is a tribute to the NDGGA Board of Directors, our partners, state and federal decision-makers and most importantly the members of the organization. Together, they make a strong voice for North Dakota.”
“I’m also incredibly proud of the NDGGA’s involvement in supporting the construction of the NDSU Peltier Complex and future Agricultural Field Lab facilities,” Dan said. “These facilities will be vital to the success of North Dakota agriculture, as well as national and international food security. I’m continually amazed at the work of NDSU agriculture research and the NDSU Extension staff who serve the state.”
In May of 2023, Dan retired after a 19-year career at the NDGGA.
He credits his wife, Debra, and children, Amber, Adam and Aric, for being his support through the years.
“My family’s sacrifice and help have made my life and career accomplishments possible,” Dan said. In retirement, Dan plans to spend more time watching granddaughter, Quinn’s, activities, playing golf, cheering for NDSU Bison and Green Bay Packers football, and spending quality time with family and friends.
Dan’s advice for anyone wishing to make a difference is, “Do it. Get involved. Participate. You won’t regret the remarkable experience that awaits you.”
Eddie Bernhardson ’60, ’76, the fifth of eight children, was born in Comstock, Minnesota, in 1928. He grew up during the Great Depression and remembers lean times on the family farm. He recalls a friend saying, “Everybody was poor, but none of us knew it.”
Eddie helped with all the chores and 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. He attended for one year but didn’t return for his second year. Education was an important value his parents instilled in him, but he didn’t recognize its full value until he was drafted by the Army in 1952. He saw the very different paths for those in service who had completed higher education and 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 ag education shortly afterward.
Eddie continued working on the farm while attending NDSU and became involved in the Livestock Judging Team and traveled the Midwest from Denver to Kansas City to Chicago.
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 difficult season led Eddie to the Minnesota Extension where he was hired as the associate county agent. Eddie thought it would be a temporary break from the farm, but he worked with Minnesota Extension for 30 years, eventually becoming the county extension director. He kept his strong ties to NDSU and often worked closely with his colleagues in North Dakota Extension. Eddie returned to NDSU to earn his master’s degree in agronomy — graduating in 1976. He worked with crops, livestock, soils, and horticulture and continued his involvement in 4H.
“Eddie had a very deep-rooted believe in the extension system and what it was established for — helping people, being of service, listening to people, gathering information, and trying to provide good educational answers,” Sharon Anderson ’68, ’73, former NDSU Extension Service Director, said. “Many of our specialists would cross the river and go over and work with him because he had concerns for producers or families, and he would truly want to know how he could help and that’s the whole belief of Extension.”
Eddie had the unique experience of working in his home county. Many of the farmers he helped were people he grew up with and knew well. Those lifelong relationships helped build his rapport and comradery in the community. But Eddie’s greatest asset in Extension was his belief in education. While he mainly worked with crops, livestock, and soils, he was always ready to address whatever question came into the office. Eddie felt it was crucial he respond to every inquiry with the same gravity as the person needing answers. This passion for service meant Eddie learned a lot about horticulture during his tenure with Minnesota Extension because people in his county often had a lot of questions about their trees and lawns.
Eddie’s enduring connection to NDSU eventually led him to Harvest Bowl, and shortly before his retirement, he and Barb became involved with the annual event.
“Eddie stands out in his entire life of commitment to agriculture, the betterment of people, the betterment of NDSU, and his goal through all this has been to get the word out, become more knowledgeable in agriculture, and watch everything around him succeed,” Brent Montgomery ’80, Harvest Bowl committee member and former president of First State Bank in Arthur, North Dakota, said.
Eddie served as Harvest Bowl Chair for many years and 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.
“Nobody has been more diligent and enthusiastic about Harvest Bowl than Eddie Bernhardson,” Sharon said. “He was always there and excited about each year and what was going to happen — the event and who was going to be recognized. I think about all of the thousands of people on both sides of the river who have probably been impacted because of the kind of energy and interest that Eddie always put into Harvest Bowl. We had a lot of fun, we worked hard, but it always was successful because of the work from Eddie.”
As a leader, Eddie believed in empowering committees to make decisions and following the recommendations put forth by committee members. While he never taught in the traditional classroom, Eddie became an amazing educator, and his ability to listen and lead left lasting impacts on Harvest Bowl and Extension.
Past Award Recipients: