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CHS Foundation Announces $1.5 Million Gift to Support SDSU Precision Agriculture Program

BROOKINGS, S.D. – The CHS Foundation, funded by charitable gifts from CHS Inc., announced today a $1.5 million grant to support the South Dakota State University precision agriculture program and construction of the new Raven Precision Agriculture Center on campus.

"The gift from the CHS Foundation is pivotal in allowing us to make our globally preeminent precision agriculture program a reality," says John Killefer, the South Dakota Corn Utilization Council Endowed Dean of the SDSU College of Agriculture, Food and Environmental Sciences.

The gift aligns with CHS priorities around ensuring that educating the next generation of agricultural leadership includes technology and tradition.

"The CHS Foundation is committed to supporting projects that cultivate opportunity for students interested in the agriculture industry," says Nanci Lilja, president, CHS Foundation. "By supporting the precision ag program at SDSU, there will be more qualified graduates entering the agriculture industry."

SDSU is the nation's first land-grant university to offer a bachelor's degree and minor in precision agriculture. The degree is a collaborative effort encompassing the Agricultural and Biosystems Engineering Department and the Agronomy, Horticulture and Plant Science Department in the College of Agriculture, Food and Environmental Sciences, as well as the Jerome J. Lohr College of Engineering.

SDSU's precision agriculture degree will provide students with access to cutting-edge developments in the rapidly evolving intersection of agronomics, high-speed sensor technology, data management and advanced machinery development. Students will be prepared for lifelong careers that support economically and environmentally sustainable agriculture.

This facility will allow the state to lead the nation in precision agriculture research, teaching and innovation.

"The gift in support of the Raven Precision Agriculture Center will positively impact our students and industry for decades to come," says Killefer. "This commitment from the CHS Foundation illustrates the leadership role and vision they have within the agricultural industry."

The building has 129,000 square feet of floor space that will be able to house modern precision farm equipment and will provide collaborative learning spaces for student design projects. Flexible space will give scientists from a variety of departments and industry space to collaborate on research and education.

"Precision agriculture technology is ever-changing," says Lilja. "It's exciting to envision the impact students will have by developing new technologies through collaboration with their peers and industry leaders in this new environment."

Final construction plans are in-progress. Some ground work is expected to begin this fall, with construction starting in the spring of 2019.

–SDSU Extension

NDA: Watch mycotoxin levels in grain

The Nebraska Department of Agriculture (NDA) is encouraging producers and feed manufacturers to be mindful of mycotoxin levels in corn being fed to livestock this winter. Mycotoxins are naturally occurring mold fungi that affects corn.

"Summer drought coupled with wet harvest conditions creates a high risk for mycotoxin's to grow," said NDA Director Steve Wellman. "Fortunately, we have not seen alarming concentrations of mycotoxins in Nebraska like our neighboring states, but it is important for producers to remain vigilant to help protect the safety and wellbeing of their livestock herds."

NDA Animal and Plant Health inspectors collect corn samples at grain elevators across the state each year during harvest. The NDA laboratory tests the samples for mycotoxins, including Aflatoxin and Fumonisin, as part of a collaborative effort between NDA and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

Test results showed no detectable levels of Aflatoxin, but did indicate an increased presence of Fumonisin in several of the samples.

Livestock fed feedstuffs with a high enough concentration of Fumonisin can cause harm or even death. The most susceptible animals include horses, rabbits and swine. Cattle and poultry seem to have a higher tolerance for Fumonisin. The FDA has established safe feeding recommendations for grains containing significant levels of Fumonisin, those recommendations can be found here: https://tinyurl.com/ybdj2z7l.

–Nebraska Department of Agriculture

Baxter Black: Cowboy Mentality

I ran into Randy in the airport. He was draggin' his right hind leg like an escaped convict tryin' to cover his tracks. I could see it had taken him a while to pull his pant leg on over the swollen knee. He side-slid to a stop to visit for a minute.

"So." I asked stupidly, "Hurt yourself?"

Randy is a rodeo announcer. A good one, I might add. I've seen him work. But this injury could certainly not be worked related, I thought to myself. Rodeo announcers are a little higher up the food chain than those of us who actually get within striking distance of large herbivores. They sit in their ivory towers above the dust and flailing hooves, inciting the fans and titillating the timers. Occasionally stooping to act as straight man to the barrel man's jokes but above it all, maintaining their dignity. Ringmaster of all they survey.

