Posts for February 2017

The Rural Lobbyist: Senate Bill 66 Passes Final Hurdle, Awaits Governor's Signature

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S.D. Farmers Union Celebrates the Lee Farm Family from De Smet

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S.D. Farmers Union Celebrates the Lee Farm Family from De Smet

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 No. 1 industry and help feed the world. This month, we celebrate the Lee farm family who raise crops and cattle near De Smet. Pictured here: Kaitlyn, Landon, Roger, Rob and Mary.

  By Lura Roti, for S.D. Farmers Union

 Farming brings the Lee family joy. Enjoying the work and time together on the land is essential for this De Smet farm family.

 “We have told our kids this for years, as long as we can farm and have fun with it, we will continue to do it,” explains Roger Lee, 62, who farms with his wife, Mary, and their three grown children, Rob, Landon and Amanda.

 Forty years ago, fun would hardly be the term an outsider would use to describe the beginning of Roger’s farming career.

 Only a few years into farming fulltime, his dad, Ephriam, passed away, leaving Roger, at 21 to milk the family’s dairy herd and farm with his mom, Dorothy. It was 1976. A year later a drought and lack of feed forced him to sell their dairy herd.

 Roger’s affection for farming kept him going, even when interest rates reached 23 percent.

 “I always knew I wanted to farm. I liked farming. It wasn’t the money-making part of it, I just knew I wanted to be on the farm. If I didn’t like it, I would have been gone,” says the third-generation farmer, who instead of heading off to college after high school, bought his first half section of land from his parents.

 At 18, he bought his second half section from a neighbor. “(At the time) I was the youngest FHA (Farmers Home Administration) real estate borrower in Kingsbury County,” Roger says. “Dad had to sign a form saying I could use his barn and equipment. Dad and Mom were always fair to me.”

 With farm income nil, Roger and his wife, Mary, were able to keep up with land payments by working off the farm.

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The Rural Lobbyist: Senate Overwhelmingly Supports Use of Premium E-30 in State Fleet, House Up Next.

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The Rural Lobbyist: ADRDL Funding Takes New Shape With Current Proposal.

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The Rural Lobbyist: Legislators' misplaced fears kill COOL legislation.

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CALL TO ACTION: All Hands On Deck! COOL Bill (SB 135) moves to the Senate Floor!

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The Rural Lobbyist: Actual Use vs. Highest and Best, the Debate Continues.

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The Rural Lobbyist: ADRDL Funding Debate Continues in Appropriations with SB 172.

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The Rural Lobbyist: SDFU Members Show Up and Make an Impact As COOL Passes Out of Committee.

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S.D. Farmers Union President Elected Chairman of Farmers Union Enterprises

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Doug Sombke, President of South Dakota Farmers Union was recently Elected Chairman of Farmers Union Enterprises board of directors.

 "I am eager to continue to guide this organization whose goal is to do everything we can to help family farmers and ranchers," said Sombke, of the organization which oversees Farmers Union Industries.

 Farmers Union Industries is made up of several businesses - the dividends of which go to help fund Farmers Union organizations in South Dakota, North Dakota, Minnesota, Montana and Wisconsin as well as Farmers Union Enterprise programs and National Farmers Union.

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Orient and Seneca Youth Say Involvement in Farmers Union Prepared them for College

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Jesse Carlson, Seneca, and Reece Schultz, Orient, were selected to serve on the 2016-2017 Senior Advisory Council during the 2016 S.D. Farmers Union State Convention, held in Pierre December 2016.

 In this role, Carlson, a freshman studying Economics at South Dakota State University, and Schultz, a freshman studying Production Innovation at Dakota State University, will provide advice and act as mentors to the six members of the Farmers Union Youth Advisory Council. The Youth Advisory Council helps organize and plan Farmers Union State Leadership camp each year.

 Below, the college students visit about what they look forward to in this new leadership role and discuss how the personal leadership development and communication skills they developed through Farmers Union educational programming has helped them during their first year of college.

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The Rural Lobbyist: Initiative Process at heart of discussion in House State Affairs.

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The Rural Lobbyist: Animal Lab funding up for discussion with SB 162.

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The Rural Lobbyist: SDFU only group to support the repeal/redirection of farm machinery tax increase.

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Taylor Aubrey Receives S.D. Farmers Union Foundation Graduate Scholarship

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Her passion for being around livestock and the people who depend upon them for their livelihood is what attracted Taylor Aubrey to pursue a master's degree focused on dairy production.

 "I enjoy working with producers and the close connection to our food system," explains the South Dakota State University graduate student and the 2017 recipient of the South Dakota Farmers Union Foundation $2,500 Graduate Scholarship.

 Developed to support students pursuing graduate degrees in agriculture, the SDFU Foundation scholarship is one of several scholarships the grassroots organization sponsors each year.

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The Rural Lobbyist: CALL TO ACTION! COOL BILL WILL BE HEARD FEB. 15TH

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The Rural Lobbyist: SDFU lone ag group to testify in favor of rural broadband bill.

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