Farmweek | Entire Show | January 9, 2020

Farmweek | Entire Show | January 9, 2020


ANNOUNCER “CELEBRATING 43 YEARS ON THE AIR, FARMWEEK IS A PRODUCTION OF MISSISSIPPI STATE UNIVERSITY EXTENSION.” TODAY ON FARMWEEK, FRAUD IN AGRICULTURE. PART 1 — A USDA INVESTIGATOR TALKS ABOUT THE DANGEROUS SIDE OF HIS FORMER JOB. IN SOUTHERN GARDENING, GARY GOES CSI HIMSELF! IN AG FRAUD PART 2, WHAT HAPPENS WHEN IT’S NOT REALLY FRAUD. THEY WON THEIR CASE. AND IN PART 3, WE MET HIM A YEAR AGO, NOW HE’S -BACK- IN JAIL, ACCUSED OF KILLING TWO RANCHERS. FARMWEEK STARTS RIGHT NOW! 2S AMY HELLO, EVERYONE, I’M AMY MYERS. 2S MIKE AND I’M MIKE RUSSELL. THANKS FOR JOINING US TODAY ON TODAY ON FARMWEEK. MIKE LET’S GET RIGHT TO IT – A SPECIAL THEME FOR TODAY’S SHOW – FRAUD IN AGRICULTURE. IN OUR FIRST PIECE, WE MEET A MAN WHO GIVES US UNUSUAL INSIGHT INTO THE DARKER SIDE OF THE AG WORLD. HERE’S COLLEEN BRADFORD KRANTZ. PACKAGE IN EARLY 2005, A DATA ANALYTICS CENTER HIRED BY THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT CONTACTED INVESTIGATOR DON DOLES WITH SOME UNUSUAL FINDINGS. DOLES NEVER SUSPECTED THE INFORMATION WOULD KICK OFF THE BIGGEST CASE OF HIS CAREER. WITHIN MONTHS, DOLES WOULD BE PLACING HIDDEN CAMERAS AND RUSHING FOR HIS PISTOL TO SAVE HIS LIFE. DOLES WASN’T AN ATF OR FBI AGENT. HE WAS IN A JOB MOST MIGHT ASSUME IS A BIT LESS DRAMATIC: AGRICULTURAL INVESTIGATOR WITH THE USDA OFFICE OF INSPECTOR GENERAL. THE INFORMATION GIVEN TO DOLES SENT HIM AFTER A NORTH CAROLINA CROP INSURANCE AGENT AND A NETWORK OF MORE THAN 50 PEOPLE WHO HAD DEFRAUDED THE FEDERAL CROP INSURANCE PROGRAM OF AN ESTIMATED $100 MILLION. DON DOLES, FORMER INVESTIGATOR, OIG- USDA: “They don’t play. I mean it’s a lot of money. So farmers, especially these organized groups, don’t take well to local people turning them in. And so they can get violent — I’ve had contracts out on me before.” DOLES, WHO RETIRED AFTER 29 YEARS OF AGRICULTURAL INVESTIGATIVE WORK, ESTIMATES THE PERCENTAGE OF USDA CASES INVOLVING WRONGDOING IS IN LINE WITH THOSE OF OTHER FEDERAL PROGRAMS. DON DOLES: “Most farmers are honest people and they just want to be left alone. Funny thing is that very little farming goes on without some sort of federal involvement now. Most of them try to do right.” MARKET TO MARKET ANALYZED DATA FROM THE ANNUAL REPORTS OF THE USDA OFFICE OF INSPECTOR GENERAL AND FOUND A ROUGH RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN A DROP IN NET FARM INCOME AND AN INCREASE IN THE NUMBER OF FEDERAL INVESTIGATIONS AND CONVICTIONS. BY 2002, NET FARM INCOME HAD DIPPED TO THE LOWEST POINT SINCE THE 1980s FARM CRISIS. WITHIN A FEW YEARS, DOLES AND OTHER INVESTIGATORS WOULD BE ON THE TAIL OF ROBERT “CARL” STOKES, A WILSON, NORTH CAROLINA CROP INSURANCE AGENT. STOKES HAD BROUGHT TOGETHER A GROUP