Posts for May 2018

New Legislation: What you need to know about the Improved Soil Moisture and Precipitation Monitoring Act

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S.D. Farmers Union 2018 Insuring a Brighter Tomorrow Scholarship Winners Announced

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HURON, S.D. - The South Dakota Farmers Union Foundation, in cooperation with Farmers Union Insurance Agency, announces the Insuring a Brighter Tomorrow scholarship recipients. Each of the scholarship recipients will receive $1,000 to put toward their post secondary education at a South Dakota college, university or technical school. Over the past 11 years, the Foundation has awarded more than $275,000 in scholarships to students attending South Dakota post-secondary schools. 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," says 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." 


Scholarship recipients include the following: (Click on youth's name to link to a high resolution photo)

Jenifer Fjelstad, graduate of Groton Area High School and daughter of Clint & Tara Fjelstad;

 Matthew Sperry, graduate of Aberdeen Roncalli and son of Scott & Kathy Sperry;

 Sage Pulse, graduate of Kimball High School and daughter of Lee & Nicole Pulse;

 Anne Knoff, graduate of Yankton High School and daughter of David & Jozette Knoff;

 Trew DeJong, graduate of Philip High School and son of Travis & Pamela DeJong;

 Riley Calhoon, graduate of Winner High School and son of John & Jodi Calhoon;

 Ellie Holmes, graduate of Brandon Valley High School and d,aughter of Mike & Val Holmes;

 Taylor Gall, graduate of Scotland High School and daughter of Fred & Tricia Gall;

 Savannah Krogman, graduate ofJones County High School and daughter of Neil Krogman & Kathy Krogman;

 Kaylee Hart, graduate of Mitchell High School and daughter of Troy & Andrea Hart;

 Katie McManus, graduate of Lyman High School and daughter of Don & Melinda McManus;

 Eric Olson, graduate of Watertown High School and son of Jim & Julie Olson;

 Brianna Mount, graduate of Webster Area High School and daughter of Randy & Stacy Mount;

 Erica Koster, graduate of Armour High School and daughter of Dean & Bonnie Koster;

 Saraya Bronson, graduate of Wilmot High School and daughter of Colin & Renae Bronson;

 Zachary Severson, graduate of Canton High School and son of Brad & LuAnn Severson;

 Dalton Howe, graduate of Redfield High School and son of Lance & Shirley Howe;

 Carter Larson, graduate of Vermillion High School and son of Eric Larson & Laurie Larson;

 Chastin Mohr, graduate of Parker High School and daughter of Scott & Jenia Mohr;

 Sadie Vander Wal, graduate of Northwestern High School and daughter of Jeff & Beth Vander Wal;

 Kylee Guindon, graduate of Plankinton High School and daughter of Rayne & Jen Guindon;

 Nathan Rook, graduate of Aberdeen Central High School and son of Kevin & Brenda Rook;

 Emily Oswald, graduate of Yankton High School and daughter of Jason & Sherri Oswald; and

 Kaylee Becker, graduate of TF Riggs High School and daughter of David & Denette Becker.

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S.D. Farmers Union Celebrates the Cable Ranch Family, Pukwana, South Dakota

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By Lura Roti, for South Dakota Farmers Union


Dawn (Gilman) Cable was shorter than the barrels she raced around when she began competing at area playday rodeos.  

 Her daughters, Jimmi and Kari, could say the same for the sport that also captured their hearts.

 After chores were done on the family's cow/calf and club calf ranch north of Pukwana, the Cable women practiced together on a barrel patch Dawn's husband, Harley, disks up each spring for them. 

 On the weekends, the family raced to wrap up chores so they could head off to rodeos together. In their teens, through college and into adulthood, Dawn and her daughters continued to barrel race together.

 "It's one thing the three of us did together since they were teeny, tiny girls," Dawn says. 

 "It gave us something we all enjoyed and got to spend time outside of the ranch together and we made so many friends," adds daughter, Kari, 27, who today is the lead MRI technician at Rapid City Regional Hospital. 

 Because of all the good memories the family created barrel racing together, when a tragic car accident took Jimmi's life four years ago, Harley, Dawn and Kari decided a memorial barrel race would be a fitting way to remember Jimmi; her love of horses and passion for barrel racing, livestock and their Pukwana ranch. And, most of all, her love for her family and friends. 

