News > General

Panelists Discuss Amendment T during Voice of the Voters Event at the State Fair

 – By

On Election Day 2016 South Dakota voters will have an opportunity to vote for fair elections by voting 'yes' for Amendment T.

 Amendment T is a ballot measure sponsored by #SDRightThing2Do Coalition which South Dakota Farmers Union supports. Amendment T puts voters back in charge of their elections, explains Matt Sibley, South Dakota Farmers Union Legislative Specialist during a panel discussion hosted by the agriculture organization today at the South Dakota State Fair in Huron.

Read More

Last Modified:


Fairgoers Eat a Great Meal Today for Just $1

 – By

Fair food is known for its tempting aromas - not its bargain prices. Today however, more than 1,000 fairgoers filled their bellies for just a $1 during the South Dakota Farmers Union Farmers Share Luncheon held at the South Dakota State Fair in Huron.

 The hearty meal, consisting of a pulled pork sandwich, baked beans, potato chips and milk, is designed by Farmers Union to clearly demonstrate to fairgoers how much of the grocery store price tag South Dakota's farmers and ranchers take home after harvesting the crops or livestock they raise.

Read More

Last Modified:


2016 Rural Dakota Pride Award Honorees Recognized Today During Farmers Union Day at the S.D. State Fair

 – By

Each year, South Dakota Farmers Union recognizes individuals who give back to their communities with the Rural Dakota Pride Award. Today, during Farmers Union Day at the South Dakota State Fair, the following South Dakotans were recognized: 

Bryan Breitling, Miller; Doug Edwards, South Hand County; Sharon Wilson, Black Hawk and Tim Pravecek, Winner.

Read More

Last Modified:


2016 Farmers Union Quiz Bowl Encourages Youth to Think about Farm & Ranch Safety

 – By

McCook Central FFA Chapter won the championship round of the Farmers Union Team Up for Safety Quiz Bowl held today during Farmers Union Day at the South Dakota State Fair in Huron.

 McCook Central FFA Chapter is one of four FFA Chapters which placed in the Farmers Union Team Up for Safety Quiz Bowl held in conjunction with the 2016 South Dakota State FFA Convention this April in Brookings.

Team members of the McCook Central FFA Chapter include: Cole Grasma, Melissa Lauck, Jordan Scheier and Leslie Kolbeck: Other FFA Chapters who competed and their team members include: Viborg/Hurley FFA Chapter, team members include: Alison Knutson, Logan Slack, Abby Hora and Annie Wirth: Sunshine Bible FFA Chapter, team members include; Chris Hass, Evan Lopez, Shelby Belmare and Titus Deal: and the Lyman FFA Chapter, team members include; Sage Mowery, Conrad Mohr-Eymer, Eli Fanning and Grant Stewart.

Read More

Last Modified:


S.D. Farmers Union Celebrates our State's Family Farmers & Ranchers, Rural Youth & Community Heroes During the 2016 S.D. State Fair

 – By

Farmers Union Day at the 2016 South Dakota State Fair, Saturday Sept. 3, is a great opportunity to showcase South Dakota family farmers and ranchers and all they do for the state's economy, rural communities and the world.

 "In the tradition of the State Fair, Farmers Union Day honors the cream of the crop," explains Doug Sombke, South Dakota Farmers Union President.

 "Whether it's honoring those who give back to rural communities with the Rural Dakota Pride Award, recognizing the work that our family farmers and ranchers put into raising food and fuel through the Farmers Share Luncheon or youth who will compete in the Team Up For Safety Farm Safety Championship." Rural Dakota Pride Awards The 2016 Rural Dakota Pride Award goes to four individuals to recognize their selfless contributions to rural communities across the state. 

Read More

Last Modified:


2016 Insuring a Brighter Tomorrow Scholarship Winners Announced

 – By

The South Dakota Farmers Union Foundation, in cooperation with Farmers Union Insurance Agency, have announced the recipients of the annual Insuring a Brighter Tomorrow scholarships.

Twenty-five high school seniors from across South Dakota will share $25,000 in scholarships to be used to further their education at a South Dakota post-secondary school. Over the past eight years, the Foundation has awarded more than $175,000 in scholarships to students attending South Dakota post-secondary schools.

