It’s about family

By Seth Estenson, NDFB Northeast Field Representative

The wheat has been harvested. The cows are still on grass. Loved ones are back in school, and the preparation for winter has begun on our farm. I am one of five kids. My parents would tell you it’s an extremely busy time of year. It’s a time when everyone pitches in, which is why it has always seemed like a “family” time of year.

Over the past few years, I have had the opportunity to learn what “Farm Bureau Family” means. When I started as a new field representative for NDFB, I thought “Farm Bureau Family” was a cheesy corporate line. But it’s not. I can’t count the times Farm Bureau members have treated me like family. For me, this has always been the greatest benefit in the cost of a Farm Bureau membership. Being a member provides an opportunity to make these life-long relationships.

NDFB staff and state board, along with Foster County Farm Bureau and Nodak agent Chris Bichler, experienced the depth of that Farm Bureau family recently. The entire group was hosted by Woodward Farm near Cathay, N.D., owned and operated by Brenda Gorseth.

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Foster County Farm Bureau president Jason Topp and I (I’m on the right) at the meeting.

We were all treated to a prime rib dinner. The beef was raised by Foster County Farm Bureau board member Dan Beckley. Almost all the side dishes were grown on the Woodward farm. The next day, the NDFB Board of Directors and staff were welcomed into Brenda’s home and served a delicious breakfast, lunch and dessert during our board meeting.

These two days provided an opportunity to spend time with the engine that drives Farm Bureau; in my humble opinion, family. Members welcoming others into their homes and creating memories.

If you’d like to find out more about Brenda and Woodward farm, visit her website at www.woodwardfarm.com. She’s a remarkable NDFB county leader with a great family and a great business with great North Dakota products for sale. I’d like to personally extend my thanks to the Foster County Farm Bureau for this Farm Bureau experience!

 

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From left: Jason Topp, Brenda Gorseth, me and Karla Lura.

 

NDFB truly is about family.

 

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Ch-ch-ch-changes

By Dawn Smith-Pfeifer,  Director of Content and Communications

“I watch the ripples change their size, but never leave the stream.” – David Bowie, “Changes”

Is that negative? Or positive? Or just an observation? It depends on who you are.

I have a new role at NDFB and part of that role is learning how to embrace all things content-related. And the biggest content conference around is Content Marketing World,  held in Cleveland, Ohio.

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The view from my 28th floor hotel room with Lake Erie in the background.

Cleveland also happens to be home to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Hence the “Changes” reference. (Shout out to all you David Bowie fans!)

But enough about that. The conference is over and I’m sitting in the airport. For the next 3 hours. Because when you get old, you get places really early just in case you break a hip or something. To be honest I’m here early because I wanted to make sure I could find my way back and not miss my flight.

All this waiting has given me plenty of time to think about the conference notes I took and what the take-aways are for a member organization like NDFB.

The last speaker I went to talked about how not to become a corporate zombie. And she said the way to do that is by remaining true to your identity; who you are. It was like tying the whole 4 days in a bow!

NDFB’s core values are freedom, opportunity and self-reliance. I’m proud of those values. I try to live those values. But that doesn’t mean we can’t step outside of our comfort zone and share those values with others in new and maybe even fun ways.

So while our core remains solid, the ways we reach out and share those values could be ch-ch-ch-changing.

Ripples.

Is that negative?  Or positive?  Or just an observation? It depends on who YOU are.

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Lake Erie sunset.

Four-Legged Adventure

By Aryel Smith, NDFB Southwest Field Representative

I’m a big fan of the phrase, “On to the next adventure,” which, in my case, often means the next travel destination, or weekly trips to Fargo for NDSU sporting events in the fall and winter. I’ve recently taken vacation time to explore the mountains and meet with old friends before annual meetings, but all of that has slowed down, because of a cute, calico, four-legged adventure. wb-2.jpg

Wittle baby, WB for short, is the result of a late evening visit to a collegiate Farm Bureau  member’s sister’s home after a county meeting. Momma kitty had not been seen in a few days and the three kittens she left behind needed someone to take care of them.

