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.


I’m a sucker for the sky. So it’s a good thing I live in North Dakota, where I get to see a lot of it! It seems I’m always looking up. Maybe I have my head in the clouds or something. I don’t know. I’m just in frequent awe of how majestic it all is, and have a phone full of photos to prove it. Since I take so many photos of the sky (and stuff in front of the sky), I figure I better share a few.

We had some "weather" on October 1 and this photo was taken after the storm headed to the east.
We had some “weather” on October 1 and this photo was taken after the storm headed to the east.
the little cloud that could
And after I photographed the passing cloud bank, I looked to the north and saw this….a tiny cloud releasing a bucketful of moisture!
morning palette
October sunrises are always so incredibly beautiful! Probably because I’m up in time to see them!!!!
foggy morning
Ok, this isn’t technically a sky picture, but it has fog in it, which CAME from the sky! And birds. Which fly in the sky! This is another on-my-way-to-work shot. Made me a little late, but I just couldn’t resist the shot. The birds were the bonus of walking into the grass.
soybean harvest
The soybean field near our house was harvested last Saturday. Loved the wispy clouds behind the combine.
26th Street
I picked up my daughter from a sleepover party on Sunday morning, and couldn’t resist driving down to the end of the maintained road for this 9 a.m. shot.

Hazy day


The  sun rose hazy today. Apparently the result of the Pacific Northwest fires. It makes for some really great photos, but after a few days, many of us begin to complain that we just want our clear North Dakota skies back.

Especially at night. Even when you live a few miles away from a bigger city in this state, you can enjoy the night skies. Which I do. It settles me. Sometimes, when the day seems particularly stressful, a deep breath and a look up at a sky full of stars is all it takes to make everything right.

But the haze is thick today and might stay around for a while.

And speaking of hazy, there is a hearing in Fargo today regarding EPA’s Waters of the U.S. rule. The state of North Dakota has joined with several other states in an attempt to block the rule going into effect. The rule is so vague (hence the “and speaking of hazy”) a landowner has no reliable way to know what will be regulated. It’s a tense time for farmers and ranchers as this whole thing plays out.

From the NDFB perspective, throwing out the rule and starting over is the only sensible thing to do. We’ll see if common sense prevails!

My NDFB life

So here I am. 30 years in the business. 30 years with Farm Bureau (I know. AP style says DON’T start a sentence with a number. It just seems so much more impressive when you use the number at the beginning of those two sentences. Sorry! Just bein’ honest!)

NDFB was my first career move out of college. And it will hopefully be my last. Why? Because this is my passion. Sharing stories about people, people who I admire and trust. People who, every day, impress me with their courage, determination and strength.

That being said, this job has evolved and changed over the years, just as I have. What I’m doing today is MUCH, MUCH different than what I did back in 1985. And to be honest, I am not one to say, “I wish we could go back to the good old days.” When I started working for NDFB, I was hired as a writer for the magazine Dakota Family. Back in the old days, a hashtag was something you found on your Hash jeans! Anyone remember those? (They were all the rage at the high school I graduated from.) Now I’m tweeting and instagramming and hastagging #antfarmview and #ahhthegoodlife and #throwbackthursday all in the name of NDFB. And I’m loving it!

What is this blog supposed to do? Just give you a behind-the-scenes day-in-the-life account of an organizational communicator’s process at a job they truly love. (If there is even a process. To be honest, my best work comes to me in the shower, or while I’m driving around country roads by myself looking for things to photograph.)

So, I hope you will join me as I share my NDFB life with you, because it has been a wonderful ride, and I’m not done yet!