South Dakota Delegates, Members Attend NFU Convention in Texas
Over two dozen South Dakota Farmers Union (SDFU) members attended the 109th annual National Farmers Union (NFU) convention held in San Antonio, Tex., Mar. 13-15. 27 South Dakotans attended the convention and were among the more than 500 Farmers Union members from across the country at the event. Seven of the South Dakotans in attendance served as voting delegates to the convention when the national farm organization adopted its policy program for 2011.
“We had a great turnout in San Antonio and we dealt with a wide variety of issues facing agriculture,” said SDFU President Doug Sombke who served as one of the voting delegates. “It’s grassroots advocacy at its finest. We come together as farmers and ranchers from across this great country to provide direction for our legislative and education efforts throughout the year.”
The delegates discussed issues like the 2012 Farm Bill, biotechnology, foreign trade, conservation and more. The convention also featured several speakers including former SDFU President and current U.S. Department of Agriculture Rural Development Under Secretary Dallas Tonsager, former Sen. Byron Dorgan of North Dakota, and former Texas Agriculture Commissioner Jim Hightower. Convention attendees also had the opportunity to hear from speaker panels on various topics related to agriculture.
“Farmers Union is always trying to educate our young people and the public about agriculture, and this convention was a chance for farmers and ranchers to educate themselves on different issues happening around the country. By hearing expert panel discussions and speakers discuss a wide variety of issues we’re now all more informed about many different topics,” Sombke said.
South Dakotans attending the convention were Bonnie Geyer of Huron; Lindsey McFarlane of Wilmot; Maureen Birgen of Beresford; Garret Bischoff of Huron; Jill Bischoff of Huron; Gina Dethlefsen of Stickney; Deb Harwood of Union Center; John Kerstiens of Huron; and Kathy Wahle of Salem; Mary Barry of New Underwood; Taylor Barry of Carter; Patrick Lowin of Blunt; Mathew Birgen of Beresford; Larry Birgen of Sioux Falls; Angela Tarasoff of Huron; Steve Harwood of Union Center; Jim Wahle of Salem; Franklin Olson of Pierpont; (Back Row) Shane Ball of Huron; Michael Gapp of Twin Brooks; Mason Farber of Britton; Ryon Rypkema of Caputa; Karla Hofhenke of Huron; Wayne Soren of Lake Preston; Jared Hettinger of Stickney; and Kari Michel of Dell Rapids.