Rural Ramblings News from Ag United. Thu, 19 Jul 2018 23:33:21 -0500 Farmer's Daughter Blog Post: Just How Far We've Come Hello everyone! My name is Katie Schoenfelder and I am a farmer’s daughter. 

 I recently went home for the Fourth of July and it was an absolute blast. It was so nice getting to see everyone, catch up with family and friends, and just be out on the farm. 


Now my family usually celebrates Independence Day by haying. However, my mom loves horses, especially draft horses; so, for the last few years we’ve also celebrated by doing a few 4thof July Parades in addition to the usual tradition of cutting, raking, baling, and hauling hay.

IMG_1347.JPGOn our farm we have two draft horses, Buddy and Sugar. They are a lot of work, but also a lot of fun. It is really neat getting to experience riding in a wagon that your grandfathers built by hand or riding in carriages and wagons of days gone by. We also have a covered wagon, but we usually pull that with the pickup truck or a 4-wheeler.

Growing up with these experiences has given me a greater appreciation for both the hard work of the past, as well as all the technology and advances in modern agriculture. Being able to imagine doing a lot of the work we do now with only horses or by hand; or traveling across the open prairie in a covered wagon makes a girl really thankful to be living now.  

Those in agriculture have come a long way, but they still have a long way to go. According to the American Farm Bureau Federation: 

“One U.S. farm feeds 165 people annually in the U.S. and abroad. The global population is expected to increase to 9.7 billion by 2050, which means the world’s farmers will have to grow about 70 percent more food than what is now produced.”


 Advances in agriculture are so important and with such a big challenge ahead of us; agriculturists across the world will need to continue to improve. While farming has become more efficient, that doesn’t mean that it is easy to make it. Farming is hard work and can take a lot a faith to make it through the hard times and wisdom for the good times.

According to the American Farm Bureau Federation: 

“Farmers and ranchers receive only 15 cents out of every dollar spent on food at home and away from home. The rest goes for costs beyond the farm gate: wages and materials for production, processing, marketing, transportation and distribution. In 1980, farmers and ranchers received 31 cents.”

While the challenges of the future may seem daunting, it can be helpful to look to the past in order to see the future clearly. Looking back, you’ll come to realize that farming and ranching has never been easy, mother nature will always have a curveball to throw, and the future has always been uncertain and full of challenges, but we’ve always found a way to make do and make it better. Farming and ranching is just as much about having the wisdom to manage and improve as it is to be strong and face another day in the sun. As a farmer’s daughter I encourage you to get out, be curious, create, and find solutions to help feed the world. 


Learn more here:

Did you miss out on hearing me on this week's Farmer's Daughter?

Listen to it here SD FARM FAMILIES - 7 16 18.mp3

Be sure to tune in each week during the "It's Your Agribusiness" show on Monday's at 10am on KELO 1320 AM and 107.9 FM


Tue, 17 Jul 2018 08:36:00 -0500
Rural Dictionary: Pollination On a crop farm you might hear the farmer talking about pollination or flowering during the summer months. These processes are very important because this is the first step in the actual production of the corn and soybean crops by developing the flowers into grains. Usually lasts about one week and can be affected by a number of factors, such as the drought or heat stress. This is why July is so important to the production of grains.

Corn Pollination (noun) : The transfer of pollen from an anthers to the silks.

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Soybean Flowering (noun): The transfer of pollen from the anthers to the stigma in the flowers.





Tue, 10 Jul 2018 15:02:00 -0500
Thank You June Agvocates! Thank You June Advocates!.png
Thank you to all of our June Agvocates! June Dairy Month was packed-full of events including the Brookings Dairy Fest, MoDak Dairy Day, Breakfast On The Farm, the Know Your Milk Tour, Farm to Table Tour, and the Boadwine Open House. We could not have done it without all of our wonderful volunteers too many to number :

Brookings Dairy Fest:

  • Verpaalen Family
  • Volga FFA Chapter

MoDak Dairy Day:

  • Moes Family 
  • Morgan Kohl

Breakfast on the Farm 

  • Ode Family
  • Rowena Rustling Raisers 4-H Club 
  • Morgan Kohl 

Know Your Milk Tour

  • Stensland Family 

Farm to Table Tour

  • Stensland Family 
  • VanDerVleit  Family 

Boadwine Open House

  • Boadwine Family 
  • Zwinger Family
  • Morgan Kohl 
  • JoAnn Selken
  • TJ Rolfing 
  • Jerry Jueneman
  • John Peterson
  • Jordan Devorak 
  • Lida Koopman
  • Bob Goetz
  • Lance Kennington 
  • Doug Bolt
  • Mark Gerhardt 
  • Jim Zeisler
  • Greg Hammer
  • Kevin Brown 
  • Colton Redi Mix
  • Courtney Anderson 
  • Rhegan Oberg
  • Tim McVay
  • Will Huber
  • Salvador Larios
  • Jorge Larious 
  • Dan Smith 
  • Corey Caraway 
  • David Christensen 
  • Steve Wilke
  • Royal Selken 
  • Brendon Bunjer
  • Dr. James Gerdes 
  • Jose Mendoza 
  • Elissa Oyen 
  • Byron Anderson 
  • Jesse Randall 
  • Rod Tillma 
  • Dave Skaggs 
  • Ferdando Vazquez
  • Kristen Cuperus
  • Mike Davelaar
  • Eric Fowler
  • Jeff Jackson 
  • Tom Peterson 
  • Tracey Erickson 
  • Mary Ochoa  
  • Sandi McVay 
  • Amy Condon 
  • Julie Hammer
  • Erik Burkman 
  • Jackie Buysse 
  • Sarah VanDerVliet 
  • Keith Warne 
  • Courtney Anderson 
  • Tyson VanDerVliet 
  • Weston VanDerVliet
  • Parker Johnson 
  • Anna Haas 
  • Dustin Stoel 
  • Matt Leighton 
  • Ethan Amundson 
  • Chad Swier 
  • Lisa Johnson 
  • Heather Bunjer 
  • Brody Ahlquist 
  • Miguel DeLoera 
  • Marti Thompson 
  • Charles Martinell 
  • Jimmy – Proconcrete
  • Kyle Proconcrete 



Tue, 10 Jul 2018 10:50:00 -0500
Farmer's Daughter Blog Post: Antibiotics & Hormones in Beef Hello everyone, my name is Katie Schoenfelder and I am a farmer’s daughter. On my family’s farm we have a  cow-calf operation where we raise Simmental-Angus cattle. 

