Rural Ramblings News from Ag United. Sun, 23 Sep 2018 08:51:36 -0500 Take the 10 Gallon Challenge! 10 gallon challenge.pngFall is almost here, and September is a great time to support your local farmers and your local community. Hunger knows no season, and so this fall we are taking the #10GallonChallenge to support our local food banks and our dairy farmers.


On social media, a farm broadcaster put out the challenge to purchase 10 gallons of milk from your local grocery store and drop them off at your nearest food bank. Here at South Dakota Farm Families, we took that challenge and donated 10 gallons of milk to Feeding South Dakota. Dairy products are one of the most requested items at food banks, however they make up only 5% of total donations. This is one easy way to help out the families in your community.


Milk is a nutrient dense food, and like all dairy products has nine essential nutrients to help your body stay healthy.  The top nutrients are calcium, which helps build strong bones and teeth, and protein, which build muscles. These nutrients are important for people of all ages! The 10 gallons of milk we donated were whole milk, which has just 3.25 % fat. Per cup, milk has 8 grams of protein, and 35% of the calcium you need each day.


Now we pass the challenge on to you, pick up 10 gallons of milk and drop it off at a food bank. If you don’t have time to stop at the store, you can donate through HyVee to the Great American milk drive. Just tell the cashier how many gallons of milk you want to donate, and they will add it to your receipt! This fall, we challenge you take the #10GallonChallenge, and then pass the challenge on to someone else.


Listen to this week's Farmer's Daughter segment here: 9.17.18 FD 10 Gallon Challenge.mp3

Be sure to tune in to KELO 107.9FM during 10AM each Monday to catch the newest Farmer's Daughter segment!

Thu, 20 Sep 2018 12:23:00 -0500
Social Community Guidelines South Dakota Farm Families social media pages are a place to share information about food, farming, and South Dakota farmers. This is a place for open and honest discussion, and we welcome questions about how your food is grown. However, we will not tolerate the following types of posts:


  • Profane, defamatory, offensive or violent language
  • “Trolling”, or posting deliberately disruptive statements
  • Attacks on specific groups or any comments meant to harass, threaten or abuse an individual
  • Hateful or discriminatory comments


If your post or comment falls under one of these categories, it will be deleted. Thanks for being part of the South Dakota Farm Families community!

We welcome you to follow us on Facebook, TwitterInstagram, and Snapchat!

Tue, 18 Sep 2018 09:53:00 -0500
September Rural Dictionary: Silage Silage 7.jpeg

Silage  (noun) – A crop that is chopped, packed, and sealed to ferment. Most commonly found in the form of corn or alfalfa. The crop is cut while green and has high moisture content. After chopping, the crop is put in a pile, and heavy tractors drive on top to get out extra air. The pile is covered with plastic and commonly topped with tires to create an airtight seal. After sealing, the silage pile will start to ferment. Silage is a nutrient dense feed usually fed to beef or dairy cows. Silage has a sweet smell and many farmers will tell you it’s one of their favorite smells on the farm!

Silage 2.jpeg Silage 8.jpeg Silage.jpeg
Chopping corn for silage. Unloading and packing the pile.

Covering the silage with a tarp held on by

tires to seal in freshness!


Thank you to Ben Stout for the photos! 

Fri, 07 Sep 2018 15:56:00 -0500
Featured Partner Profile: Making Sure Students are Fueled Up and Ready to Learn Gay Anderson_0027-2.jpg“A well fed child is a well-educated child.”

Gay Anderson and her staff at Brandon Valley School District in Brandon, South Dakota, take this statement to heart every day of the school year.  Anderson is the Child Nutrition Director for the school district with responsibility for ensuring that 4,300 students across seven buildings in the district are “fueled up and ready to learn” each day.

Anderson was born and raised in North Dakota. She had extensive food service experience, but not in a school setting.  When her family moved to Sioux Falls area for her husband’s job, she reached out to her children’s school district. 

