The 31,000 acre Gunsmoke Farms in Fort Pierre, South Dakota was purchased by R.D. Offutt Company in December, 2012. The farm is named after James Arness, Minnesota native best known for his role as Marshall Dillon in the television series “Gunsmoke”, and believed to have once been part owner.
Farm Manager Randy Fleishauer runs the large wheat farm operation, after spending 20 years as a potato farm manager with R.D. Offutt Company. Predominately a spring and winter wheat farm, Gunsmoke also dedicates smaller parcels to growing peas, and milo.
This year’s wheat crop far exceeded previous harvests, totaling nearly 2 million bushels. Says Fleishauer, “We knew we had the potential for a good crop, but we need to keep in mind that we can’t grow a good quality crop without Mother Nature’s help.” Fleishauer also credits the farm’s capable staff for the successful harvest which required up to 26 combines at one time, and was completed in a little over two weeks.
Traditionally, much of the harvest is placed in elevators for storage. The purchase of Loftness baggers proved a worthwhile investment given this year’s bumper crop. The baggers cover two sites. Each bag holds about 13,000 bushels and is 300 feet long and 10 feet in diameter. The bagger pushes the grain in and the air out. “It’s kind of like a big ziplock bag,” says Fleishauer.