What does it mean to be happy?

By Emmery Mehlhoff, NDFB Public Policy Liaison

NDFB hosted an art contest this week where students across the state drew the crops North Dakota is #1. Students drew pictures showing North Dakota first in the production of several crops such as spring wheat, sunflowers, canola, edible beans, flaxseed, and honey. 

You may also remember a couple of years ago when North Dakota was rated the happiest state in the nation. 

But what does it mean to be happy? 

In the “pursuit of happiness,” people chase many things. More land? Faster horses? Older whisky? More money? The pursuit of happiness is endless as our goals become higher and our wants more, feeling like “the next thing” will bring lasting happiness.

Chasing moving goalposts doesn’t leave you with much. The truly valuable things in life are not done for selfish gain, but for the gain of others. Joy in life comes from the things done in service to others.

As we end NDFB Week, a week dedicated to all North Dakota’s agricultural achievements, I reflect on how NDFB serves its members by representing them in the N.D. legislature, and how our farmer-members know what it takes to serve others. 

Farmers serve their communities by producing crops and livestock that make food and fuel. They get up early to push snow. They show up to basketball games and local events. When there’s an emergency or death, farmers are the first ones who show up to help. Farmers are oriented around their communities, focused on building them up and to make them stronger. 

A lot is sacrificed in the service of others, and North Dakotans know the time, work, and sweat it takes to serve others. North Dakota may be #47 in population but that enables us to be #1 in knowing and serving our neighbor.

Serving isn’t always easy but in North Dakota, we know life lived for someone else brings lasting happiness. And that makes us #1.

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