Wrapping up this year’s Governor’s Agriculture Summit | TSLN.com

Wrapping up this year’s Governor’s Agriculture Summit

Lucas Lentsch
S.D. Secretary of Agriculture

Every summer for the past six years, the South Dakota Department of Agriculture (SDDA) has helped to host the Governor's Agricultural Summit. Our yearly Summits provide an opportunity for those involved in agriculture to have a conversation about the state of South Dakota agriculture and current challenges and opportunities facing the industry. This year more than 200 people attended the Governor's Ag Summit on July 9 and 10 in Deadwood.

We kicked off the Summit with an Ag Tour that highlighted projects in the northern Black Hills. Attendees visited the Orman Dam and learned about the Belle Fourche Irrigation District. We also toured the saw mill and pellet mill owned by Neiman Enterprises in Spearfish. The day ended with a tour of Crow Peak Brewery, a microbrewery in Spearfish.

The program on Friday consisted of four panel discussions revolving around timely topics in the agriculture sector, ranging from the use of technology to the increased opportunity for international trade in the near future to the current economic state of the industry. We were fortunate to have outstanding speakers such as Senator John Thune (R-S.D.), Brian Klippenstein of Protect the Harvest and Dr. Brent Gloy of Agricultural Economic Insights.

I am particularly proud that we were able showcase a few operations from around the state as part of the Summit as well. One of our panel discussions featured four different diversified operations from across the state. Josh Kitzan of Kitzan Sheep, Jeff and Jolene Stewart of Stewart's Aronia Acres, Jon Millar of Millar Angus, and Brad Nussbaum and daughter Brittany Nussbaum of Cottonwood Ridge Dairy shared an overview of their unique operations. A discussion about the challenges and opportunities they each see in their futures moderated by long-time ag lender, Denny Everson, followed the presentations.

It was great to have Governor Dennis Daugaard present on Friday to address the crowd and recognize Dr. Bob Thaler as the recipient of the 2015 Governor's Ag Ambassador Award. Dr. Thaler will begin his 27th year as a professor at South Dakota State University this fall. Dr. Thaler has dedicated his life to educating the next generation of agriculture leaders and advocating on behalf of our growing industry.

Thank you to the Governor, Dr. Thaler, all our speakers and the many of you who took time out of your busy schedules to attend this year's Governor's Ag Summit. If you would like to view the 2015 Ag Summit, please visit https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XsvPhXDM2BA.

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We hope to see everyone next year, when we host the 7th annual Governor's Ag Summit at the Swiftel Center in Brookings. The 2016 Ag Summit will run June 1 and 2.