Posts for May 2017

S.D. Farmers Union Announces their Support for Non-Meandered Water Draft Legislation

May 25, 2017

S.D. Farmers Union Announces their Support for Non-Meandered Water Draft Legislation
HURON, S.D. - S.D. Farmers Union President, Doug Sombke, says the organization supports 5 Open Compromise, the non-meandered water draft legislation discussed by the Interim Committee for Regulation of Non-meandered Waters held May 24, 2017 in Pierre.
"Now that we have had time to review the proposed draft, our organization will endorse the legislation, as long as legislators understand that there are still some issues which need to be addressed," said Sombke, a fourth-generation crop and livestock farmer from Conde.

Sombke explains that this draft is relevant to the South Dakota's family farmers and ranchers S.D. Farmers Union represents because these waters cover land these agriculture producers own - land which they can no longer raise livestock or crops on.

In fact, non-meandered waters impact South Dakota's number one industry enough that the organization hired a Natural Resources attorney, David Ganje, to provide information to help draft language to be used in the a bill.

"Farmers and ranchers should not be tasked with the expense related to taking care of public water on land that they can no longer earn a profit from," said Sombke. "Our organization would like to see landowners compensated for public water in similar way as those landowners who allow access on their land for hunting and other outdoor activities via CREP a state run public access program."

Proposed Legislation 5 Open Compromise was released for review May 23, just one day before the public committee hearing held May 24. Sombke hopes that two more issues are addressed during the 2018 Legislative Session.
Uniform Taxation of Non-Meandered Lands: "Each county taxes non-meandered lands differently and they need to be taxed equally state-wide," Sombke explained.
Township and county roads maintenance: "This was not addressed and needs to be. Road maintenance from increased recreational traffic to and from non-meandered waters or caused by the public waters, should not be the responsibility of the county or township - the state needs to provide compensation," Sombke said.
Sombke was encouraged to see several of the ideas which were brought forward by Ganje, on behalf of S.D. Farmers Union, are being addressed in this draft.

"I understand that taxation and road maintenance are not emergency issues that need to be addressed this summer, but they do need to be addressed before the end of the 2018 session," Sombke said.

Below, Sombke lists eight sections which need to be included in the bill because it directly impacts South Dakota's family farmers, ranchers and their rural communities.
Eight points that impact S.D. Farmers & Ranchers
1. A Quiet Zone based upon Distance and Times of the Day;
2. A Setback Rule based upon Distance and Type of Weapon;
3. Statute Requiring Adoption of Rules by GF&P for Recreational Use;
4. Statute Excluding Certain Use of Non-Meandered Waters;
5. Ramp Lease Matter - In prior, proposed bills there was discussion of state ramp and access agreements with landowners who border on or hold title to lake bottoms or surrounding lands on non-meandered waters;
6. Uniform Taxation of Non-Meandered Lands. This is not addressed in the current draft;
7. Landowner Liability Matter; and
8. Township and county roads maintenance by deprivation to access water. This is not addressed in the current draft.

To become a part of the conversation on non-meandered water and its impact on South Dakota farmers and ranchers, contact S.D. Farmers Union Executive Director, Karla Hofhenke at 605-352-6761 ext. 114.
Media Contact:
Karla Hofhenke, Executive Director, S.D. Farmers Union
605-352-6761 ext. 114

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Last Modified: 05/30/2017 8:57:33 am MDT

S.D. Farmers Union Jr. REAL Speaker Focuses on Overcoming Adversity

May 22, 2017

Wilson Kubwayo's presentation to S.D. Farmers Union Jr. REAL students at Freeman High School begins with a song he calls "the fun song." But it's not a simple song. And his is not a simple story.

Starting the beat with handclaps, he sings a few lines, encourages the crowd to join in, breaks into a rap verse and finishes with some show-stopping dance moves. The audience of juniors and seniors goes wild. Kubwayo's energy is infectious. He is happy. That itself is impressive given his unlikely journey to the United States.

 At age 2, Kubwayo and his family fled the small African country of Burundi when it was torn apart by a civil war. They migrated to a refugee camp in Tanzania where Wilson lived until age 13. "Living in that camp taught me lessons no man can teach," says Kubwayo. "I always thought if I just had an easier life, I would have a good life and then I would be able to do great things."