 As the state director of the South Dakota Barrel Horse Association, Dawn knew how to organize the event. Friends and family members also chipped in and July 2015 the family hosted the first Jimmi Rose Memorial Barrel Race.

 "I was hoping for 50 entries and 200 showed up," Dawn says of the event that has become an annual tradition, held each year during the last Sunday in July in Huron on the Beadle County 4-H Rodeo Grounds.

  All funds raised go to support organizations and events Jimmi and her family hold dear: a belt buckle for the winner of round robin at the 4-H round robin at the Brule County Achievement Days; jackets for grand champion Sim-Angus heifer at the Spotlight Livestock Show; prizes for all the peewee barrel racers at the memorial barrel race and many other events.

 "It's a good feeling knowing you still support what she loved. Another part of the memorial barrel race is, it's a way to bring all my family and all of her friends together to remember her," Kari says. "It's a bittersweet day. We all enjoy getting to see each other and to honor her memory. The support from each other keeps you going." Kari says.

 Her mom agrees.

 "It's the comradery. I tell you, when we lost Jimmi, I found out who my real friends are - and my barrel racing friends are definitely in that category. They have stuck beside me through it all," Dawn explains.

 The ranch, with its wide open spaces, cattle who need caring for and a few good horses always ready for a ride, also helps. "If I have a bad day, I get on my horse and ride the creek," says Dawn, of Crow Creek which runs through the property. 

 Cable Ranch

Harley grew up on the ranch, and says he never wanted to do anything else. "I like cattle and I like breeding superior livestock."

 In addition to raising commercial cattle, since his teens, Harley has been raising sought after livestock, selling Sim-Angus bulls and club calves to commercial cattle producers and show youth who exhibit the calves in livestock shows across the nation. 

 Only 15 when his dad died, Harley made ranching his full-time career, building on the 2,500 acres and 25-head of cattle his dad left to him.

 Their overall breeding program has a strong focus on maternal traits - sound udders, good feet and legs and, "of course, good rate of gain," Harley explains.

 "Makes a guy feel pretty proud to see the calves we raise, do well in the show ring. There are a lot of people breeding club calves who buy high-dollar donors, and most of the time we can do it through cows we raise and AI-ing them," Harley explains.

 Also raised on a ranch, Dawn has worked beside Harley since they married 32 years ago. 

 "I've always preferred to be outdoors working. The first time I brought Harley home to meet my parents, he was having coffee with my dad and I was out feeding cows," Dawn says.

 She then asks Harley. "What did you think of when you were having coffee with my dad while I was feeding cows?"

 With a twinkle in his eye, Harley answers, "She was trying to impress me."

 Although the couple has been through unimaginable grief together, there is a lot of jesting and laughter when they discuss working together as a family on the ranch. Before they were school-age, the girls spent their days outdoors with their parents.

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Camps Emphasize Cooperating for a Brighter Tomorrow

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As S.D. Farmers Union (SDFU) enters its 84th camping season its focus remains the same. Priority is placed on shaping the leaders of tomorrow, fostering engagement in rural communities and introducing youth to the many opportunities in agriculture. 

 "Camp is a place where kids can come to learn and grow as leaders in an engaging positive atmosphere," said Rachel Haigh-Blume, S.D. Farmers Union Education Director. "The lessons they learn today will stick with them for years to come as they take on leadership roles in their communities and future careers."

 SDFU hosts nearly 50 camps across the state each year for children ages 5 to 18. These camps work to fulfill a vital purpose for the future of rural communities by educating children on agriculture careers that often help them return home to their rural communities.   

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2018 S.D. Farmers Union Young Producer Event to be Held in Sioux Falls July 13-14

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Farmers, ranchers and their spouses are invited to the 2018 S.D. Farmers Union Young Producer Event to be held in Sioux Falls July 13 and 14 at no cost to members and $50 to non-members.

 "This event is one of the best programs we sponsor," says Chad Johnson, 45, a crop and cattle farmer and District 7 board member.

