State Fair Time: Educating Consumers, Producers and Youth

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Hundreds of people will fill the State Fair tent near the Freedom Stage to enjoy the Farmer's Share Lunch during Farmers Union Day at the SD State Fair. People enjoy the barbecue pork sandwiches, chips, beans and milk, but it is also a chance for Farmers Union to educate consumers about the 'Farmer's Share' of the retail food dollar. For all of the food on the plate that day, the farmer's share is just 25 cents. Farmers Union is based around education, and this lunch gives the organization an opportunity to reach out to hundreds of people and spread the message of agriculture, and how little farmers and ranchers actually make from the retail dollar. People will leave the lunch with a better understanding of how farmers are paid for the food that they produce. The upcoming Farm Bill debate will be one of the most difficult in recent memory. That's according to a panel of experts assembled to be at the South Dakota State Fair in Huron at 1:00 pm on Saturday, Sept. 1. A panel of agriculture experts will take part in a Farm Bill Panel, sponsored by South Dakota Farmers Union, to discuss the legislation that is being debated in Congress. The Farm Bill is a piece of legislation passed by Congress every five years that funds nutrition and agriculture programs across the country. The panel includes Paul Shubeck, State FSA Director; Lynn Tjeerdsma, Senator Thune's Senior Policy Advisor; and Doug Sombke, SDFU President. With the current state of the economy and the federal budget it is unclear what programs will be cut or eliminated, and by how much. When it comes to the folks talking about cutting the farm safety net there are really only two places to go, crop insurance and direct payments. For decades, South Dakota Farmers Union has brought farm safety education to hundreds of rural youth through county camps held each summer. This year, the grassroots organization is taking the message of farm safety on the road - literally. The SDFU Farm Safety Trailer is a portable, hands-on classroom dedicated educating rural youth across South Dakota. "Education is one of our organization's three focuses. The hands-on nature of this trailer will enhance this mission and allow us to provide farm safety education to youth year-round," explains Karla Hofhenke, SDFU Executive Director. Preventing accidents through fun and interaction is the No. 1 goal of the SDFU Farm Safety Trailer, explains Rocky Forman, SDFU Member Services Coordinator. "We are eager to partner with schools, 4-H clubs and FFA chapters and other organizations to bring our safety trailer to rural communities so South Dakota youth receive farm safety education that we hope prevents accidents and worse," Forman explains. Complete with an ATV simulator, grain bin safety, PTO safety and more, the trailer was designed by the SDFU team based on research and creatively addressing common safety concerns. "The trailer took more than a year to design and develop, but the result is worth it," Hofhenke says. To see the SDFU Farm Safety Trailer for yourself, check it out along 3rd Street from Aug. 30 through September 3. ATV Simulator Demonstrations will be given at 11 am, 2 pm, and 4 pm daily.

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