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Producing Excellence

Clara Sue (Knoepfle) Price

Minot, ND

Products: Cattle, hogs, chickens; Farm Credit leader

In Business Since: 1975

Farm Credit Partner: Farm Credit Services of North Dakota

Working with Farm Credit Since: 2009

As a farmer, entrepreneur, legislator and Farm Credit director, Clara Sue Price is a rural “Renaissance woman.”

“Growing up, we milked 40 to 50 cows with no pipeline, carrying the milk to the bulk tanks in the milk house,” she says. Clara Sue didn’t complain. “I was happier with my dad in the barn than being cooped up in the house,” she says. “I drove trucks and unloaded grain, and we had a vintage John Deere combine that I had to master before I could drive Dad’s combine, but it was a great way to grow up.”

After her father sold the dairy herd, Clara Sue and her husband, Gary, started a custom cabinet company in a shop on the farm. The company continued to grow and a new facility was built on the bypass and to date has done work in 27 states, both commercial and residential. At the time, Clara Sue also held off-farm positions in insurance and finance.

The allure of farming was too strong to resist, though, and she re-joined the agriculture world with a garlic production and processing operation that yielded more than 2,000 pounds a year. She and her daughter purchased the Pride of Dakota catalog and featured products from select North Dakota producers, resulting in shipments across the country and around the world. To keep up with orders, Clara Sue built a commercial kitchen and a packing room on the farm. She and Gary also manage a small livestock operation with 14 head of cattle and raise hogs and chickens for family and friends.

In 1990, Clara Sue campaigned for a seat in the North Dakota House of Representatives. She won, serving until retiring in 2008. A year later, she accepted an invitation to serve as an outside director on the Farm Credit Services of North Dakota Board of Directors, a role that she still holds today.

For Clara Sue, the Farm Credit Service board has been a learning experience. Ever the Renaissance woman, she and her colleagues grapple with a host of issues, from changes in the economy and commodity prices to cyber security and technological advances.

“Farm Credit Services faces several challenges, including educating legislative leaders and being a liaison to government agencies,” says Clara Sue. “It’s always a give and take. You need capital to operate, but you want to continue to keep interest rates low.”

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