OF AREA FARMERS WHO UNDER- REPORTED THEIR HARVEST TO THE GOVERNMENT AND QUIETLY SOLD THE HIDDEN PORTIONS TO COMPLICIT BUYERS. STOKES’ COMPANY, THE HALLMART AGENCY, CAME TO THE ATTENTION OF FEDERAL INVESTIGATORS AFTER NUMBER CRUNCHERS NOTICED AN UNUSUALLY HIGH FREQUENCY OF PAYOUTS. DOLES CALLED A FRIEND AT THE RISK MANAGEMENT AGENCY, WHICH OVERSEES PRIVATELY CONTRACTED FEDERAL CROP INSURANCE, AND ASKED WHAT HE KNEW ABOUT HALLMART. HIS RMA CONTACT SAID A MAN HAD REACHED OUT TO HIM JUST THE DAY BEFORE SAYING HE HAD INFORMATION TO SHARE. DON DOLES: “The next day, I caught a plane, flew up and met with him in the parking lot of a church and he laid out that what was going on. And it was dead on. He provided us with 10 names of farmers he knew were involved, and we went back and pulled the records and, sure enough, it was clear they were cheating the program.” UNDERSTANDING THE DANGERS OF GOING UNDERCOVER, THE MAN HESITATED TO GET MORE DEEPLY INVOLVED. DON DOLES: “He felt he was in danger because there were so many farmers that were involved. It turned out that the 10 or so names he gave us was just the tip of the iceberg.” A WILSON-AREA FARMER, WHO WAS UNAWARE OF THE INSURANCE FRAUD SCHEME AT THE TIME, BELIEVES THE MAN’S FEARS WERE JUSTIFIED. FREDDY DANIELS, PRODUCER, WILSON, NORTH CAROLINA: “I would hate to think I had to rat on a neighbor. That’s why I don’t like to know anything at all; because it’s a good way to wake up dead one morning.” BY 2006, THE MAN HAD CHANGED HIS MIND AND AGREED TO WORK UNDERCOVER. DOLES AND HIS TEAM THEN ASKED THE INFORMANT TO INFILTRATE STOKES’ CROP INSURANCE CREW. DON DOLES: “We would put a microphone and a small recorder in his pocket and later on we used a camera it looked like a button. Well, he went down to the place called Liberty Warehouse and the owner there said, ‘Yeah, I’ll provide you with these false invoices for your tobacco sale, but you gotta pay me.'” FOR DOLES AND A FELLOW INVESTIGATOR, ONE ARREST TOOK A SUDDEN VIOLENT TURN. DON DOLES: “Well, we got there and he took off for his cab of his truck. Well, I am right behind him and we get to the truck cab and he’s reaching into the center console and, when he did, I put the pistol up behind his ear and I said, ‘If you reach in there, I’ll kill you right where you sit.'” SHORTLY AFTER STOKES’ ARREST, THE INFORMANT DIED OF NATURAL CAUSES, NEVER KNOWING THE WEB OF CONVICTIONS WOULD INVOLVE 57 PEOPLE IN MULTIPLE STATES. ROBERT HIGDON, JR., U.S. ATTORNEY, EASTERN DISTRICT OF NORTH CAROLINA: “In order to carry it out, it required people willing to break the law at a number of levels.” STOKES, WHO SERVED NEARLY TWO YEARS IN PRISON, LOST HIS HOME AND HIS INSURANCE BUSINESS. HE DIED IN 2016. WHILE STOKES’ WIFE DIDN’T DEFEND HIS ACTIONS, SHE DID SAY LOCAL FARMERS