S.D. couple to help lead Farm Bureau committee
February 12, 2015
SD Farm Bureau Appoints New YF&R Committee Members
The South Dakota Farm Bureau (SDFB) has appointed new members to the state's Young Farmers & Ranchers (YF&R) Committee for the 2015-2017 term, including John and Megan Shubeck of Centerville, Riley and Kailee Schwader of Howard, Tom and Katy VanderWal of Brookings, and Charles and Heather Maude of Interior.
YF&R Committee members study farm and food policy issues, participate in leadership training exercises and hone other professional skills during their tenure as committee members.
District 1 — John and Megan Shubeck
The Shubecks have a cow-calf operation and raise row crops in their family business. They have three children, Emery (age 4), Eli (3), and Anna (6 months). The couple will represent District 1 on the YF&R Committee
"As Committee members, our goal is to get more young producers involved in helping to promote agriculture and shape policy," said John Shubeck. "For us, it's very frustrating to sit on the sidelines and see how different policies are headed. We no longer wanted to stand by and watch; we want to be part of the process. Being involved in YF&R enables us to do that."
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For Shubeck, being around like-minded people has been the best part of being involved in YF&R.
"I was in the Marines for quite a while, and this is probably the first organization I've been involved in since then that has a similar motivation level. The people involved in YF&R are driven and constantly looking to improve. It's been a great way to network with other young producers."
District 2 — Riley and Kailee Schwader
The Schwaders will represent District 2 for YF&R. Riley works full-time as an engineer for Donnerite, a custom design and fabricating business, and Kailee is a fourth-grade teacher in Howard. They also farm with Riley's parents and are looking to expand by renting some ground and raising row crops of their own.
"As committee members, we hope to help build the committee into an effective team where each of the members can use his or her specific skills to help promote agriculture," said Kailee Schwader. "Although it is important to network with other young producers, we have realized throughout our college years the overwhelming number of citizens who know very little about agriculture by not being exposed to agriculture. With the increasing number of non-farming or associate members, it will be important that the committee begins to focus on promoting agriculture to more children and adults.
"We believe the committee should collaborate with agricultural oriented companies and groups through leadership events and make voters aware of issues that could potentially show up on ballots so that they have all of the information to make educated and responsible choices," added Riley Schwader. "Lastly, we want all committee members to hold each other accountable to stay active and tell the story of agriculture. As young producers, it is essential for us to spread the importance of agriculture. Together, we can make a difference and improve agriculture for our kids and future generations."
District 3 — Tom and Katy VanderWal
The VanderWals raise row crops and run a feed yard of approximately 350 head of cattle. The couple has two children, Cooper (5) and Callie (3). In addition to farming, Katy works as a Registered Dietician at Brookings Health System. They will represent District 3 in YF&R.
"We are looking forward to collaborating with other young farmers and ranchers such as ourselves to create learning and networking opportunities for other young farmers and ranchers," said Tom VanderWal.
"YF&R offers an opportunity to young farmers and ranchers to expand their knowledge, gain leadership skills, network with other young people in the business," added Katy VanderWal. "It also allows young farmers and ranchers to work together to advocate for their profession."
District 6 — Charles and Heather Maude
The Maudes will represent District 6 on the YF&R Committee. The couple resides on Charles' family farm and ranch, where they raise small grains and forage crops in addition to running a Simmental/Angus cow-calf operation, a small back grounding feedlot, and a farrow-to-finish hog operation. Heather also works as a freelance journalist and photographer. The couple is also expecting their first child in June.
"We are excited to build on Heather's past involvement on the Wyoming Farm Bureau YF&R Committee," said Charles Maude. "We look forward to learning about the various ways the committee promotes agriculture and educates the public about where their food comes from, and particularly look forward to helping educate youth about agriculture."
Something a lot of YF&R members have in common is they lead busy lives as they have growing families, careers and the day-to-day operations of their farm and ranch businesses. Yet, they all find time to get involved to promote agriculture and help drive policy.
"We feel agriculture producers can no longer simply farm and ranch, but must be involved in promoting, defending and explaining our lifestyle to the majority of the public that is not directly involved in our industry," said Heather Maude. "For us, Farm Bureau is the most effective outlet to give back to our community and industry through off-farm involvements. The grassroots structure means that our voice is truly heard and defended on issues of critical importance to the future viability of our industry at both the state and federal levels of government."
For more information on SDFB YF&R, check out http://www.sdfb.org.
–S.D. Farm Bureau