Posts for December 2018

Meat Labeling, Premium E30, Climate Change - Farmers & Ranchers Join the Conversation During 2018 SD Farmers Union Convention

December 3, 2018

South Dakota family farmers and ranchers gathered today in Pierre for the 2018 State S.D. Farmers Union Convention held November 29-30.

 Timely topics highlighted during convention include: truth in labeling, climate change's impact on rural America's economy, mental health issues among agriculture producers and the success story of Glacial Lake's Energy Cooperative E30 Challenge program.

 "We're a grassroots organization focused on supporting our state's family farmers, ranchers and the communities they call home," said Doug Sombke, SDFU President. "The topics we chose for this year's convention are ones that impact our members, so our team made a point to invite experts who can share relevant information."

 As a grassroots organization, policy development is a large focus of the annual convention. Policy discussed and voted on by members during this convention will serve as a guide when engaging with South Dakota legislators during the 2019 Legislative Session. And, policy that extends beyond state boundaries will be taken by South Dakota Farmers Union delegates to the National Farmers Union Convention in Bellevue, Washington, March 3-5, 2019.

 "Our policy serves as a guide for what our staff will advocate for on behalf of our members here in South Dakota, but also in Washington, D.C.," explained Sombke, a fourth generation Conde crop and cattle producer. "During these challenging times, farmers and ranchers need a strong and unified voice. South Dakota Farmers Union is that voice for farmers."

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Last Modified: 12/03/2018 9:14:48 am MST

Jeff Nelson Named 2018 S.D. Farmers Union Ag Ambassador During State Convention in Pierre

December 3, 2018

Rural Electric Cooperatives, it seems have been a part of Jeff Nelson's life story from the beginning.

 "I am proud to have grown up in a co-op family," says the retired general manager of East River Electric whose father was an early rural electric cooperative employee.

 Nelson first worked for East River Electric as an intern while attending South Dakota State University pursuing a degree in electrical engineering. Then, when he returned from serving more than three years in the Army, it just so happened East River Electric had an opening.

 "It was an entry level position. I thought I'd be there for a year or two. Forty years later I retired," says Nelson, who was named the 2018 South Dakota Farmers Union Agriculture Ambassador during the organization's State Convention held in Pierre Nov. 29 - 30.

 From the start, Nelson was motivated by the mission of rural electric cooperatives, "lighting rural America." And, although most farms and ranches were connected to electricity by the time he began working for East River Electric, he said supporting rural America became "more of a mission than a job."

 He was active in state and national legislative policy. In his professional career he testified before Congress on public power issues and worked closely with state legislators, members of Congress and government agency officials on many legislative issues. Nelson is credited with helping the ethanol industry gain a foothold in South Dakota by creating a mechanism that allowed electric cooperative members to use co-op patronage to invest in the state's first ethanol plants. He was also instrumental in creating the SD Value-Added Agriculture Development Center and the SD Wind Energy Association. As part of his role with East River Electric, Nelson has served on a number of regional and national boards.

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Last Modified: 12/03/2018 9:14:08 am MST

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