S.D. Ag Foundation introduces education, leadership programs

On National Ag Day and the first anniversary of its launch, The South Dakota Agricultural Foundation announces new initiatives focusing on education, leadership, entrepreneurship, and economic development.

They include:

a Youth Ag Education Innovation and Leadership Grants program,

a potential expansion of ‘Building Our South Dakota Rural Communities’ (BOSDRC) Grants in partnership with the South Dakota Department of Agriculture, and

‘Adventures in Food’, a leadership program promoting entrepreneurship and careers in agriculture.

Applications to these programs open this Fall. Also, on the horizon is an Economic Development Assessment Initiative to identify and work with organizations with innovative approaches to South Dakota’s agricultural economic development.

“We want to impact the future of South Dakota agriculture. In acting now — through youth education and entrepreneurship initiatives — The South Dakota Ag Foundation hopes to play a big role in creating future opportunities for the next generation of leaders in the field,” said Nate Franzen, President of the Agri-Business Division of First Dakota National Bank, and President of The South Dakota Ag Foundation board.

Investments in the future of SD agriculture

The Youth Ag Education Innovation and Leadership Grants is an initiative to support innovative ideas in youth agricultural education. There are a number of new as well as existing creative solutions offering agriculture-related programs to the younger generation. The new program will support and expand these solutions to be more inclusive, collaborative, and resourceful.

Leadership and entrepreneurship play a significant part in increasing awareness of and interest in agriculture and agriculture-related careers. Through unique experiences, Adventures in Food will empower 13 to 17-year-old students in the state to explore all food and agriculture career options in South Dakota.

The Economic Development Assessment Initiative and the foundation’s ongoing focus on expanding philanthropy in South Dakota agriculture will be more long-term efforts. All these programs will be funded by allocations of committed funds and new resources brought in to support The South Dakota Agricultural Foundation.

“The South Dakota Ag Foundation is determined to help support and grow philanthropy in agriculture by demonstrating through programming the importance we place on education, leadership development, and partnerships,” said Chris Maxwell, executive director of the foundation. “We want to be intentional in everything we do to support agricultural growth and to build a positive, pro-active community around it in South Dakota,” he said.

For more information on The South Dakota Agricultural Foundation, partnership opportunities and these programs, visit or email

–SD Ag Foundation