“I was emailing the Brandon Valley school district about programs for our kids, then asked if they had any openings in food service management,” she said. “It turned out that the child nutrition director position was open. The timing was perfect and I fell in love with the job. 

During the 16 years that Anderson has worked at Brandon Valley, the district has grown from 2,400 students to 4,300, significantly increasing nutrition service needs and staffing.  Each of the seven buildings have a full-service kitchen and serve both lunch and breakfast each day.  The elementary schools also have a “second chance” breakfast later in the morning.

Anderson is also serving as the national president of the School Nutrition Association, which represents almost 60,000 members across the country.  The association provides resources to nutrition directors and advocates for school nutrition issues with legislators and officials in Washington and states. 

Gay speaking to a group about ensuring all students get a healthy meal.

Regardless of district size, feeding students can be a balancing act for nutrition directors.  School programs must meet specific requirements for nutrition and food safety, must be grown in America, while providing meals that taste great and kids enjoy to minimize food waste.

“School nutrition programs are some of the most regulated programs because we have strict calorie, fat sodium guidelines,” she said, noting that all grains must be at least 50 percent whole grain and every meal must include a fruit or vegetable. School nutrition programs are reauthorized with the federal government every five years.

“Food safety is our top priority.  We will always follow usage guidelines and err on the side of caution when it comes to serving food and keeping our kids safe,” she said.  “We are proud of how well our schools do in health inspections. There have been several times when all of the schools have all gotten perfect scores at the same time.”  

Anderson and her staff works to introduce new meals and flavors and new fruits and vegetables to students along with the perennial favorites of pizza and popcorn chicken.  They’ve added Asian foods and a variety of beef meals, and she enjoys doing nutrition education programs with students during the year. 


“The nutrition program is a very important part of education process.  Our staff has the chance to meet every child every day, and those few seconds are an opportunity to make their day,” she said.  “Whether it is commenting on a new haircut or new shirt, or just saying hello, it may be the positive interaction they need.”

Anderson also recognizes the strong connection between her role and South Dakota agriculture. 

“Growing up in a North Dakota farming community, I understand and appreciate the value of the family farm and how we rely on farmers for our food supply and more,” she said. 

Anderson has participated in several events hosted by Ag United, including speaking at Farms After Five tours and the Know Your Milk tour at Stensland Dairy. 

“I’ve enjoyed the opportunities to share with Ag United tours and meetings to talk about school nutrition programs and how we value what people in agriculture are doing for us,” she said.  “We know that farmers care about what we are serving to students, and I believe that farmers are doing everything they can to keep our food supply safe.”

Sat, 01 Sep 2018 15:12:00 -0500
August Agvocates AUGUST.png

During August we held the last open house of the summer at the new Tri-Cross Dairy near Viborg. The event was a success thanks to a fantastic group of volunteers! We served nearly 1,000 meals with the help of individuals from area businesses. We look forward to the next season of sharing the ag story.



August Agvocates

Tri Cross Dairy

Tom Koolhaus

Wes Bylsma

Kris Vanderkooy

Central Farmers Coop

Nelson Family

Richard Vasgaard

C&B Operations

Sioux Dairy Equipment

CHR Hansen

Farm Credit Services

Hanisch Electric

Prairieland Ag Supply

Pacific Ag

Randy Van Nate Custom Chopping

Butler Cat

Deluxe Animal Health

Deluxe Feeds / Kent Nutrition

Extended Ag Services Inc.

New Vision Coop


Reeves Building

Sioux Nation Ag Service

Pro Ag Engineering

Heeringa Construction

Fri, 31 Aug 2018 18:40:00 -0500
Laura Kahler: Making the Best Better Guest Blog Post written by Laura Kahler

My future 4-H'er, Armin.

