Before a sellout crowd at the Ramada Grand Dakota Hotel Dickinson, area ranchers and farmers gathered for the Agriculture Livestock Forum hosted by The Dickinson Area Chamber of Commerce on Thursday, Feb. 20.

The educational event featured special guest speakers, DW Groethe, the musical artist and cowboy poet, and Curt Pate, Montana Stockman, and served as a great opportunity to meet local agriculture professionals and business prospects while learning about the latest livestock information available.

"Working on coordinating events, setting up venue space and coordinating details and registration for events like this takes a lot of work," Christina Jorgensen, executive director of Dickinson Area Chamber of Commerce, said. "Our agriculture committee did a lot of work securing the venue and working with our speakers to bring them in tonight."

Jorgensen continued, “I personally enjoy the opportunity to learn more and connect with the Ag community. From the perspective of the Chamber, it is nice to offer a variety of events that cater to our membership base. We represent businesses across all industries, but Ag is a vital component of southwest ND, so celebrating that is important and, hey, it's fun.”

The event started in style with the fine pickin’ and cowboy limerick of Groethe, who played the guitar and shared his cowboy poetry. Songs played include “The Carhartt Song” and “The Coffee Song” with poems read including “My Father’s Horses“ and “Feed Truck Blues.”

Groethe, who was born and raised in western North Dakota, learned to play the guitar and started writing songs and poems about life out West. In 1991 he pulled stakes, moved to Bainville, Montana, and started working as a ranch hand.

Following the well received cowboy poet, Pate addressed the audience and shared how horsemanship and stockmanship have impacted his life, while providing insights into how to best handle situations both in the pen and beyond.

For more than a decade, Pate has conducted demonstrations and clinics on stockmanship, colt starting, horsemanship and safety. His abilities conducting both horsemanship and stockmanship demonstrations, along with his ability as an effective communicator, have made him a sought-after clinician both on the national and international scene.

Considered "very basic principles" of stockmanship, Pate shared pointers on topics like point of balance and walking past a group of cattle to get them to move forward. He ended his discussion on animal behavior and temperament, which he warned ranchers of being too rigid instead of adaptive.

“Just like when your loading cattle on the truck - you can’t change the way they act but you can change the way you react to the way they act,” Pate shared.

Area ranchers and farmers unwound as the event concluded with final bites of the food and parting shots of great conversation. The event was heralded a success by many departing agriculturists and ranchers alike.

“It was a great opportunity to meet local agriculture professionals and business prospects while learning about the latest livestock information,” Jorgensen said.