Two S.D. Farmers Union members were appointed by Sec. of Agriculture, Tom Vilsack Dec. 22, 2015, to serve on the Cattlemen's Beef Promotion and Research Board, they are Union Center rancher, Tammy Basel and Frederick cattleman, Eric Sumption.
"Secretary Vilsack made a good choice. Tammy and Eric live and breathe the cattle industry. Combined, they have extensive experience in all areas of the cattle industry as well as experience in promoting the industry by serving on state and national boards," said Doug Sombke, President of South Dakota Farmers Union.
Farmers Union is one of the organizations which nominated Basel and Sumption, the two South Dakotan cattle producers appointed to serve with 100 producers from across the nation.
We are 100-years-old and have a lot to celebrate, said S.D. Farmers Union President, Doug Sombke of the organization's Centennial State Convention where nearly 500 members turned out to celebrate and provide policy direction for the future, Dec. 9-10, 2015, in Huron.
"Celebrating 100 years is amazing, especially in this day and age when many organizations are struggling with membership numbers just trying to survive and we continue to thrive," says Mary Ellen Cammack, a cow/calf producer from Sturgis, who ranches with her husband Randy and drove to Huron with her adult daughters, Shelby Cammack and Paige Komes, who remain actively involved in production agriculture, managing their own cattle herds on their family's ranch and working as AI technicians.
The Cammacks are currently participating in the 2016 Farmers Union Enterprise Couples Leadership Program, which was developed to substantiate and empower future leaders for rural America and Farmers Union by providing training and hands-on experiences that enable couples to become knowledgeable leaders
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 Alica P. Thiele for South Dakota Farmers Union; Photos by Darcy Krick Photography & Kecia Beranek, SDFU Communications Specialist
The Yost family of Gann Valley are dedicated to ranching for the long haul.
In hard times and good, four generations have pushed on, raising cattle and growing crops to sustain their herd.
Ben and Anastasia “Stacey” Knippling settled on the family ranch in 1930 with their only child, Paul. When Paul married Margaret Lobban in 1948, they built their home next to Paul’s parents and raised four children on the ranch. Paul and Margaret’s oldest daughter, Kathy, and her husband, Chuck Yost, joined the operation in 1973 and raised their five children on the ranch.
Now their boys Charley, Wade and Rodney Yost ranch with their parents and are looking forward to one day passing the land on to their children.
“In ranching, you get satisfaction in knowing you’re leaving something behind,’ Rodney said.
It’s not always easy. In the Dirty Thirties and the farm crisis of the 1980s, and more recently, during the Great Recession years, family members have made necessary sacrifices to keep the ranch running and thriving.
In the 1980s, some land purchased 10 years earlier needed to be sold, Kathy said. Chuck took day work and she got her degree in education so she could teach school. The couple’s daughters, Christie and Stacey, were top hands on the ranch until they married. They now ranch with their husbands. The boys all have outside incomes, but the land is “the heart of what it’s all about,” Rodney said.
Ben Knippling created the distinctive ax design that the family continues to use as their brand, and that is the reason the ranch is affectionately known as the Broadaxe Ranch. To learn more about the Yost family, and view a photo gallery, click here.
S.D. Farmers Union Davison County Education Director, Nancy Mueller was recognized for her years of dedicated service to South Dakota Farmers Union Youth Programming with the Minnie Lovinger Esteemed Educator Award during the Centennial Convention held Dec. 9-10, 2015 in Huron.
"Nancy Mueller has made great contributions to the success and longevity of the South Dakota Farmers Union Youth Program," said Karla Hofhenke, SDFU Executive Director during the presentation ceremony.
Four agriculture producers were selected to represent South Dakota's family farmers and ranchers during the South Dakota Farmers Union centennial convention held in Huron last week Dec. 9-10.
"Farmers Union is a grassroots organization, all policy - state and national - begins with our members at the state level. These delegates will represent South Dakota during the National Farmers Union Convention," explained Doug Sombke, S.D. Farmers Union President.
Elected by the membership, these delegates will represent the states more than 17,000 Farmers Union members during the National Farmers Union Convention held March 5-8, 2016 in Minneapolis. The delegates include: Lorrie Hanson, , Britton; Jason Hanson, Animal Science major at North Dakota State, Britton; David Reis, cow/calf producer from Reliance and Steve Harwood, cattle producer, Union Center.
Doug Sombke was elected by the members of South Dakota Farmers Union to serve a sixth term during the organization's centennial convention held in Huron Dec. 9 and 10, 2015.
"I feel truly honored to serve the membership of this great organization - these are South Dakota's farmers, ranchers and rural citizens," explained Sombke, a fourth generation Conde crop and cattle farmer who has served as the organization's President since 2005.
South Dakota Farmers Union President, Doug Sombke, is concerned by the recent Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) decision to issue final renewable fuel volume targets which are well below their statutory levels.
"This is not good for South Dakota's family farmers and rural communities," said Sombke, a fourth generation crop and livestock farmer from Conde. "Since its emergence the ethanol industry has helped breath life back into rural America by increasing commodity prices and through the competitive jobs it has created."