South Dakota Farmers Union Celebrates the Greenway Farm Family

September 27, 2016

South Dakota Farmers Union has served South Dakota farm and ranch families for more than a century. Throughout the year, we share their stories in order to highlight the families who make up our state’s number one industry and help feed the world.

This month, we’re highlighting the Greenway family who raise crops and operate a wean-to-finish hog and cow/calf operation near Mitchell.

By Lura Roti for SDFU

A $200 scholarship from the Davison County Pork Producers in 1984 launched Mitchell farmer, Brad Greenway, on an ag advocacy journey which has placed him in front of thousands of consumers coast-to-coast and around the world sharing his story.

“That scholarship got me involved,” explains the third-generation pork producer.

Brad’s engagement in Davison County Pork Producers motivated him to become active in the S.D. Pork Producers Council (he served as president from 2005-2007), as well as the National Pork Board and the advocacy training program called Operation Main Street.

After providing Brad with training on how to share his farm’s story and how to put together presentations, Operation Main Street took the legwork out of advocacy by scheduling speaking engagements with local civic organizations, dietetic groups, county commissioners, and schools, as well as national and international sharing opportunities.

Since he started sharing his story in 2005, Brad has presented to more than115 groups.

Brad explains that putting a face to the food produced makes all the difference.

“I spoke to a big anti-ag/anti-big ag group, and following my presentation a woman in the back stood up to say that after hearing me speak, she trusted me when I said that animal comfort is a priority for us and we take care of our pigs. Then she asked, ‘How do I know that other farmers are doing the same thing?’ This is why advocacy is so important.”

“Even though we're very busy, it's important for farmers to share with consumers how we are growing food and why we do what we do," explains Peggy, who makes time to post photos on Facebook and Twitter as well as serve as a spokeswoman with Soybean Council’s Common Ground advocacy group.

“Terms like ‘factory farming’ are put on farms like ours because of misperceptions. We need to dispel myths and remind consumers that 98 percent of all farms are still family-owned.”

Brad adds that even farmers and ranchers who don’t feel they have the time or feel comfortable presenting, can do their part by making sure their neighbors and friends understand what they do on the farm. “Zoning issues come up because our neighbors simply don’t know what is going on,” Brad says.

He adds, “Today there is such a disconnect among consumers as each generation is farther removed from the farm. Even here in South Dakota - we drive 8 miles off the farm to Mitchell and there are plenty who don’t know what we are doing here on the farm.”

Brad and Peggy have a lot to share. To learn more about the Greenway family and view a video as well as an online photo gallery, click here. 

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Last Modified: 09/27/2016 8:51:25 am MDT

South Dakota Family Farmers and Ranchers Join 275 Farmers Union Members in D.C. for Fall Legislative Fly-In

September 14, 2016

Twenty-six family farmers, ranchers and Farmers Union members from South Dakota joined with some 275 farmers and ranchers from across the nation in Washington D.C. for the National Farmers Union (NFU) Fall Legislative Fly-In Sept. 12-14, 2016.

 "We are facing some challenging times on farms and ranches across South Dakota right now. This Fly-In provides an excellent opportunity for those of us who are actively involved in the day-to-day operations on our farms and ranches to visit with Congressional leaders about the issues we face and ways they can provide support," explained Doug Sombke, President of South Dakota Farmers Union.

 The annual event allows Farmers Union members from across the country to meet directly with lawmakers, USDA leaders and other administration officials to discuss issues important to family farmers and ranchers.

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Last Modified: 09/16/2016 11:30:16 am MDT

Panelists Discuss Amendment T during Voice of the Voters Event at the State Fair

September 6, 2016

On Election Day 2016 South Dakota voters will have an opportunity to vote for fair elections by voting 'yes' for Amendment T.

 Amendment T is a ballot measure sponsored by #SDRightThing2Do Coalition which South Dakota Farmers Union supports. Amendment T puts voters back in charge of their elections, explains Matt Sibley, South Dakota Farmers Union Legislative Specialist during a panel discussion hosted by the agriculture organization today at the South Dakota State Fair in Huron.

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Last Modified: 09/06/2016 10:43:50 am MDT

Fairgoers Eat a Great Meal Today for Just $1

September 6, 2016

Fair food is known for its tempting aromas - not its bargain prices. Today however, more than 1,000 fairgoers filled their bellies for just a $1 during the South Dakota Farmers Union Farmers Share Luncheon held at the South Dakota State Fair in Huron.

 The hearty meal, consisting of a pulled pork sandwich, baked beans, potato chips and milk, is designed by Farmers Union to clearly demonstrate to fairgoers how much of the grocery store price tag South Dakota's farmers and ranchers take home after harvesting the crops or livestock they raise.

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Last Modified: 09/06/2016 10:42:20 am MDT

2016 Rural Dakota Pride Award Honorees Recognized Today During Farmers Union Day at the S.D. State Fair

September 6, 2016

Each year, South Dakota Farmers Union recognizes individuals who give back to their communities with the Rural Dakota Pride Award. Today, during Farmers Union Day at the South Dakota State Fair, the following South Dakotans were recognized: 

Bryan Breitling, Miller; Doug Edwards, South Hand County; Sharon Wilson, Black Hawk and Tim Pravecek, Winner.