Growing up as the youngest of three siblings, I could not wait until I was old enough to have a 4-H back tag to wear as I exhibited my chicken at the county fair.  Despite the fact my rather unattractive chicken did not place well, I loved being able to show alongside 4-H members of all ages, and later join in as my brothers and I dug through receipts and filled in our 4-H record books.  Membership within the Wisconsin 4-H program provided me with never-ending activities and opportunities from the age of 8 through graduation.  Under the guidance of other 4-H families and volunteers, I learned about animal science by competing on quiz bowl teams, raising and showing an array of livestock species, and attending hands-on clinics put on by project leaders. As a member of the 4-H Teen Leaders, I discovered my passion for helping others learn.  Consequently, I chose to attend SDSU for Agriculture Education, with the intention of teaching high school agriculture or working with 4-H. Since graduating, I have been able to do both and currently work as a 4-H advisor in south central South Dakota. 

As a 4-H Youth Program Advisor, we work year round with youth to ‘Make the Best Better’ through programs and activities related to agriculture, leadership, healthy relations, and STEM (science, technology, engineering & math).  As summer approaches however, the focus shifts to preparing for an event 4-H is well known for; 4-H Achievement Days & County Fair.   


4-H’ers giving horse- related demonstrations to their peers.

Whether showing livestock or creating a display exhibit, participation in 4-H Achievement Days means much more than receiving a ribbon. In 4-H, members select topics that interest them from over seventy 4-H project areas.  While learning about that project area topic, 4-H’ers also gain responsibility, develop as leaders, learn more about themselves, and find a sense of belonging in their community. When you attend Achievement Days or a county fair, you will see all of these things taking place.  

This is especially evident amongst those who choose to participate in animal project areas.  In the spring of each year, 4-H’ers are asked to pick which animals they will be working with for their project.  Members with beef, sheep, swine and market goats can bring those animals to a county-wide weigh in, which allows youth to calculate their animal’s rate of gain. Throughout the summer, 4-H’ers are invited to attend events on livestock selection, fitting and showing, and they work with their animals by providing proper nutrition, daily walks, and baths. As a result of their hard work, the show allows the animal to be presented to the best of their ability.  

Many 4-H members also choose to bring display exhibits to the fair.  Display exhibits provide a visual representation of what a member learned in their 4-H project area.  Some of my favorite display exhibits to see at Achievement Days include range plant ID books, chicken eggs, photography, baked goods, and visual arts.  One of the most exciting times of Achievement Days is when the members bring their exhibits in to the fair to be judged. Our communities are blessed with many dedicated 4-H volunteers, and during display exhibit judging we have many individuals who take the time to visit with the members about their projects, and provide feedback.  This is also a great opportunity for 4-H’ers to step out of their comfort zone by going through a brief interview with the judge and talk about their project.  

My husband, Brad, and I with a newborn calf on our ranch.

Perhaps the most telling evidence of the success of 4-H, and the significance of the community fair, is the 4-H alumni that can be seen at the fair each year.  Ranging from young adults to senior citizens, 4-H alumni serve in many roles, such as committee members, ring stewards, judges and parents. Although their showing days are over, they continue to be part of the 4-H community and help the next generation have a county fair full of learning, individual growth, and fun. 

Although enrollment is limited to youth ages 8-18, 4-H is a true community-based program.  4-H members learn from and with community mentors and volunteers throughout their year-long projects. Achievement Days and the State Fair are a chance for members to exhibit their hard work and celebrate their successes with others. This program benefits not only the youth who participate but also all those who witness and assist their learning process.  If you would like to be involved as a volunteer, or get your child enrolled in 4-H, contact information for your local 4-H office can be found at

Laura also shared her love for 4-H on KELO It's Your Agribusiness. Listen to her segment here: 8.27.18 Laura Kahler 4H.mp3

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

Mon, 27 Aug 2018 09:12:00 -0500
Farmer's Daughter Blog Post: "Summer 2018 Recap" Farmer‘s Daughter Segment: “ Summer 2018 Recap”

 Hello Everyone! My name is Katie Schoenfelder and I am a Farmer’s Daughter! 

