After a lifetime spent working in agriculture, Mike Rose finally decided it was time to move on to other things.
The North Dakota State University Ward County Extension agent since 1998, Rose retired from the position July 15. He had been in the NDSU system a long time, getting his first job in 1970 and attending NDSU as a student before that.
The Langdon native has been involved in agriculture his entire life, growing up on his parents' farm and learning the ropes first-hand on the farm and in the classroom.
Dan Feldner/MDN • Mike Rose retired as North Dakota State University Ward County Extension agent July 15. Rose had been with Ward County since 1998, and began his work at various extension offices around the state in 1970.
"I grew up on a farm. My mom and dad were active in ag organizations including 4-H, and when I grew up I was active in 4-H and FFA," Rose said. "I had a real strong vo-ag teacher in high school that encouraged me to pursue agriculture as a career."
He went on to major in agricultural education at NDSU. He got the degree intending to be a high school vo-ag teacher himself, but an opportunity became available that he decided to take. In 1970 he accepted a job as assistant county agent with the NDSU Richland County Extension Service in Wahpeton.
Although he ended up never teaching in a high school setting, Rose was still able to work education into his job at the extension service, which was something he greatly enjoyed.
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"I enjoyed the teaching part of the extension (service) because most of the educational programs that I've done over the years have been teaching adults as well as youth. But with the majority of my programs I teach adults, and I've enjoyed that," Rose said. "I've enjoyed putting together educational programs and teaching them in a variety of settings."
After working in Wahpeton, Rose moved to the Extension Service in Dickinson for a time. While he was there his dad retired from farming, so Rose moved back to Langdon to manage the family farm he grew up on. He grew wheat, barley, sunflowers and flax.
"I had an opportunity to take over the farm, so our family moved back to Langdon and we operated the farm for 11 years," Rose said.
When health issues forced him to retire from farming, he rented the land to a neighbor and resumed his work for the NDSU Extension Service. Rose first moved to Towner, and finally to Minot in 1998 to work for the Ward County Extension Service as an extension agent.
One of the things Rose enjoyed most about his time at the many different extension offices over the years was the variety of programs he worked with. The programs differed depending on what the county needed, and Rose said that always kept the job interesting and helped improve his knowledge in many different fields. For instance, in McHenry County dairy was important, while in Dickinson it was livestock.
"My major responsibility over the years has been working in the area of agronomy and horticulture," Rose said. "And also some work with livestock educational programs, and of course, grain marketing."
Teaching in the different educational programs not only allowed Rose to put his agricultural education degree to good use, it also gave him the opportunity to work with many different organizations and people over the years.
"With these educational programs we work with a variety of organizations to help facilitate our programs," Rose said. "For example, we have two marketing clubs in the county that we work with. We had our master gardeners that we worked with."
Retirement was a difficult decision for Rose to make, but he said ultimately it was time for him to start a new chapter in his life. He's been making the most of all his newfound time, too. Rose recently traveled to the Twin Cities to babysit his granddaughters, and has also been enjoying tending his large yard and garden just outside of Minot.
Perhaps thankfully, his wife Marla still works as a speech pathologist at Trinity, so Rose hasn't driven her crazy by being home all day.
He's also still active in the community in a variety of ways, including his involvement with the Minot Lions.
While he's definitely enjoying his retirement, Rose does miss certain aspects of his job. Most notably, it is the people he was able to work with over the years that he will miss the most. This includes not only the other agents and support staff in the office, but the farmers and many homeowners who took part in his educational programs.
"The part I enjoyed most is working with the farmers and the gardeners. Those are my two major audiences that I work with. And I guess just working with the people," Rose said. "Over the years I've developed a large number of horticulture educational programs on a variety of subjects related to yard care and gardening."