Williston – North Dakota’s oil wells will begin extracting ranch dressing in an effort to revitalize the state’s economy after global oil markets plummeted into negative territory earlier this week.
As oil companies lay thousands of workers off worldwide, petroleum companies across North Dakota are switching gears by transitioning their operations to extract ranch dressing from the ground.
Hidden deep in the valleys across the northern prairie, North Dakota’s ranch deposits account for nearly 90% of the global supply of the tangy condiment, commonly referred to as “liquid white gold”. North of Bismarck lays the “Double Dip” ranch deposit. The ranch extracted from this area is 99.999% free of contaminants and is often bottled and sold to Michelin chefs or sold under black-label reserve brands.
And unlike crude oil, which is confined to the Bakken region of North Dakota, ranch deposits are found in nearly every corner of the state. North Dakota’s extracted ranch dressing typically fetches higher than average prices on the global ranch market due to the unique zest and flavor found in the dressing. Geologists attribute the unique flavors due to North Dakota’s mineral-rich soil.
As the global demand for oil has plummeted, ranch dressing markets have boomed. Earlier in the week, oil was worth less than $0. Simultaneously, ranch dressing skyrocketed to nearly $120 a barrel.
Experts attribute the surge in ranch dressing prices due to increased demands as millions of Midwesterns are forced to stay home during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“As millions of American’s across the Midwest are forced to stay home, they tend to cling to things that bring them comfort, such as guns, the bible, and ranch dressing,” says ND Ranch Dressing Commission President Daisy Dollop. “Ranch goes with everything. Mix it, dip it, bake it, fry it, drink it…it truly is the dressing of the Gods. But the fact is, ranch producers can barely keep up with demand right now, so we’re pleased to see the petroleum industry shifting their operations to extract the product. But until those transitions finalize, people should expect ranch dressing shortages at the supermarket.”
It should be no surprise that ranch dressing is North Dakota’s preferred condiment. Last year, the zesty dressing was inducted into the North Dakota Roughrider Hall of Fame.
“That was really a proud moment in our state’s history,” says North Dakota Historical Condoment Director Thomas Ato. “Ranch dressing has long been favored by generation after generation in our state. It deserves its rightful place in the Roughrider Hall of Fame at the State Capitol.”
Ranch dressing is generally safer to extract than petroleum and is friendlier on the environment too.
“In the past, we’ve had a few ranch dressing spills, but they’re typically cleaned up quickly once word spreads there’s free ranch dressing out in a field. Back in ’94, nearly 180,000 gallons of ranch dressing spilled, which lead to a 50-mile long line on Highway 83 as people lined up with their containers and french fries to capitalize on the accident,” says Dollop. “By the time former Governor Ed Schafer had written his disaster declaration, the ranch spill was cleaned up.”
Dill Zest, a “rancher” who lives north of Bismarck, says his pumps have been producing “thousands” of barrels since COVID-19 social distancing measures were put into place.
“I’ve been a rancher since the 70’s but I’ve never seen such a demand in my ranch dressing like this. It’s like the Superbowl only every day,” says Zest. “Folks I know who’s oil businesses are drying up are turning to ranch. It’s set off a fire of sorts as folks look into purchasing condiment rights on public land – much like mineral rights that people bought up during the early days of the Bakken boom. With my pumps turning out thousands of barrels each day, I’m going to have one hell of a retirement. Maybe I’ll buy myself a Ferarri that’s milky ranch white or baby dill blue.”
With no end to turmoil in the global oil markets, Governor Doug Burgum says his office is looking at ways North Dakota can capitalize on the ranch dressing boom.
“As our oil and tax revenues have taken a hit, we’ve also experienced a boom in ranch dressing extraction,” says Burgum. “We’re examining the legality of another executive order that would authorize North Dakota to collect a ranch dressing tax to ensure we can continue to fund our critical infrastructure during this unprecedented time. This would safeguard our state from having to tap into our legacy funds, which must be protected at all costs.”
Burgum says he is also considering an executive order to limit two bottles of ranch dressing per household due to interruptions in supply chains as a result of COVID-19.
“It’s encouraging to see that North Dakota’s innovation and curiosity is leading the way again by adapting to these challenging times rather than succumbing to them by capitalizing on ranch dressing extraction. But because COVID-19 is impacting our supply chains, we also need to be ‘North Dakota Smart’ by not exhausting our supply of ranch dressing. Through an executive order, I’m limiting each household to two bottles of ranch until more can be extracted from the ground. Those who violate this executive order will be forced to substitute ranch dressing for mayonnaise for 30 days.”
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