 I can hardly believe that school is starting and the summer has already come to an end. Cheesy as it may be, the line: “time sure does fly when you’re having fun” truly did apply; because this summer has been crazy busy and was gone in the blink of an eye.  radio.jpg

To be completely honest I was a little nervous coming into my internship. This was my first summer away from the farm; I am use to working in the fields during the summer and being outside all day. I wasn’t sure how I would like working in the big city of Sioux Falls or having an office job. Looking back, I am so glad that I took the internship that was outside of my comfort zone.  

I gained so many experiences, friendships, memories, and learned so many new things. A big part of my internship was getting to work with the South Dakota Dairy Producers and Midwest Dairy. I have no background in the dairy industry, so even though I grew up in agriculture this was a big learning curve for me. I have so much more respect for those hardworking individuals in the dairy industry. I have to give a big thank you to all of the families who opened up their family farms this summer.  Here is a little recap of some of the events I did this summer. 


 May is National Beef & Eggs Month, and we kicked it off by heading West River for the Rapid City Beef Crawl. Then came school visits, the South Dakota Poultry Producers meeting, and a lot of prepping for the upcoming events.  

June is National Dairy Month, so we kicked it off with the Brooking’s Dairy Fest.  Old Tree Farms near Volga hosted the first open house; then came MoDak Dairy Day near Kransburg, Breakfast on the Farm at Royalwood Dairy near Brandon, the South Dakota Corn Golf Tournament, the Know Your Milk Tour, the Farm to Table Dietician’s Tour, and the Boadwine Dairy Open House near Baltic.  


July is National Ice Cream Month and we didn't slow down one bit! The Lazy J Dairy hosted their open house near Wolsey, which was followed by the South Dakota Farm Bureau Sioux Falls Canaries Baseball Game, the Scoop It Forward Event in Sioux Falls, Farms After Five Tour, Hefty Field Day near Baltic, and Family Fest in Sioux Falls.  

August is National Back to School Month, but we squeezed in a few events before that came. We kicked it off with the Tri Cross Dairy Open House near Viborg, the Sioux Empire Fair, and the Turner County Fair.  

Farm Bureau .jpg


Throughout the summer I have also got to run social media accounts, develop web content, and write several blog posts and record radio segments. My favorite part of the internship was definitely being able to work with farm families to help tell their story and engage with consumers. I may not have been out on the farm everyday but I was still involved in agriculture. Stepping out of my comfort zone wasn’t easy, and I didn’t know everything, but I am learning and loving my journey every step of the way.


As I sign off for the last time, I just want to remind you to take leaps of faith, say thank you to farmers, and have a wonderful year! 

 Lots of love, 

Katie Schoenfelder – A Farmer’s Daughter

P.S. Thank You:

- Mom & Dad & Gracie

-Steve, Rebecca, Tom, & Chris

- Verpallen Family

-Moes Family

- Ode Family

- Stensland Family

- VanDerVleit Family

-Boadwine Family

- Jungemann Family

- Burkhart Family

- Blysma & Koolhaas Families 

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

Listen to it here: SD Farm Families - Farmers Daughter Aug20th.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, 20 Aug 2018 06:00:00 -0500
Farmer's Daughter Blog Post: "GMO's from a Farmer's Daughter Point Of View"  Hello Everyone! My name is Katie Schoenfelder, and I am a Farmer’s Daughter!

 It seems like there is one modern agricultural practice in particular that has drawn many misconceptions over the years:  The breeding of Genetically Modified (GM) Crops. There seems to be many questions about this practice so let’s dig into the facts about Genetically Modified Crops.


First of all, people have been breeding and modifying plants for thousands of years, and crops that are Genetically Modified allow us to alter a single gene at a time. This breeding practice allows us to create improved crops that are: Insect Resistant, Disease Resistant, Drought Tolerant, Herbicide Tolerant, that have Enhanced Nutritional Content, that Reduce Food Waste, and that Improve Manufacturing Processes. 

