Category Archives: Education Vacations

Happy Ag Day!

I’ve just learned that its Ag Day 2013 which has inspired me to get back to blogging. I’m sorry for the long lag!

Being a North Dakotan who was raised rural, I often forget that others don’t have a familiarity with the beauty of agriculture and the enormity of farm production. I’m from the Red River Valley, an area known for its fertile farm lands. To me, there’s nothing more beautiful than miles of plush, green fields, for as far as the eye can see. Visitors to North Dakota frequently call the Tourism Division and ask about the types of crops they’re seeing in the state. Whether its fields of blooming purple flowers (flax), small yellow flowers (canola) or those photogenic sunflowers, we love to help our visitors learn more about the scenery they’ll find here.


Agriculture is North Dakota’s #1 industry. According to research at North Dakota State University, it contributed $7.8 billion to the state’s economy in 2011. And North Dakota leads the nation in production of sunflowers, barley, dry edible beans, pinto beans, canola, flaxseed, honey, lentils, dry edible peas, durum wheat and spring wheat.

So I’m sharing a bit about North Dakota’s agriculture today and there are three tourism-related spins that I want to put on this #1 industry: 1) how to enjoy the beauty; 2) how to enjoy the production; and 3) how to learn more and experience agriculture.

Enjoy the Beauty

Knee high by the 4th of July? This is my family, in the Red River Valley, late June, 2012.

Knee high by the 4th of July? This is my family, in the Red River Valley, late June, 2012.

Agriculture, including ranching, is everywhere in North Dakota, covering approximately 39.2 million acres. Any spring, summer or fall trip through the state and you’re guaranteed to see the land in some phase of production. Most spring planting occurs in April and May, with harvest spanning a wide time frame, depending on the crop. Harvest takes place anywhere between July and November. Visitors can journey throughout North Dakota and also make stops at specific farms and gardens, such as Dakota Sun Gardens near Carrington and Black Leg Ranch near Bismarck – where you can even saddle up for your tour. Photo opportunities are plentiful!

Enjoy the Production

THIS is where agriculture gets yummy! Consider for a moment the Red Barn and Berry Farm near Kindred. Here you can pick raspberries and even nibble as you go – without fear of being weighed on your way out! Farmer’s Markets can be found in cities large-and-small, like the Town Square Farmers Market in Grand Forks – taking place Saturdays mid-June through September. And check out the North Dakota products marketed by Pride of Dakota! You’ll find everything from delicious Dakota Growers Pasta to lotions made of honey.

Learn More

harvest07-5Agriculture in North Dakota has history. Visitors can relive farming on the prairie at Bonanzaville in West Fargo or experience what a northern “plantation” was like at the Bagg Bonanza Farm near Mooreton. And if ranching is more your interest, there’s no better place than the North Dakota Cowboy Hall of Fame in Medora. Not just a hall of honorees! This museum celebrates western heritage and culture.

Interested in the scientific side of agriculture? Visit the Langdon Research Extension Center or the North Central Research Extension Center of Minot and see how tests are being done to maintain and improve the industry.

If you really want to get your hands dirty, North Dakota has opportunities for that too! GardenDwellers Farm of Esmond has classes, events and “group play” in production of herbs. Sheer sheep and spin your own wool at Wooly Girls, near Wales. Get your feet dirty at the Red Trail Vineyard Harvest Festival and Grape Stomp.


Celebrate Ag

Milking a cow at the North Dakota State Fair

Milking a cow at the North Dakota State Fair

Okay … I’m going to throw in a fourth way to enjoy agriculture in North Dakota and that’s in celebration. Here you can find festivals for rhubarb, chokecherries, apples, sauerkraut, lefse, ribs, turkeys, watermelon, sunflowers, corn, potatoes and even lobster. The North Dakota State Fair has competitive exhibiting (and great entertainment). There’s also a huge annual event called the Big Iron Farm Show that draws more than 80,000 people.


Agriculture and tourism blend together brilliantly in North Dakota. In fact, we have an AgriTourism program helping connect travelers to all these ways to experience the industry and helping producers expand their businesses by offering tourism components. Learn more online.


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Last Minute Labor Day

Are you geared up and ready to go this weekend? With plenty of fun outdoor activities to enjoy in North Dakota, I thought I would key you in on some tidbits about this festive weekend.


If you have not been out to Medora this summer yet, now is the absolute time! The ‘Best Show In The West,’ the Medora Musical puts on their final performance of the summer on Sept. 5. A musical tribute to the late Wade Westin will  also be held September 5 at 2 p.m., MDT at the Burning Hills Amphitheatre . The event features various artists, including Clyde Bauman, Jessie Veeder and cast members of the Medora Musical. Greg Hager will perform on the Chateau de Mores Interpretive Center patio during the afternoon on September 4.


