S.D. Farmers Union Day | TSLN.com

S.D. Farmers Union Day

SDFU Vice President, Wayne Soren, a farmer from Lake Preston, during the 2015 South Dakota State Fair Farmers Union Farmers Share Luncheon. This year's event will be Sept. 3. Photo courtesy South Dakota Farmers Union

Farmers Union Day at the 2016 South Dakota State Fair is a great opportunity to showcase South Dakota family farmers and ranchers and all they do for the state’s economy, rural communities and the world.

“In the tradition of the State Fair, Farmers Union Day honors the cream of the crop,” explains Doug Sombke, South Dakota Farmers Union President.

“Whether it’s honoring those who give back to rural communities with the Rural Dakota Pride Award, recognizing the work that our family farmers and ranchers put into raising food and fuel through the Farmers Share Luncheon or youth who will compete in the Team Up For Safety Farm Safety Championship.” Rural Dakota Pride Awards The 2016 Rural Dakota Pride Award goes to four individuals to recognize their selfless contributions to rural communities across the state.

The honorees include: Bryan Breitling, Miller; Doug Edwards, South Hand County; Sharon Wilson, Black Hawk; Tim Pravecek, Winner and more.

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.”

The organization will also announce the 25 South Dakota students who received $1,000 scholarships for post-secondary education as part of the Farmers Union Foundation and Farmers Union Insurance Agency 2016 Insuring a Brighter Tomorrow Scholarship program.

“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.

Team Up To Safety Quiz Bowl

Sombke and Hofhenke invite everyone to watch rural youth in action by attending the 2016 S.D. Farmers Union Team Up To Safety Quiz Bowl championship held at 1:15 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 chapters: Viborg/Hurley FFA Chapter; McCook Central FFA Chapter; Sunshine Bible FFA Chapter; and Lyman FFA Chapter.

“We hope the information they learn during the quiz bowl will prepare them if they are ever faced with an emergency situation or if they’re working with livestock or doing any other potentially dangerous job on the farm,” Hofhenke said.

Farmers Share Luncheon, Only 30 cents for All During Farmers Union Day The Farmers Share Luncheon, hosted by SDFU, 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.

“Anyone who shops for groceries knows how much they pay to eat; however, they have no way of knowing how much of what they pay in the grocery store actually goes into the pockets of farmers and ranchers who raise the food ­ that’s why I like the Farmers Share Luncheon,” explains Terry Sestak, District 1 Farmers Union President and a fourth generation farmer from Tabor.

The lunch, which feeds more than 1,000 fair-goers each year, clearly illustrates this 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 actually receive for the ingredients.

The lunch is a pulled pork sandwich, baked beans, potato chips and milk.

“Everyone is concerned about high prices in the grocery store – I understand that; it wasn’t too many years ago that I was shopping for a family of five,” said Hofhenke. “However, what our state’s farmers and ranchers actually take home as income is a far cry from the prices we all see on our grocery receipt after a trip to the super market.”

“This is a good promotion for South Dakota family farmers and ranchers as it increases consumer awareness,” Sestak says. “What better place to promote agriculture and the people who raise our food than at the South Dakota State Fair.”

–South Dakota Farmers Union

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