Agriculture at the North Dakota State Fair
The North Dakota State Fair is flourishing with agriculture, even in ways you don’t expect it. We have people come from all over the state to show their livestock, participate in different types of events, and for kids to relish in a little friendly competition. We have agriculture events for all ages to enjoy! The 4-H and FFA organizations have a big role in the North Dakota State Fair as well! They help to educate people on agriculture and how it is important to our daily lives.
Livestock shows were created to evaluate the animals based on their characteristics and qualities. People of all ages spend countless hours practicing and getting their animals ready for the State Fair. The livestock brought to the fair is some of the best in the state! People show beef cattle, dairy cattle, pigs, sheep, goats, horses, rabbits, and poultry! Last year the North Dakota State Fair had 1,617 horses, 412 beef cattle, 109 dairy cattle, 592 pigs, 887 sheep, 629 goats, 1,356 rabbits, and 374 poultry come to the fair! Furthermore, the North Dakota State Fair’s competitive exhibits department had a large turnout with a total of 38,331 4-H, FFA, and open class exhibits entered. Every year we organize a picnic for all the 4-H and FFA exhibitors to show our appreciation.
The 4-H Club organizes a contest for 4-H’ers who won champion or reserve champion at the intermediate and senior level, called The North Dakota Public Leader’s 4-H Showmanship Contest. The contest provided a platform for the 4-H’ers with the opportunity to connect with leaders of today with leaders of tomorrow. This exciting opportunity will help today’s youth build a network for future leadership.
Not only do we have competitive exhibits but we also have static exhibits where students from all over the state get the projects that they worked on in school or at home submitted to the State Fair! FFA chapters will submit wood and metalwork, agriculture products, produce, horticulture, and agriculture mechanics projects. The total FFA Exhibits in 2021 were 17,464. The 4-H clubs entered 6,440 similar static exhibit projects. Moreover, the 4-H Hall is where the educational entries are located. These projects include fine arts and crafts, horticulture, needlework, photography, and educational exhibits. In 2021, there was a total of 3,460 education exhibit entries.
Furthermore, we have a variety of competition events that take place during the fair. The Horse and Pony Pull is an event where teams of draft horses and ponies compete to show their strength. There is the Barrels of Fun and Team Roping event for the best equestrians to compete at the biggest event of the year. The best riders in the region travel to the North Dakota State Fair to get the chance for an eight-second ride at the Bull Riding Challenge and Ranch Bronc Riding on July 25 and 26. On July 27 and 28, teams of cowboys and cowgirls compete to see who the best ranchers are for the Ranch Rodeo by completing events such as trailer loading, range doctoring, team mugging, and wild cow milking! Lastly, we have the FFA Tractor Driving Contest on July 22, which allows chapter members to bring their tractors to see who has the best driving and utilizing abilities.
We even have events for the children to enjoy! Our famous Mutton Bustin event takes place before the Ranch Rodeo and is for all the little cowboys and cowgirls to participate in. Furthermore, we have the Show De O held on July 27 for young cowboys and cowgirls to compete in junior rodeo events such as barrel racing, pole bending, flag racing, and goat tying. We have a special feature event for kids younger than 8, the Kiddie-Calf Show on July 22. The State Dairy Association invites all youth who is not in a 4-H or FFA project to show a calf! A calf will be provided with the opportunity to take a picture with the calf and receive a trophy! We have the Hippity Hop Barrel Race on July 25 at the Dakota Talent Stage to test kids’ speed and agility by racing on a stick horse. Finally, there is the Kid’s Tractor Pedal Pull in front of the KX Building on July 26 for kids to have some friendly competition by pulling different items with pedal tractors. The top 3 kids in each age group from 4 to 11 will receive a trophy!
Moreover, there are agriculture events for the whole family to appreciate. On July 25, we have the Pride of Dakota Day which takes place in the SRT State Fair Park. They will have $1 hotdog lunches and a Free Ice Cream Social! There is also Water Day on July 28, which is also located in the SRT State Fair Park under the Festival Tent. Water Day is to educate the community on different water groups and what they do to support North Dakota water systems by using activities and demonstrations. They also hand out free snow cones! Our agriculture-based free attractions that run July 22-30 include Daryl’s Racing Pigs at Stage 4 which is a long-time favorite, where you cheer for these cute farm friends as they dash for the finish line! The Budweiser Clydesdales are located in West Park. You can watch their beauty and elegance while they ride out across the fairgrounds and are hitched up for pictures.
Since the North Dakota State Fair’s focal point has always been agriculture, we have the Machinery Row which features cutting-edge agriculture equipment and technology to support the knowledge of agriculture. Companies such as John Deere, Butler, Toro, AgriCover, Kubota, Cub Cadet, Exmark, Hay Buster, Bobcat, Komatsu Construction Equipment, Northland Sheds, Wood Master Wood Stove, Stihl, Traegers, Caterpillar, Horsch Anderson, Fendt, Challenger, Massey Ferguson, Gatescolter Harrow, Bourgault, Case IH, Meridian Grain Bins, Skid steer attachments, and much more. Additionally, we organize the crop plot, an amazing feature of agriculture to show the community where their food comes from. The Granville FFA chapter and NDSU Extension Service plant and maintain the crop plot. This year they are planting canola, corn, peas, soybeans, sunflowers, and wheat!
The North Dakota State Fair is proud to showcase agriculture. The agriculture industry is crucial to our environment and society. Our farmers and ranchers take care of our land and animals, they also love to educate the community on their practices and knowledge. The North Dakota State Fair is the perfect environment to help foster the growth of agriculture and community knowledge.