 Johnson shares how the Young Producers Event he and his wife, Michelle, attended a few years back made a positive and lasting impact on their family farm. During the event, they listened to an expert discuss farm and ranch transition and estate planning. After the event, Johnson invited the speaker to his farm to visit with his dad and mom.

 "Prior to the event, every time I brought up the topic of a transition plan with my parents, my dad would get uncomfortable and change the subject. It was kind of taboo," Johnson explains. "After we learned about the tax ramifications of not having a plan, we shared those with Dad and he was open to a discussion."

 More discussions and official paperwork followed. "We had our succession plan set up and some wills drawn up in case something happened," Johnson says. "It was a good thing too, because my dad passed away this July of cancer. I'm glad we had those talks out of the way, and out in the open with the family ahead of time, so we didn't have to worry."

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Celebrate Farm & Ranch Moms this Mother's Day

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As we reflect on the women who raised us this Mother's Day, South Dakota Farmers Union would like to celebrate the many women who support the state's No. 1 industry - farm and ranch moms!

 by Lura Roti for SDFU

"It's such a short time in their life and yours when you get to be with your kids and have an influence in their life. It feels like you blink and they are grown."

Karli McCance, Dallas, South Dakota, farm wife, and small business owner, mother of three, exchange mom to three    

 The more the merrier" would be a good phrase to describe Karli McCance's take on children.

 "The more kids around the better," McCance says. She explains that when her mostly grown children were young, many of their friends would want to spend time out in the country so, there were always a lot of kids hanging out on the family's Dallas farm.

 In fact, for several years, the McCance family welcomed exchange students through Education First. "Hosting an exchange student gives you a bond from across the world and brings other cultures into your home - we have gained several family members for life," says McCance, who serves as the local exchange coordinator, helping place students from other countries with families in their community.

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Current Farm Bill Doesn't Work For Farmers

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Column by Doug Sombke, President of S.D. Farmers Union 

 As South Dakota family farmers and ranchers we work each day to feed the families of millions of Americans. And yet, when I review our current Farm Bill, I am disappointed because it does not provide the protections we need to ensure that in disaster we are able to earn enough to feed our own families.

 Although many throughout the agriculture industry agree, some are afraid to say anything because they don't want changes to the current Farm Bill to take away what minimal protections are in place.

 I call on all of us to EXPECT MORE OF OUR ELECTED OFFICIALS. Agriculture is South Dakota's No. 1 industry and critical to our nation's national security. South Dakota Farmers Union, together with National Farmers Union calls upon our elected officials to create a Farm Bill that supports the population it is intended to serve.

 First, I ask Representative Kristi Noem to VOTE NO on the House farm bill in its current form. Please work to change the Farm Bill to better serve South Dakota's family farmers and ranchers.

 Together with Noem, I also call on South Dakota's Sens. Mike Rounds and John Thune to encourage changes to the farm bill so that it does the following:

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SD Farmers Union Celebrates the Gonsoir Ranch Family of Groton

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By Lura Roti for South Dakota Farmers Union

 Kristen Gonsoir's first horse was a small, naughty pony a neighbor offloaded for the horse-crazed 5-year-old to love. When its cantankerous nature didn't deter their daughter's affection, Kristen's parents bought her the real deal - a mare named Cinnamon. 

 Kristen trained Cinnamon for 4-H reining competitions and by the time she was 12, the bourgeoning horsewoman was ready to try her hand at horse breeding.

 "I insisted my parents take me to a special equine reproduction clinic at SDSU. Here I was, not quite a teen, in a room full of adults. I took notes and asked questions," recalls the AQHA Professional Horseman, AQHA Specialized Judge, POAc Judge and Quarter Horse breeder. 

 Her parents helped her locate a stallion and Kristen found her calling. 

 "I have always loved horses, but it's the breeding that is my favorite part because it's the science aspect combined with horse aspect," explains the high school chemistry instructor and young grandma, who enjoys sharing her first love with her greatest love - her family - husband, Tim, son, Stan, 29, his wife, Madeleine, and grandson, Dayton, 2, and daughter, Joellen Miller, 22, and her husband, Jordan. "It was fun family time together, whether it's riding together or we're going to a horse show or rodeo." 

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