Getting out to Medora also means a great weekend of scenery and recreation at the beautiful Theodore Roosevelt National Park. Since it sounds like it will be a weekend full of wonderful weather, hiking, biking, canoeing, or whatever your favorite recreational activity might be, North Dakota has you covered! Whether you want to stay close to home or take a great road trip North Dakota has many great state and national parks located across the state with fantastic trails and rivers.

Great Entertainment?

Friday Night Races is happening tonight in Grand Forks, if you haven’t gone yet, you dont’ want to miss out on this excitement!

Motor Magic is out at the North Dakota State Fair Grounds through the whole weekend, and one weekend only! They will kick off the motor mayhem along with enduro race, demolition derby, motorcycle poker run, auto cross and an auto classic car display.

-These are just a few events that are happening in North Dakota this Labor Day weekend, so if you are in need of some last minute planning  our website is your key for activities, attractions, accommodations and events!


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North Dakota has a Waterfall?

Sure doesand we are proud of it! North Dakota’s only registered waterfall is breathtaking Mineral Springs Waterfall in Sheyenne State Forest. It has been one of the best kept secrets among adventure seekers that are from or have come to North Dakota. It is one of the sacred attractions of the state and a great hiking adventure for all! There is a marked trail that will lead you to the hidden treasure, but along the way, keep your eyes open for some great wildlife. It comes from an underground spring that drops 8 feet and runs into the Sheyenne River. The Mineral Springs Falls is located about 10 miles west of Lisbon. If you would like detailed directions to the falls, contact the Sheyenne River Valley National Scenic Byway at 701-845-2251

Looking for some more hidden North Dakota Trail secrets, ND native Scott Kudelka wrote and published a terrific book called “North Dakota’s Best Hiking Trails.” There are some fresh ideas, as well as some great favorites that are not to be missed when hiking or biking.

Plan your North Dakota adventure with the help of “My Trip Planner”


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Historic Hike!

Join Chris Johnson (State Historical Society of North Dakota) at the Killdeer Mountain Battlefield State Historic site on July 31st for the 9th annual Killdeer Mountain History Hike. This free event is a guided hike starting at the base of Killdeer Mountain and ending at what is known as the Medicine Hole. Along the route, the 1864 Battle of Killdeer Mountain and the Medicine hole’s significance will be explained and discussed. For more information about the day’s events, contact Diane Rogness at (701) 328-3508 or email at

Join in on this Legendary adventure through historic North Dakota!


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ND is Buzzin’

3 North Dakota Towns (Bismarck, Fargo, and Grand Forks) made the Top 100 “Places to Live 2010” by Money Magazine! 

Theodore Roosevelt National Park was named #7 in “Top 10 Wildlife Viewing” from for one of the best places in the country to see the great bison that were once a central fixture of life in the Great Plains. Also the wild horses, deer, elk, prairie dogs.

“Awesome Vacations in All 50 States” from Bing Travel gave the Knife River Indian Villages Historic Site top marks as it is the land that was once a major trading region where Lewis and Clark met Sacajawea. It introduces visitors to the history and heritage of the Northern Plains tribe.

We have so much to offer here in North Dakota, such a wide variety of positive attributes that makes North Dakota so great! I am so proud to be from this miraculous state, so whether you are planning a trip to do some wildlife sight seeing or to immerse yourself in historical culture we are your destination!


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Get Your Free Passport to History

A third edition of the award- winning Passport to North Dakota History (a traveler’s guide to historic sites) has been repulished for this summer’s tourist season, thanks to Tesoro! The theme for this year’s passport is the Power of the Past- the Journey Begins Here. This edition features locations of more than 20 energy facilities across the state, that details guided tours and facility facts and figures.

“The Passport to North Dakota History guide is a great way to showcase North Dakota’s rich heritage and historic attractions for residents and visitors alike, as well as to chronicle the state’s legendary jouney into the past” Jack Dalrymple, Lieutenant Governor

It’s Free and available at Tesoro stations and through the State Historical Societyof ND (SHSND)!


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EDND Picnic on the Prairie

Black Butte Adventures was pleased to host the Economic Developers for their summer meeting with a pitchfork fondue (Cowboy’s Cafe from Sawyer did the cooking) and tour of  some of North Dakota’s pristine prairie.  With the incredible rain and cool weather, the prairie is buzzing with activity and nature.  Stop by to visit when you are in the area.


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