Cooperatives: A Tool for Empowering Rural America
South Dakota family farmers and ranchers spent three days on Capitol Hill visiting with Congressional leaders about key issues impacting agriculture in South Dakota and across the nation.
"Boots on the ground make a difference," said Doug Sombke, S.D. Farmers Union President. "With harvest just around the corner, this is a busy time for our farmers and ranchers to be away from home - this just demonstrates how important these issues are to the farmers and ranchers who took the time to attend this fly-in."
Together with 270 farmers and ranchers from across the nation, South Dakotans helped conduct hundreds of targeted meetings with nearly every Congressional and Senatorial official on Capitol Hill.
When they made their first YouTube parody video to teach friends about life on their family's Kansas farm, Greg Peterson says he and his siblings never thought it would go viral - receiving more than 5 million hits. The video launched him and his family into agriculture activism.
This September, Peterson will travel to several South Dakota rural high schools, invited by South Dakota Farmers Union as part of the family farming organization's Jr. REAL program (Junior Rural Economic and Leadership).
HURON, S.D. - South Dakota Farmers Union celebrates 100 years of service to the state's family farmers and ranchers today during the South Dakota State Fair in Huron.
"Just as agriculture has changed over the last one hundred years, our role as an organization has changed," said Doug Sombke, President of S.D. Farmers Union and a fourth-generation Conde farmer.
The Deuel FFA Chapter won the 2015 Farmers Union Team Up for Safety Quiz Bowl Championship held today during the South Dakota State Fair in Huron.
Team members include; Georgialee Quail, Jennifer Mueller, Colin Magedanz and Nick Cook.
HURON, S.D. - Ever reach for an item on your grocery list only to recoil from the price?
"I frequently have non-farming friends make comments about how good prices must be after a trip to the grocery store. The truth is, even when prices are down to the point where I'm not even breaking even, prices in the grocery store don't reflect this," explains Wayne Soren, Lake Preston crop and cattle farmer and Vice President of South Dakota Farmers Union.
During the Farmers Share Luncheon hosted by South Dakota Farmers Union and held today at the South Dakota State Fair in Huron, fairgoers learned exactly what portion of the grocery store price tag South Dakota's farmers and ranchers take home after harvesting the crops or livestock they raise.
In the case of this State Fair lunch comprised of a pulled pork sandwich, baked beans, potato chips and milk - retailing for about $8 - South Dakota farmers were paid a whopping 34 cents!
"I am surprised because it seems like farmers receive a lot less money than they should," said Marie Langbehn, who attended the Farmers Share Lunch with her family.
Langbehn's reaction doesn't surprise Karla Hofhenke, Executive Director of S.D. Farmers Union. "Everyone is concerned about high prices in the grocery store - I understand that; it wasn't too many years ago that I was shopping for a family of five," Hofhenke said. "However, what our state's farmers and ranchers actually take home as income is a far cry from the prices we all see on our grocery receipt after a trip to the supermarket."
Educating consumers is one of many tasks the century's old organization takes on to support the state's family farmers, ranchers and their rural communities.
"Since our beginning, Farmers Union has worked to improve family farm and ranch incomes. Farmers and ranchers only receive about 15 cents of every food dollar consumers spend on food," says Doug Sombke, S.D. Farmers Union President and a fourth-generation Conde farmer. "As South Dakota's number one industry, the dollars our state's farmers and ranchers earn make a significant contribution to our economy as a whole."