Ranching: Modern-Era

Inducted 2023

Adolph Burkhardt

Adolph Burkhardt was born on March 13, 1915, on a ranch north of Hebron, ND. His parents, Rudolph and Karolina Burkhardt had immigrated from Russia in 1910. He walked to and attended the Elm Creek country school when not needed during planting and harvesting seasons. At the age of 17 he went to work for Matt Crowley on one of the largest ranches in the area for $20/month. After working for 3 years he was made the ranch foreman. He also met and was smitten with a local schoolteacher, Jorine Frafjord. They were married in 1945.

A year later, after working for Matt Crowley for 16 years, Adolph purchased a ranch from Badlands Bill McCarty, south of Medora, ND and started the Elkhorn Hereford Ranch, which had always been his dream. Adolph was able to acquire additional lands to expand the ranch and increase his herd to 350 head; about half being registered Herefords. He also became a leader in the ranching community and livestock business. The grazing of federal lands in western North Dakota was administered cooperatively between the grazing associations and the U.S. Forest Service. Adolph served on the Medora Grazing Association Board of Directors for 20 years, 17 as the President. He played a vital role in representing the ranching community to address and resolve issues that arose under new laws and policies affecting the use of federal lands.

He helped to implement the multiple-use concept on these lands, whereby management of livestock grazing, wildlife habitat, and recreational uses are integrated as uses of the public lands. He received recognition and awards from the Forest Service for his involvement in their land management planning, groups such as the National Wildlife Federation, the North Dakota State University, and North Dakota Stockman’s Association. After retirement due to Rheumatoid Arthritis, Adolph continued to be very active in his community. He served on the Theodore Roosevelt Medora Foundation board for 6 years, the Medora zoning board, volunteered at the Medora Grazing Association, and sponsored community events.