WB was only about two weeks old when I took on the challenge of sleepless nights and bottle feeding. She has been more of an adventure that I ever imagined, but she is already part of the Farm Bureau family. WB has been on a farm visit in Arnegard, a staff retreat in Havanna, office visits in Bismarck and more.WB 1

This weekend she will go on her last adventure before being old enough to be left alone overnight. WB and I will make the trek to Fargo to cheer on the NDSU Boys of Fall at their home opener.

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It had been a very long time since I took on the challenge of being a “pet mom,” but just like any parent I show her off with pride. It is a bit different than human parents, but this baby is cute enough to soften even the heart of any cat scrooge.

Wittle baby keeps me busy for now, but soon she will be an independent cat, and when that time comes, it will be – “On to the next adventure.”

Baffled about beef?

By Alisha Nord, NDFB Southeast Field Representative

I love all things Angus! So any time I can help someone with their questions about beef, I’m more than happy to help!

Selecting the right meat at the counter isn’t always easy, and can sometime be frustrating. Don’t let this frustration turn you away from buying a great source of protein for you and your family.
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A couple tips to help you out:
– Look for marbling. These are the white flecks in the red meat. Marbling will melt during cooking to naturally flavor the meat.

Learn the cuts of meat. With a little studying, you’ll be able to learn the differences, making your meat buying experience much more enjoyable.

– Pick a new meat recipe every week. This will allow you more exposure at the meat case, cooking a new cut, and making meals easy!

Grilling
– Tenderloin roast, strip steak, sirloin steak, ground beef, back ribs, try-tip roast, tenderloin steak, t-bone steak, skirt steak

Roasting
– Top Round Roast, tai-tip roast, tenderloin roast, prime rib, english roast, strip roast, bone-in ribeye roast, church arm roast, bottom round roast

Sautéing
– Ground beef, sirloin steak, ribeye steak, tenderloin steak, t–bone, flat iron, filet mignon, hanger steak, ribeye filet

Baking
– Ground beef, ground chuck, ground round, ground sirloin

Braising
– Chuck roast, top round roast, brisket, beef for stew, back ribs, church flap, sirloin tip roast, shoulder clod roast, bottom round roast, rump roast, short ribs

A beautiful strip steak dinner
Doesn’t this look delicious? A beautiful strip steak dinner.

Trailer trip to Havana

By NDFB Director of Organizational Development, Joey Myers

Meetings are a part of my everyday life. Board meetings, committee meetings, staff meetings and county meetings. They all play an important part role in my job. Believe it or not, I love going to meetings, because I get to see my co-workers, state board members or our members, the farmers and ranchers.

This Tuesday was no different than the rest. I started out for our annual staff retreat up at the Coteau des Prairies Lodge by Havana, North Dakota. What a gorgeous place and the location can’t be beat. It is nestled on a hill overlooking God’s country.

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Looking east from the deck of Coteau des Prairies. Gorgeous view!

The only problem was it was a 5-hour drive from my house to get there.

When I looked up the location, I realized it was 15 miles from Bovagen (a cow embryo transfer facility). My boyfriend Scott flushes all his donor cows there and had mentioned the week before that he was thinking about bringing them all home for the winter.

So off to my meeting I go with a 24-foot aluminum trailer in tow. The funny part about showing up with a livestock trailer to one of our NDFB meetings? No one even thinks it is strange! In fact, my boss just asked what kind of animal I was pedaling that day. Earlier in the year, when I drove down to Sioux Falls for the Midwest Field Staff meeting, I put a show goat in the back of my pickup in a dog box.

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After the meeting concluded, I made the short drive down the road to Bovagen and I got all five of the donor cows (Dreamy, London, Steel Magnolia, Shania, and June) home safely and everyone is happy!

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Now off to the next meeting!

11 things I learned going to a PR Conference

Lisa Hauf
by Lisa Hauf, NDFB Director of Public Relations

My new position at NDFB as Director of Public Relations is a step I’m excited to be making. Part of any successful career is continuing to learn and I’m privileged to work for an organization that encourages growth and education.

