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Prairie Fare: Take Pride in North Dakota Agriculture

North Dakota provides the country and world with lots of nutrition.

By Julie Garden-Robinson, Food and Nutrition Specialist

NDSU Extension Service

As I looked through my kids' school lunch menu, I noticed the "Pride of Dakota Day" menu during "National Ag Week." North Dakota is a leading producer of many agricultural commodities, so a day of recognition is well-deserved.

National Ag Week is in the middle of March, which also is National Nutrition Month.

That's a nice coincidence.

North Dakota provides the country and world with lots of nutrition.

In our area of the country, most people don't like to brag. Overall, we tend to be a fairly reserved bunch.

Let's say that someone was having an exceptionally good day. He even may have won the sweepstakes.

He'd probably say he was feeling "pretty good."

On the other hand, if someone was having the worst day of his or her life, the person probably would say, "It could be worse."

Well, I'm going to brag about North Dakota agriculture and all the food it puts on our tables. So, you may need to cover your eyes or ears.

North Dakota ranks first in spring wheat, durum wheat, canola, sunflower seeds (oil and nonoil), flaxseed, dry edible beans, lentils and honey. North Dakota ranks high in the production of sugar beets, potatoes, oats, soybeans, beef and corn. North Dakota also produces many other commodities used for food, feed and other goods.

According to the North Dakota Department of Agriculture, North Dakota farmers and ranchers produce enough wheat for 13.5 billion loaves of bread, beef for 113 million hamburgers, milk for 1 billion glasses, durum for 6.3 billion servings of spaghetti and sunflowers to fill 2.2 billion bags of sunflower seeds.

I'd say that's "pretty good."

Agriculture is part of our lives, whether we realize it or not. Animal and/or plant byproducts are used in pharmaceuticals, lumber, paints, fuel, upholstery, adhesives, ink, lotions, crayons, shoes and numerous other products.

During March, National Nutrition Month, think about what you eat and who produces it for you. To find out what the current nutrition recommendations are for you, visit for a personalized pyramid. To learn more about North Dakota agriculture, visit

Here's a recipe featuring several North Dakota commodities. For a North Dakota-inspired menu, enjoy the recipe while also eating whole-wheat rolls, rhubarb crisp and low-fat milk.

Chili with Beef, Beans and Potatoes

1 pound extra lean ground beef

1 onion, chopped

2 c. tomato sauce or puree

1 15-ounce can kidney or chili beans

4 potatoes, cubed

2 1/2 Tbsp. chili powder (or to taste)

2 c. water (or more)

In a large saucepan over medium heat, saute ground beef and onion for five to 10 minutes or until the onion is almost tender and the beef is browned. Then drain the fat. Add tomato sauce, kidney beans, potatoes, chili powder and water. Reduce heat to low and simmer to 165 degrees for about 30 minutes. Add another cup of water if thinner chili is desired.

Makes seven servings. Each serving has 290 calories, 3 grams (g) of fat, 49 g of carbohydrate, and 7 g of fiber.

NDSU Agriculture Communication

Source:Julie Garden-Robinson, (701) 231-7187,
Editor:Rich Mattern, (701) 231-6136,
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