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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.

sunflowers

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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Summer travel tips

If you’re traveling North Dakota this summer, look for state tourism personnel in unlikely places – like rest areas and gas stations.  We’ll be out-of-the-office Fridays in July, providing traveler assistance in terms of route and destination information as well as asking for brief travel information – like how long you’ve been planning your trip and if you’re traveling for business or pleasure.

And speaking of travel tips – here are a few resources to keep in mind as you’re planning your summer getaway.

Several travelers have been asking about flooding affecting their favorite North Dakota city or attraction.  The Tourism Division is keeping tabs on all affected routes and sites.  If you have questions, we can help.  Call our travel counselors at 1-800-435-5663.  Here are some hot updates:

For more North Dakota news – be sure to like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter!

And a quick “congratulations” to North Dakotan Amy Anderson who finished 63rd in her first professional golf tournament – the U.S. Women’s Open.  Golf the legendary courses that Amy has played in North Dakota – affordable, accessible, scenic golf in the state with the most courses per capita.

 

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Marney’s Top 10 Legendary experiences

If you follow sports in Minnesota, you’re probably familiar with Fox Sports North host Marney Gellner.  Last month, Marney was back in her home state of North Dakota covering the University of North Dakota vs. University of Minnesota men’s hockey series in Grand Forks.  In preparation for the big weekend, Marney prepared two segments featuring her favorite 10 places or experiences in North Dakota.

If you missed it when it aired, you can still see Marney’s favs.  Here’s countdown 10-to-6 and countdown 5-to-1.

Marney also did pre-game interviews with North Dakota Governor Jack Dalrymple and fishing personality Jason Mitchell, of the FSN aired Jason Mitchell Outdoors program.  Especially fun is when Governor Dalrymple accurately predicts the game’s final score (and North Dakota’s win)!

Marney Gellner is legendary – RU?

 
 

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Concert Wednesday

I have concerts on my mind today and I blame the State Fair.  Tickets for KISS and Buckcherry went on sale today and someone in the office is already taunting me about her seats.

Tomorrow John Mayer brings his Battle Studies world tour to the Fargodome.  Twitter users are encouraged to tweet about the show using the tag #JM517.  Mayer’s website also promises to have photos and notes from JM after the show.

On Saturday, Martina McBride and Trace Adkins will perform together at the Bismarck Civic Center.  Official Martina fan club members can still enter to win two front row tickets with meet and greet passes.

More great concerts are coming up in North Dakota – including Simon & Garfunkel on May 7, the Charlie Daniels Band on May 21, Nickelback on May 27 and Carrie Underwood on June 17.

 
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Posted by on April 7, 2010 in Events

 

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Rock concerts added to State Fair lineup

The North Dakota State Fair has announced the addition of two major rock concerts to the 2010 entertainment lineup.  Legendary band KISS will perform July 24 and hard rockers Buckcherry will play the grandstand on July 29.  Tickets go on sale April 7.  The State Fair will be held July 23-31 in Minot and this year’s entertainment wows.  KISS and Buckcherry join the previously announced schedule including Brooks & Dunn, Eric Church, Darius Rucker and Sugarland.

 
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Posted by on March 13, 2010 in Events, North Dakota Buzz

 

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Concerts ROCK

Meet my coworker Aasta (she’s on the right).  Aasta and her BF were two of some very lucky fans at the Taylor Swift concert, Saturday at the North Dakota State Fair – they got to meet the star backstage.  The State Fair set a new record for attendance on Saturday, thanks to this popular country sensation.  And Aasta reports that Miss Swift spent time meeting each VIP guest backstage and is very, “humble, sweet and down to earth.”  I asked what the best part of the concert was and heard it was the last song of the night during “Should Have Said No” with the water pouring down and spelling out the words.  Sounds cool!

The ND State Fair continues through August 1 with more headline entertainment, exciting Midway and great food!

 
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Posted by on July 27, 2009 in Attractions, Events, Family Fun

 

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State Fair Time!!!

Mmmmm … the food, the fun, the festivity!  It’s State Fair Time!  A gal in the office just won tickets and backstage passes to see Taylor Swift.  The rest of us are trying to figure out how to become her best-friend by tomorrow.

There’s a ton of world-class entertainment at the North Dakota State Fair – including Motley Crue, Gloriana, Rodney Atkins, Heidi Newfield, Gary Allen, Dierks Bentley and Good Charlotte.  Some tickets are still available.

The State Fair has been blogging and giving away tickets to their Facebook friends and fans too.  Stay tuned next week as State Fair visitors share their experiences via blog and video.  One challenge that I’m really looking forward to is being dubbed:  “Fred vs. food at the Fair”.  I can’t wait to hear about that one.

And friends of vacationing in North Dakota are reminded to “fan” us on Facebook too!  It’s a great place to tell us about YOUR Fair fun.

 
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Posted by on July 24, 2009 in Attractions, Events

 

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