Recently, I attended the PR Now & Next Conference in Chicago. I learned about public relation trends and even gained a few extra life lessons.

Chicago view

Here are some of the things I learned:

– Communication is ever changing. What we learn in one year or even in one month will change sooner than later. Read, engage and never stop learning.

– I knew more about Snapchat than most all other attendees (I’m still debating if this is a positive thing).

– Get to know people and connect with them. Building relationships is a must in any career.

– Take, at a minimum, the full dosage of Dramamine when you get motion sickness, are 19 weeks pregnant with nausea and are flying around storms.

– Pertaining to my point above: be sure to have a barf bag handy.

– Humor is a great mechanism to use when you find yourself awkwardly holding a used barf bag while the airplane taxis for 15 minutes and you are sitting next to a stranger.

– Greasy Chinese food will make you feel better. I promise.

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– Back to communications — Artificial intelligence is present and going to become more integrated into our daily lives.

– Technology changes rapidly and that means our jobs are changing rapidly. Don’t be afraid to learn and to transform with it, but always stay grounded to your beliefs.

– Professionals in the communication world have different opinions, ’cause let’s face it, communication in general is often about one’s opinion. But there were some common themes: stories and feelings. Keep those two words in mind when forming your opinion.

– Be prepared for weather delays when flying through Chicago — I repeat — be prepared for weather delays when flying through Chicago.

Getting to know…

Our newest employee, Amy Madsen, is the NDFB Administrative Specialist in the Bismarck office. She shares a little about herself in this week’s blog.

I was born and raised on a crop farm near Butte, North Dakota. Having the privilege of growing up on a farm is something I will always be grateful for, along with being exposed to my dad’s work ethic.  He would work from sun up to sun down most days. He went to mechanic school to learn how to repair his own equipment better, faster, easier.  He would even sprint from the shop to the Quonset to save time. Being around his attitude of working until the work is done made an impact in my own life both at home and at work. 

Later in my life, I spent some time living in Idaho in the Boise area where I gained some incredible experiences and friendships but missed my family and the quiet way of life in North Dakota. I ended up moving back to the farm about 13 years ago.

Not long after, I moved to Mandan where I began raising my amazing son Ryan. He is going into middle school next year and is growing quicker than I care to acknowledge. He is my favorite traveling partner when we take road trips that do not involve interstates, which is one of our favorite activities. We also like to go camping and pretty much anything that involves spending time outside in the summer months.

Amy and Ryan

We purchased a home in north Bismarck and moved in just a few days after starting my job with NDFB. Two new and exciting chapters in my life.  I’m extremely excited to be a part of the NDFB family and the support we provide to farmers and ranchers!

To read the official announcement about Amy joining the NDFB staff, click here.

Small town, big cow

By Pete Hanebutt, NDFB Director of Public Policy

One of the true joys of living in a small rural community is the opportunity to be involved with neighbors as part of annual town or community celebration. The Spirit of the West Festival in Golden Valley County and the Music Fest in Langdon are just a few examples of local and regional events, festivals and celebrations which take place throughout the year in many areas of our state.

Since moving to New Salem, I’ve become active in the community, particularly with our kids’ school events and in 4-H. Our little part of paradise holds annual and seasonal events where everyone is encouraged to participate, sharing their talents and skills. New Salem hosts the Morton County Fair, a Christmas festival, a community garage sale, and many other activities.

Our town has an obvious theme. Anyone who has ever passed exit 127 on I-94 has probably noticed Salem Sue, the worlds’ Largest Holstein Cow. She stands proudly on a prominent hill at the edge of town watching over the center of North Dakota’s dairy industry. The civic leaders erected Sue in 1974 to celebrate the community’s ties to the dairy industry. She has since become a world-recognized land mark. Recently, Sue loomed larger than life over one of our town’s most enjoyable festivals: The Cow Town Hoe Down.