He gave me a raised eyebrow, realized that I was not smart enough to have asked the question facetiously, and explained. In an effort to 'keep up with the competition' he had taken to announcing rodeos ahorseback.

'Say no more,' I thought. Riding a strange horse furnished by the stock contractor into the center of the arena surrounded by thousands of foot stompin', whistlin', avid rodeo fans, reins in one hand, microphone in the other, with flags flyin', banners flappin' and music blarrin'…the outcome is almost predictable.

His story included all of that and concluded with a wild bucking exit where he bailed out with the grace of a sand bag fallin' off the back of a runaway stage coach.

What makes people do things like that says something about the cowboy mentality. This mentality is best characterized by that old joke where the guy holds his hand in front of his face and bets his friend that he can't 'hit my hand before I move it.'

I once had to wear a neck brace for several weeks. Not in public, of course. Maybe I wouldn't have been so reluctant to wear it if I didn't have to respond to the question…"So, did you hurt your neck?"

What did I tell them? No. It's just decorative. A cosmetic article of clothing designed to offset my bad posture and enhance my fine facial features. Or maybe…my wife gave it to me on our anniversary…or, I wrenched it saving a school bus load of children from a burning building.

If I had been forced to explain, I would have to have said I was riding down the trail with an amigo whose horse was jiggin' and tossin his head. So I told this amigo that he didn't have to put up with that kind of unsavory equine behavior. When he throws his head, I said, conk him between the ears. 'Whattya mean?' asked my amigo. So I demonstrated by leaning out of the saddle and whacking his horse on the poll with a 32 oz mug I'd got at the GIT AND GO. The mug broke, his horse stampeded and when I straightened up, I couldn't move my neck.

See what I mean? Randy's story isn't that preposterous after all. Just part of the cowboy way. Here, bet you can't hit my hand before I move it.

Lee Pitts: My House Runneth Over

There are many benefits to being a syndicated columnist. Although you work for a pittance, the gifts you get more than make up for the paltry salary. For example, I wrote that I had a barb wire collection and Dan from South Dakota, a longtime reader, sent me his entire barb wire collection. Years ago Jack, a longtime friend from Nebraska, sent me a really nice three foot windmill that he made from barb wire. Consequently when people enter my home they don't know if they've entered a private residence or a barb wire museum.

Speaking of our home, due to all the nice gifts people have given me over the years our house currently runneth over. I hardly have room for all the books people have sent me because my bookcases are filled with my miniature anvil collection. Publishers have sent books hoping I'd give them a plug while many others have sent me books they wrote. I read most of them too and came to the conclusion that there are a lot of people out there who can write better books than what I find in Barnes and Noble. After Renaissance Magazine ran a couple of my columns they paid me off with a 1957 red Chevy Bel Air convertible. Too bad it's only three inches long.

I collect practically everything and people have added to my knife, spur, bit, hat, bullet pencil, art and clock collections. Will and Deb donated to my branding iron collection by sending me one that folded up. Bob made me a miniature branding iron of my own iron and Range Magazine gave me a bigger golden version of my brand that I cherish even though it isn't real gold. One of my most meaningful gifts was a cutting board Skinner made from wood from his own ranch and EC has given me 40 years worth of date books I've used to tell me where to be and when.

Butch sent me several blabs for my blab collection (they prevent a calf from sucking) and the Red Bluff Bull Sale Committee gave me a beautiful bridle, reins and Garcia bit. John sent me a favorite piece of art that is a pencil drawing of the stages a horse goes through to become a reined cow horse and Jerry, a great artist and cowboy columnist himself, sent me one of his original oils that will be worth a fortune someday when we're both dead. As a Mad Jack cartoon fan I created a shrine of sorts with the eight he drew, colored, and signed for me. Jerry also sent me one of his original cartoons.

The Western States Beefmaster folks gave me a plaque with a clock on it, the Brangus Association gave me a Cross matching pen and pencil set, and Bubba from the Akaushi Association sent me a container filled with great tasting steaks. People must look at my skinny body and think I need fattening up because I've received everything from A to Z in foodstuffs: from almonds from Bill to zucchini from Glen. The bottles of wine people have given me would have filled a cellar.

Kind folks see how I'm dressed and try to dress me. Auction markets have given me a lifetime supply of caps and jackets, and Don sent me several Pendleton shirts (my favorite) and a beautiful Mark Dahl engraved belt buckle to remind me I'm really not a very good engraver. I wear a CAB jacket that Rick gave me and a Charolais shirt from Dennis and I have to be careful not to wear the Charolais shirt to an Angus sale, and vice versa.

