Robin Bauer was introduced to farm life the first time she met her future in-laws. The oldest of seven children and raised a city girl, she volunteered to drive a tractor and knock down the sweet clover. It was the first time she drove a tractor, but it wouldn't be her last.
"My husband and I have role reversal,” Bauer said. " I was not raised on a farm; however, I was crazy to be around horses and cows, the outdoors and rural living.”
Bauer's husband, Richard, who was raised on their farm 6 miles southeast of McClusky, works full time off the farm as a freight broker, while Robin manages the ranch.
"She is actively involved in running a diverse farming operation that involves cattle and crops," said Grace Rhodes, who nominated Bauer for Country Woman of the Year. "While she is working on the farm, she also fulfills the role of farm wife and mother. All this she does with grace.”
Bauer, a Mandan native, commuted to Bismarck daily until she and Richard started raising a family. After their son was born she decided to go to work full time on the ranch with her father-in-law.
"I drove back and forth to work in Bismarck, but I couldn't do it all,” she said. "I wanted a sit-down meal with my family. I didn't care what time it was or where it was, on the back of the truck or in our dining room. I realized I wanted to be a full-time mother and farming allowed me to do that."
Bauer worked side by side with her father-in-law until he died in 2011. She praises him for his patience, kindness and mentorship.
"I have been blessed so many times," Bauer said. "I am where I am today because of the others before me and I am working hard on my farm for the next generation."
The Bauers' children also play big roles on the ranch, Jessica, 34, Jaiden, 29, Michael, 18, Elisa, 17, and Kaiden, 10.
"I am so proud of my state and cannot believe how beautiful it is. I am happy to do my part for future generations," Bauer said.