Western State Bank/Western Equipment Finance donate to LRSC's Hofstad Ag Center

Western State Bank and Western Equipment Finance have announced a gift of $50,000 to Lake Region State College’s new ag education building project. 

The gift is an opportunity to give back toward the advancement of local ag education, and the organizations hope this donation helps prepare farmers of the future.

“Like us, Lake Region State College has deep roots in this community,” Brett Johnston, President of Western State Bank in Devils Lake, said. “The college’s commitment to providing advanced technical training through the Precision Ag program is critical to the continued success of local farmers.”

“Western Equipment Finance has supported the local farming community with equipment loans and leases since it started in 1990,” Laurie Bakke, President of Western Equipment Finance, said. “It was the agricultural industry and local farmers that helped build the foundation for the finance company’s continued growth and success.”

LRSC President Doug Darling said support from industry and individuals in the region showcases the need for the new ag education facility at the college.

“Our financial institutions play a big role in the success of the agriculture industry. To see their support of our campaign demonstrates the importance of agriculture in the region,” Darling said.

The 2019 North Dakota Legislature authorized construction of a new $3 million ag education building at LRSC. The legislation provided a direct appropriation of $1 million along with some matching fund opportunities and named the building for Curt and Annette Hofstad, long-time Lake Region residents and friends of LRSC.

“The late Curtis Hofstad was a longtime farmer, as well as a state representative and customer of Western State Bank,” Johnston said. “We’re thrilled to see his namesake on the beautiful LRSC campus, and we hope this program continues to produce hard-working, skilled farmers like him for generations to come.” 

Construction of the facility is underway and a ceremonial groundbreaking for the Hofstad Ag Center took place in July. 

The Community College Foundation, which supports Lake Region State College, launched a capital campaign this spring to raise $1.5 million. The campaign, when combined with the state appropriation and other state match programs, will bring the college to its $3 million goal. 

The new ag education building will provide enhanced classroom space and a shop more suited for working with today’s precision ag components and large equipment. With LRSC’s own test field right outside the new building location, students will have real world experiences and graduate with knowledge from the classroom and field. 

Western State Bank is an employee-owned, community bank, founded in 1902. They offer superior banking, investment and mortgage services to personal and business customers. For over 100 years, they have served the Lake Region. Western Equipment Finance, a subsidiary of the bank, offers nationwide equipment financing services to businesses, including farmers. They consistently rank nationally among the top 100 equipment finance companies.

Established in 1941, Lake Region State College is a comprehensive community college based in Devils Lake, ND.  LRSC offers education in a variety of career and technical programs and associate arts (transfer) degree for those planning to transfer and pursue a bachelor’s degree. The college offers many courses and programs throughout the state, including a location at the Grand Forks Air Force Base; peace officer training program in Minot and Grand Forks; nursing in Grand Forks and Mayville; and a LAUNCH program that serves students in Grand Forks planning on transferring to UND. 

In the photo: Kale Stromme, Western State Bank Business/Ag Banking Officer; Preston Sundeen, LRSC Precision Ag Program Director; Chad Palmer, Western Equipment Finance Vice President of Sales & Marketing;  Brett Johnston, Western State Bank President; Tony Shomento, Western Equipment Finance Vice President of National Business Development;  LRSC President Doug Darling; David Lee, Western Equipment Finance National Business Development Manager; and Elonda Nord, Executive Director of the Community College Foundation at LRSC