BY MARVIN BAKER
Ferguson said agriculture and energy are the two sectors that Ceres will always be involved.
“When energy prices recover, we anticipate loading oil,” Ferguson said. “Frack sand has always been on the bubble for later, but right now it’s fertilizer.”
Up until the fertilizer warehouse is established, construction continues on the rest of the facility.
“The main elevator is still being built and should be fully constructed in March,” Ferguson said. “We’ll fill it and settle for a 90-day period so it will be fully commissioned in May.”
Two sets of railroad tracks, one for grain and one for oil, were completed last year in January.
“We’ve shipped 1,200 grain cars out of there,” Ferguson said. “Now, we’re able to start loading shuttle trains.”
Employees are currently taking training from BNSF, according to Ferguson, so they may operate locomotives when filling the 110-car trains.
“We’ve shipped canola trains to Mexico,” he said. “It’s exciting to provide Canadian farmers a direct link to Mexico.”
Thus far, wheat and canola have been the only farm commodities shipped with some propane that is brought in by truck and loaded directly onto the steel rail.
Ferguson believes the opportunity also exists for the hub to receive U.S. grain.
“We haven’t had any yet,” Ferguson said. “To the extent it makes sense, yes, we’ll take American grain.”
He added all is well at the border. A customs house was built on the international boundary so products leaving could be shipped.
However, a hiccup developed when U.S. customs wanted its own customs house on the North Dakota side to accommodate products, like fertilizer, that will be shipped into Northgate.
“We had to build a shack on the U.S. side for inspections,” Ferguson said. “We have, I think, 10 acres in Burke County and we had to build the facility there.”
Right now, the facility has 12 employees and Ferguson anticipates more than 20 when the fertilizer warehouse is completed.
On any given day, there are approximately 50 construction workers on site.
Cross border relations have gone well also, according to Ferguson. He said customs personnel have helped facilitate the movement of grain.
“There’s a lot of good dialog between the U.S. and Canada,” Ferguson said. “And I’m amazed at how good the relations are between Saskatchewan and North Dakota.”
As the great Irish writer Oscar Wilde once said, “Everything in moderation, including moderation.”
His full name, Oscar Fingal O’Flahertie Wills Wilde, is hardly a moniker of moderation, and he seemed to be conflicted by the idea of moderation, as he was also quoted as saying, “Moderation is a fatal thing. Nothing succeeds like excess.”
He probably uttered those words after his visit to the United States in the 1880s.
This country of ours is not without issues, but overall it is a great success in many ways. Many of these successes have been the result of people not being complacent with a moderate amount of success. A continuous insatiable appetite for more, seems to be the prevailing force behind many of our country’s great successes…and its failures.
How does one know when the gap between success and excess has been bridged?
When is enough of anything truly enough?
At what point does positive success turn to negative excess?
I have been involved in sports in various capacities for a large portion of my life, either as a participant, a coach, a parent, or professionally, as an athletic trainer. Each of these modes of involvement allows for a varying and unique perspective regarding the sport in question.
I believe the perspective I have gained as an athletic trainer has offered me the clearest, most unbiased, view of the culture of sports. This view is not concerned about winning or losing, not concerned about how much playing time one kid is getting in comparison to another, not concerned about much of anything, except for the safety and well-being of the athletes.
What I have seen from this perspective is that moderation has given way to chronic excess, and in many cases the act of simply playing for the enjoyment of playing has been taken from our young athletes.
I believe sports are great for building character, teaching the importance of teamwork, and provide a means of expressing talent and hard work. For a very, very small percentage of the population, sports can be a way to make a living, to become famous, to make money…a lot of money, an excessive amount.
Is this small percentage of professionals being paid large amounts of money the driving force behind making the sports experience for many kids a miserable apathetical slog towards achieving the hopes and dreams of others?
If a kid needs to be regularly coerced or forced to practice and play a sport “for their own good,” they will not enjoy the experience for their own good or for yours.
Young athletes are not voiceless, brainless material goods brought into our lives for the purpose of living out the life we feel we could have had if our parents hadn’t been so busy trying to make something of their own lives.
Instead of wastefully funneling the family’s financial resources into food, clothing and education, they should have been flying me around the country to year-round baseball camps in support of my dream to play shortstop for the Yankees.
To be fair, my parents drove me to Minneapolis for a tryout with the Twins, flew me to Colorado for a tryout with the Rockies, and willingly funded my travels to Reds and Braves tryout camps.
They did not make me do any of this “for my own good,” rather, they let me do it out of support for something I thoroughly enjoyed.
My parents have always been supportive of whatever it is that interests us. Supportive, not excessive, and I have tried to toe that same line with my children.
Let young people explore their interests and curiosities.
Resist the urge to make them specialize in one sport or activity early on “for their own good” and the good of the professional career you have planned for them.
Exploration of diverse activities makes for a more interesting and well-rounded individual (research indicates a better athlete as well).
Also, resist the temptation to view every single interest and talent a child has as the beginning of a lucrative professional career.
The ice auger that has been hanging in the rafters of my garage for the past four years was not bought because I had aspirations to be a professional ice fisherman. It was bought because I thought it might be enjoyable.
I found out what I enjoyed was eating fish, not fishing.
As adults we allow ourselves to explore various interests and hobbies for the sake of curiosity and personal satisfaction. Let’s allow our children to do the same.