Salem Sue North Dakota

Situated on School Hill between the city of Salem and Interstate 94, Salem Sue the World’s largest Holstein cow and the second-largest roadside animal sculpture in North Dakota. Salem Sue was erected by the New Salem Lion’s Club back in 1974 for the total cost of $40,000 which was donated by the local farmers, businesspeople, dairymen and the residents of the city. Salem Sue is constructed entirely of fiber glass is hollow. The sculpture is so large that she can be seen from five miles away. The artist who created Salem Sue is also the same artist who created the world’s largest catfish in Wahpeton, North Dakota.

The sculpture weighs about 6 tons and was so big that she had to be constructed in 3 sections to get her up the hill. Salem Sue is one popular Holstein cow. She is recognized worldwide and helps to promote tourism and businesses. She also serves to educate and cultivate the interest of New Salem’s youth towards the science of animal husbandry and the benefits of living in a rural community.

The Holstein or Friesian cow is a breed of a dairy cow, widely known today as the world’s highest production dairy animal. Holstein cows originated from Europe and were developed in what is now known as the Netherlands. Holsteins are easily recognized by their distinctive markings and outstanding milk production. They are big, stylish animals with pattern markings of black and white.

In New Salem, the Holstein cows were shown at many fairs. Advertising costs were funded by each owner contributing 5% of of the selling price of each Holstein to the circuit. Eventually, the New Salem Holstein breeding stock has been sold in every county in North Dakota and more states in the Union. The Circuit obtained enthusiastic assistance and advice from Professor Sheppard and Max Morgan (Extension Livestock Specialists) from the North Dakota Agricultural College (now North Dakota State University – NDSU). Cow testing, feed cost record keeping, breeding records and showmanship were some of the benefits received from the college in addition to the annual celebration which consisted of touring the farms to view and judge livestock, barns, equipment, etc. One year, there were more than 750 people on the tour going from one farm to another.

In a nearby gas station is where you will find a brochure that explains what Sue’s purpose is. It is said that her primary purpose is to honor and promote the dairymen of the area. Honored as well are the past New Salem champion cows.