WEREN’T A “BUNCH OF LAMBS” BEING LED TO THE SLAUGHTER. TODD GLOVER, A WILSON FARMER, WAS SURPRISED ABOUT SOME OF THE PRODUCERS WHO WERE INVOLVED. TODD GLOVER, PRODUCER, WILSON, N.C.: “The farmers were struggling to make money and things were really tight back then, like they are today. And I think that caused some people to do things that they normally wouldn’t do.” ROBERT HIGDON, JR.: “Every farmer in every country where this occurred, whether they know it or not, was victimized because their insurance premiums went up.” DON DOLES: “Honest farmers were screaming, ‘Yo, you gotta do something. You’ve got to stop this. They are killing us. They are running the rent up on us and we can’t stay in the we can’t stay in the business.'” AMY ONCE AGAIN, THE CSI: HORTICULTURE UNIT IS INVESTIGATING A HEINOUS CRIME AGAINST BOTANY. TODAY, GARY BACHMAN TELLS US ABOUT MULTIPLE CASES OF CRAPE MURDER. PACKAGE DR. GARY BACHMAN: “Every year at this time, a horticultural crime spree occurs, and the Horticulture CSI Unit is back in action. At this time of year, we see countless cases of murder, and Crape Myrtle is the victim. I’m going to share some pruning tips with you to keep you from being the perp!” WE SEE THIS CRIME AGAINST HORTICULTURE ALL AROUND US WHERE SOMEONE HAS HARD PRUNED THEIR CRAPE MYRTLES TO CONTROL THEIR SIZE. THE TROUBLE IS CRAPE MYRTLES ARE EXTREMELY RESILIENT TO BEING BUTCHERED. THEY BLOOM ON THE CURRENT SEASON’S GROWTH AND THE BAD PRUNING IS GLOSSED OVER, NOT TO MENTION THE GROSS, ENLARGED KNOTS ON THE BRANCHES. AND LET’S FACE IT, JUST BECAUSE YOU CAN, DOESN’T MAKE IT RIGHT. HERE’S SOME TIPS ON HOW AND WHERE TO PRUNE YOUR CRAPE MYRTLES. FIRST, DECIDE IF YOU EVEN NEED TO PRUNE. START AT THE BASE AND REMOVE ANY SUCKERS. THESE WILL ALWAYS GROW WHETHER THE TREE IS PRUNED OR NOT. REMOVE BRANCHES THAT ARE GROWING BACK TOWARDS THE CENTER OF THE CANOPY. ALSO REMOVE BRANCHES THAT ARE CROSSING OR RUBBING AGAINST EACH OTHER, CUTTING BACK TO A LARGER BRANCH. REMOVE SEED HEADS IN LATE WINTER OR EARLY SPRING ONLY IF THEY ARE WITHIN REACH. ONCE THE TREE BECOMES A TALL, MATURE PLANT, ALLOW NATURE TO TAKE ITS COURSE. IT’LL BE OK. IF YOU’D LIKE MORE INFORMATION ON SELECTING THE PROPER SIZE, PRUNING AND FEEDING OF CRAPE MYRTLES SEE THE MISSISSIPPI STATE UNIVERSITY EXTENSION PUBLICATION CRAPE MYRTLE: FLOWER OF THE SOUTH. DR. GARY BACHMAN: “If you use these pruning tips it will help to Stop the Crap and Save the Crapes. I’m horticulturist Gary Bachman and I’ll see you next time on Southern Gardening. It’s OK, buddy.” MIKE BREAK RIGHT HERE, MIKE WE’LL TAKE A BREAK RIGHT HERE, BUT DON’T GO AWAY. COMING UP IN OUR FINAL FARMWEEK FEATURE… VO …WE CONTINUE OUR FRAUD IN AGRICULTURE THEME. WE’LL MEET A YOUNG RANCHER WHO SEEMINGLY HAD THE BEST OF INTENTIONS, BUT THE PRESSURES OF