 Secondly, did you know that there are only 10 Genetically Modified Crops approved by the USDA and grown in the US? They are: Corn, Soybeans, Alfalfa, Cotton, Sugar Beets, Canola, Potatoes, Squash, Apples, and Papayas. 


 On my family’s farm we grow two genetically modified crops: corn and soybeans. These crops have allowed us to produce more with less water, less chemicals, and less land. This advancement in technology has been wonderful for our family farm. My family also grows conventional or non-GM alfalfa on our farm; so we get enjoy the benefits of getting to pick and choose between what to grow and how to grow it. 

 I have also had first hand experience in the field; when it comes to GM Crops. I worked at a DOW AgroScience’s Field Research Station during the summers for 6 years growing up. This gave me a really neat insight into the industry and gave me a new appreciation for all of the hard work and thought that goes into how we produce our crops. I got a behind the scenes look into what goes on before the seeds get into the bag that the farmers plant. I spent many long days and walked many miles in those fields; and I can tell you that the people behind the product really care. 



As a Farmer's Daughter I have friends and family who grow, sell, and consume food and fiber in a variety of ways .  Some choose to grow and eat like I do, and some choose a different lifestyle; and that is okay. My family grows GM crops and raises livestock for food; and we still continue to love our family and friends who don't. This is not a competition against one another, this is a harmonious pursuit to feed the world. Whether you choose to support GMO, Conventional, Organic, or a Combination, remember that at the end of the day the choice is the most important component. As a consumer to look to the facts from reliable sources, ask a farmer or an agronomist about the questions you have about your food, please don't just believe the first thing you read on the internet. At the end of the day no matter what kind of farm your food comes from, we are all working to feed our world’s growing population with less resources. We need all types of agriculture to be successful, and I am personally very excited to see where the future will take us. 

 To learn more visit:


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

Listen to it here: FARMER'S DAUGHTER-AUGUST 13TH 2018.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, 13 Aug 2018 10:11:00 -0500
Farmer's Daughter Blog Post: "The Most Dreaded Job" Hello everyone! My name is Katie Schoenfelder and I am a Farmer’s Daughter.

 Growing up you learn that a year has four seasons: Spring, Summer, Autumn, and Winter. These four seasons are usually most noted for the flowers, sunshine, leaves, and snow.  In South Dakota we experience many of the weather extremes that Mother Nature is able to throw, so it’s never hard to tell where we are at throughout the year. 

 However, if you grow up as a farmer’s daughter you learn there are more than just four seasons. Farmers divide out the year just a bit differently. These seasons can be denoted by the various jobs you have going on. For example: planting, prepping, calving, fencing, rock picking, scouting, gardening, haying, harvest, weaning, feeding, etc. Depending on the operation and location, the year may look different. And no matter the differences, if you grew up on a farm you know exactly what I am talking about.


 My favorite season is definitely summer, otherwise know as that time of year when you proudly sport “farmer tan-lines”, pick rock, scout fields, fix fence, and later on go to county and state fairs. I love being outside on the days filled with sunshine and the constant breeze that South Dakota is know for; being able to eat Forestburg watermelon, and listen to the cicadas chirp in the trees at night as your sit around a bonfire with friends and family. 


 While summer is my favorite season, there was always one thing I dreaded about summer. It meant that the job I dreaded the most, cutting the tree-fabric in the tree strips, was soon approaching. I knew I would be hot, covered in scratches from the evergreen trees, and that it would not be a quick job. 

When we planted the tree strips, we installed the tree-fabric as a way to increase the ability to retain moisture in the droughty seasons and decrease competition of weeds. The only downside is that every year you must cut the fabric as the tree grows bigger and bigger. This chore isn't exactly fun but very necessary in order to maintain a healthy environment for the young trees. 

