The Red River Farm Network went on the air on December 4, 1995, delivering news, markets and weather information to some of the best farmers in the world. RRFN was founded by John Vasichek, Mike Hergert and Jerry Fiskum. All three worked together at KKXL ‘All Farm Radio’ in Grand Forks before starting the network. The Minnesota Association of Wheat Growers joined as a partner so more of its members could hear pertinent agriculture information.
A studio was built with used equipment in downtown Grand Forks, and RRFN began with 12 radio affiliates. Today, programs can be heard in 19 radio markets in Minnesota, North Dakota and South Dakota. In addition, the network connects with farmers and agricultural stakeholders through its e-newsletter and social media platforms. Currently, RRFN has four farm journalists on its team: Don Wick, Randy Koenen, Carah Hart and Megan Ternquist. The RRFN staff also includes Kolleen Wick in public relations and marketing, Jay Rehder in advertising sales and Heidi Vettleson as office manager.
- RRFN reports from the ‘Battle in Seattle,’ the 1999 World Trade Organization Ministerial that was overshadowed by violent protests. RRFN went on to cover WTO ministerials in Hong Kong and Cuba.
- In 2001, RRFN Farm Broadcaster Mike Hergert serves as president of the National Association of Farm Broadcasting.
- RRFN covered the U.S. Food and Agribusiness Exhibition in Havana, Cuba in 2002. Cuban President Fidel Castro met with the North Dakota and Minnesota delegations.
- RRFN Farm Broadcaster Don Wick joins RRFN in 2003 and is named the National Farm Broadcaster of the Year in 2004.
- RRFN’s Jerry Fiskum serves as chairman of the North Dakota Broadcasters Association in 2004.
- The RRFN e-newsletter, FarmNetNews, debuts in 2004.
- Randy Koenen joins the Red River Farm Network farm broadcast team in 2007.
- The 2007 National Farm Broadcaster of the Year is RRFN’s Mike Hergert.
- Since 2008, RRFN hosts a series of seminars and live broadcasts from the Big Iron Farm Show. Agriculture Secretary Ed Schafer was featured during that first year.
- Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack travels to Afghanistan and meets with Afghan President Hamid Karzai in 2010. RRFN’s Don Wick is the only U.S. agricultural journalist invited to travel with Secretary Vilsack and report during the trip.
- RRFN hosts Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack for a seminar at the Big Iron Farm Show in 2010.
- In 2011, RRFN President John Vasichek is presented the NAFB Meritorious Service Award.
- In 2015, Missouri native Carah Hart joins the RRFN team as an ag journalist.
- RRFN’s Mike Hergert is inducted into the NAFB Hall of Fame in 2015.
- In 2016, RRFN has a new home at the Big Iron Farm Show. After being in a large tent, the RRFN seminars move to its building at the center of the grounds.
- Megan Ternquist, who is an NDSU grad from Petersburg, North Dakota, joins RRFN.
- RRFN moved into its current location in October of 2017.
- RRFN co-founder Mike Hergert retires after a distinguished farm broadcasting career in 2017.
- Carah Hart’s early career success is recognized with the NAFB’s Horizon Award.
- RRFN President Don Wick is inducted into the National Association of Farm Broadcasting Hall of Fame in 2018.