MAINTAINING HIS OVERHEAD LED HIM TO COMPROMISE A FEDERAL LOAN PROGRAM. HE WOUND UP IN PRISON OVER THE MATTER. HE WAS EVENTUALLY RELEASED, BUT NOW HE’S BACK BEHIND BARS, CHARGED WITH THE MURDER OF TWO CATTLE PRODUCERS. THAT’S COMING UP ON FARMWEEK. DON’T GO AWAY. DAK PRESCOTT: “Cancer is Cancer. And just to watch a family member go through cancer, go through the suffering, is as hard as it gets. When my mom was sick, we’d text every day. I’d ask her things like, ‘How are you doing? How are you feeling?’ And I’ll never forget, she said one day, ‘I wish I didn’t hurt today.’ Cancer took my Mom in 2013. They didn’t take her soul. They didn’t take her spirit. And so she’s always going to be with me. Get screened. It’s the right thing to do. Stop it before it happens. Catch it early. Do it for yourself, and do it for your loved one around you.” IT’S A SIMPLE IDEA. KNOWLEDGE THAT TRANSFORMS LIVES SHOULDN’T BE LIMITED TO THOSE ON A CAMPUS, BUT EXTENDED TO ANY OR ALL WHO WANT OR NEED IT, WHEREVER THEY ARE. AT MISSISSIPPI STATE UNIVERSITY, WE’VE BEEN MAKING THAT POSSIBLE FOR MORE THAN 100 YEARS THROUGH THE MSU EXTENSION SERVICE. WHAT BEGAN AS AN EFFORT TO EXTEND THE LATEST RESEARCH TO FARMERS HAS BECOME SOMETHING MUCH MORE. TODAY, WE’RE HELPING MISSISSIPPIANS FROM ALL WALKS OF LIFE, GIVING THEM THE TOOLS THEY NEED TO BUILD A BRIGHTER FUTURE. WE’RE SPARKING THE IMAGINATIONS OF STUDENTS AROUND THE STATE, AND INSPIRING THE NEXT GENERATION OF DOCTORS. WE’RE HELPING RURAL COMMUNITIES FIND THEIR WAY TO THE INTERNET AND CONNECT TO THE WORLD AT LARGE. AND WE’RE TEACHING FAMILIES HOW TO LEAD HEALTHIER LIVES IN WAYS BOTH BIG AND SMALL. MSU IS STANDING FIRM IN ITS COMMITMENT TO THAT ONE SIMPLE IDEA: EXTEND THE KNOWLEDGE THAT TRANSFORMS LIVES, WHEREVER THEY ARE. MIKE BACK TO OUR FRAUD THEME, SOMETIMES THE FRAUD IS UNINTENTIONAL — PERHAPS MORE JUST A MATTER OF -INTERPRETATION- OF CONVOLUTED AGRICULTURAL LAW. PKG FOR MONTHS IN 2009, LENNY PETERSON FARMED AROUND A WASHOUT THAT HAD DEVELOPED IN HIS LAMOURE, NORTH DAKOTA CORNFIELD. BUT WHEN HIS SON GOT THE SPRAYER STUCK IN THE TWO- FOOT DEEP GULLEY THAT SUMMER, PETERSON ASKED PERMISSION OF THE LOCAL NATURAL RESOURCES CONSERVATION SERVICE TO SMOOTH THE EDGES. PETERSON SAID HE WAS TOLD THE EDGES COULD BE SMOOTHED AS LONG AS THE WASHOUT’S ORIGINAL DEPTH DIDN’T CHANGE. A LOCAL NRCS REPRESENTATIVE STOPPED BY THE PETERSON FARM TO CHECK THEIR PROGRESS. THE OFFICIAL WOULD LATER DISAGREE IN COURT ABOUT THE MESSAGE HE DELIVERED THAT DAY. LENNY PETERSON, PRODUCER, LAMOURE, NORTH DAKOTA: “I asked him if we could go finish and he goes, ‘As I said, I saw you doing nothing wrong.’ So they went out and finished. And, of course, people who turned us in, they heard about this so they called the state. And that’s when the fun began.” PETERSON IS REFERRING TO THE SIX-YEAR LEGAL BATTLE WHICH FOLLOWED THE ARRIVAL OF A LETTER THAT FALL ACCUSING PETERSON AND HIS WIFE, PATTY, OF “SWAMPBUSTING” OR IMPROPERLY DRAINING A WETLAND. SWAMPBUSTERS ARE INELIGIBLE FOR FARM PROGRAM PAYMENTS. THE PETERSONS WOULD ULTIMATELY TIE-UP NEARLY HALF A MILLION DOLLARS IN THE BATTLE, AND FACE MORE THAN ONE SLEEPLESS NIGHT. LENNY PETERSON: “It’s quite a hair- pulling ordeal to go through. It’s a good thing — seven-dollar corn. All my neighbors were buying land, tractors and machinery — and was paying lawyers.” Nats NRCS OFFICIALS CAME TO THE PETERSON FARM IN DECEMBER 2009 TO DETERMINE WHETHER HE HAD VIOLATED THE SWAMPBUSTER RULE. PETERSON FOUND AGENTS DIGGING HOLES IN THEIR RECENTLY SEEDED WINTER WHEAT. WORRIED ABOUT HIS CROP, HE ASKED THE NRCS OFFICIALS TO LEAVE. LENNY PETERSON: “And that was a mistake then too because I got another big certified letter from FSA to pay back all this money. To get the government payments, you have to sign a form that allows them access to your field 24/7, 365 days a year.” HE SOON FOUND HIMSELF SITTING BEFORE THE LAMOURE COUNTY FARM SERVICE AGENCY COMMITTEE, A GROUP MADE UP OF HIS FELLOW PRODUCERS. THE COMMITTEE VOTED TO RESTORE PETERSON’S ELIGIBILITY FOR FARM PROGRAM BENEFITS IN EARLY 2010, BUT WAS OVERRULED BY THE STATE FSA OFFICE A MONTH LATER. ADDITIONAL APPEALS AND GOVERNMENT DECISIONS WENT AGAINST THE PETERSONS. AFTER LOSING AT LOWER ADMINISTRATIVE LEVELS, THE PETERSONS DECIDED TO SKIP DIRECTLY TO THE NATIONAL APPEALS DIVISION. AS DECISIONS IN 2011 AND 2012 FAILED TO GO THEIR WAY, THE PETERSONS WERE BECOMING OVERWHELMED WITH LEGAL FEES AND REPAYMENT OF TENS OF THOUSANDS OF DOLLARS IN PAST CROP SUBSIDY PAYMENTS. LENNY AND PATTY HIT A LOW POINT AND DEBATED SELLING THE FARM. LENNY PETERSON: “There were a lot of conversations. They were kind of one- sided. They were her conversations about giving up, about me being bullheaded, me being stubborn. Reporter: Are you? Oh, yes.” IN THE 2013, THE PETERSONS SUED THE NRCS AND THE CASE WAS EVENTUALLY HEARD IN FARGO. A FEW WEEKS AFTER THE HEARING, LENNY PETERSON WAS IN THE FIELD WHEN HIS LAWYER CALLED TO TELL HIM THE JUDGE’S RULING. LENNY PETERSON: “We were combining beans me and my wife will never forget that and the phone rang and I got told it. And I just grabbed the radio and told her, ‘We’re going to go out and get bleeping drunk tonight.’ And, yeah, it was really good. Really good news.” DESPITE WINNING THE DAY, THE ORDEAL WAS FAR FROM OVER. THE PETERSON’S STRUGGLED FOR WEEKS TO GET THE GOVERNMENT TO RETURN THE LOST SUBSIDIES. THEY WERE ALSO SOON NOTIFIED THE NRCS HAD PUSHED THE CASE TO THE 8TH CIRCUIT COURT OF APPEALS IN ST. LOUIS. BUT IN EARLY 2015, THE NRCS DISMISSED THE APPEAL JUST BEFORE THE COURT DATE. LENNY PETERSON: “If they took it to the 8th Circuit and lost, this ruling would have went for all the states in the 8th Circuit.” IN THE MEANTIME, MARY PODOLL HAD TAKEN OVER AS NORTH DAKOTA’S STATE CONSERVATIONIST. MARY PODOLL, NRCS STATE CONSERVATIONIST, NORTH DAKOTA: “So my first day on the job here in North Dakota was meeting producers in the Red River and the eastern part of North Dakota who were angry and frustrated. Everything was being appealed and a lot of things were being managed through lawyers.” ONCE THE DUST HAD SETTLED, PODOLL STOPPED BY THE PETERSON FARM. MARY PODOLL: “He really got the feeling it had become personal to some people and I don’t disagree with that. There were some within the agency that had just kind of taken on a whole anti- farmer, if you drain, if you manipulate wetlands, you’re just bad. And that’s not our place. That’s not our role to judge.” LENNY PETERSON: “I was a little leery at first talking to her. We had quite interesting talks. And I give her a lot of credit. And I thanked her for stopping here and listening.” BY 2013, THE AGENCY HAD REORGANIZED COMPLIANCE TEAMS NATIONWIDE, AND PODOLL PUSHED NORTH DAKOTA’S NRCS OFFICIALS TO BRING AN OPEN MIND TO THEIR FARM VISITS. MARY PODOLL: “It was more: ‘That’s a farmer. Oh, my goodness. You know they’re going to come in and they’re complaining.’ You listen to a farmer and they say, ‘I’ve farmed this for 30 years,’ …and you can honestly say, ‘You know, I can see what you are saying here.'” THE PETERSONS WERE EVENTUALLY REPAID MOST OF THE MONEY THEY HAD TIED UP IN THE BATTLE WITH USDA. LENNY PETERSON: “I had to go to a meeting way up in northwest North Dakota and tell about this whole deal. And one guy in the crowd said, ‘So it paid to be bullheaded and stubborn?’ I said, ‘No, it still cost me $150,000 so it didn’t pay. But I won. I got my point across and that was the main thing. It was the principle.” AMY AMY NOW THE CONCLUSION OF OUR THREE-PART SERIES – -FRAUD IN AGRICULTURE.- LESS THAN A YEAR AFTER WE FIRST MET THE SUBJECT OF OUR NEXT STORY, HE WAS BACK IN JAIL, THIS TIME AT THE CENTER OF A DOUBLE MURDER INVESTIGATION. PKG MISSOURI CATTLE PRODUCER GARLAND “JOEY” NELSON SAID HE KNEW HE WAS VIOLATING HIS FARM SERVICE AGENCY LOAN AGREEMENT WHEN, IN 2013 AND 2014, HE SOLD CATTLE THAT WERE COLLATERAL WITHOUT NOTIFYING GOVERNMENT OFFICIALS. ACCORDING TO COURT DOCUMENTS, NELSON, THEN 20, ALSO HID SOME OF THE PROFITS IN A FRIEND’S BANK ACCOUNT, LATER MOVING IT TO HIS OWN, AND HE USED ALTERNATE VERSIONS OF HIS NAME TO AVOID DETECTION. DURING AN INTERVIEW LAST YEAR, NELSON TOLD MARKET TO MARKET THAT HE HAD GOTTEN IN OVER HIS HEAD FINANCIALLY WHILE TRYING TO BUILD A COMMERCIAL CATTLE FEEDING OPERATION. HE ULTIMATELY PLED GUILTY TO FRAUD CHARGES. BUT AFTER SPENDING MORE THAN A YEAR IN THE U.S. PENITENTIARY