My family put in tree strips for windbreaks on our farm for the many benefits they provide. Windbreaks can provide protection for livestock and habitat for wildlife, and increased crop yields, irrigation efficiency, and carbon storage, while reducing noise, pesticide drift, dust and other air pollutants.  

Screen Shot 2018-08-07 at 4.34.13 PM.png

However windbreaks provide benefits beyond the farm. 

According to Purdue University: “Evergreen windbreaks can block up to 75 percent of the winter wind around the home, resulting in a reduction in winter heating costs up to 15 to 25 percent.” 

Which is great news for those of us who live in South Dakota where the wind is always blowing.

Screen Shot 2018-08-09 at 1.43.43 PM.png

Every time I come back home I see the trees and smile because of all the old memories. While working in the tree strip was a time that I dreaded, it taught me a valuable lesson. Sometimes the jobs that are the hardest and that we dislike the most, give us the greatest rewards in return. 

Learn more about the benefits of tree strips here:

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

Listen to it here: 8.6.18 FD Katie Trees.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

Thu, 09 Aug 2018 11:46:00 -0500
Rural Dictionary: Showmanship  


Showmanship (noun) – In this type of livestock show, participants are judged on their ability to show their animals. A good showman will know how to set up their animal so it looks it’s best. They are also aware of their placement in the ring, take hand signals from the judge or ringman, and are courteous to other competitors. In addition, the person showing the animal should be able to answer questions about the animal’s breeding, feed ration, and care. Because this contest is based on the showman’s ability – not the quality of the animal – all competitors enter on a level playing field.

Fri, 03 Aug 2018 12:58:00 -0500
Thank you July Agvocates! Thank You July Agvocates.png

This year, July is when it truly began to feel like summer in South Dakota. Hot days and cool evenings make it the perfect time to visit South Dakota farms. This month we hosted an open house with Lazy J Dairy near Wolsey and invited the community to help the family to celebrate the completion of their new milking parlor. For the fifth year, we also hosted a Farms After Five tour. On the tour we visited Burkhart farms to look at pigs and cattle, and Pioneer Dairy to see cows being milked.


July Agvocates


Lazy J Dairy Open House

Russell & Janet Jungemann

Lucas & Kari Jungemann

Tom Peterson

Morgan Kohl



Farms After 5 Tour

Bruce & Julie Burkhart

Anthony Bly

Lynn Boadwine

Heidi Zwinger

Pioneer Dairy

Fri, 03 Aug 2018 11:51:00 -0500
“Learning to do” in the show ring and in the classroom August Profile: Joshua Johnson

Screen Shot 2018-07-31 at 9.35.40 AM.pngIt is fair season in South Dakota! In livestock barns, show rings and exhibit halls at fairs across the state, you’ll see FFA members with the livestock they’ve raised and projects they’ve completed throughout the year. 


“Fairs are a great opportunity to showcase the work that students have put into caring for their animals all year long and the knowledge they’ve gained,” said Joshua Johnson, agriculture education instructor and FFA advisor at Brooking High School in Brookings, South Dakota.  “Students also have the chance to connect with families who visit the fairs by answering questions and sharing stories about how their animals have been raised and cared for.”  


Joshua began raising poultry in high school as part of his Supervised Agricultural Experience through FFA. Today, he continues to raise a variety of poultry from eggs on his acreage, and works to stay involved with county fairs and the state fair. Johnson judges poultry shows at local county fairs and provides guidance to exhibitors on improving their projects. At the South Dakota State Fair, Josh exhibits his own stock in open class shows. 


County fairs and the South Dakota State Fair are often highlights of the year for many FFA members, but they are just one piece of FFA programming and activities that happen in schools all year long, said Johnson. 