One endearing part of the Hoe Down is the annual Tractor Trek, which offers area farmers and collectors an opportunity to show off their restored collectable tractors. It’s a reflection of our past, celebrates agriculture and allows for a little bragging and pride of ownership. Many area residents participate by driving ‘grandpa’s tractor’ from Almont to New Salem as a way of kicking-off Hoe Down festivities.

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Pete and son Parker at the Tractor Trek

I had the honor of driving an Allis Chalmers D10 in this year’s Trek. My son, Parker, drove an AC D15. Both tractors are owned by local farmer Jim Bahm who graciously allowed us to relive good memories about my Dad and his AC D17.

Pete, dad and son with tractor
Pete, Parker and Pete’s dad

One of the last good pictures I have of Dad is of him holding a then-four-year old Parker on the old Allis. It’s amazing the memories that came flooding back into my mind on that 15-mile drive. I didn’t miss the thousands of hours raking hay on the D17, but the sore backside I enjoyed after the Trek certainly reminded me of those days. The Hoe Down and the Tractor Trek also remind me of a simpler time and a slower pace; of seeing all the things we’re driving by but missing in our hurried lives.

I hope this summer or fall you have the opportunity to get involved in your local community, take the time to embrace your heritage, and reminisce a bit. Life will resume at its ever-quickening pace soon enough. Enjoy today at least for a little while.

Life lessons learned in the barn

By Joey Myers, NDFB Director of Organizational Development

It is officially county fair season and the North Dakota State Fair is around the corner. This is a fun time of year for both my family and NDFB member-families. I love seeing pictures of people with their kids and animals!

 Many life lessons are learned in the barn. Children are given the responsibility to take care of their show animals all summer long, leaving an impression on them for a lifetime. The children are getting up early every morning to feed their animals, wash their animals, walk their animals and feed them again every evening. While others are at the lake or pool, some children are at home making sure their animals stay cool in the hot summer temperatures.

4-H pigWinning and losing is a lesson taught to children at every age when showing animals, but with victory and defeat comes the lesson that hard work does pay off in the end. Through the wins and losses, the children learn the importance of respect. They respect their animals while taking care of them and they learn the value of respect for everyone, such as judges, 4-H officials, ring help, and other people involved at county fairs.

Friendships are also a key in showing livestock. I’ve gotten to know many people across the United States because of my livestock showing. Later in life, job opportunities might come available to those who made friendships in the livestock arena. People in the livestock industry are second to none — they are hardworking, passionate and genuine people. Why wouldn’t we want our kids around those kinds of people? S state fair

Last but not least is the family aspect of showing. With a world that is fast-paced and technology driven, it is fun to slow things down and spend time in the barn as a family. The nights get late, the work gets tiresome, the road is sometimes long when traveling to shows, but when it’s all said and done, these are the best memories our kids will have!!

Our fine four-legged friends

By Caroline Jacobson
Northwest Field Representative

In my short tenure with NDFB, I’ve had a chance to explore country that I would have never been able or had reason to explore. In our great state, there exists quite a variety of farms and ranches. From humongous grain farms that have two combines parked in the shed, to the hobby ranch that has three cows in the backyard, I’ve found one common tie. And no, it is not the awesome Farm Bureau members who live there, but rather, their dogs.

After seeing them at 95 percent of the places I’ve visited, I don’t think I’m unique in my love for dogs. I’d be willing to bet many of you own them for this very reason, if not for the various other purposes they serve.

When trained well, they can be a useful tool. Maybe you utilize them to herd your livestock, or maybe you use them to alert you when visitors come in your yard. They might help you flush and retrieve birds in the fall, or just keep you company in the cab on those endless laps around the field. Whatever rationale a person uses to justify their four-legged friend, I think farm dogs are an integral part of any operation.

For some folks, a dog might not be a viable option, and that’s okay too. Personally, though, I feel very fortunate that I’ve had one around my whole life. I can’t imagine coming home and not seeing that tirelessly happy face and wet nose bounding right for me. I even went out to play a quick game of fetch prior to writing this, just for a little extra inspiration. Hopefully some of my corny ramblings rang true for you.

I look forward to meeting many more pups in my travels, and please, give Fido a scratch for me.