I absolutely love beef; it’s one of my favorite foods. Honestly, you can’t do much better than a nice juicy steak at the end of the day. One of the things that makes me so proud to be a farmer's daughter is walking into the grocery store and seeing all of the food that my family and other farm families have worked so hard to produce. 

cows2.jpg cows3.jpg

As you walk into the grocery store you will usually get a couple of feelings, the first one is probably hunger, because food is delicious. The second one might just be confusion when you start to read the labels on packages: “Natural”, “Healthy”, “Non-GMO”, “ No Added Hormones”, “Raised without Antibiotics”… the list goes on and on. There are a lot of misconceptions about agriculture and one of the reasons is because of how our food is marketed. When you walk down the meat aisle you’ll notice a few key buzzwords when you read the labels. Some of the biggest concerns people have when they think about beef are the use of antibiotics and hormones. Don’t let the labels fool you, it is important to know that if meat is on the shelf it is always free of antibiotics and is safe to eat.

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 Farmers and ranchers take the utmost care regarding how their cattle are raised. The USDA (United States Department of Agriculture) has strict rules and regulations that farmers, ranchers and processors must follow. In cattle, antibiotics are only given to prevent, treat, or control disease. According to the FDA, 71% of antibiotics used for animals are not used or rarely prescribed in humans, and growth promotion uses of medically important antibiotics in feed and water have been eliminated; these products are only used to treat, prevent and control disease under oversight of a veterinarian. 

Just the other day at our farm we had a cow get hurt so we took her to the vet right away. The veterinarian made sure the wounds were cleaned and prescribed some medicine, which included a round of antibiotics. We took her home and are keeping her in the barn until she is all healed up, and before long she will be back out on the pasture happy as a lark. Being able to use antibiotics as a tool for our animals is wonderful. It is important to note that all medicines have a withdrawal period, which means that producers can’t sell that animal to market until the withdrawal period is over and the medicine is completely out of their system.


 Hormones are also sometimes used in cattle to make them more efficient. Implants can be used to encourage the increase of naturally occurring hormones to increase gain and yield in cattle. Implants are just a tool that farmers can use to be more efficient on their operations. Hormones don’t affect the quality of the beef and it is always safe to eat.


 Farmers and ranchers love what they do and keeping animals happy and healthy is a priority.  So the next time you reach for a juicy steak enjoy it, knowing it has been produced with a lot of hard work, passion, and with safety in mind. 


To learn more about how your food is produced visit:

Did you miss out on hearing me on this week's Farmer's Daughter?

Listen to it here SD Farm Families - Farmer's Daughter July9th.mp3

Be sure to tune in each week during the "It's Your Agribusiness" show on Monday's at 10am on KELO 1320 AM and 107.9 FM




Mon, 09 Jul 2018 17:10:00 -0500
Farmer's Daughter Guest Blog: Antibiotic Use & Hormones in Beef Mon, 09 Jul 2018 17:05:00 -0500 July Featured Farmer: Michelle Wasland Wasland.Michelle.jpgFor many of us, good weather in July is means temperatures warm enough for a pleasant day at the pool or lake, and enough rain to keep lawns and flowers growing, but not interrupt too many vacation or outdoor plans. South Dakota farmers also hope for good weather during July, but because the month is critical for the development of both corn and soybeans, their wishes are much more specific.


“The corn is pollinating during July so we would like to have warm weather, but not overly hot because the real hot weather starts to stress the plants more, which will decrease our yield,” said Michelle Wasland, Seed District Sales Manager for WinField United. “We also hope for cooling off during the nights for respiration for the plants to keep the plants from getting extremely stressed.”

The growing soybean crop also has specific weather needs to help it meet top yield potential.


“In July, soybeans have entered fully into the flowering phase so we hope to have some rain with good growing conditions. The adequate rain increases the growth along with addition of flowers on the plants that create the soybean pods,” she said. “However too much rain and heat can lead to increased probability of white mold or other diseases.”

Michelle Wasland sees the importance of good weather in the fields of her customers from planting through harvest each year. WinField United is a brand of Land O’Lakes, Inc that is a customer-owned wholesale supplier of crop protection inputs, seed and crop nutrients.


“I work with agronomists to serve farmers in the central area of eastern South Dakota,” she said. “We work closely with our farmer-owners to recommend products for the right acre, recognizing the importance of having consistent reliable products that help producers get the best return on investment with every acre.”


Michelle grew up on her family’s farm near Conde, South Dakota, with her parents Todd and Sandy Osterman along with her three sisters and brother. They raised corn, soybeans, wheat, alfalfa and livestock as well as Shorthorn cattle and sheep and always had horses, donkeys and dogs. She was very active in both 4-H and FFA, serving as a South Dakota State FFA Officer. After attending South Dakota State University and earning a degree in Agronomy, she started working for WinField United.


Michelle and her husband, Lee, live in Florence with their two sons, Kanin and Grady. They stay very active in agriculture by raising corn and soybean as well as beef cows and calves and a few horses.


