Guest Opinion by South Dakota Secretary of Agriculture: Connecting Agriculture

Mike Jaspers
South Dakota Secretary of Agriculture

I can hardly believe 2016 is coming to a close. As I reflect on all that has happened this year, I’m reminded how fortunate I am to be able to do things that I love to do.

Like most farms and ranches in South Dakota, ours is a family operation. Through the cow/calf portion of my operation, I work with my extended family where I’m the fifth generation to be involved in agricultural production. On the crop side, part of the operation was established by my wife Robin’s family. While we’ve been able to mold our farm into something unique, the common theme is family.

Robin and our children, Ellie and Alex, enjoy spending time on our farm and often help with various chores and projects that need to be completed. I have many fond memories of growing up on the family farm near Eden, SD. Being able to create similar memories with my wife and children is priceless.

When the year started, I had no idea that I’d have the honor of serving as the secretary for your department of agriculture. When Governor Daugaard called me, it was easy to say ‘yes’ because I truly believe in the importance of public service. I have enjoyed getting to know the department’s staff and the roles we play in serving the agriculture industry in South Dakota. I am looking forward to the year ahead and guiding the staff of the department’s five divisions as they continue to promote, protect and preserve South Dakota agriculture for today and tomorrow.

As you gather with friends and family this Christmas, I encourage you to be present and enjoy the people around you. Slow down. Relax. Tell stories. Share one or two of your memories from this year and those you hope to create in 2017. Most importantly, be thankful for all you have.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!