South Dakota Farmers Union President, Doug Sombke, urges cooperative patrons to weigh in on CHS proposed bylaw changes.
"If the suggested bylaw changes are passed, they will significantly alter the philosophy of CHS which could have a negative impact on family farmers and could result in changes to the local cooperative business structure," explained Sombke, a fourth-generation Conde farmer who belongs to several local cooperatives.
Celebrating a century of service to South Dakota's farm and ranch families, throughout 2015, South Dakota Farmers Union highlights members who farm or ranch with their families each month. This October, South Dakota Farmers Union features the Meeks family who ranch on the Pine Ridge Reservation.
Land is sacred in the Lakota culture which Jim and Elsie Meeks were both raised.
For almost four decades the ranch couple has worked hard to care for their Pine Ridge Reservation ranch-land and make the family ranch sustainable for the next generation.
"The land is sacred. If you take care of it, it will take care of you. This is a belief that most Natives and, I believe, ranchers of all backgrounds, share," explains Elsie.
For many of South Dakota's rural communities, cooperatives have served as a lifeline to technology, products and services which have allowed local farmers, ranchers and businesses to grow and thrive.
"Co-ops have played an important role in our state's progress," explains Doug Sombke, President of South Dakota Farmers Union. "When companies didn't want to invest in the infrastructure necessary to bring electricity, telephone service, fuel and agriculture inputs to the countryside, our state's farmers and ranchers banded together to form member-owned cooperatives."