He farms near Euclid, is married to Sue and they have an athletic family.
First off, could you tell us a little bit about yourself? Your family, education, background/previous stops, career, etc.?
My name is Mike Tiedemann. I married my wife Sue (Sims) Tiedemann in 1995. Our children are Bobby, a freshman at St. Mary's University in Winona, MN, Ally a junior, and Catherine an eighth grader, at Crookston High School.
I grew up on the original family farm, west of Euclid, MN. I attended school in Crookston from kindergarten through high school, graduating from Central High School in 1989. After high school I attended UMC and hoped to wrestle but unfortunately the program was dropped before the season started. I moved on to Moorhead State University for a short time but all I really wanted to do was get started farming. So I made the decision to return to Euclid.
Could you describe your farm operation in detail? Was it a family operation you took over, to some degree? Have you grown it since you started? Who’s all involved? Do you have a staff? What do you grow? What takes up your time when it’s cold and snowy and nothing’s growing out of the ground? That’s a lot of questions, but your answers are appreciated.
Duane Wimpfheimer, a Euclid neighbor, was looking to retire from farming and gave me the opportunity to rent his land in 1992. I have been farming ever since. I farmed on my own for a few years but also with the help of my grandfather and grandmother, Robert and Dorothy, my father and mother, Gene and Sandy, and my uncles Murray and Gale. Eventually we merged the farms together and I now farm with my dad and my uncle Murray. Over the years we've had several opportunities to grow the size of our farm and with the help of my brother Bryce, great full time and part time employees, and wonderful landlords it is the operation we have today.
For years, commodity prices were high and land-values were way up, and now the ebbs and flows and continuous cycle of ups and downs are trending downward. Is Tiedemann Farms large enough and diverse enough to weather the tougher times, or do you face extremely difficult decisions and stressful times just like any other farmer?
The farming profession does indeed have years of ups and downs. When commodity prices are high and the weather cooperates, farming can feel quite effortless. Everything then just seems to work out on its own. The more difficult times, like we are going through now, can be quite challenging and stressful to say the least. During these years it feels like we cannot afford to make any mistakes. We do run a pretty diversified farm, raising sugarbeets, soybeans, wheat , corn, and many different classes of edible beans, depending on the year. The hope is one or more of our products will have a greater demand and make up for other low prices. We are always striving to be more efficient and to be able to compete with the rest of the world. The farmers in our area are some of the best in the world. If we are allowed to play by the same rules, we will compete with other countries just fine. Sustainabilty has been a catch word lately but its always been what farms strive for. We do our very best to be good stewards of the land and the air. Every year we make mistakes. We try to learn from them and sometimes things also happen beyond our control, but we are always striving to be better.
For generations, it was said that “farmers feed the world.” Do you think that’s still basically the case, or do you think farm production today has changed at all?
Do farmers still feed the world? That's a great and funny question. The disconnect between agriculture and big cities is certainly getting quite scary. It seems all the time there are people on the internet who believe their food does not come from farms but from grocery stores. Every year there are less farmers and the gap from rural to large city seems to be getting wider.
You and your wife, Sue, were athletes in your youth, and your three children all excel at athletics. Was that a priority for you to pass on as a parent? Or do you simply think it’s important that kids stay busy and occupied, no matter what activities they’re involved in? What if Bobby, Ally or Catherine had come home one day from school and said, “I don’t want to play any sports anymore.”?
It's very generous of you Mike to call me an athlete as I am the fifth best athlete in my family.... out of five. Our children's athleticism comes from their Mother. Athletics has been very important to us and our kids. We have always wanted our kids to be involved in activities and athletics was a natural because we enjoy sports so much. Teaching our kids that with hard work and dedication can come great rewards. This has been a priority for us. Through academics, arts, and athletics, our kids have come to see the reward and impact these lessons can have on their lives.
Feel like discussing your current views on Crookston youth hockey?
I don't care to discuss any one sport in particular as I do enjoy them all. Each and every sport can teach our children the life lesson that competing and striving to realize their potential in anything they do takes effort. I believe as parents it is our responsibility to give our children the tools it takes to succeed. To me that means not always succeeding but to realize that everything does not always go their way. That not every situation is the way we want it but to make the best of it and to persevere. My favorite quote, and it was not attributed to anyone when I read it is: The greatest gift I can give my children is to teach them how to get along without me.
You live in Euclid. Whether you want a great meal, a casual, laid-back atmosphere or a beverage or two with your friends or family, is there a better tiny-town establishment than the One-n-Only?
Chris Weiland does a great job of running the One-n-Only here in Euclid. The food is excellent and it is a great place to eat and spend time with friends. We are very fortunate to still have a bar and restaurant in Euclid.
Describe where you think/hope you'll be in 10 years, or what you think/hope you'll be doing, personal life-wise and career-wise.
In ten years, I hope to enjoy seeing my children living their young adult lives, and to continue farming with my family and hopefully my son Bobby.
Please describe yourself in ten words or less
I'll leave the describing of myself up to someone else, but I hope they'll say, "He's a good man".