Community heroes honored; farmers feed fairgoers |

Community heroes honored; farmers feed fairgoers

HURON, S.D. – S.D. Farmers Union will be busy celebrating South Dakota’s family farmers, ranchers and those who give back to their rural communities during the 2017 Farmers Union Day at the South Dakota State Fair, Sept. 2.

“The State Fair is the perfect place to celebrate the people who make up South Dakota agriculture and a great opportunity to visit with those who are not directly tied to farms and ranches,” said Doug Sombke, S.D. Farmers Union President and a fourth-generation Conde crop and cattle producer.

The Farmers Share Lunch provides one of the best opportunities for farmers, ranchers and the public to mix and mingle, said Terry Sestak, District 1 Farmers Union board member and fourth-generation Tabor farmer.

Held in the Farmers Union Tent directly across from the Freedom Stage, the Farmers Share Luncheon, gives fairgoers an opportunity to learn just how much of the grocery store price tag South Dakota’s farmers and ranchers take home after harvesting the crops or livestock they raise.

“The State Fair is the perfect place to celebrate the people who make up South Dakota agriculture and a great opportunity to visit with those who are not directly tied to farms and ranches.” Doug Sombke, S.D. Farmers Union president

“There is a big difference between grocery store price tags and what farmers and ranchers receive for the crops and meat they raise,” Sestak says.

The lunch, which feeds more than 1,000 fair-goers each year, clearly illustrates this fact by selling a lunch that would typically cost $8, if it were purchased at a café, for only 30 cents – the amount South Dakota farmers and ranchers would receive for the ingredients. The lunch is a pulled pork sandwich, baked beans, potato chips and milk.

Rural Dakota Pride Awards

At 10:30 a.m., Farmers Union will recognize five South Dakotans for their selfless contributions rural communities across the state with the Rural Dakota Pride award.

The honorees include: Donna Duffy, Winner; Bob Satter, Irene; Lorelee Nelson, Carthage; Lacey Rippentrop, Tea and Jeff Kreun, Black Hawk.

As an organization which supports South Dakota farmers and ranchers, Farmers Union understands the integral connection between those who work in South Dakota’s number one industry and their rural communities.

“One cannot survive without the other,” says Karla Hofhenke, Executive Director of S.D. Farmers Union. “Without thriving communities, it’s difficult to encourage young people to return to their family’s farm or ranch. Rural communities are key to the future of South Dakota’s agriculture industry, which is why we like to recognize those individuals who help them thrive.”

Team up for Farm Safety Quiz Bowl

Sombke and Hofhenke invite everyone to watch rural youth in action by attending the 2017 S.D. Farmers Union Team Up To Safety Quiz Bowl championship, held at 2 p.m. on the Freedom Stage across from the Farmers Union Tent.

“The quiz bowl is a fun way for high school students to learn about safety on the farm or ranch,” says Hofhenke, of the competition that asks FFA members questions on farm and ranch safety. Teams qualified for the championship during the S.D. State FFA Convention held this April. The teams include members from the following FFA

chapters: Tri-Valley, Sunshine Bible Academy, Wolsey/Wessington and Viborg/Hurley.

Safety is the goal. But building community is another outcome. “The quiz bowl really gets them into the competitive spirit, buzzing in on answers and taking pride in their team,” says Sombke. “It builds teamwork and really strengthens community spirit.”

The winning team will be awarded a cash prize.

$25,000 in Scholarships Awarded

The organization will also announce the 25 South Dakota students who receive $1,000 scholarships for post-secondary education as part of the Farmers Union Foundation and Farmers Union Insurance Agency 2017 Insuring a Brighter Tomorrow Scholarship program. Visit to meet the scholarship winners who represent more than 20 South Dakota communities.

“Education is one of the three pillars upon which Farmers Union is built.

Year-round, Farmers Union invests in providing leadership, cooperative and farm safety educational programming to school-age rural youth across South Dakota,” Sombke explains.

Premium E-30 & Farm Bill Panel Discussions

S.D. Farmers Union invests in educating all South Dakotans – young and old.

Each year more than 3,000 South Dakota youth attend one or more camps or school-year leadership programs hosted by Farmers Union.

Through Rural Economic and Leadership (REAL) Development Program, Farmers Union provides personal and professional leadership and policy development to agriculture producers and rural business professionals.

During the State Fair, Farmers Union will host two informational panel discussions.

The health, environmental and economic benefits of Premium E-30 will be the focus of Friday, Sept. 1 discussion. Held from 1-2 p.m. on the Freedom Stage across from the Farmers Union tent.

Farm Bill and Rural Issues impacting our producers will be the focus of Saturday, Sept. 2 panel discussion. Held at 1 p.m. on the Freedom Stage across from the Farmers Union tent.

“Grassroots policy development is a focus of Farmers Union. Education plays an essential role in making informed policy decisions – these panel discussions provide an opportunity to learn from and question experts,” Sombke explains.

–South Dakota Farmers Union

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