Writers receive so much stuff I'm thinking of starting a registration service for writers like there is for newlyweds. That way you'd know we need a 72 inch TV and a satellite dish a whole lot more than we do a silver chafing dish. And it might put an end to the odd gifts I get like the box of flies I got one time. And no, they weren't the kind for fishing. They weren't from an irate reader either, but from a company that sells castrated male flies to decrease the fly population. (Imagine how small the Callicrate banders must be for them!) The gift was fleeting however because I turned them loose and never heard from them again.

Converse County’s Tim and Dawn Pexton receive the Wyoming Farm Bureau Federation Leadership Award

November 15, 2018— Tim and Dawn Pexton, of Converse County, were awarded the Wyoming Farm Bureau Federation (WyFB) Leadership Award at the organization's 99th annual meeting. Presented Nov. 8, the award is given to those who have gone above and beyond in their agricultural leadership service in the organization.

"Tim and Dawn's leadership and dedication to the Farm Bureau Federation at the local, district and state level is unrivaled," said Todd Fornstrom, WyFB President.

Serving in leadership roles to represent farmers and ranchers is part of Tim and Dawn's agricultural life. And it isn't about the title either…wherever there is a need for leadership is where you will find them. Advocating for farmers and ranchers of all ages to join Farm Bureau and be a part of the voice for agriculture through membership in Farm Bureau has been an important component of their leadership.

Fellow volunteers say Tim's quiet and laid-back leadership style makes him an effective leader. Many will tell you he is a "doer" and not a "talker." And Dawn's support is unwavering.

"There has never been a question of not being actively involved in Farm Bureau," Tim said. "If I am going to attend meetings and support an organization I am going to speak up with my ideas and work to at least sustain the group and hopefully make it better; it becomes a duty."

"Membership in Farm Bureau is valuable because it connects us to a lot of really great people who share the same goals and ideals, who face the same trials and tribulations, and who speak the same language. This is true at the local level as well as on a national level," he continued.

Some of Tim's earliest memories are of attending Farm Bureau meetings where his Dad John served as county president, as well as other positions, and his Mom Noramae served as secretary and Women's Chairman.

Tim's direct involvement began in the early 1970s. He and Dawn were married in 1979 and Dawn has attended nearly every annual meeting with Tim. Whether it be serving as county president or county membership secretary or serving as the co-pilot for one another on the long drives across the state to Farm Bureau meetings they are the epitome of leadership in Farm Bureau.

Tim serves as the Central District Director on the Wyoming Farm Bureau Federation Board of Directors. He also serves as the Wyoming Farm Bureau Membership Committee Chair; a position he has held for 20 plus years.

Tim's involvement with the Farm Bureau Membership Committee was sparked by his Uncle Charles Pexton. Charles firmly believed in Farm Bureau and was not afraid to ask anyone, anywhere or anytime if they would consider paying their dues or to join if they weren't already a member. Tim places high value in working to preserve and improve that system of membership acquisition and retention.

In addition to Farm Bureau, Tim has volunteered and served on many boards including the "Fair Posse" in Converse County which supports the Wyoming State Fair. He has been active on the Eastern Wyoming College Foundation Board for the Douglas Campus. He served as chairman of the Wyoming Rural Development Council until its dissolution in 2016.

His involvement in a Young Farmer Organization in his early years provided interaction and leadership opportunities including a couple of overseas trips to learn about agriculture in other countries.

He has always been an avid supporter of Farm Bureau's Young Farmer & Rancher program providing ideas and guidance. Tim's love of Farm Bureau shows when he is mentoring new young members to get involved in the organization.

Dawn is always by his side supporting Tim. The nominators wrote: "Dawn's unwavering support and cheery attitude amidst Tim's crazy schedule is a testament to her strength of character. A meeting without Dawn's smiling face is just not the same."

Tim is a 4th generation rancher south of Douglas near Esterbrook. Their children are now married and have given Tim and Dawn four beautiful grandchildren with which they love to spend their time.

"Leadership is not necessarily a conscious thing," Pexton concluded. "Maybe just by showing up with an open mind and a dedication through good times and bad to do what needs to be done, you are a leader."

"The Wyoming Farm Bureau Federation is proud to honor Tim and Dawn Pexton with the WyFB Leadership Award," Fornstrom concluded. "We thank Tim and Dawn for their dedicated leadership on behalf of the Converse County Farm Bureau, the Central District and the Wyoming Farm Bureau Federation and Wyoming agriculture."