Each of the 25 scholarship recipients will receive $1,000 to put toward their post-secondary education at a South Dakota college, university or technical school. The recipients were chosen from among a large pool of applicants. They were scored based on a combination of academic record, activities and awards, financial need, and an essay relating to how they will "Insure a Brighter Tomorrow" in South Dakota.

Farmers Union Insurance agents throughout the state fund this scholarship program administered by the Farmers Union Foundation. "Our insurance agents are committed to building a brighter future in South Dakota," said Jason Wells, Regional Manager of Farmers Union Insurance Agency. "This is a remarkable group and they make me excited about the future of our great state. We're choosing to invest in these outstanding individuals to help them pursue their goals and aspirations. 

Read More

Last Modified:


South Dakota Farmers Union Celebrates the Vedvei Farm Family

 – By

Emerging from the show ring with a big smile, first time 4-Her, Hadlee Holt, 9, was greeted by her parents, Corrie “Vedvei” and DJ Holt, with a big hug and sighs of relief.

 It was nerve-racking to watch, but seeing that smile was priceless,” explains Corrie of watching her daughter show for the first time.

 A third-generation 4-H alumnus, Corrie says it’s exciting to see her daughter continue the family legacy of 4-H involvement and showing registered Charolais cattle.

Read More

Last Modified:


South Dakota Farmers Union President, Doug Sombke Wishes Noem Remained on the House Agriculture Committee

 – By

I was quite surprised when I read quotes made by Representative Kristi Noem in a recent Watertown Public Opinion article where she attempts to justify her move from the House Agriculture Committee to the powerful Ways and Means Committee. She stated, "all of the ag organizations in the state advocated and supported me getting on the Ways and Means Committee."

 I am confused by this comment, because although I knew Noem was making the move, and I understand that for her political career this is a great move for her, as a representative of one of the state's largest agriculture organizations, I did not and do not support her move because it is not in the best interest of South Dakota's number one industry of agriculture.

Read More

Last Modified:


S.D. Farmers Union is Disappointed in Lack of Support for Hurting Dairy Farmers

 – By

South Dakota Farmers Union President, Doug Sombke is disappointed in the 2016 Margin Protection Program for Dairy (MPP-Dairy) and its inability to provide a safety net for dairy producers in a current commodity crisis.

 "Congress needs to act quickly to fix what is wrong with the Margin Protection Program for Dairy - similar to how they reacted to the cotton industry crisis earlier this spring," said Doug Sombke, a fourth-generation Conde farmer. "After talking with South Dakota dairy farmers, many will not even receive $200 from this disaster payment."

Read More

Last Modified:


Farmers Union 2016-2017 Junior Advisory Council Members Selected to Serve

 – By

The 2016-2017 Junior Advisory Council members include: AJ Schoenfelder, Parkston; Abbey Tschetter, Huron; Cole Van Gorp, Stickney; Jonah Murtha, Parkston; Shaun Snedeker, Woonsocket; and Madelyn Kline, Huron.

 During the 2016 State Leadership Camp, a six-member Junior Advisory Council was selected by the Youth and Education Council to serve as leaders, role models and representatives in planning and conducting the 2017 State Leadership Camp.

 The 2016-2017 Junior Advisory Council (JAC) who were announced during State Camp include: Cole Van Gorp, Corsica; Shaun Snedeker, Stickney; AJ Schoenfelder, Parkston; Madelyn Kline, Huron; Jonah Murtha, Parkston; and Abbey Tschetter, Huron.

Read More

Last Modified:


30-For-30 Celebrates Home-Grown, Renewable Fuel in Pierre

 – By

South Dakota Farmers will be hosting a 30-For-30 event at Cowboy Country Store in Pierre (1619 N. Harrison Ave) August 3, 2016 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. to celebrate the benefits of fueling up with Premium E30.

 During the 30-For-30 event, drivers receive .30 cents for every gallon of Premium E30 purchased.

Fueling up with 30 percent blend of ethanol not only saves folks money, but it supports South Dakota's family farmers who market their corn to the state's many ethanol plants," explained Doug Sombke, President of South Dakota Farmers Union.