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Last Modified: 05/22/2017 9:05:11 am MDT

S.D. Farmers Union Celebrates the Martinmaas Farm Family

May 12, 2017

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 feature the Martinmaas farm family from Orient. Ray and Becky Martinmaas pictured here.

by Lura Roti for S.D. Farmers Union

During a blizzard nearly 65 years ago, a neighbor knocked on Bill and Wanelda Martinmaas' door. His wife was in labor and things were not going well. Bill started up his John Deere A and drove with his young wife the half mile to help.

 On Bill's way home, his tractor got stuck. It was dark. Driving wind mixed with snow made it impossible to see. Bill was lost.

 "I had the young kids at home. I thought of those kids in the house and knew I needed to get home to them or they would freeze," says Bill, who at 90, vividly recalls the story.

 "Dad walked for quite a while, then he tripped over something. He realized he tripped over the top wire of a barbed wire fence and figured out where he was. He followed that fence and made it home," says Ray, 67, Bill's oldest son.

 At the time, Ray was 3, his brother, Randy, was 2 and their sister, Sandy, was just a baby.

 In the end, the neighbor and her baby survived. And the three Martinmaas kids? They eventually became 12. Six boys and six girls ­ Ray, Randy, Sandy, Kathy, Paulette, Rick, Lonnie, Lori, Julie, Mike, Marylynn and Brad.

 Today, standing outside the farmhouse Ray shares with his wife, Becky, father and son recall the early years.

To read more and view the photo gallery, click here

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Last Modified: 05/12/2017 7:37:18 am MDT

Farmers Union Now Taking Nominations for 2017 Rural Dakota Pride Awards

May 10, 2017

South Dakota winters can be brutal. Foot Hills Kiwanas Club ensures that children in need of warm winter coats have them before the cold winds blow.

 "Kids shouldn't suffer in the winter. We make sure kids in need have a new winter coat. You know they love them because the day they come in to pick them out, it is typically too warm to wear a coat, and yet they don't want to take their new coat off," explains Sharon Wilson, a charter member of the organization.

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Last Modified: 05/10/2017 11:22:12 am MDT

FFA Members Teaming Up to Take Precaution During Farmers Union Team Up For Safety Quiz Bowl

May 10, 2017

Anyone who has lived on a farm or ranch has heard the stories. An injury from a grain auger. An accidental fire or deadly gas exposure. Some of us have seen tragedy first hand. There's nothing fun about these realities, but South Dakota Farmers Union is taking a fun approach to helping prevent them.

Each year, the Team Up for Safety Quiz Bowl challenges high school students from South Dakota FFA chapters to compete in a game show format with questions such as: What kind of fire extinguisher should you keep in a combine? What does Hydrogen Sulfide smell like? Or, What is the leading cause of weather-related deaths?

 South Dakota Farmers Union Education Director, Rachel Haigh-Blume says, "Anything you can do to promote safety to the next generation is so important. You can't emphasize it enough, no matter the age."

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Last Modified: 05/10/2017 11:19:32 am MDT

Tee Off for Education During 2017 S.D. Farmers Union Golf Tournament June 20

May 9, 2017

Mark your calendars for a day of fun between planting and harvest by joining S.D. Farmers Union for the annual Dakota Prairie Open Golf Tournament June 20, 2017.

 "A guy needs a day off once in a while - why not spend a day golfing with friends to raise money for educational programming," said Wayne Soren, a Lake Preston farmer and S.D. Farmers Union Vice President.

 Held in Mitchell at the Lakeview Golf Course, the 18-hole scramble begins at 9 a.m. with a shotgun start. Registration includes lunch and prizes on every hole. All event proceeds go to the S.D. Farmers Union Foundation to help fund educational programming.    

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Last Modified: 05/09/2017 2:32:27 pm MDT

No Better Place to Raise Kids: South Dakota Farm & Ranch Moms Share Their Parenting Philosophy

May 2, 2017

As we reflect on the women who raised us this Mother's Day, South Dakota Farmers Union would like to celebrate the many women who support the state's No. 1 industry - farm and ranch moms!

 Read on to learn the story of two mothers representing two generations born and raised on South Dakota farms and ranches. These women share their story and reflect on raising children on their South Dakota farm or ranch. 

 By Lura Roti, for South Dakota Farmers Union

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Last Modified: 05/02/2017 10:31:14 am MDT

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