–Wyoming Farm Bureau

Sheridan College student Madison Anderson wins Farm Bureau Collegiate Discussion Meet

November 16, 2018—Sheridan College student Madison Anderson discussed agriculture issues at the Wyoming Farm Bureau Young Farmer & Rancher Collegiate Discussion Meet and earned $300 cash and an expense-paid trip to Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Anderson competed Nov. 7 in Sheridan. Seven competitors representing Sheridan College and the University of Wyoming entered the competition. The competition is designed to simulate a committee meeting where discussion and active participation are expected.

Galen Kretschman, Sheridan College student, was named the runner-up and was awarded a $150 cash prize. A fourth-generation rancher from Arvada, Wyo., Kretschman is studying agriculture business.

Rounding out the "Final Four" finalists were: Jessica Rossi, University of Wyoming (UW) and Gillian Petsch, Sheridan College. Rossi is a senior studying agriculture business. She also serves as the Collegiate Farm Bureau Chapter Chair at UW. Petsch is from Meriden and is studying agriculture business and communications.

Contestants are given pre-determined topics. They are judged on their knowledge, speaking ability, ability to participate in a committee meeting and listen to others and air all points of view. All contestants competed in two rounds of competition. The top four advanced to the "Final Four" round.

The "Final Four" discussion topic was: "In our modern world, the rapid dissemination of information and opinion about agriculture and food technologies can make it difficult to distinguish fact from fiction. Given these challenges, how can Farm Bureau best protect farmers' and ranchers' access to production technology options?"

"I applaud the contestants in this year's Collegiate Discussion Meet," said Chalsey Kortes, out-going WyFB YF&R Competitive Events Sub-Committee Chair. "They took the questions and ran with them formulating great conclusions!"

"We will be cheering Madison on as she heads to Milwaukee representing Wyoming Farm Bureau next March," Kortes concluded.

Anderson will represent the Wyoming Farm Bureau in the American Farm Bureau Federation Collegiate Discussion Meet March 15-18, 2019 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Anderson grew up on a ranch in Ten Sleep, Wyo. She is studying agriculture business at Sheridan College. FFA has played a large part in her agriculture involvement.

–Wyoming Farm Bureau

MFBF elects officers

BILLINGS—Hans McPherson, a diversified farmer from Stevensville, was re-elected as president of the Montana Farm Bureau Federation during the organization's annual convention Nov. 7-10 in Billings. Cyndi Johnson, a Conrad small grains farmer, was re-elected as vice president.

Re-elected to the MFBF Board of Directors were Rhonda Boyd, District 2, a rancher from Alder; Lee Boyer, District 4, a rancher from Bridger; Wes Jensen, District 6, a rancher from Circle; Cindy Denning, District 8, a rancher from Sun River; and Patti Davis, District 10, a rancher from Belgrade.

Gretchen Schubert from Huntley was re-elected as the MFBF Women's Leadership Committee Chair with Gil Gasper from Circle re-elected as the MFBF Young Farmer and Rancher Committee Chair.

Following are the district chairs for the Women's Leadership Committee and the Young Farmers & Ranchers Committee:

District Women's Leadership Committee:

District 1: Beth Blevins – Ronan / Janie Kurth – Missoula

District 3: Mary Hill – Raynesford/ Debbie Bricker – Moore

District 5: Lillian Ostendorf – Powderville / Cathy McDowell – Powderville

District 7: Nancy Bowman – Hinsdale

District 9: Bonnie Jones – Helena / Loretta Burnham – Helena

District Young Farmer/Rancher Committee:

District 1: Josh Senecal – Ronan / Lacey Sutherlin – Stevensville

District 3: Lane Nordlund – Bozeman / Kevin Arntzen – Hilger

District 5: John Olson – Broadus

District 7: Gwynn Simeniuk – Opheim

District 9: Josh Doely – Helena / Klayton Lohr – Devon

The Montana Farm Bureau 99th Annual Convention was November 7-10 in downtown Billings.

–Montana Farm Bureau

MFBF Convention workshop to focus on good relationship with your large animal veterinarian

BILLINGS–A good relationship with your large animal veterinarian makes for a better veterinary experience for you and your livestock. That's the message Beth Blevins, DVM, and Katie Rein, DVM, gave to livestock owners during a workshop Nov. 8 at the Montana Farm Bureau Annual Convention in Billings.

