The new ASGA President, Kelly Erickson, has taken on quite a job. Actually he is in excellent form with experience and expertise to meet the challenges with an enthusiastic smile.
Every time I have met Erickson his smile and bright eyes were welcoming. He is well aware of the leadership duties in the sugarbeet industry. He is a member of the American Crystal Sugar Company, and has gained experience by serving in various positions with numerous organizations.
His leadership skills have been polished on both local and national levels. He has served locally on the Kittson Memorial Hospital Board. "Serving gave me a different perspective and was my first experience sitting on a board, and it was a good one."
He is a member of the Red River Lutheran Church and has served on the board and also as its past chairman. He belongs to the Minnesota Wheat Growers, Soybean Growers and is also a member of the Minnesota Barley growers. He has served on the Kennedy Piling Board, and was elected to the Drayton Factory District Board and served as its chairman. He also served on the Red River Valley Sugar Beet Growers Association executive committee and as chairman.
Kelly and his wife Karen, who is a physical therapist working in Cavalier, N.D., have enjoyed rural living and raising their family.
As a fourth generation grower on the established farm Erickson is pleased to add that his son will be the fifth generation. "We are very proud of that and we hope to be here a long time. It is an honor to live off the same farm generation after generation."
He farms with his son, Scott who is armed with a computer science degree from North Dakota State University. "Scott's computer knowledge is invaluable on the farm as technology has definitely caught up with farming industry."
"My generation did not grow up using computers, like my son has. With GPS and increased farming computerization my son's knowledge is extremely useful."
Erickson's oldest daughter, Sarah, is a lawyer and daughter Mary Beth, studied pre-physical therapy in Grand Forks, N.D. Having a close family is obviously important to Erickson.
When asked about advice for growers he highly recommends them to get involved. One of the ways and why this industry is so effective is because the U.S. competes well in a global market. The sugar industry in America is small compared to what is grown internationally in countries like Brazil or India.
Erickson says it is imperative for all growers to make sure they are well informed of the ever-changing nature of this global industry.