AT LEAVENWORTH, KANSAS, NELSON WAS RELEASED IN MARCH OF 2018, HOPING TO MAKE A FRESH START ON HIS FAMILY’S FARM NEAR BRAYMER. LATER IN 2018, HE TOLD MARKET TO MARKET THAT HE’D LEARNED SOME HARD LESSONS ABOUT FARM MANAGEMENT. JOEY NELSON, BRAYMER, MISSOURI: “I can tell you all the things you don’t want to do when it comes to feeding cattle that way or loaning money from them, getting entirely too deep with somebody. It was a bad experience but I learned from it. I learned who you can trust and who you can’t trust, and just how far to go before things get too bad.” WITHIN NINE MONTHS OF MAKING THAT COMMENT, NELSON WOULD, AGAIN, BE UNDER INVESTIGATION. THIS TIME, FOR THE JULY 21 DISAPPEARANCE OF TWO WISCONSIN CATTLE PRODUCERS. CALDWELL COUNTY, MISSOURI OFFICIALS ANNOUNCED THAT HUMAN REMAINS FOUND ON NELSON’S FARM WERE BELIEVED TO BE, BASED ON DNA TESTS, THOSE OF THE MISSING MEN, NICHOLAS AND JUSTIN DIEMEL. ON OCTOBER 23, 2019 NELSON, NOW 25, WAS CHARGED WITH, AMONG OTHER CRIMES, TWO COUNTS OF FIRST-DEGREE MURDER IN CONNECTION WITH THE BROTHERS’ DEATHS. SHERIFF JERRY GALLOWAY, CALDWELL COUNTY, MISSOURI: “Charges of murder are Class A felonies, which carry a range of punishment of life in prison wirthout parole — or death.” THE WISCONSIN MEN HAD PREVIOUSLY SENT CATTLE TO NELSON TO FEED AND SELL ON THEIR BEHALF. COURT DOCUMENTS SAY THE FATHER OF THE DIEMELS TOLD OFFICIALS THE BROTHERS HAD TRAVELED IN LATE JULY TO NELSON’S MISSOURI FARM TO PICK UP A $250,000 CHECK. THEY WERE NOT HEARD FROM AGAIN. THOSE DOCUMENTS ALSO SAY THAT NELSON ACKNOWLEDGED TAKING A RENTAL TRUCK USED BY THE DIEMELS, AND DISPOSING OF TWO BODIES HE SAID HE FOUND ON HIS FARM. IN ADDITION, A USED RIFLE CARTRIDGE WAS FOUND IN NELSON’S CLOTHES. HE TOLD OFFICIALS HE HAD BEEN HUNTING SMALL GAME. NELSON IS BEING HELD IN THE CALDWELL COUNTY DETENTION CENTER, PENDING A TRIAL. DR. MICHAEL ROSMANN, AN IOWA- BASED PSYCHOLOGIST INTERVIEWED LONG BEFORE THE MEN DISAPPEARED, SAID HE SHOULD NOT COMMENT ON THE NELSON CASE, HAVING NEVER MET THE YOUNG MAN. BUT, TYPICALLY, IN OTHER, LESS- SERIOUS CASES, PRODUCERS WHO GET IN TROUBLE OFTEN MAKE DECISIONS THAT WERE INTENDED TO KEEP THEIR FARM OR RANCH FINANCIALLY VIABLE. DR. MICHAEL ROSMANN, FARMER PSYCHOLOGIST: “I think there are some farm people who will resort to illegal activities to get ahead because they feel compelled to do whatever it takes to hang onto the land and resources needed to farm. And their motives aren’t always to hurt anybody, but they end up hurting other people anyhow.” OCCASIONALLY, FARMERS WHO CHEAT FEDERAL PROGRAMS OR MISLEAD CONSUMERS ARE ACCUSED OF USING THE PROFITS FOR PURCHASES THE GOVERNMENT WOULD DESCRIBE AS BEING FOR “PERSONAL ENJOYMENT AND PLEASURE.” IN 2016, FOR EXAMPLE, AN IDAHO FARMER WAS SENTENCED TO THREE YEARS