Brownfield Reporters in Michigan And Minnesota

Nicole Heslip broadcasts from the Wisconsin Public
Service Farm Show this past March.

It’s been one year since Brownfield Ag News expanded its on-the-ground coverage into Michigan and Minnesota. Nicole Heslip and Mark Dorenkamp are the newest Brownfield reporters in those two states. Michigan anchor/reporter Nicole Heslip says the year has been full of changes. Nicole had previously been with the Michigan Farm Radio Network for five years. Nicole has traveled the state and beyond covering ag news for Brownfield. She broadcasts from home, reporting on Michigan’s diverse agriculture landscape of more than 300 commodities as well as national ag news. She also contributes to the Brownfield consumer education program Healthy Living. Soon after transitioning to Brownfield, Nicole’s husband, Kyle, finished his PhD in medicinal chemistry at the University of Michigan. Turning his favorite pastime into a full-time career, Kyle joined Michigan’s booming craft beer industry and is now the head brewer at Tapistry Brewing in Bridgman, MI. The couple moved to Michigan’s great southwest and currently are renovating a 125-year-old farm house in Stevensville, MI, just two miles from Lake Michigan. Inspired by last year’s Case IH Farms and Legs Ragnar Relay Race experience, Nicole plans to run a half marathon this August through the Michigan Lake Shore Wine Trail.

Mark Dorenkamp with the Floyd of Rosedale
trophy at Minnesota Farmfest in August 2015.

The transition has also gone well for Mark Dorenkamp and his family.  After spending more than two years in the farm department at WHO radio in Des Moines, IA, the Dorenkamps have relocated to Kasson in southeast Minnesota. Year one with Brownfield will be remembered as the year of the devastating avian influenza outbreak in Minnesota. Mark worked hard to report accurately on the story as it developed and says he learned a lot about the poultry industry along the way. Mark is proud to say the opportunity with Brownfield has stretched him professionally, as he’s enjoyed the new challenge of story writing in addition to his on-air responsibilities. Mark enjoys working from home because it allows him to spend more time with his wife, Melissa, and two sons, Gavin 4, and Hudson, almost 2. Mark grew up in Iowa, not far from the Minnesota border, and is enjoying the small-town and farm-oriented surroundings he’s been familiar with his entire life. Mark appreciates the opportunities Brownfield has given him to get out and cover agriculture, whether it’s an hour away or several states away. Covering Commodity Classic earlier this year brought him to New Orleans for the first time. Regardless of where he is, Mark says the best part of the job remains the people.  “Getting to talk with farmers about issues important to them; to hear that passion and conviction they have for what they do. It’s very special to me.” About her colleagues, Julie Harker adds, “We are so grateful that Nicole and Mark are on the Brownfield Team!