Posts for January 2015

Junior REAL: South Dakota Farmers Union Continues to Cultivate Leaders in South Dakota's Youth

 – By

HURON, S.D. - Through South Dakota Farmers Union Jr. REAL (Junior Rural Economic and Leadership) program, high school juniors and seniors in rural schools across the state have been learning about community service, leadership and personal finance for the past nine years.

The program gets kids to start thinking about the choices they are making with money.

Karla Hofhenke, S.D. Farmers Union Executive Director, says they try to bring Jr. REAL to 10 locations each fall and winter to deliver their daylong program. Britton-Hecla was one of those locations this fall.

 "We gained great real life and practical things that kids could apply to their own lives and the future. All four of the presentations were very pertinent to juniors and seniors and things that are happening in their lives right now, plus the things that are happening in the next couple of years as they transition to college," says Carrie James, principal at Britton-Hecla High School.

 James appreciates the effort that Farmers Union puts into bringing such a great program to rural schools. The organization comes well prepared, leaving little additional work for the school district.

 "As a rural school, sometimes we don't have all the different opportunities that maybe a more urban school might have," James says. "I knew it would be a quality experience. I know that Farmers Union is a very big supporter of our schools."

For the second year, SDFU sponsored a public service announcement (PSA) contest after the Jr. REAL program.

 Hofhenke says the PSA contest gives the students a chance to show what they learned from the program in a fun way. She says the PSAs appeal to students because they can use modern technology to create something fun and educational.

 Pat Renner, elementary physical education teacher and high school multimedia teacher at Britton-Hecla, had three teams complete a PSA. However, only one can be submitted to the contest. Their team made up of junior, Toni Symens, and sophomores, Ben Boyko, Tyler Bush and Laken Olson, won the contest.

For their video, they put together a re-enactment where two students graduate from high school and go out and get credit cards. One makes good choices and the other makes poor choices and ends up living on the street.

 The team hopes viewers will learn how to make better decisions financially.

"I hope they'll see the gravity of the situation if you make bad choices," Boyko says.

Renner says the PSA contest was a good avenue for his students to research more about credit cards and credit scores.

 "I think it's always good for the kids to learn about their finances at an early age because sometimes they don't get that at home," Renner says.

 Symens says the Jr. REAL program was educational and helped them learn about credit scores. She says it will help prepare her for decisions she will need to make heading into college.

 Hofhenke feels the PSAs do a great job in helping students to understand financial situations. She hopes the Jr. REAL program will help South Dakota's young people make wiser decisions as they become adults.

 "The choices today equal your opportunities tomorrow," Hofhenke says.     

Courtesy photo
Students from Britton-Hecla win the SDFU sponsored public service announcement contest. Students pictured include: Laken Olson, Ben Boyko, Tyler Bush and Toni Symens of Britton-Hecla High School won the South Dakota Farmers Union PSA contest. 

Read More

Last Modified:

South Dakota Farmers Union Celebrates January Farm Family

 – By

Celebrating a century of service to South Dakota's farm and ranch families, throughout 2015, South Dakota Farmers Union will highlight a South Dakota farm or ranch family each month. In January, South Dakota Farmers Union features the Kippley family who farms near Aberdeen.
Like all business owners, farmers are always crunching numbers, so the fact that John Kippley, 69, and his son, Jeff, 35, both have accounting degrees works well for the Aberdeen farmers. "The two go hand-in-hand because you're always trying to figure out what crop to plant based on cash flow," John explains.

Read More

Last Modified:

SDFU Strengthens Rural Communities through Scholarships

 – By

The South Dakota Farmers Union Foundation announces the 2015 Foundation Scholarship recipients. The students include: Alexandra Farber, Britton; Jonathan Linke, Woonsocket; and Tyana Gottsleben, Philip. These students will be attending post-secondary education in South Dakota in fall 2015.