 Sombke adds, "Premium E30 gives drivers of all makes and models a higher octane, renewable fuel resulting in increased fuel economy without the dangers of Benzene, a carcinogenic used to increase octane levels."

 Since the beginning, South Dakota Farmers Union has been a strong advocate for the ethanol industry. "We're a grassroots organization who is focused on supporting family farmers and ranchers," explains Kecia Beranek, SDFU Communications Specialist.

Read More

Last Modified:


Farmers Union State Leadership Camp Promotes Friends, Self Confidence, Leadership & Cooperative Education

 – By

South Dakota Farmers Union State Leadership Camp is a summer tradition for Jonah Murtha, 17. 

 Since he was 12, the Parkston High School senior has made the trek west to Storm Mountain Center just outside Rapid City to spend a week engaged in hands-on cooperative education, personal leadership development and reconnecting with friends he has made from across South Dakota.

 "The people I have met here have become life-long friends," explains Murtha, who gained leadership experience serving as president of the camp's coffee cooperative. "Leadership camp has also given me a better understanding of cooperatives. I think they are very interesting because they help solve problems and provide necessities to rural communities."

Read More

Last Modified:


South Dakota Farmers Union Celebrates the Painter Ranch Family

 – By

South Dakota Farmers Union Celebrates the Painter Ranch Family

By Lura Roti, for South Dakota Farmers Union

Running cattle on Harding County grasslands has been a part of the Painter Family legacy since 1895 when great-grandpa, Lewis Levi Painter, rode the open range as a horse wrangler for the CY Cattle Company of Texas.

“He ran a few cows with the main herd and squatted on this land until about

1910 when he filed homesteading paperwork,” explained Lewis’ great-grandson, Joe Painter, 56.

Like the four generations of Painters before him, Joe continues to run cattle and ride the range along with his wife, Cindy, and their two daughters, Jessica and Joey, and their families. Their son, PJ, 29, works as an attorney in Louisville, Ky.

“Having our kids return to the ranch is the best thing in the world,” says the Harding County rancher. “Otherwise, all those years of working extra hard to buy land and cattle would be for nothing. When you have the kids return home, you have someone to pass it on to and that makes everything worth it.” “It’s what we worked for all our lives,” Cindy adds.

When Joe mentions hard work, he’s not stretching the truth. It was 1983 when he and Cindy returned to ranch fulltime after college. “Interest was 18 to 24 percent. Money was impossible to come by. We didn’t spend a nickel unless it was absolutely necessary,” Joe says. “A neighbor’s ranch came up for sale, $30 an acre, but we had no money to buy it. That’s how tight it was in the 80s.” Cindy shared another example of a time that the bank loaned them money to purchase sheep but then wouldn’t loan them money to buy feed.

To read more click here 

Read More

Last Modified:


South Dakota Farmers Union Foundation Offers $2,500 Agricultural Graduate School Scholarship

 – By

Applications for the South Dakota Farmers Union Foundation Graduate School Scholarship are now available at www.sdfufoundation.org.

 The Farmers Union Foundation Scholarship is designed to help retain talent in South Dakota to support South Dakota's agriculture industry. It is open to students from South Dakota, pursuing a graduate degree in research, animal science, agriculture business or agriculture education at an accredited South Dakota school.

Read More

Last Modified:


30-For-30 Celebrates Home-Grown, Renewable Fuel

 – By

South Dakota Farmers will be hosting a 30-For-30 event at the Shell Station in Mitchell (2160 Highland Way) July 14, 2016 from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m.  to celebrate the benefits of fueling up with Premium E30.

During the 30-For-30 event, drivers receive .30 cents for every gallon of Premium E30 purchased.

Read More

Last Modified:


Second Tuesdays Tune In To South Dakota Farmers Union Radio Show

 – By

Since 1915, South Dakota Farmers Union provides a voice to the states family farmers and ranchers. The century-old, grassroots organization continues its legacy with a radio show hosted on second Tuesdays during KELO Radio's It's YOUR AgriBusiness Hour (10-11 a.m. CST).

 "We're excited about this opportunity to connect with our consumers," said Doug Sombke SDFU President and fourth-generation Conde farmer. "Consumers are interested in knowing where their food comes from. As the numbers of family farmers and ranchers in our state continues to decline, the need to share our story increases."

