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!!

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.