Weather can have a direct impact on crops, such as very hot weather in July that prevents pollination, she said. In addition, the right weather conditions can also allow insect populations to grow and develop earlier, which means they feed on plants earlier than normal, resulting in lower yields at harvest. For example, a large increase in corn rootworm beetles could feed on the corn silks that are important for pollination, which would prevent the pollination process from occurring.


While farmers can’t control Mother Nature, they have a number of tools to protect their investment in their corn and soybean crops.


Crop insurance policies give farmers financial protection in the event of a serious weather event like hail, wind or drought damage. Farmers are also combining crop input products (seed, crop protection products, fertilizes and more) with management practices and new technologies to adapt to weather conditions.


“More farmers are utilizing new technology to help increase production. Starting with our seed, we have new technologies like DroughtGuard that help plants better utilize water so they don’t need as much water to grow and produce grain,” she said. Scientists have also been breeding corn plants that can handle stressful environments better than older genetics for years.


Farmers use precision agriculture tools to better understand their fields to plant seeds that will perform best in drier or wetter areas of fields, then apply fertilizer and other products at different rates to provide the right amount of nutrients for plants and protect water quality.


“By using variable rate seeding and fertilizer, we are able to produce more on less acres and not waste seed and fertilizer on less productive ground,” she said.


In season imagery such as photos from satellites or drones along with crop modeling tools help farmers make accurate decisions during the growing season, said Michelle.  Farmers can see which fields or areas of the field may need additional nutrients or are under stress from disease or insects.


As you watch the weather forecast in July, know that the state’s farmers are also watching and waiting to see what the month’s weather will bring for South Dakota’s corn, soybean and other crops. 


Tue, 03 Jul 2018 10:39:00 -0500
Farmers Daughter Blog: Communicating the story of agriculture Agricultural Communications 

Growing up a farmer’s daughter I developed a passion for agriculture; and it was no surprise that when I graduated I wanted to pursue a career in the agricultural industry. 


To my surprise, when I announced that I would be majoring in Agricultural Communications at South Dakota State University a lot of people have never heard of my major. So, when I was asked about my major the running joke involved the line “No actually, I am not going to school to learn how talk to cows..." Now don’t get me wrong, I would love to be able to communicate with cattle, I think that would be great! It would be like having my own super power.

In reality I don’t have any special talents, but I do have a pretty cool major. Agricultural Communications is apretty neat aspect of the agricultural industry that focuses on communicating, educating, and marketing. Being able to communicate how food, fiber, and lumber is produced is so important. 

IMG_2095 (1).jpgHowever, the real heroes are those hard-working men and women who are out there 365 days of the year making sure that we have food on our tables and clothes on our backs. I am so proud to be called a farmer’s daughter. Farmers and ranchers work with love through harvest and calving, through floods and droughts, though blizzards and wildfires, and through low prices and misconceptions. A steadfast passion holds up though all the ups and downs because at the end of the day we wouldn't have it any other way.

I love being able to tell my family’s story, so I wanted to share a few different ways that both farmers and consumers can help share the story of agriculture. 

The first thing you can do is to utilize technology. Agriculture and innovation go hand in hand. Agriculturists have robotic milking in dairies, GPS & auto-steer tractors in fields, GMO crops, and even drones for crop scouting. Farmers: know what you are doing right on your operation and what you are doing to improve on your operation; the go and celebrate that and share that with your friends and neighbors. Consumers: use modern technology to connect with farms and ranches in your area. 


The second thing you can do is create social media accounts for your operations. It doesn’t matter whether you are big or small. Agriculture is such a diverse industry that comes in all shapes, sizes, and forms. Every operation is important and should be celebrated. The average American is four generations removed from the farm, and the majority of people will never to experience agriculture first-hand. There is an the old saying that goes “pictures (and videos) are worth a thousand words”; but always remember that sharing the “why” behind your story is equally as valuable. Farmers: go ahead and share your story through photos, videos, or blogs. Consumers go ahead and ask questions or share your experience in the market or in the kitchen.



The last thing is to get involved! Everyone is busy, and this is even more true for farmers and ranchers. Farmers: I encourage you to invite friends and family out to your farm or ranch or create opportunities for the public to do so as well. Consumers, I encourage you to ask for opportunities, to always be curious, and to remember that there is always a “reason why” behind every agricultural practice. 

 So just remember whether you are behind a microphone in a radio booth, behind the chute working cattle, behind the laptop writing a story, or behind the combine harvesting crop we all have a responsibility to share our story of agriculture. At the end of the day no matter what our profession is we all end up in the kitchen behind the plate. 

Did you miss out on hearing me on this week's Farmer's Daughter?

Listen to it here: SD Farm Families - Farmer's Daughter June25th.mp3

Be sure to tune in each week during the "It's Your Agribusiness" show on Monday's at 10am on KELO 1320 AM and 107.9 FM




Mon, 25 Jun 2018 09:33:00 -0500
Guest Blog: South Dakota Dairy Princess Morgan Kohl Hello Everyone!

29542894_1002191353264795_7326636077286498132_n.jpgMy name is Morgan Kohl and I am excited to be serving as the 2018-19 South Dakota Dairy Princess.

I recently graduated from Waverly-South Shore High School. This fall, I plan on attending South Dakota State University for a double major in dairy production and animal science. I plan on being involved in several organizations on campus including the dairy club. My future plans are to become a Doctor in Veterinary Medicine with a specialization in dairy.

As a farmer’s daughter, I have been involved in agriculture my entire life. I grew up on a small farm near Kranzburg, South Dakota. Although I was raised on a beef farm, I quickly became affiliated with the dairy community. From a very young age, I began showing and judging dairy cattle in 4-H and FFA. As a result, I quickly developed a passion for dairy. I constantly found myself wanting to become more and more involved within the dairy community and to continue learning more about it. 