IN PRISON FOR SELLING REGULAR ALFALFA SEED AS ORGANIC. COURT DOCUMENTS SAY HE USED THE PROFITS TO BUY AN RV AND A BOAT. DR. MICHAEL ROSMANN: “People will do things that they wouldn’t normally do just because their livelihood is under threat. And they’ll do what they think they have to in order to maintain the quality of farm operation that they’re accustomed to. Doesn’t make it right. It just is a factor that contributes.” IN RARE CASES, SOME PSYCHOLOGISTS BELIEVE, THOSE FARMERS WHO WERE CHARGED HAVE COMMITTED SUICIDE TO AVOID EITHER SERVING TIME IN PRISON OR FACING THE PUBLIC SHAME. ROSMANN SAYS THE DATA SHOWS A SHIFT AWAY FROM OLDER PRODUCERS TAKING THEIR LIVES. DR. MICHAEL ROSMANN: “Now we’re seeing younger farmers from age 45 up to their late 60s as the most vulnerable for self-harm, and we’re trying to figure out why that is. Possibly it has something to do with a sense that ‘I only have a few more years to succeed’ and it’s make or break time.” DURING HIS MARKET TO MARKET INTERVIEW A YEAR AGO, NELSON DESCRIBED FEELING BADLY FOR ANOTHER FARMER WHO WAS IN PRISON BECAUSE OF THE IMPACT IT HAD ON HIS WIFE AND CHILDREN. JOEY NELSON: “He farmed, and he was there for his kids every day of their life until that point, and you know his wife still has to farm. You know, they still have cattle, and they still row crop and everything else. And she’s got to do it all by herself.” NICK DIEMEL, A 34- YEAR-OLD FROM NAVARINO, WISCONSIN, IS SURVIVED BY A WIFE AND FOUR CHILDREN. JUSTIN DIEMEL, OF PULASKI, WISCONSIN, WAS 24. IN HIS INTERVIEW, JOEY NELSON DESCRIBED HOW HE FELT THE DAY HE WAS RELEASED IN 2018 AFTER SPENDING 13 MONTHS IN LEAVENWORTH’S MINIMUM-SECURITY SATELLITE FACILITY ON THE FRAUD CONVICTION. JOEY NELSON: “You get nervous about everything you do from that point forward. You — Everything you go to do, you are like, ‘Okay, now can this be twisted or turned around where I might get in trouble for it?'” get in trouble for it?'” MIKE WE’RE TOLD THAT JOEY NELSON’S NEXT HEARING SHOULD BE ANY DAY NOW. WE’LL FOLLOW UP. WELL NEXT TIME ON FARMWEEK… VO …A CAREER IN AGRICULTURE. IT’S NOT JUST ABOUT RIDING A TRACTOR OR FEEDING THE LIVESTOCK. THERE IS, OF COURSE, A HECKUVA A LOT MORE TO IT. AMY AS WE ALL KNOW, VARIABLES ARE EVERYWHERE — AND SO’S THE UNCERTAINTY — LOSS COULD COME FROM ALMOST ANYWHERE — AND THAT’S WHAT THESE STUDENTS ARE LEARNING IN ONE OF THE MOST SOPHISTICATED COLLEGE CURRICULA IN THE NATION. MIKE MANAGING RISK — IT’S -THE ART OF THE HEDGE,- NEXT TIME ON FARMWEEK. MIKE REMEMBER IF YOU MISSED A STORY, LOOK FOR PAST EPISODES OF FARMWEEK ON OUR WEBSITE AT FARMWEEK DOT TV. AND DON’T FORGET TO FOLLOW US ON FACEBOOK, TWITTER, AND YOUTUBE AS WELL. WE’LL SEE YOU NEXT WEEK. THANKS FOR WATCHING. MIKE

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