Governors’ Conference on North Dakota History Explores Agricultural Innovations


Bruce Gjovig, director of the Center for Innovation at the University of North Dakota, will be the keynote speaker for the 24th Annual Governor’s Conference on North Dakota History coming up on October 26-27 at the Bismarck Civic Center. Gjovig’s address will be delivered Friday, Oct. 26 at 7:30 p.m. The theme of this year’s conference is “Partners on the Prairie: Inventing Solutions for Agriculture.”

The conference is sponsored by the state’s history agency, the State Historical Society of North Dakota (SHSND).

Governor Jack Dalrymple has been invited to open the conference on Friday at 9 a.m. Additional featured speakers on Friday include Dr. Dave Hopkins, soil scientist with USDA-ARS in Mandan, who will speak about the formation of ND soils; Dr. Barbara Handy-Marchello, associate professor emeritus of History at UND, speaking about economics of 19th century farm women; Bill Patrie, executive director, Common Enterprise Development Corporation discussing the births of cooperatives; Carl Dahlen, NDSU Extension Beef Cattle Specialist, discussing the development of the beef and dairy industry; Don Tanaka, retired soil scientist at NDSU Ag Research, speaking on sod busting and breaking and building farms by destroying soil; Tim Faller, assistant director with NDSU Ag Research; Dr. Dave Franzen; Dr. Rich Zollenger; Mark Peterson; and more.

“The whole point of the conference is to provide North Dakotans with the historical context of how agriculture has developed due to innovative solutions to the unique challenges we face in our state,” said Erik Holland, conference coordinator and curator of education for the SHSND. “Agriculture is vital to the people and economy of our state.”

On Friday, the North Dakota Heritage Foundation annual meeting will take place at 12:45 p.m. Following the Friday night banquet, SHSND Director Merl Paaverud will present the agency’s annual awards for outstanding achievements in the field of history. SHSND Architectural Historian Lorna Meidinger will announce newly listed North Dakota properties in the National Register of Historic Places.

Saturday events include a panel of USDA experts discussing farming and the government, a session on the driverless tractor of the future, development of modern farm equipment, and ND Agriculture Commissioner Doug Goehring discussing the future of agriculture in North Dakota.

For information on the Governor’s Conference on North Dakota History, email SHSND Administrative Assistant Kiri Stone at [email protected]  or call at 701.328.2799. Registration is required, and fees include lunch. Register online at


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