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Grassroots Policy Established by Family Farmers & Ranchers

Lura Roti
for South Dakota Farmers Union

South Dakota Farmers Union (SDFU) delegates worked hard to represent the state’s grassroots policy during the National Farmers Union Convention.

“Policy, not politics. This is how South Dakota Farmers Union works to make positive change for family farmers and ranchers – through grassroots policy,” explained Doug Sombke, SDFU President and Conde farmer.

And delegates lost no time debating. “It is amazing how many different perspectives there are, even from states that are not that far apart geographically,” said Sarah Perrion, an Ipswich farmer, serving as a delegate for the first time.



Perrion and her husband, Lance, were among the 15 delegates SDFU members elected to serve during the 2021 State Convention. Each delegate carried 1,135 votes. In addition to the Perrions, the other South Dakota delegates included Gail Temple, Clark; Wayne Soren, Lake Preston; Lorrie Hanson, Britton; Cassie and Taylor Sumption, Frederick; Shilo LaMont, Union Center; Jeff and Rachel Kippley, Aberdeen; Hank and Melissa Wonnenberg, Dallas; Kirk Schaunaman, Aberdeen; David Reis, Oacoma; and Rob and Darcie Lee, De Smet.

Throughout two days of policy discussion, delegates re-elected Rob Larew to serve as NFU President and elected SDFU member and Aberdeen crop and cattle producer Jeff Kippley to serve as Vice President. In the 118-year history of NFU, this is the first time South Dakota has had a member serve in this position.



“It is phenomenal for SDFU that we have a South Dakota farmer serving as national vice president,” said Wayne Soren, Vice President of SDFU and a Lake Preston farmer. “Jeff’s work ethic and understanding of the needs of family farmers and ranchers will serve the national organization well. He is someone who will put in the long hours and do what it takes to get the job done.”

The process of reviewing and updating the current NFU policy is one Clark farmer, District 3 board member and delegate, Gail Temple appreciates.

“I enjoy hearing all different aspects of farming and how our policy can work together to support family farming,” she said.

Delegates also identified priorities for NFU to focus on in 2022-2023 and approved five Special Orders. For more information, contact Luke Reindl, SDFU Communications and Legislative Specialist, at lreindl@sdfu.org.

Because delegates from different states did not always agree, it made for informative and heated debates.

“It has been great to see members have a healthy discussion and debate, and see the clear passion for Farmers Union policy,” said Union Center rancher and SDFU delegate Shilo LaMont. “It is refreshing to be here with other farmers and ranchers who care about issues that matter.”

 


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