For over the past year, I have been employed at a local dairy farm near Goodwin, SD, MoDak Dairy, where I absolutely love my job. I am currently working in the calving unit where I help oversee the overall care of calves including treatments, feeding, cleaning barns, and working cattle. Through my previous work experiences and affiliation with the dairy community, I decided to run for the title of the South Dakota Dairy Princess this past March where I was crowned at the Central Plains Dairy Expo. I am honored to have received such a title and look forward to representing dairy and talking with consumers through my upcoming reign. 

Photo by Janelle Atyeo Tri-State Neighbor


As part of serving as a spokeswoman and advocate for the dairy community, it is my privilege to interact with consumers, as well as the public, to share my passion for dairy and the important role dairy foods play as an essential part of our daily lives. Dairy farmers put a lot of passion, care and pride into producing nutritious, high quality milk for everyone to enjoy. This month, June, is National Dairy Month and there is no better time to celebrate our love for delicious, local, and nutrient-rich dairy products. Here are my top four reasons to enjoy dairy foods each day: 

  • Dairy foods are not only delicious, but something you can feel good about. For example, chocolate milk is tasty and can refuel your body after a hard workout. 
  • Dairy is local. 97% of dairy farms are family-owned and operated. On average, milk travels for about 48 hours from farm to the store shelf. That’s fresh! 
  • Dairy is nutrient rich. Dairy products are one of the most affordable sources of nutrition, including eight grams of high-quality protein. Dairy makes eating healthy easy because it tastes great and is very versatile. 
  • Dairy is responsibly produced. Through the use of innovative and safe technology, the dairy community delivers exceptional animal care, quality nutrition, and the freshest products around. Dairy is the most federally regulated food industry that this country has. 

35644332_1047803108703619_5088551272320073728_n.jpgI believe it is so important to advocate for the dairy community because today there is a major gap between farmers and consumers. We need to work to bridge that gap and invest in telling our story and giving consumers an excellent dairy experience. This is why I am so honored to be serving as the South Dakota Dairy Princess for the upcoming year, because it will give me the opportunity to help share my story and my passion for dairy’s journey from farm to table.


Morgan also recorded a guest segment on KELO 1320AM / 107.9 FM. If you missed it, you can listen to it here: 6.18.18 FD Morgan Kohl SD Dairy Princess.mp3

Be sure to tune in each Monday at 10am to hear the new Farmer's Daughter segment!

Mon, 18 Jun 2018 12:47:00 -0500
Rural Dictionary: Parlor mp.jpg

Parlor (n.) : When on a dairy you might hear the farmer say that the cows are in the parlor. The parlor or milking parlor, refers to a room in or attached to the barn on a modern dairy farm that is maintained exclusively for the milking of cows. This is the room where the cows go to be milked, usually two to three times a day, just like a meal routine. Farmers will sanitize the equipment after every milking. 

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Fri, 01 Jun 2018 10:11:00 -0500
Focus on Quality Drives Cheese Production June Featured Farmer Profile: Deb Wehde


Deb Wehde.jpgDeb Wehde sees firsthand every day the dedication and commitment it takes to ensure the best quality cheese, milk and other dairy products are delivered to families in South Dakota and beyond. As a field representative for cheese processor Agropur, she works with dairy farmers in South Dakota, Iowa, Nebraska and Minnesota who sell their milk to the company’s cheese plant in Hull, Iowa.  


Deb grew up in Brandon, South Dakota, on a diversified farm with crops, hogs, beef and a herd of 45 dairy cows.  She enjoyed working on the farm throughout high school and was even the first girl to participate in the Brandon Valley FFA program.  She majored in dairy production at South Dakota State University and has been involved in agricultural sales and related jobs throughout her career.   


She joined Agropur six years ago. Agropur is a Canadian-based company with nine plants in the United States, including two fluid milk processing plants and seven cheese production plants. Local plants are Lake Norden, South Dakota, and Le Sueur, Minnesota, in addition to the Hull plant.  


Deb’s role is to communicate with farm families and farm managers to make sure that each farm meets the standards that the dairy industry and Agropur have for both animal care and milk quality.  She works with farms within about 80 miles of Hull, Iowa, that range in size from 25 cows to 10,000 cows.


“I appreciate the opportunity to work with all the dairy farm families.  No matter the farm size, they are all progressive and eager to learn and adopt new practices that will help them take better care of their animals and produce a high-quality product,” she said.  “They are all proud of the milk they ship to us and that they are playing a role in delivering delicious dairy products to consumers.”


On the farm, milk is quickly cooled and stored in refrigerated tanks until it is transported to the plant.  Each load of milk is tested when it arrives at the plant to ensure that it meets temperature and quality standards as well as contains no antibiotics.   (Click hereto watch a video featuring Dr. Lloyd Metzger from South Dakota State University reviewing practices that dairy farmers and processors take to ensure the safety and quality of dairy products. This video focuses on fluid milk processing, but the same practices are in place on farms and in plants for cheese production!)


When it is unloaded, the milk is stored in silos and used within 24 hours to ensure quality and freshness. The Hull Agropur plant has a capacity to take 2.7 million pounds (about 314,000 gallons) of milk each day, with an ultrafiltration line that has capacity for additional milk.  They produce mozzarella, mild cheddar, Colby jack, muenster, parmesan and Monterey jack cheeses that are sold under private label company brands across the country.  


“The vast majority of our milk at the Hull plant comes within an 80-mile radius of the plant, making the cheese we produce a very local product,” she said.


Dairy farmers are facing several challenges, including low prices due to export markets, as well as having enough employees to work on farms.  In fact, the limited labor supply is prompting some farms to remodel to incorporate robotic milkers, automatic calf feeders and other technologies.  


She sees a number of opportunities for dairy farmers in South Dakota and the I-29 corridor, especially with the expansion underway at Agropur’s Lake Norden, South Dakota, facility. The plant currently has capacity to process three million pounds of milk each day and will increase to nine million pound a day when the expansion is complete in spring 2019.  


