Life has been crazier here than the typical summer at NDFU. On top of going to fantastic places with incredible members, I’ve had the privilege of traveling across the beautiful North Dakota prairie.
Last week we held our Farm Bill Forums. These are some of my most favorite, they remind me of “shop talks” but we bring in the experts to hear what rural North Dakotans have to say. We held six of them across the state, beginning in Flasher and ending in Wapheton with a few stops in between. The discussion varied at each location, which is a great reflection of the different needs across the state.
The panel consisted of Scott Stofferahn who is the State Director for Senator Conrad. Scott has so much knowledge on this subject, and it’s such a privilege to have him at a NDFU event. He helped write the 2002 and 2008 Farm Bill, he has worked on policy issues for his entire career, and knows the in’s and out’s of policy regarding agriculture whether it be state or federal. Scott has incredible depth. Tom Brusegaard who is the Senior Ag advisor to Senator Hoeven in North Dakota did an excellent job as well, he knows where Senator Hoeven would like to see the farm bill go, so he’s very insightful about the future of the bill and how it will play out for the next generation of farmers. This was incredibly interesting to me because I work mostly with the next generation of farmers. Bob Christman was barely through initiation at Rep. Berg’s office and graciously accepted to join the panel. He was more about listening to the needs of the people and reporting back to Rep. Berg.
NDFU President Woody Barth moderated all of the forums. Here’s the group!
NDFU held six of the forums across the state in three days. The route went, Flasher, Belfield, Kenmare, McClusky, Binford and Wapheton. A large variety of needs to hear about and a great way to hear what’s working in some areas, and what’s not working.
The biggest adventure for me and my travel coworker Anne was the drive from Belfield to Minot on Tuesday evening. We needed to pit stop in Killdeer to snap some photos, then head up to Minot for a snooze before heading to Kenmare the next morning. The drive was beautiful for the first half.
As we were driving along it felt very bizarre. One moment we were on the prairie, the next we were driving through hills and badlands that went as far as the eye could see, like we drove right into a different place. Then the fun began. If you are traveling in North Dakota give yourself plenty of extra time if you’re going to drive on Hwy 23. We were bumper to bumper for about two hours, saw lots of interesting things, and listened to a wide variety of music.
We finally arrived at the hotel in Minot to check in around 11 p.m. and it was a great treat to stretch out and enjoy a snack before bed.
I ended the week by working the NDFU booth at the Stutsman County Fair, where we promoted the Women In Leadership Development,WILD, event that is happening at the NDFU state office Sept. 21 and Sept. 22nd. It was a GREAT opportunity to talk with members, see people that I haven’t in many years and make new friends.
Thank YOU members who attended the forums and stopped by the tent. That’s the best part of my job, visiting with you and getting your feedback. Thanks for all you do!
I’ll see you on the road.