Meet Ryan Taylor
Ryan Taylor’s life is a reflection of the promise of North Dakota. It is anchored in the values of family, community and hard work. Ryan was shaped by these values growing up on his family’s ranch and they are the values that serve as the foundation of his commitment to making North Dakota the state it can be.
North Dakota Roots
Ryan is a fourth-generation North Dakotan, a member of a family with roots that run deep in our state. In 1900, Ryan’s great-grandfather left Indiana with his brothers and their families, moved west, and filed a homestead claim for 160 acres of land in McHenry County, southeast of Towner. The Taylors founded the family ranch in 1903. In 2010, the Taylor Ranch was inducted into the North Dakota Cowboy Hall of Fame.
Ryan’s parents, Marshall (“Bud”) and Liz, raised Ryan and his sister and brother on the ranch. It was a simple but loving upbringing, nothing fancy as the family made it through the farm crisis of the 1980s. For Ryan and his siblings everyone was expected to do their part in operating the ranch. And, just as importantly, Bud and Liz taught their children to look after and help their neighbors. That sense, that we are all in this together, is one of Ryan’s guiding principles.
Ryan attended public schools, one of 19 to graduate from Towner High School in 1988. Like most North Dakota families, his parents did what they could to help send their children to college. Ryan was able to attend Minot State University before transferring to North Dakota State University (NDSU). He earned more than 20 academic scholarships and worked to help finance his college education. Ryan also founded his own small business, Sandhill Communications.
Ryan was active in campus life at NDSU, serving in many clubs and associations, including the FarmHouse Fraternity. Still, even with the heavy load of school, activities and work, he made time to volunteer as a ‘Meals on Wheels’ delivery driver.
In 1992, Ryan graduated with honors from NDSU with two bachelor degrees in Agricultural Economics and Mass Communications, along with a minor in Animal & Range Sciences.
Rancher and Businessman
While most in his generation were leaving North Dakota after college graduation, Ryan returned home to help manage and operate his family’s ranch with his father who had been diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease.
In 1995, Ryan worked with the startup Northern Plains Premium Beef Cooperative. Serving as the cooperative’s communications director, Ryan led outreach efforts to more than 3,200 cattle producers in seven states and two Canadian provinces and helped raise $10 million in pledges of producer equity for the venture.
Ryan continued to grow Sandhill Communications, which has provided communication and marketing services for agricultural clientele in North Dakota, South Dakota, Minnesota, Montana, Idaho, Nebraska, California, and Canadian clients in Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba. He also embarked on a successful career in veterinary pharmaceutical sales for Fort Dodge Animal Health. Ryan grew sales from $1 million to $2.47 million in his first two years as territory manager.
Throughout it all, Ryan has managed the Taylor Ranch. Today the ranch consists of nearly 2,900 acres of rangeland and hay meadows. It’s where Ryan and his family raise a few horses and more than 200 commercial Angus cow/calf pairs.
“Cowboy Logic” Syndicated Columnist, Author and Speaker
Ryan is widely known for his popular syndicated column, “Cowboy Logic,” which has a circulation of more than 160,000 in the Upper Midwest and Canada. He is the author of two books, “A Collection of Cowboy Logic” and “Cowboy Logic Continues.” A popular public speaker, Ryan has delivered his “Cowboy Logic Live” presentations and after-dinner speeches to more than 200 groups and events in North Dakota, South Dakota, Minnesota, Montana, Idaho, Nebraska, California, Colorado, Alberta, Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Ontario.
State Senator – A Leader for North Dakota Families
In 2001, Ryan ran the New York City Marathon in memory of two friends he lost in the World Trade Center on 9-11. It was a period of reflection for him. After running the marathon, Ryan decided it was time to serve something greater than self, to give back to his community and state.
At the age of 32, Ryan ran for the North Dakota Senate from District 7. This rural district comprises McHenry and Pierce Counties and parts of Benson and Sheridan Counties. He was running against an entrenched incumbent who had been in the State Senate for three terms. Few thought Ryan had a chance. On Election Day, he shocked the North Dakota political establishment by winning 56% of the vote. Ryan was re-elected in 2006 and 2010, winning both races with more than 60% of the vote.
Ryan’s election from a conservative district can be credited to the fact that he puts policies before politics. For Ryan, the greatest good for the greatest number motivates his work in the State Senate. He has served on the education, agriculture and transportation standing committees, and has had interim committee assignments in economic development, workforce development, natural resources and higher education.
He received the 2010 Children’s Champion award for his work fighting for the education, care and protection of North Dakota’s children. He has stood up for the road repair and maintenance needs of North Dakota’s communities and rural areas, and worked to make North Dakota more proactive as it considers its future and the legacy it will leave for the next generations.
In December 2010, Ryan’s Senate colleagues in the Democratic-NPL Caucus elected him to serve as their leader.
As Senate Minority Leader during the 2011 North Dakota Legislative Assembly, Ryan worked to bring broad based tax relief to all its citizens, making sure that small businesses and middle income families weren’t left behind. He promoted good government and public policy transparency with members of his caucus, and worked to make sure that the needs of roads, schools and our kids didn’t take a back seat to special deals for political cronies.
Husband, Father, Community Leader
Ryan has been married to Nikki (Mogen) Taylor for eight years. They reside on the family’s ranch where they are raising the fifth generation of North Dakota Taylors: Marshall, 7; Olav, 5; and Sylvia, 3.
Ryan is a past president of his church council at Zion Lutheran. He is a member of the North Dakota Stockmen’s Association, president of his local Dollars For Scholars chapter, and serves on the board of directors of Hartland Mutual Insurance. He has held former office and been active in the past with a host of organizations in his community like the Towner Area Beef Promoters, the Towner FFA Alumni, the Rural Leadership North Dakota council, and the Souris Basin Planning Council Revolving Loan Fund. He is a trustee of the North Dakota Cowboy Hall of Fame and has been active with the Midwest Council of State Governments and the American Council of Young Political Leaders.
The Leader North Dakota Needs Now
Ryan Taylor is the leader North Dakota needs. His faith in North Dakota was not shaped by party or ideology. It was shaped by the example of his parents, his family’s legacy, a commitment to community, a faith in God, the satisfaction of hard work, the importance of thrift and the dedication to leave your corner of the world better than you found it. And it’s a belief that people of good faith can come together, forge a consensus and address the challenges that confront us.
Ryan has the vision to meet the challenges and opportunities of our times so we can build the kind of state North Dakota can become.