To celebrate National Dairy Month in June each year, several Agropur locations host Cheese Fest events to share a meal with the community and support local FFA and 4-H programs.  Cheese Fest at Agropur in Hull will be held from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Thursday, June 7.


In addition, Agropur helps sponsor DairyFestin Brookings and other programs and open houses each year to share dairy farmers’ stories with the public, and events like Central Plains Dairy Expothat help educate dairy farmers on latest technologies and practices.  

Fri, 01 Jun 2018 09:56:00 -0500
May Agvocates Thank You May Advocates!.png

Thank You May Advocates!

We finally got to enjoy some nice spring weather in May; but that meant the race was on to get into the fields and pastures. May Advocates participated in the Rapid City Beef Crawl where they interacted with local consumers for some one-on-one conversations about the industry and their operations over a delicious meal.

Rapid City Beef Crawl 

Eric and Michelle Jennings

Justin and Brooke Tupper  

Kari and Carl Sanders

Todd and Deb Mortenson

Gary and Jessica Deering 


Special thanks to Adam Mohrhauser who shared his experiences with the Adopt A Farmer program and provide a planting season update in KELO "It's Your Agribusiness" radio interview. Click here to listen to the interview.  

Thu, 31 May 2018 15:53:00 -0500

free meals and family-friendly activities



SIOUX FALLS, SD - South Dakota dairy farm families are celebrating National Dairy Month in June with family-friendly events and tours all month long.  


"Tours and open houses during National Dairy Month give South Dakotans the opportunity to see firsthand where the milk, cheese, yogurt, ice cream and other dairy products get their start," said Rebecca Christman, outreach director for Ag United.  "We are excited to share the diversity of farms and the dedication these families have to sharing their story and caring for their animals and land."  


Agriculture United for South Dakota is pleased to announce the following events to celebrate National Dairy Month and recognize South Dakota's dairy farm families.  Each open house will include a free meal and a tour of the dairy farm.


  • June 2 - Dairy Fest Carnival and Tours of Old Tree Farms, 10:00 a.m. to 1:30 p.m..  As part of the annual DairyFest activities, the Verpallen family is hosting tours of their dairy farm and a free grilled cheese lunch for visitors.  Busses will depart starting at 11 a.m. from the Swiftel Center in Brookings every half hour for the farm tour.  In addition, don't miss the carnival, tours of the SDSU Dairy Plant, and many other activities in Brookings.  More information at


  • June 9 - MoDak Dairy Open House, 46516 171stSt., Goodwin, 10:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.  The Moes family invites you to join them for an open house, ice cream treats and free grilled cheese lunch.  Tour their 2,000 cow farm, meet baby calves and learn more about South Dakota dairy farmers care for their animals and land.


  • June 16 - 11th Annual Breakfast on the Farm at Royalwood Dairy, 48170 266thSt., Brandon, 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.  Join the Ode family for their annual open house that has become a must-attend event for families in the Brandon and Sioux Falls metro areas.  Tour the 380 cow farm and enjoy free pancakes, milk and other dairy treats. Children's entertainer Phil Baker will perform at 10:30 a.m. and 11:30 a.m, and 'Hood Magazine will host a "Make and Take" craft project throughout the morning. Parking will be 1 ¼ miles East of the dairy farm, shuttles will be running. Limited handicap accessible parking is available at the farm.


  • June 26 - Know Your Milk Tour, Bus Tour Departing from Sioux Falls, 5:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.  This evening tour will provide an opportunity to see WHAT. Tour participants will meet the family, ask questions, and enjoy a free meal with cheese and ice cream samples. Tour is open to both children and adults. Application deadline for this tour is June 15.  Space is limited, so visit to register today.  


  • June 30 - Boadwine Dairy Open House, 46945 251stAve., Baltic, 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 pm. Take a tour of this century-old family farm, watch cows being milked and take a trolley ride around the farm.  A free lunch will be provided.  


  • July 14 - Lazy J Dairy Open House, 38223 203rdSt., Wolsey, 11:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.  Don't miss your opportunity to see where the 1,000 cows eat, sleep and are milked.  Meet the Jungeman family and enjoy a free meal, ice cream and more. 


Ag United has hosted open houses in honor of National Dairy Month since 2008, giving thousands of South Dakota families the opportunity to meet dairy farm families and learn about this important industry.  South Dakota dairy farms produce about 274 million gallons of milk and generate about $436 million in milk sales each year, resulting in a  total economic impact of $2.71 billion for dairy products produced and sold in South Dakota.  Visit to learn more about dairy production and the role of dairy products in a healthy lifestyle.


These events are sponsored in part by South Dakota Farm Families and Ag United, Midwest Dairy and South Dakota soybean farmers and their check-off. 


Visit www.agunited.comSouth Dakota Farm Families on Facebook, or @SDFarmFamilies on Twitter for more information on National Dairy Month events or other activities.


Ag United was developed through a collaboration of farm organizations that support livestock production and development and includes the South Dakota Cattlemen's Association, the South Dakota Corn Growers Association, South Dakota Dairy Producers, South Dakota Farm Bureau, South Dakota Pork Producers Council, South Dakota Poultry Industries Association and the South Dakota Soybean Association.  


Thu, 31 May 2018 11:41:00 -0500
A Passion for Beef and the People Who Raise It IMG_1556.jpg

Guest Blog written by Shelby Bartling


I’m Shelby Bartling and I live near Gregory, SD with my husband, Justin. My days are spent working with farmers and ranchers in the area as a Feed Consultant for Country Pride Cooperative. I grew up on my family’s farm near Toronto, SD with my parents and 2 older brothers. Like a lot of farm families, most of the time we spent together usually involved cattle and/or farm machinery. We had the opportunity to work alongside each other, as well as neighbors and family friends. I will always be thankful for that lifestyle because it laid the foundation to my passion for beef and the people who raise it. 