Since 1961, the S.D. Farmers Union Foundation has invested in the lives of rural youth because the organization believes education is crucial to the future of South Dakota's rural communities and the state's family farms and ranches.

"Part of our mission is to help our young people as they pursue education and to aid them in their future careers," said Bonnie Geyer, S.D. Farmers Union Education Director. "We hope that by attending South Dakota schools, more students will return to their rural communities to help make these communities stronger."

As the Education Director for more than 17 years, Geyer works with Farmers Union Youth Programming which reaches more than 3,000 rural youth (kindergarten through high school) each year through a summer camp program and in-school leadership programming.

The three scholarships awarded include: the Memorial Scholarship, presented on behalf of the families of the late Emil Loriks, Les Saboe and other Farmers Union members; the Cooperative Scholarship, which is awarded on behalf of the late Ben and Dorothy Radcliffe and the families of the late Clifford Ott, Richard Pastian and Adam Seidel; and the Leadership Scholarship, which is presented on behalf of the family of the late Frank Butler.

Applications, which include several essays, as well as letters of recommendation and transcripts, were submitted between Sept. 2014 and Dec. 1, 2014. A committee made of Geyer, S.D. Farmers Union President, Doug Sombke, and two members (rotating), review the applications and select scholarship recipients on the basis of organizational and community involvement, academic achievement, leadership activities and financial need.

Each year when she reviews the scholarship applications, Geyer says she is optimistic for the future. "These young people are the cream of the crop. They are involved in their communities, have goals and are looking at how they can benefit their state through their future careers," she said.

Doug Sombke echoes Geyer's statement. As President of S.D. Farmers Union, he explained that although academic standing is important, community outreach and involvement plays a large role in which students are selected for the scholarships.

"Students who receive these scholarships are leaders in their communities. They are involved in organizations like Farmers Union, FFA or 4-H," Sombke said. "These scholarships are one of the many ways our organization works to empower the next generation of South Dakotans."

Meet the Recipients

Alexandra Farber of Britton has been awarded a $500 Farmers Union Memorial Scholarship on behalf of the families of Emil Loriks, Les Saboe and other Farmers Union members who have donated to the memorial scholarship fund. Farber is the daughter of Tom and Lori Farber and is a senior at Britton High School. She plans to attend South Dakota State University Honors College to major in marketing and theatre, with a minor in English. In 2014, Farber received the S. D. Farmers Union Torchbearer award. In addition to Farmers Union Youth Programming, Farber is involved in oral interpretation, drama, choir and volleyball, and serves on the Britton Public Library Youth Advisory Board, as well as many other community and scholastic activities.

Jonathan Linke of Woonsocket has been awarded a $500 Farmers Union Cooperative Scholarship on behalf of Ben and Dorothy Radcliffe and the families of Cliff Ott, Dick Pastian and Adam Seidel. Linke is the son of Henry and Paula Linke and is a senior at Woonsocket High School. After graduation, Jonathan plans to attend South Dakota State University and is considering a major in Ag Journalism. In 2014, Linke received the S. D. Farmers Union Torchbearer award. In addition to Farmers Union Youth Programming, Linke is involved in band, FFA, 4-H, All State Chorus, VFW Baseball and St. Wilfred's Youth Group, as well as many other community and scholastic activities.

Tyana Gottsleben of Philip has been awarded a $500 Farmers Union Leadership Scholarship on behalf of the family of Frank Butler. She is the daughter of Bill and Jayne Gottsleben and is a senior at Philip High School. Tyana plans to pursue a degree in education. In 2014, Gottsleben received the S. D. Farmers Union Torchbearer award and was selected to serve on the 2015 Farmers Union Senior Advisory Council. In addition to Farmers Union Youth Programming, Gottsleben is involved in Family Career & Community Leaders of America (FCCLA), track, band, choir, class treasurer and Sacred Heart Catholic Youth Group, as well as many other community and scholastic activities.

Read More

Last Modified: