Under the radar
South Dakota Ag Woman of the Year: Kris Rausch
Kris Rausch can sew and quilt with the best of them, and she will, someday. But right now there are livestock to be tended to.
Rausch shows dedication to the ag industry through her work on her family’s farm, advocating for agriculture, and through serving in numerous organizations.
Rausch said she has always been involved in agriculture. She was raised on her family’s farm next to the bridge at Forest City. Then after marrying her husband, Bob, Rausch began working on his family’s farm near Gettysburg.
“[Working in agriculture] is one of those things that you need to be part of a partnership with your husband. If you’re not involved, things aren’t going to go well,” Rausch explained.
Currently the couple farm and run around 400 head of cattle on their 5,000 acres.
“We farm to give our children and grandchildren a livelihood and a good place to grow up,” Rausch said.
The Rauschs’ two sons, Nick and AJ, and six grandchildren, are also involved in agriculture next to Bob and Kris. While each branch of the family has their own separate operation, Rausch explained that “we still do some things together.”
On the family’s farm, Rausch supervises calving during spring planting and the augers at harvest. She also operates the combine, tractors, and the baler in haying season.
Off of the farm, Rausch is involved in a myriad of agricultural organizations: The Rausches are members of SD Farm Bureau and served on the Young Farmers and Ranchers Committee in the late 80s through 90s. Currently a committee member, Rausch is a past president of the South Dakota Association of Conservation Districts Auxiliary, a 40-year member of the local Medicine Rock Cattlewomen’s Association, and has been a Potter County 4-H leader since 1999. She has also served on the Potter County Fair board.
While she was a part of the board, she noticed that kids were playing in the cattle and hog barns and didn’t have a place to go during fair. To remedy that, she designed and organized the building of a playground featuring a wooden tractor, two-tiered fort with a bridge, sandbox, and slide.
“I don’t talk about myself. I always try to do things under the radar so nobody knows that I do them. It’s almost like it doesn’t count if someone finds out about it,” Rausch explained.
In the past, SDSU extension has offered classes in the Gettysburg community that allowed Rausch to get a certificate in Master Gardening and Master Clothing.
While she is a skilled seamstress, Rausch hasn’t taken the time to sew lately. “I’m not old enough to quilt yet,” she exclaimed. “There’s too many cattle out there and too much to do!”
With her background in gardening, she says that through the years she has advised many people on tree and plant issues. “I always have people coming up to me and saying ‘Hey I’ve got an apple tree with this problem,’” Rausch said.
Rausch was nominated for the SD Ag Woman of the Year award by Potter County Executive Director Mary Kay Schmidt.
When she came across the nomination form, she thought that Rausch fit what South Dakota Women in Agriculture was looking for.
“Kris promotes [agriculture] wherever she goes and tries to pass it on to younger ladies,” Schmidt explained. “She’s a hardworking woman and she’s always there no matter what we need to get done.”
Schmidt’s family lived just a few miles from where Rausch grew up so the two have known each other for years.
“I’m glad she was honored for the award and I highly think she deserved it,” said Schmidt.
Along with the SD Ag Woman of the Year award, the organization also chooses a recipient for the South Dakota Young Gun of the Year award which is open to nominees who are under age 25. This year’s winner was Darian Roghair of Okaton.
In order to be in the running for the awards, an ag lady must be nominated. A friend or acquaintance fills out a form that asks how the nominee exemplifies South Dakota Women in Agriculture, how they are involved in agriculture at home, in their community, and through the state, and how they influence others about agriculture. After the nominations have been made, a committee selects the finalists for the awards.
In a press release, Amy Pravecek, board president of South Dakota Women in Agriculture explained that “Our annual awards are a fun way to spotlight some very talented and hardworking ag women who are making a difference in our industry. The nomination process presents an opportunity to encourage and support women in agriculture by recognizing what they do every day.”
South Dakota Women in Agriculture is an association dedicated to helping educate women in agriculture and to help them network and grow through their annual conference which has been held for over 15 years. The group is open to any women involved in agriculture either as producers, agribusiness women, educators, or other roles in agriculture.
South Dakota Women in Agriculture recently named Kris Rausch of Gettysburg, SD as their SD Agriculture Woman of the Year at their annual conference at The Lodge in Deadwood on October 11-12th.
For more information about South Dakota Women in Agriculture or their awards, visit their website at http://www.southdakotawomeninag.com