After high school I attended South Dakota State University and studied Animal Science. SDSU did a great job of encouraging internships and helped me connect with Country Pride Coop. CPC is a full service ag cooperative with several locations in south central SD. In 2011 I took on an internship in their feed division in Winner, SD. It was a great experience where the feeling of agriculture being ‘a small world’ really hit home. I was 250 miles from home, I didn’t know anyone, and it only took two days for the phrase, “You must be Greg’s daughter” to turn up! I had a good laugh, and it showed me that I enjoy how the social network works in agriculture and the beef industry.  

            Spending time on the feedlot growing up gave me my initial interest in beef nutrition and raising healthy cattle efficiently. After 2 summers at CPC working with some great feed consultants and beef producers, I knew it was work I would enjoy. In 2013 they gave me an opportunity to come back to join the team full time after graduating from SDSU. My role as a Feed Consultant includes working with our feed customers to promote our products and helping our locations manage feed inventory. 


            I started off building my customer base five years ago and now I have a variety of beef producers to work with. I help my customers on their nutrition programs for their beef cattle.  It requires lots of planning to make sure cattle’s nutrient requirements are met. Each customer’s operation is unique and their needs depend on their production goals. The needs of a pregnant cow are much different than that of a steer in the feedlot, so we have to make sure all of the animals are getting the proper nutrition. I really do love working with my farmer/rancher customers and anyone who knows me well could tell you I am full of stories about them! 



IMG_1557.PNGSupporting the beef industry by networking and promoting the quality beef our farmers and ranchers are raising is also important to me. Casual conversations, the use of social media, and involvement with promotional organizations are all ways I like to share my story.  It’s always an interesting reaction when I explain my career to someone that isn’t involved in agriculture. They are usually pretty surprised to find out that cattle need a ‘dietician’! My Twitter and Instagram handle, @shelbyfeedsbeef showcases some of my day-to-day activities with customers and cattle, and stories related to agriculture and beef. A few organizations like Team BEEF South Dakota and SD Ag and Rural Leadership provided me with plenty of opportunities to advocate for agriculture in the last few years as well. 

My network of customers and other professionals is a big part of why I love my career path in the beef industry. There are lots of unique people making a living in agriculture and I feel fortunate to be able to have connections wi

th so many of them. Growing up with a rural lifestyle on the farm and feedlot fostered my enthusiasm for what I get to do every day. As long as I can keep working with awesome people, seeing great cattle and eating delicious beef, I will carry this passion into the exciting future of agriculture!


Listen to Shelby's radio segment here which aired on "It's Your Agribusiness" on May 28: 5.29.18 Shelby Bartling.mp3


Wed, 30 May 2018 11:01:00 -0500
Adam Mohrhauser Interview Adam Mohrhauser is an Adopted Farmer and shares his farm’s story with local schools in Humboldt and Mitchell. In this segment for KELO “It’s Your Agribusiness” Adam talks about his experiences with the Adopt A Farmer program and gives an update of #Plant2018. Great job Adam! 

Click here to listen to the interview: Adam Mohrhauser-MAY-17-2018.mp3

Mon, 21 May 2018 16:40:00 -0500
Farmer's Daughter Guest Blog: Katie Schoenfelder Hello All! 

 My name is Katie Schoenfelder and I am excited to announce that I am the 2018 summer intern at Ag United for South Dakota! 

Senior Pic- Barn.JPGI just completed my sophomore year at South Dakota State University where I am majoring in agricultural communications with minors in marketing and graphic design. I enjoy being involved in several organizations on campus including Agricultural Communicators of Tomorrow, Collegiate Farm Bureau, National Agri-Marketing Association, and the Horticulture & Urban Ag Club.

As a farmer’s daughter I have been involved in agriculture my entire life. I grew up on a small family farm near Huron, SD. On our farm we have a Sim-Angus cow/calf operation; and raise corn, soybeans, alfalfa, and hay. Growing up farming and ranching was not just my parent’s job; it was my family’s lifestyle. From helping pick rock in fields, cleaning up ditches, cleaning up tree strips, to helping fix fence, transfer, or work cattle my family always worked together to get the job done. The love for the land and hard work was developed over many years and I hope to continue that tradition.

 Senior Year 4-H calf.JPGIn high school organizations such as 4-H and FFA held a special place in my heart. I think the outreach that these programs provide is so vital to the continuation of growth, education, and advocacy for agriculture. My involvement helped me to realize that I could combine my passion for agriculture and people together through pursuing a career in agricultural communications. 

Besides helping on the farm, I also worked for Dow-AgroSciences during the summers at a corn breeding research station near my hometown for 6 years. This experience gave me the opportunity to see a different side of the Ag industry that many people do not get to see.

Even in South Dakota some people do not understand agriculture or how their food and fabrics get to them. In high school some of my classmates did not understand that meat came from animals or food is grown and not from the grocery store. It really opened my eyes and showed me that agriculture has a lot work cut out for us.

It is so important to advocate for agriculture because although South Dakota is a rural state; most of the world is not. Less than 2% of the United States populations lives and works on farms or ranches. We need to invest in telling our story and educating consumers to bridge the gap between science, production, and marketing. This is why I am so excited to be working at Ag United for the summer because it will give me the opportunity to help to share my family's and your family’s story. 

Did you miss out on hearing me on this week's Farmer's Daughter? Listen to it here: SD Farm Families - Farmer's Daughter May21st.mp3

Be sure to tune in each week during the "It's Your Agribusiness" show on Monday's at 10am on KELO 1320 AM and 107.9 FM


Mon, 21 May 2018 11:28:00 -0500

Spink Colony near Frankfort invites public to open house on June 1


FRANKFORT, SD: Spink Colony is celebrating the opening of Käsemeister Creamery with an Open House on June 1st from 11am – 4pm, at 18206 Spink Lane, Frankfort, South Dakota. Everyone is welcome to tour the creamery, sample cheeses, and enjoy a free noon meal. At the open house, visitors will see how the creamery adds value to the existing dairy operation by making cheese and butter.


