By Marnie Piehl
Growing up, Carter Honeyman of Regent, N.D., knew he wanted to join his father and grandfather on the family farm his great-grandfather homesteaded in 1904. The secondborn of Gary and Tia Honeyman’s five children, Carter says, “I was always out in the field with my dad. I never liked being in the house; I knew that’s what I wanted to do right away.”
That commitment to the farm was tested his senior year of high school. In March of 2016, about the time things ramp up for farmers, Carter’s dad contracted leukemia and Carter took charge. While Carter’s classmates were planning for prom and counting down the days to graduation, Carter was seeding and spraying.
His teachers allowed him to come and go as needed throughout the spring. His dad continued to do the paperwork, but Carter and the family’s four hired men” did all the dirty work getting the job done.“
Gary spent a total of 240 days in Fargo and Minneapolis receiving treatment. Many of those days, father and son conferred via telephone, but there were times Gary was so ill that even talking was tough. So Carter called the shots.
“Taking charge was new to me. Instead of running around playing basketball and going to camps, I put my full attention to farming,” Carter says.
Gary, who today is in full remission, returned home at Thanksgiving 2016.
“Here he was a senior in high school, and he stepped up and took over. I just couldn’t have been more proud,” Gary says.
Those months in charge cemented Carter’s career choice even as they changed his college choice. Rather than attend North Dakota State University or Dickinson State University, where he had an offer to play football, he set his sights on Bismarck State College. He knew he could earn an agriculture degree in two years at BSC and be close enough to get home every weekend to farm.
When he arrived at BSC, Carter was strong on the mechanics of the work, but had a lot to learn about the business side of farming. He says the faculty were all good and ensured he came away ready.
“I knew what I wanted to do, and BSC strengthened my knowledge in it,” Carter says.
Even before graduation, Carter applied his new knowledge to the farm, teaching his dad about soil health and applying GPS communications to their units in the field. His dad, a 1981 BSC graduate, is looking forward to welcoming his son on full time.
“My dad and I started farming together in 1984, and that has been a wonderful relationship ... I expect the same as we transition Carter into the farm. I’ve got good health, and a son that can step up and is interested and enthused. We’re really blessed.”