S.D. ag secretary stepping down
for Tri-State Livestock News
When Jon Millar of Millar Angus met Lucas Lentsch at a recent summit, he felt like he was looking at the future of agriculture.
What he saw in Lentsch, who is stepping down as secretary of agriculture for South Dakota, inspired him.
“It was fun for me, being a young producer, to know that there are other young enthusiastic, knowledgeable producers,” says Millar , who ranches in Sturgis. “It reassures me to know what good hands our production agriculture will be in.”
Lentsch will assume a new leadership role in the region as CEO of Midwest Dairy Association.
“We need to be aggressive and not wait for the future to happen to us, but for us to happen to our future,” Lentsch says.
As state agriculture secretary, Lentsch served over five divisions, held administrative and fiduciary responsibilities, and influenced policy, working with the legislature and the executive branch.
He took office in 2013, and was toughened in during Winter Storm Atlas that year, helping with recovery.
Sylvia Christen, executive director of the South Dakota Stockgrowers Association, remembers working through Farm Bill relief with Lentsch. “We all learned a lot through that process. He was certainly a part of that,” Christen says.
Jodie Anderson, executive director of the South Dakota Cattlemen’s Association says Lentsch will be missed.
“Secretary Lentsch has been a staunch advocate and great colleague in promoting South Dakota agriculture and supporting our state’s beef producers,” Anderson said in a written statement.
Lentsch has weighed in on technologies like GMOs, economic development, and future markets, and is credited by Gov. Dennis Daugaard with reorganizing the agriculture department.
Lentsch will leave at the end of March. The governor has not named his replacement.
He is a Marshall County native who grew up on a dairy farm.
Lentsch and his wife, Laura, reside in Pierre, S.D., with their four children, Austin, Claire, Shane and Kate.
He plans to stay involved directly with agriculture as part owner in a family cattle ranch, as well as advocate for the region, always with an eye on the future.
“Coming together, finding common ground and collaborating – that’s how were’ going to advance.”
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