Spink Colony currently milks 100 cows, with all the milk going directly to Käsemeister Creamery to be made into butter and cheese. Paul Wipf, Spink Colony manager, cited low milk prices as the driving force behind building the creamery. 


“With milk prices the way they are, it just made sense to build the creamery as a way to add value to our product,” stated Wipf. “We are excited to invite everyone to see the new creamery and try some of the delicious cheese and butter we are making.”


Käsemeister Creamery officially opened on May 1st, and currently produces Pepper Jack, Colby and cheeses as well as a variety of flavored sharp and mild Cheddar cheese options.  The creamery also produces a unique offering:  Quark cheese. Quark cheese is a described by farm manager Paul Wipf as a “slightly sweet, Italian-style cream cheese”.    


The name Kasemeister means “cheese master”, and currently the cheese is sold at the creamery’s retail shop, as well as a number of local grocery stores, with new retail locations being added daily. Because the milk for the creamery is sourced directly from the Spink Colony dairy, the resulting product is a true farmstead cheese. Each batch of cheese takes about five hours to make, and is then aged from three day to eight months depending on the variety.


The Käsemeister Creamery Open House is being held on June 1stfrom 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Spink Colony, located at 18206 Spink Lane, Frankfort SD 57440. Everyone is welcome!

Kasemeister Creamery


The production floor at Kasemeister Creamery.



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Display case at Kasemeister Creamery retail store. 




Wed, 16 May 2018 10:53:00 -0500
Celebrate May with Beef and Eggs Beef and Eggs.png

Every May we celebrate two of our favorite products that are grown in South Dakota, beef and eggs! Eggs are a great way to start your day, and steak is always the best end. In South Dakota, we have farm families that are committed to ensuring these products are safe, delicious, and nutritious.


Here in South Dakota, beef cattle outnumber residents 4 to 1. Fifteen thousand South Dakota farms are committed to giving cattle the best possible care through each stage of life. Some farmers or ranchers focus on raising healthy calves and cows, while others focus on feeding cattle a specialized diet until they are ready for market. These farms often look very different, but each farmer works to make sure that their cattle are safe, healthy, and well cared for throughout their life. 


We talk a lot about farm to table, so it’s no secret that cattle eventually end up on our plates in the form of protein. Beef is a great source of ZIP – zinc, iron, and protein, so there’s no need to feel guilty when you’re throwing some burgersor steakson the grill this summer. A 3 oz. serving of lean beef comes in at about 150 calories. With many beef cuts meeting this description (including 95% lean ground beef, strip steak, top sirloin, and tenderloin steak) beef can be a regular part of a healthy diet. 


Eggs are another one of our favorite South Dakota products. South Dakota is currently home to just one egg farm with products available commercially, there are a number of farms that also raise laying hens.  Together these farms produce 600 million eggs each year! This means, you don't have to look much farther than the shelves of your local grocery store for South Dakota eggs. Dakota Layers near Flandreau has eggs in many local grocery stores, so you can pick up fresh eggs during your normal shopping trip. You’ll know these eggs are fresh, as it takes just 24 – 36 hours to go from chicken to shelf!


Eggs are another great source of protein. With 6 grams of protein and only 70 calories, 1 large egg can help you feel satisfied from breakfast to lunch. While many people that are health conscious choose to skip the yolk and just go for egg whites, they are missing out on 250 grams of choline which helps promote normal cell activity and transports nutrients throughout the body. Recent studies certified by the USDA now show that the egg yolk now has 185 grams of cholesterol, compared to the previously believed level of 214 grams. Eating one egg a day falls in line with recommended dietary guidelines. There are tons of delicious recipesfor breakfast, dinner, and every meal in between. 


This May, celebrate Beef Month and Egg month with the perfect recipe to feature both, “Baja Sunrise Steak and Eggs”! 


Did you miss out this week's Farmer's Daughter? Listen to it here: 5.14.18 Beef and Eggs.mp3
Be sure to tune in each week during the "It's Your Agribusiness" show on Monday's at 10am on KELO 1320 AM and 107.9 FM




Wed, 16 May 2018 09:21:00 -0500
Rural Dictionary: Grain Fed vs. Grass Fed Beef beef-food-meat-112781.jpg

Grain fed beef (noun) – Beef from cattle that have been fed a diet that includes grains, such as corn or soybeans. This term specifically refers to how cattle are fed in the last stages of life, as all cattle are born in pastures and stay there with their mother until weaning. These cattle are typically fed in a feedlot or barn, with room to move and access to fresh water at all times. Grains add additional energy to the diet. The ration also includes roughages like silage, grass hay, straw, and alfalfa. 


Grass fed beef (noun) –  Beef from cattle that have been fed only grass. Grass fed cattle typically take a few months longer to get to market weight. In states like South Dakota where we have snow in the winter, cattle are fed hay (grass that was dried and baled). Calves are born on pastures and live with their mother until weaning, then are moved to a different pasture.



Thu, 03 May 2018 13:42:00 -0500
Spearfish ranchers act as experts and hosts at upcoming Rapid City Beef Crawl Eric and Michelle Jennings.JPGWe hear the phrase “Farm to Table” quite a bit when talking about food production and agriculture today.  Ranchers Eric and Michelle Jennings from Spearfish, South Dakota, have a good perspective on what it takes to raise beef cattle that deliver the nutritious and delicious beef products that consumers want, while protecting natural resources, keeping animals healthy and providing a livelihood for farm and ranch families.


Each spring, about 50 calves are born on their ranch and many are raised on the ranch until they are ready for marketing.  The Jennings have evolved their operation over the past few years, downsizing the number of cows and calves they raise, adding cover crops and other practices to better manage pastures and focusing more on retail beef sales.