Read More

Last Modified:


South Dakota Farmers Union Foundation Offers $2,500 Agricultural Graduate School Scholarship

 – By

Applications for the South Dakota Farmers Union Foundation Graduate School Scholarship are now available at www.sdfufoundation.org.

 The Farmers Union Foundation Scholarship is designed to help retain talent in South Dakota to support South Dakota's agriculture industry. It is open to students from South Dakota, pursuing a graduate degree in research, animal science, agriculture business or agriculture education at an accredited South Dakota school.

Read More

Last Modified:


South Dakota Farmers Union Links Farm & Ranch Families to Farm Safety Videos this Summer

 – By

South Dakota Farmers Union, in conjunction with National Farmers Union is working to raise awareness about farm and ranch safety issues and best practices through a series of 10 educational videos.

 "Farming and ranching is a family business - which means parents and their children are often working together during the summer months. It's great way to promote a healthy work ethic, but we cannot forget that this work can also be dangerous - no matter how old you are," said Doug Sombke, S.D. Farmers Union President and fourth-generation Conde farmer.

 Sombke currently farms with his sons. He encourages farm and ranch families to take time to watch these videos to increase safety awareness. "We live and work on our farms and ranches, so it's good to have a reminder of the dangers so we can keep ourselves and the ones we love safe," Sombke said.

Read More

Last Modified:


Reminder South Dakota Farmers Union Golf Tournament is June 21 in Mitchell

 – By

Farmers Union will host the 2016 Farmers Union Foundation Open Golf Tournament June 21, 2016, at the Lakeview Golf Course in Mitchell (3300 N Ohlman St., Mitchell). 

 The tournament will be a four-person, 18-hole scramble. Registration begins at 8:30 a.m. (CDT); shotgun start is at 9 a.m.

 All event proceeds benefit Farmers Union Education Camp Programs, Leadership Development Programs, Young Producers Group and Youth Farm Safety Awareness.

 To register a team and or to become a hole sponsor, contact Kecia Beranek, SDFU Communications Specialist at the South Dakota Farmers Union office at 605-352-6761, ext. 113 or kberanek@sdfu.org

Learn more about the Farmers Union Foundation Open Golf Tournament click here. 


Read More

Last Modified:


South Dakota Farmers Union Celebrates the Symens Farm Family

 – By

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 number one industry and help feed the world.

 By Lura Roti, for South Dakota Farmers Union

 This month, we're highlighting the Symens family who raise crops, purebred Limousin cattle and a feedlot near Amherst.

 "It's a garden spot ... if we get rain," says Paul Symens, 72, when describing the land his grandpa, Harm Symens, purchased in 1910 near Amherst.

 For more than a century, the Symens family has cared for and farmed the land, which today supports a diverse farming operation that includes cropground, purebred Limousin cattle and a feedlot managed by Paul, his two brothers, Irwin, 80, and John, 69, Irwin's son, Brad, 46, and Paul's son, Warren, 38.

 Since the beginning, rain - the lack of or over-abundance of - has played a significant role in the management decisions made by the Symens family.

 For Harm and his son, Wilbert, the Dust Bowl days made soil conservation and erosion control a focus of their field management.

 Irwin recalls a 1936 story of his dad planting corn in May which didn't sprout until September when it received its FIRST rain ... only to be killed by frost at 6-inches. "That same year dad mowed 160 acres of ground and all that grew was thistles. He stacked the thistles, mixed them with molasses and that's what he fed the cattle. That was the year I was born," says Irwin, who is the second oldest of nine children raised on the farm by Wilbert and his wife, Inga.

 Implementing novel conservation techniques, like tree belts and strip tilling, earned the family some fame when in 1936 Harm was featured in Cappers Farmer magazine under the headline, "Uncommon Effort Won Over Drought."

 Today, the Symens continue the legacy of conservation, managing their fields with minimal-till techniques to increase water infiltration and leaving half of all corn stubble in the field to build organic matter. The stubble removed from fields is used as bedding for cattle. It is then reapplied once it's been utilized as bedding. "At this point it's partially decomposed and has added nutrients of the manure," Warren explains.

 To read more click here.

Read More

Last Modified: