Posts for February 2018

South Dakota Farmers Union Kicks Off Campaign to Raise Awareness of Farm Bill

February 13, 2018

Fourth generation Frederick farmer, Taylor Sumption (second from left) with dad, John and brothers, Warren (far left) Chris, Eric and Mark. Sumption is among several family farmers asked to share their family's farm story as part of Farmers Union campaign to raise awareness of the need for a 2018 farm bill. To view the video, click here.

Enduring the worst economic slide in generations, South Dakota farm and ranch families need Congress to pass a farm bill in 2018 to strengthen the farm safety net.

"When it comes to the commodity markets, this is one of the worst years we have had in a long time," explained Taylor Sumption, a fourth-generation Frederick farmer who, together with his dad and four brothers, raise crops and livestock.

 Sumption's comments are echoed among farm and ranch families nationwide said Doug Sombke, President of South Dakota Farmers Union.

 "Commodity prices are low, and net farm income is projected to be down $4.3 billion nationally this year. We need Congress to start working on a farm bill immediately," said Doug Sombke, a fourth-generation Conde farmer and President of South Dakota Farmers Union. "Agriculture is South Dakota's number one industry - and it's hurting right now. Family farmers need to be certain of crop insurance and other programs in the farm bill, so they can plan accordingly with their lenders in this time of low prices."

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Last Modified: 02/13/2018 10:44:33 am MST

FFA Provides Personal & Professional Development

February 8, 2018

By Lura Roti, for South Dakota Farmers Union

The original article ran in the February 2018 issue of the SDFU Union Farmer newsletter.

 More than 4,500 South Dakota FFA members will celebrate National FFA Week Feb. 17-24.

 Founded to provide farm boys with leadership skills in 1929, the organization continues to be among the premier leadership organizations for high school youth - but today, it serves urban as well as rural youth from a diversity of backgrounds.

 To understand how this 89-year-old organization continues to attract members and impact the lives of South Dakota's youth, South Dakota Farmers Union asked four members of the 2017-2018 state FFA officer team a few questions.

 The current officer team includes: President Dalton Larson; Vice President Clayton Sorum; Secretary April Hamilton; Treasurer Aaron Linke; Reporter Avery Gilchrist and Sentinel Elle Moon.

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Last Modified: 02/08/2018 7:15:05 am MST

Coffee: It's Good For The Soul A Look at This Time Honored Tradition

February 5, 2018

By Lura Roti, for South Dakota Farmers Union

The original article ran in the February 2018 issue of the SDFU Union Farmer newsletter.

 As an agriculture journalist, I've been driving through rural communities across South Dakota for more than two decades. If I pull into a fuel station before noon and step inside, I nearly always witness coffee.

 Coffee, as defined in this article, is quite simply a group of men, dressed for the workday in coveralls or T-shirts - depending on the weather of course - hands around steaming mugs or pop cans visiting.

 When I, an out-of-towner, walk in, conversations nearly always wane. And, even though I don't say a word, I always feel as though I am interrupting an important meeting of sorts. Kind of the feeling I get if I arrive late for church.

 Other than that uncomfortable feeling, I didn't give these coffees much thought until I spent a November morning visiting with Peter Bisgard and his adult sons, Bob and Randy. While interviewing them about their family's Day County farming operation, the men mentioned that coffee with neighbors is part of their daily routine.

 They explained to me that this daily ritual has value beyond the social. "We used to meet every morning at a bachelor neighbor's house. After he died, and we didn't meet for about six weeks. We all missed it and realized that we get a lot of information by talking to neighbors," Peter said.

 He explained to me that whether it was discussing a new piece of machinery before making a purchase or sharing a bit of local news, the men felt their day went better when it began with coffee. Today, the men meet up in the basement of their rural church.

 After talking with the Bisgards, I began to think about the role coffee has in the lives of South Dakota's farmers and ranchers. The more I thought about it, the more eager I was to visit with other farmers and ranchers to learn about this time-honored tradition that I believe dates back to homesteading.

 Just last winter when I was reading the Little House series to my 7-year-old daughter, Parker, I noticed that several chapters included comments about the Ingalls family waiting for Pa to return from coffee at the General Store to provide them with information.

 Staying connected, especially during the winter months, is the reason Salem farmer, Jim Wahle heads to T & C's Pit Stop each morning.

 "It's the social aspect. I stop out here first thing in the morning, have coffee, catch up on current events and what is going on in the community," said Jim of the morning coffee routine he's kept nearly all his adult life.

 Brian Heinecke, agrees. A Sisseton crop and livestock farmer, Heinecke has been going to coffee with his dad, Richard, for as long as he can remember.

 Typically, the men meet up at a local C-store, but a few years back, when Richard was undergoing chemo and was confined to a wheelchair, a few guys would meet up in the Heinecke's kitchen.

 "It really meant a lot to dad. We're a small community where everyone checks in on everyone."

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Last Modified: 02/05/2018 9:14:10 am MST

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