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.

Pete and Parker
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.

What does a 5th-grader think about ag?

Modern agriculture is a mystery to a lot of people.

Myths abound.

That’s why NDFB provides information about why farmers and ranchers do what they do for people who want to learn the truth.

It’s not easy. To be honest, sometimes it feels like the negative voices are louder and more convincing.

Then something like this comes across your desk; from a fifth-grade student mind you.

Ramsey - Molly Olson 2

And you do a happy dance. Then you have to share, because, well, doggone it, she’s in fifth grade. And she gets it!

What does agriculture mean to me?

By Molly Olson

Agriculture affects my life in a positive way. It makes my life better, and healthier. Agriculture provides me with food, drink, clothing along with other everyday uses. Some of the examples of food that I can get from agriculture are: meat from cows, pigs, lambs and chickens to name a few. Cows also provide me with milk to drink. Cows and pigs provide me with leather that can be made into gloves, shoes, belts, baseball mitts, footballs, basketballs, saddles, etc. We get cotton and wool for shirts, pants, socks, underwear, sheets for your bed and sweaters. Agriculture also provides fruit for us to eat. Agriculture is also important to insects and animals. Agriculture also uses and needs bees for pollination. Animals like deer can eat the corn as well as use it to hide in.

Agriculture plays a huge role to my state of North Dakota as well as many other states. My grandparents plant wheat, which is harvested to be made into flour, as well as durum which is used to make pasta. The flour is then used to make bread and cakes. They also plant hay crops to feed various livestock.

Agriculture creates a large amount of jobs; from the farmer/rancher who will need to hire people to help him/her, the equipment dealerships, to the diesel that the farmer will buy to run his/her equipment. The farmer/rancher will hire people to help plant and harvest the crops. The dealerships hire people to sell equipment, mechanics to fix the equipment and to the parts people. This helps the economy by providing the stores with food that is sold to you and me, the consumer. No matter what we choose to do with our lives, we would not be able to survive without agriculture.

Each and every day, each person on this earth has had to buy some product of agriculture to get them out the door for school or work. At breakfast this morning, all of my food came from some form of agriculture, along with the clothes that I have on, as well as our books, papers and pencils to use in school. As you can see, agriculture is extremely important to our survival.Ramsey - Molly Olson

Ramsey County Farm Bureau sponsored the “What does agriculture mean to me?” essay contest that produced this winning essay. The contest was open to all fifth and sixth grade students in Ramsey County. Molly won $50 from Ramsey County Farm Bureau for her efforts.

If there are more like Molly (and we’re pretty sure there are), the future of agriculture is in good hands.

Best Main Street sign EVER

Small town. Heart of the city. Classic cars. Hometown football. Friendly people. Dragging (or cruising) Main.

More often than not, when you hear the words “Main Street” you are whisked back to that time in your life when you were staking out your independence via four wheels and a carload of friends.

For most of us who grew up in small towns across North Dakota, Main Street (even though it might be an avenue) was where fond memories were made. In bigger cities, like Dickinson and Bismarck, cruising Main was what teenagers did on a Friday and Saturday night.

Sometimes, even when the town didn’t HAVE a street named “Main” they called it that anyway. And sometimes, Main Street wasn’t really a street. Which brings us to the purpose (if there is one) of this post.

NDFB’s Instagram account features a #Friday #mainstreet photo from places around the state. The photos always include the “Main” sign and some feature of that Main Street.

So without further ado, we share the best Main Street, North Dakota sign as seen through the NDFB lens (at least the places that have been visited by the NDFB lens) in the last eight months:

Best Main Street photo everThis is a real place in North Dakota. It isn’t identified on Google Maps as Main Street, but if you look at the satellite imagery, there it is. 47.414257, -99.628834

Follow us on Instagram and get your Friday dose of Main Street, North Dakota!

Getting to know you…

Joey Myers is NDFB’s Director of Organizational Development. She oversees NDFB’s field staff and works with NDFB’s Promotion and Education Committee and Young Farmers and Ranchers Committee. She shares a little about herself on the My NDFB Life blog this week!

I grew up on a cattle ranch outside of Velva, North Dakota. A strong passion for animal agriculture was formed at a young age for me. My sister and I started showing livestock through 4-H and FFA. Though my mom would have loved for me to show horses — I grew to love showing pigs.


(Pictured above: Like mom, like daughter. Joey’s mini-me, Dyllyn wins a ribbon showing her pig.)

Summer is an exciting time for my family.  This summer, my six-year-old daughter will be showing her fourth set of pigs! She started showing at the age of three and has become quite the showman over the years. Not only will she have pigs this summer, but goats, a ton of baby calves and even a horse named Pig. I believe raising kids on the farm is the absolute biggest blessing.

After completing my four-year degree at North Dakota State University, I moved to Iowa to sell livestock feed. My time in Iowa was educational and fun, but after a few years I moved back to North Dakota to be closer to family.

Fargo has been my home for many years and it has been a memorable experience. But ever since I moved away from my home ranch, I longed to go back. Now I have that opportunity and I will be moving back to central North Dakota this summer.

My love for agriculture never seems to end. Every night, we sit at our table and discuss what type of foods we are eating and what farmer produced it for us. It is important our youth know where their food comes from. That’s one reason I love my job at NDFB. I get to teach kids how farmers and ranchers put food on their tables.

The ability to educate the world about the nutritional foods farmers and ranchers provide should be a part of our everyday lives. I’m excited to have the opportunity to advocate for agriculture. 



Off the Path in Oliver County

Because we have such a talented group of people on our staff, and they get into all kinds of fun adventures, My NDFB Life is expanding to include posts from other staff members. Aryel Smith is the Southwest Field Representative and had an opportunity to visit an elk farm not too long ago. Enjoy! – Dawn

Most adventures are better when you go off the beaten path. Luckily for those interested in visiting the Red Butte Wapiti Ranch, GPS programs often struggle to get you there on the first try. This is only fitting when you are stopping in to see one of the few elk ranches left in North Dakota.

Located in Oliver County, Dwight and Roberta Grosz’s herd alone is about 10% of all the elk raised in the Peace Garden State. However, the size of his operation does not stop the Grosz Family from knowing each one of their elk personally. Dwight can tell you if a bull or cow, male and female elk, respectively, has a scar or mark on their body. He can explain why it happened and how they cared for the elk.

Dwight Grosz

This cow was bottle fed as a calf by one of the Grosz children and endearingly named Sapphire. She is a lover of hugs, rubs, attention and selfies. I met and spent time with her and a few of the other cows holding a special place in this family’s heart.

Elk Selfie

So, the next time you find yourself lost in the Southwestern part of the state, flustered that you cannot seem to find your way, take a breath and look around. If you are lucky, you might just stumble upon something pretty unique, like and elk that poses for a selfie.

Dog smiles

Oh the jewels you find when you go out on interviews! Yesterday, my colleague Lisa and I interviewed Sara Hatlewick about being a finalist in the Miss American Angus competition. After the interview, we followed her around a little while she did chores.

Today, while sorting through the footage, I came across this gem: Sarah’s dog smiling for the camera.

I was laughing about the fact that the dog’s tail hit the camera, not about the smile. I didn’t realize she smiled until I reviewed the footage.

I laughed out loud when I saw it, and knew I just had to share it with you! I hope it brings a smile to your face too!