Susie Nitschke may have been born in the city, but she calls the country "home."
The 45-year-old became exposed to farm life when she was 12 years old. Her family eventually moved to the country full time when her mother, who was widowed, married a farmer.
Today, Nitschke plays a key role in operating a ranch with her husband, Corey, and brother-in-law Brian, 40 miles southwest of Jamestown.
“She is the vet, cook, fence fixer, gardener, rock roller, digger, truck driver, book keeper and most important mother and wife,” said her daughter, Stacy Adams, who nominated Nitschke for Country Woman of the Year.
Nitschke is devoted to her animals, which includes cattle and American Quarter Horse Association horses.
“I love the cattle, that’s my passion,” she said. “I break quarter horses and I’m out there, hands on.”
Nitschke admits ranching has its ups and downs, but she loves it all the same.
“It is not easy to be in the ag business, but my father-in-law once said, ‘Farming is not a business, it is a way of life.' We have good years and bad years, but at least we have each other to get through it all,” she said.
Besides ranching, Nitschke is known to garden and can her produce. In fact, she has a Facebook page called Penny Pinching Farm Girl dedicated to providing money saving tips, baking videos, canning videos and more.
“This page was created to help more people understand the value of homegrown food and how to save a dollar,” she said.
When Nitschke isn’t working on the cow-calf operation, raising AQHA horses, gardening, enjoying her family, or serving on her church council, she is devoted to the New West Heritage Riders Drill team. The mounted precision drill team is composed of women from Stutsman County and surrounding counties. Nitschke is the president and takes pride in her role.
“There are a lot of country women on our team and we perform at parades, rodeos and other celebrations,” she said.
The patriotic drill team is a colorful attraction at many North Dakota events year-round.
“Being a rancher/farmer is an honor, and even though it comes with a lot of work, it helped me teach my kids to have strong work ethic,” Susie said.
The Nitschkes have three children: Stacy Adams, 25, Shane Adams, 24, and Dillon Nitschke, 12.