The Pinke Post: Before a bountiful harvest, landscape is a feast for the eyes
It's time to go for a crop tour drive and anyone can do it. Farmers drive and look at their own crops. And maybe they're looking at the neighbor's crops, too.
Farmers get out, walk their own fields and inspect with agronomic knowledge to know what to do next. Whether you're farming or not, go for a drive this time of year to see the fields.
I'm not advocating for you to trespass and walk on someone's field. Remember, that's their private property and future paycheck this year. But get out of your comfort zone and go look at the bounty. We're surrounded by fields of lush variety.
Recently I drove more than 900 miles without leaving my state's borders for 48 hours of work commitments. I shared some highway observations on Instagram stories, from blooming canola fields, ripening wheat and barley fields, alfalfa being hayed, cattle grazing, and finally on Highway 52 by Drake, N.D., I found a blooming flax field.
The North Dakota landscape varies greatly from the rich soil of the farmland of the Red River Valley of the north to the prairie pothole region further west and the Badlands of western North Dakota. I loved driving by the North Unit of Theodore Roosevelt State Park on Highway 85 to Williston.
Our 26th president first came to North Dakota at age 24 in 1883. Theodore Rooevelt invested in two ranches and kept cattle interests until he became vice president in 1901. He continued to visit North Dakota throughout his life for hunting, including his last visit in 1918, just months before his death. Roosevelt said North Dakota is where "the romance of his life began."
I can relate to Roosevelt's sentiments as the romance of my life began in North Dakota agriculture and remains rooted here. I never tire of North Dakota beauty.
While venturing out to see your own beauty, you will see soybean, corn and wheat fields planted in many fields. With the late and wet spring, we also have some prevented planting acres and now may have a cover crop for soil health purposes planted on them. Sunflowers were planted late in the season and are finally blooming. Seeing blooming sunflower fields is your reason to get in the car today. You might also spot a potato field or sugar beet field depending on the area you're touring. No matter where you travel on your crop tour, you'll see the beauty and diversity in our American farm fields and ranching pastures.
While North Dakota's 26,000 farms are diverse in their crops across the many fields you see, we also have far more beef cattle than people. Nine states have more cattle than people and for us, it's 2.45 cows for every person in North Dakota. (1.77 million cows and 723,000 people.) I personally prefer more cows than people and am supportive and advocate to grow our animal agriculture on our farms and ranches.
Get out on your own tour of crops and pastures this time of year. Unplug and soak in a bounty of beauty.