"Having a good working relationship with your veterinarian takes time, talent and knowledge," said Blevins who owns All Creatures Mobile Vet Clinic in Ronan. "Look at it as two professionals working together—you and your vet—who want the best for the patient. If you have a veterinarian you use regularly, it's especially helpful when you have an emergency or need a prescription for your animals. The vet will know your animals and keep records of vaccinations and medications. Plus, veterinarians keep informed about the latest regulations concerning certain drugs."

The Ronan vet listed what can place you on the vet's "never work for" list including a lack of communication, unsafe working conditions and not paying your bill.

"I prefer to invoice my customers so I don't miss listing something and I don't need to deal with paperwork on a farm call," said Rein, who owns Crazy Mountain Vet Service in Big Timber "We do appreciate if you pay your bill promptly. We realize sometimes you might have to wait until your calves sell, but if it's been five months since you paid us, we might not be in such a hurry to rush to your ranch when you call at 11 p.m. with an emergency."

Rein said to be prepared before the vet arrives and don't keep them waiting. "Everyone is busy, so keep that in mind when you're scheduling. It helps to schedule in the morning. When you call the vet, get to the point of your call quickly. If your animal has an injury, it can really help to text a photo of the wound when you call the vet."

Having safe and well-designed facilities can make the vet's farm call efficient and helpful. "Provide sufficient lighting, encourage safe practices, provide shelter from the elements if possible and make sure you have an adequate crew for whatever procedure you're having your vet perform," said Rein. "If you're unsure about how to design or improve efficient livestock-handling facilities, find out the pros and cons from other ranchers you know."

The final tip from the two vets is to make sure there really is an emergency before you call your vet. "Calling us with an emergency that turns out the horse is growing proud flesh on a cut from two weeks ago is a waste of time and money. Make sure an emergency call really is urgent."

The Montana Farm Bureau 99th Annual Convention runs from Nov. 7-10, 2018.

–Montana Farm Bureau

NILE Top Herdsman Awarded to Frank Herefords

Billings, Mont–Frank Herefords from Columbus, Mont. takes home the K.R. Rauch Wilson Trailer for winning the 2018 Top Herdsman Award at the NILE.

Each year cattle exhibitors are judged on their presentation during the NILE Stock Show. The criteria for winning is based on: cleanliness of stall area, observance of rules and regulations, cooperation with show officials, sportsmanship to other exhibitors, and knowledge of breed/s being shown. Those that exemplify these attributes win the use of a Wilson Trailer from K.R. Rauch for a year.

This year's winner is Frank Herefords based out of Columbus, Mont. They are self-described as "a small herd that just keeps getting better every spring!"

Congratulations to Frank Herefords and all exhibitors who were in the running for the Top Herdsman Trailer. Thank you to K.R. Rauch and Wilson Trailers for providing this awesome award.


Dan Tracy


Dan Tracy age 80, died on the ranch doing what he loved on Wednesday November 7, 2018 of natural causes.

Daniel Eugene Tracy 80, was born on December 17, 1937 in Eaton, Colorado to William Patrick Tracy and Opha Lenora (Hendrickson) Tracy at the clinic, he was raised at the homestead on the prairie. His brothers were Bill, Jim, Rich, Ray and Tim. His sisters were Kathleen, Vera, Evelyn, and Opha. Dan married Joyce Ann McKay on April 14, 1957 at the Galeton Community Church.

He worked doing construction for a short time but then bought milk cows and milked on the farm where Joyce grew up. He milked cows for 20 years. In the meantime, he farmed near Galeton, CO, ranched near Waldon, CO, and then near Carr, CO for 17 years where he raised sheep, cattle, and horses.

Dan and Joyce had three daughters, Jami Alwin, Jody Wilker, and Jacci Tracy and one son, Marc. His ultimate goal was to ranch, so he and his family bought a ranch near Wright, WY in 1993. Dan's legacy is that you must accomplish something towards your goal every day, you can learn something from everyone you meet and don't take a butt chewin' personally.

Dan is survived by his wife, Joyce of Wright, WY; children, Jami and Clay of FT. Morgan; Jacci of Wright, and Marc and Tami of Newcastle; along with seven grandchildren and eight great-grandkids. He is preceded in death by his daughter, Jody Wilker who passed away in 2000.

Memorial service for Dan Tracy will be held at 11:00 a.m., Wednesday, November 14, 2018 at Wright Community Center (Old Town Hall), Wright, WY.

Memorials and condolences may be sent in care of Gillette Memorial Chapel 210 West 5th Street, Gillette, WY 82716. Condolences may also be expressed at http://www.gillettememorialchapel.com