On March 30-31, an NDFU bus full of WILD women headed down the dusty trail toward western North Dakota. Ladies were told various clues to lead them to the city and attractions.
The women visited six attractions in 24 hours. Saturday started with a tour of Laughing Sun Brewing in Bismarck and ended in Dickinson at Fluffy Fields Vineyard & Winery. The evening provided a networking session in Dickinson, so individuals in the WILD program from across the state could meet to share ideas, dreams and learn more about what Women in Leadership Development means to others.
Sunday morning, the group ventured down the Enchanted Highway with the exclusive honor of meeting nationally recognized artist Gary Greff.
Greff talked about his passion for keeping his small community of Regent thriving. There was a stop at the Regent Consumers Cooperative grocery store, which has been in operation since 1936, and led to the important discussion of shopping local and the necessity for rural grocery stores to be able to purchase affordable food products and their contribution to thriving communities.
The group traveled north to Richardton and toured Assumption Abbey and learned about the history, services and events the Benedictine monks provide for the community and had lunch while enjoying a breathtaking view of the rolling hills from the dining room.
To end our day, the group stopped by Hoff Dairy south of Richardton for a very educational conversation and tour of robotic milking.
Hoff Dairy is the first entirely robotic dairy in the state. It was fascinating to witness the nonchalant Holsteins walk in to get milked whenever they pleased. The system recognizes each cow by a sensor on their collar. If the cow has already met her quota for the day, the machine will “tickle” her to move out, so another cow can enter the machine. The Hoffs were gracious tour guides and hosts and answered many questions.
The WILD Mystery bus tour was the first ever and took the place of regional WILD events. We hope you’ll join us on one of these WILD rides in the future!
– Molly McLain and Amanda Olson, NDFU