Instead of selling their calves to backgrounders or feedlots to feed until they are ready for market, the Jennings are now keeping most of their calves and marketing beef direct to consumers or through food service channels.  The Jennings sell both grass-finished and grain-finished beef through a local butcher, at farmers markets and direct to customers wanting full, half or quarters of beef. 


Michelle and Eric have been married for more than 30 years and have raised cattle and crops together since 1989 on the land that Eric’s family has owned since 1962. They raise alfalfa hay and some small grain crops as a rotation for alfalfa.  Their main ranch is located north of Spearfish, South Dakota, along Spearfish Creek. They also have property in the Black Hills that they use for summer grazing and timber production.


The Jennings and other ranchers are kicking off May Beef Month on May 7 with the Rapid City Beef Crawlhosted by South Dakota Farm Families and sponsored by South Dakota Beef Industry Council and South Dakota Soybean Checkoff. The beef crawl is a progressive dinner featuring appetizer, entrée and dessert courses at three top restaurants in Rapid City, and the opportunity for diners to ask questions about farming and beef production directly to the farmers and ranchers who raise cattle.


“In the years we have attended there have been many differences in the people we’ve met,” said Eric. 
“Some grew up on farms or ranches and some know nothing about ranch life and raising cows.” 


Eric and other ranchers will share information about their families and operations and talk about day to day activities on the ranch.  At previous events, Eric has answered questions about how much assistance cows need during calving season, and specific questions about antibiotic use and other management practices.


They will also share how their farms or ranches have changed over the years to improve animal care, efficiency or sustainability.


“The most rewarding part about being involved in agriculture has always been learning how to improve upon what we do,” said Eric. “From the genetic data we have access to now in cattle, to what we have learned about soil health and how to positively affect it, and the genetic advances that have been made with crops, it is exciting to be involved with an industry that has made those advances.”


Eric is currently working in his pastures to develop a source of water for livestock away from the creek, which will allow him to create pastures along the creek to better manage the different ecosystems that exist along and away from the creek.  


“I have learned a lot about soil health the last three years and have been incorporating cover crops into our operation when moisture permits and trying to move towards no-till,” he said. The Jennings also use artificial insemination to continuously improve the genetics of their cow herd for better health and performance and are constantly monitoring health and nutrition programs for their animals. 


In addition to the Beef Crawl, Eric and Michelle are active in their community and other organizations.


Eric is a regional Vice President of South Dakota Cattlemen’s Association and on the South Dakota Agriculture and Rural Leadership(SDARL) Foundation Board of Directors.  He is also president of the newly formed Spearfish Rural Fire Protection District and the chairman of a group starting a new non-profit assistance center in the Spearfish area.  Michelle organizes one of the three worship services at their church and annually goes on a medical mission trip to Honduras.


The Jennings have hosted the Spearfish Chamber of Commerce Leadership class every year to give local leaders firsthand experience in production agriculture and understand the role of farm and ranch families to rural economics and communities.  


“Class participants come to our ranch for half a day, get to learn about and experience some of what we do every day,” said Eric. “For some of them it is the only exposure to a real ranch they have had and it is always a favorite part of the class.”

Tue, 01 May 2018 15:39:00 -0500
Kelly Brandlee: Helping Farmers Share Their Story Farmer's Daughter Guest Blog Post written by Kelly Brandlee


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Kelly and her husband Clint.

I grew up on my family’s farm near Salem, SD where we raised cattle, corn and soybeans. We also had horses that were used not just for 4-H and fun activities, but also to check cattle. Some of my favorite memories from my childhood includes my sister, dad and I riding horses to check cows and racing across the pasture while humming the Bonanza theme song. We also had plenty of quality time working cattle and helping dad with random projects around the farm.


During my time at South Dakota State University, I was not always sure what I wanted to do. However, early in my college career, I realized not everyone grew up like I did. Not everyone had the opportunity to experience farm life first hand. Therefore, not everyone had an understanding of where food comes from, how it is raised nor the hard work and passion those in production agriculture have for raising safe food.   


That realization lead me to my major of Advertising. I realized helping farmers communicate their stories was something I felt passionate about. I started my career with Ag United for South Dakota, where I helped farmers share their stories and answer consumer questions about today's agriculture, then spent some time working with soybean farmers in our state on several different farmer-focused projects. 


Eventually, I met my husband and moved to his family’s fifth-generation farm in northeastern South Dakota. Spring is my favorite time on the farm. After a long winter, it is a welcomed change to see the grass turning green and the trees filling out with leaves. Spring means new calves to watch in the pasture and the start of a new crop year. On our farm, we raise cattle, corn, soybeans and hay. We also have horses, although we use them mainly for fun and use 4-wheelers for cattle work. 


This move started my journey with Riverview, LLP.  Riverview is a diversified farm, focusing on dairy, beef, and crops. I have the exciting job of working in the communities where we operate and sharing not just the Riverview story, but the entire story of agriculture. 


My role in Community Relations is almost never the same day to day.  Our Community Relations team works to connect young people with agriculture by visiting classrooms and hosting on farm tours and experiences. One day may find me talking to a group of second graders about how a cheeseburger is made, the next day working with a FFA group on a project, another day helping 4-H students pick out a calf as a part of our calf-lease program for youth, and yet another day promoting milk at a 5K race in town. The work is diverse and exciting! 

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Farmers and agriculture organizations alike care deeply about their impact in their local communities and want to have open dialogue and communication with the public. I feel incredibly lucky to be a part of these conversations. 


Listen to "The Farmer's Daughter" radio segment each Monday at 10am on KELO 1320 AM or 107.9 FM. Check out Kelly's radio segment here: 4.30.18 FD Kelly Brandlee.mp3

Tue, 01 May 2018 09:31:00 -0500