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RLND Class V I I Seminar Seven — Bismarck, ND

RLND Class VII participants retuned to Bismarck for seminar seven, “Understanding North Dakota Ag and Rural Policies”.

RLND Class VII We kicked off the seminar by traveling to the Burleigh Country Soil Conservation District’s Menoken Farm. Lunch was sponsored by Thrifty White Pharmacy. Representatives from Thrifty White provided information on their company and explained how they are using technology to lower prescription costs and more efficiently monitor patients’ use of medication. 

After lunch Jay Fuhrer, Soil Health Specialist with ND NRCS, and Josh Dukart, full time rancher and instructor of holistic ag courses, talked about the importance of challenging your thinking and managing farming operations for long term soil health as well as long term family and financial security.  As Josh put it “living intentionally”, maximizing inputs to provide profitability and family life while providing a diverse ecosystem.

Next, Jesse and Marcia Gifford spoke to us about the intricacies of the bee industry including the challenges of finding suitable habitat in areas that are losing pasture and hay grounds.

Our next stop was Bessy’s Best Dairy Farm where Blaine and Kathy Goetz shared why they decided to start producing their own bottled milk and cheeses, some of the regulations preventing them from expanding their product lines and the struggles of competing against multi-national conglomerates for shelf space at local stores. 

Our last stop was Black Leg Ranch founded in 1882 by our very own Jeremy Doan’s great grandfather.  We learned about their evolution from a typical ND cattle and grain operation to a pioneer in ND ag tourism and a world class wedding venue.  We heard from current Doan family patriarch and avid RLND supporter, Jerry Doan, about their implementation of holistic farming and ranching principles. Jerry also discussed his time as a lobbyist.

Thursday started out with a discussion about community capitals led by Kathy Tweeten. Next we traveled to the State Capitol were we were greeted with a warm reception from Governor Burgum. 

During his time with us his passion for making government more efficient and his affection for the innovators in ND was evident. Next we met with Senate Majority Leader Wardner and House Majority Leader Carlson.  We discussed the challenges of the current budget.

We heard from Scott Davis, Director of ND Indian Affairs, Terry Steinwand, ND Game and Fish Director, and Doug Goehring, ND Ag Commissioner, in the afternoon.  Thursday’s meetings ended with a legislative social hosted by the RLND Alumni Association.  The event drew a fantastic turnout of state legislators, a true testament to the type of program RLND is and the relationships formed between class members and local leaders.

Friday began with breakfast and a presentation by ND Farm Bureau’s Pete Hannebut about successful campaigning and his work as a lobbyist. Joel Lemer, Foster County Extension Agent, provided an overview of parliamentary procedures and how to properly run a meeting.  The seminar ended with a luncheon with members of the RLND Alumni Association.  It is great to verify that the friendships and connections forged in Class VII will serve as another brick in the foundation that is RLND. 

 

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