Greetings from the epicenter of the Bakken Oil Formation!
When I tell people in the state of North Dakota that I am a rancher from Watford City, I get a variety of interesting responses and questions about what it is like out here. I try to entertain them with a balanced, first hand report of what it is REALLY like.
It is fast paced. It is congested. It is high intensity. It is dynamic. It is unique. It is the most booming economy in the most prosperous country in the world. IT IS CHANGING RAPIDLY EVERY SINGLE DAY AND EVERY SINGLE NIGHT (it never stops)...
It is NOT a place that is more dangerous for women than other places in the United States of similar population. It is NOT a place for those who are 'soft' either physically, emotionally, or spiritually. It is NOT a place for those who are unwilling or unable to deal with 'change'. It is NOT a place for those who are unwilling to 'get a little bit dirty'. It is NOT a place for those who are NOT willing to work REALLY, REALLY hard and long hours.
I have come to the conclusion that many people hear me say "My family ranches southeast of Watford City...." and they immediately think that I am either anti-energy development in these wild and scenic spaces (that I have called home my entire life (even when I was physically separated from them from 1993 to 2006)), or I am a mineral owner who is benefiting financially and for that reason am more tolerant than most. I am neither of these things.
This past summer I agreed to work with an organization called the American Petroleum Institute (API). They are a national organization that represents all segments of the petroleum industry in America. In addition to their efforts in lobbying on a federal level for policies that promote domestic energy security, they also research and promote 'best practices' within the industry. Before I agreed to work with them, I consulted people in the industry that I trust, who I believe to be both unbiased and also who have a deep love for this place and a sense of home, with strong roots in this community. We reviewed content of the radio script and although we focused on the positive things (outside of the economy stupid, as that is pretty obvious) happening with western North Dakota's energy development, we ensured that the content built in that radio spot was accurate. Absolutely, API was paying the bills to produce this thing, so although the content was not ALL roses, the inflection in my voice was encouraged to be so. I hope you will take a look at this link to better understand what API does.
I have decided to talk about western North Dakota oil country is several parts on my blog. If it is an interest to you, I encourage you to either follow my blog or check back periodically for the subsequent parts of this subject.
We will return to stories of ranching life when the baby calves start arriving the beginning of March!