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Last Modified: 09/06/2016 10:40:13 am MDT

2016 Farmers Union Quiz Bowl Encourages Youth to Think about Farm & Ranch Safety

September 6, 2016

McCook Central FFA Chapter won the championship round of the Farmers Union Team Up for Safety Quiz Bowl held today during Farmers Union Day at the South Dakota State Fair in Huron.

 McCook Central FFA Chapter is one of four FFA Chapters which placed in the Farmers Union Team Up for Safety Quiz Bowl held in conjunction with the 2016 South Dakota State FFA Convention this April in Brookings.

Team members of the McCook Central FFA Chapter include: Cole Grasma, Melissa Lauck, Jordan Scheier and Leslie Kolbeck: Other FFA Chapters who competed and their team members include: Viborg/Hurley FFA Chapter, team members include: Alison Knutson, Logan Slack, Abby Hora and Annie Wirth: Sunshine Bible FFA Chapter, team members include; Chris Hass, Evan Lopez, Shelby Belmare and Titus Deal: and the Lyman FFA Chapter, team members include; Sage Mowery, Conrad Mohr-Eymer, Eli Fanning and Grant Stewart.

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Last Modified: 09/06/2016 10:35:51 am MDT

S.D. Farmers Union Celebrates our State's Family Farmers & Ranchers, Rural Youth & Community Heroes During the 2016 S.D. State Fair

August 26, 2016

Farmers Union Day at the 2016 South Dakota State Fair, Saturday Sept. 3, is a great opportunity to showcase South Dakota family farmers and ranchers and all they do for the state's economy, rural communities and the world.

 "In the tradition of the State Fair, Farmers Union Day honors the cream of the crop," explains Doug Sombke, South Dakota Farmers Union President.

 "Whether it's honoring those who give back to rural communities with the Rural Dakota Pride Award, recognizing the work that our family farmers and ranchers put into raising food and fuel through the Farmers Share Luncheon or youth who will compete in the Team Up For Safety Farm Safety Championship." Rural Dakota Pride Awards The 2016 Rural Dakota Pride Award goes to four individuals to recognize their selfless contributions to rural communities across the state. 

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Last Modified: 08/26/2016 8:00:41 am MDT

2016 Insuring a Brighter Tomorrow Scholarship Winners Announced

August 26, 2016

The South Dakota Farmers Union Foundation, in cooperation with Farmers Union Insurance Agency, have announced the recipients of the annual Insuring a Brighter Tomorrow scholarships.

Twenty-five high school seniors from across South Dakota will share $25,000 in scholarships to be used to further their education at a South Dakota post-secondary school. Over the past eight years, the Foundation has awarded more than $175,000 in scholarships to students attending South Dakota post-secondary schools.

Each of the 25 scholarship recipients will receive $1,000 to put toward their post-secondary education at a South Dakota college, university or technical school. The recipients were chosen from among a large pool of applicants. They were scored based on a combination of academic record, activities and awards, financial need, and an essay relating to how they will "Insure a Brighter Tomorrow" in South Dakota.

Farmers Union Insurance agents throughout the state fund this scholarship program administered by the Farmers Union Foundation. "Our insurance agents are committed to building a brighter future in South Dakota," said Jason Wells, Regional Manager of Farmers Union Insurance Agency. "This is a remarkable group and they make me excited about the future of our great state. We're choosing to invest in these outstanding individuals to help them pursue their goals and aspirations. 

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Last Modified: 08/26/2016 7:56:01 am MDT

South Dakota Farmers Union Celebrates the Vedvei Farm Family

August 24, 2016

Emerging from the show ring with a big smile, first time 4-Her, Hadlee Holt, 9, was greeted by her parents, Corrie “Vedvei” and DJ Holt, with a big hug and sighs of relief.

 It was nerve-racking to watch, but seeing that smile was priceless,” explains Corrie of watching her daughter show for the first time.

 A third-generation 4-H alumnus, Corrie says it’s exciting to see her daughter continue the family legacy of 4-H involvement and showing registered Charolais cattle.

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Last Modified: 08/24/2016 7:53:29 am MDT

South Dakota Farmers Union President, Doug Sombke Wishes Noem Remained on the House Agriculture Committee

August 22, 2016

I was quite surprised when I read quotes made by Representative Kristi Noem in a recent Watertown Public Opinion article where she attempts to justify her move from the House Agriculture Committee to the powerful Ways and Means Committee. She stated, "all of the ag organizations in the state advocated and supported me getting on the Ways and Means Committee."

 I am confused by this comment, because although I knew Noem was making the move, and I understand that for her political career this is a great move for her, as a representative of one of the state's largest agriculture organizations, I did not and do not support her move because it is not in the best interest of South Dakota's number one industry of agriculture.

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Last Modified: 08/22/2016 9:47:57 am MDT