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Welcome to North Dakota

Photo by NDSU Ag Comm on flickrNorth Dakota is located in the center of the North American continent, and its beautiful landscape is predominantly composed of prairies and plains. Variations in the landscape are found at the southwestern quarter and along the eastern edge of the state. In addition, there are several long slopes and a few low ranges of hills. The landscape of the southwestern quarter of North Dakota (south and west of the Missouri River) has developed over the past several million years. Rugged badlands are found in this region. In contrast, the landscape of the remaining North Dakota areas was formed by more recent glaciers, as recent as 13,000 years ago. These glaciated areas have a landscape of rolling productive land dotted with wetlands. The Red River Valley, located along the eastern edge of the state is the bottom of a glacial lake, Lake Agassiz. This area is characterized by rich lake-bottom sediment, and sandy beach ridges 20 to 40 miles west of the Red River. As you travel west from Fargo or other eastern points, look for the sudden rise in elevation that signifies the sandy beaches.

About 60% of North Dakota is drained by the Missouri River and its tributaries. This water makes its way to the Mississippi River and finally to the Gulf of Mexico. The other 40% of North Dakota is drained by the Red River of the North and its tributaries, and this water drains north to the Hudson Bay. Elevations range from about 750 feet (230 meters) above sea level at the northeast corner of the state, to about 3500 feet (1065 meters) at White Butte in the southwestern corner of the state.

North Dakota is affectionately known as the "Peace Garden State" and where the buffalo roam. This state is graced by the wild prairie rose (state flower) and the melodious western meadowlark (state bird). North Dakota is the home for a wide variety of game and wildlife, and, therefore, also the home of many hunters and photographers. Many famous people hail from North Dakota, including Teddy Roosevelt, our 26th President; entertainers Lawrence Welk, Bobbie Vee, Angie Dickinson, and Peggy Lee; author Louis L’Amour; TV commentator Eric Sevareid; historical figures General George Custer, Sacagawae, and Sitting Bull; and sports stars Roger Maris and Cliff “Fido” Purpur. However, it is the hard-working, fun-loving men and women all across the state that has defined North Dakota.

Agriculture is big business in North Dakota. The annual value of agricultural products exceeds $5 billion. The diversity of crops grown in North Dakota is extensive. Nationally, North Dakota ranks first in production of hard red spring wheat, durum wheat, barley, oat, sunflower, canola, flaxseed, dry edible beans, dry edible peas, and lentils. In addition, North Dakota ranks high among the states for several other crops (North Dakota Department of Agriculture).

See these links for more state facts and famous North Dakotans:

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