Johnson is starting his sixth school year at Brookings High School, where the agriculture and FFA program has grown significantly — from 12 students in FFA chapter and 80 students in agriculture classes to now having more than 80 FFA members and surpassing 200 students in agriculture classes.  “Learning to do”, an important part of the FFA motto, helps guide Johnson’s programming for his classroom at Brookings High School. 


Just as farming has evolved over the years, so has agricultural education, he said. 


“Ag education still has its roots in production agriculture and a solid understanding of agronomy, animal science and managing farms, however, we know that only 2 percent of the nation’s population are working farmers and ranchers,” said Johnson. “Today’s curriculum features horticulture, small animals and companion animals, natural resources and wildlife conservation, food processing, food quality, biotechnology and more topics that can prepare students for careers in a number of careers that relate to agriculture and food production.” 


Teaching agriculture in a city like Brookings also presents opportunities and challenges compared to ag education in a rural community. Johnson estimates that 75 to 80 percent of students have no background with production agriculture when they enter ag education classes. 


14449016_825460860928295_5376940022642174798_n.jpg“It is a unique opportunity as a teacher,” he said.  “By teaching students the basics of agriculture, we are also helping them become more informed consumers about how food and other products go from farm to table.”


Field trip tours of the livestock units and research facilities at South Dakota State University as well as local manufacturing and equipment businesses help give students a firsthand look at animals and technology.  A wide range of speakers who can talk about their professional careers in agricultural fields also provide students with perspective on the opportunities.


Students who join the school’s FFA chapter participate in additional career development, leadership development and community service programs.  


“While many people still think of FFA as ‘Future Farmers of America,’ it has been known as the ‘National FFA Organization’ since 1988 to better reflect the mission of developing the next generation of agriculture advocates and leaders,” said Johnson.  


He notes that an important element of the FFA program is to prepare students for their next education goal – whether that is two-year, four-year or higher-level degree— and for their career, which could be a farmer or rancher, or a number of opportunities in science, businesses, food processing, manufacturing and more.


“Our number one industry in South Dakota is still agriculture,” said Johnson.  “Even if only a small percentage of people are raising the crops and animals, everyone’s daily life is affected by agriculture and thousands have jobs that support agriculture.” 


FFA was an important part of Joshua Johnson’s high school experience growing up near Harrisburg, South Dakota. He was active in his high school FFA chapter and served as a state officer in 2008-09.  He attended South Dakota State University majoring first in biotechnology, then decided to become an ag education major.  


“FFA was a big part of my life. When I moved to ag education, I found that passion again and have been excited about the opportunity to get students involved in FFA and agriculture ever since,” he said.  He also credits his Harrisburg ag education teacher, Mr. Todd Marks, for inspiring his involvement in FFA and now as a teacher.


Learn more about South Dakota FFA Association and the National FFA Organization by visiting their web sites, and take time to check out FFA members’ livestock and exhibits when you visit South Dakota fairs this month!

Fri, 03 Aug 2018 10:52:00 -0500
Guest Blogger Sarah Tveidt: Merging passions into a fulfilling career Sarah-46.jpgHello! My name is Sarah Tveidt and I’m a farmer’s daughter and an ag professional. I grew up on our family’s farm by Humboldt, South Dakota, where my family raises soybeans, corn and cattle. In fact, our farm has been in our family 135 years this year, which is something we’re very proud of. Growing up, I always enjoyed being on the farm, but I never had a desire to pursue a career in agriculture. (Famous last words apparently!) 


I attended South Dakota State University (SDSU) where I received my degree in Journalism and Mass Communication. My last semester of college, I had the wonderful opportunity to study internationally in Greece. I was the only student from SDSU in the program, and I embarked on my journey of moving to a different country with a completely different language, while not knowing one single soul in my program. It was definitely a life-changing experience. 


Most of the other students in my program were from big cities across the country like Los Angeles, New York, Boston and Chicago. Many of them I am still proud to call my friends. However, over the course of our semester abroad, I began to notice my peers had some very strange notions about where our food comes from. They were foodies and consumers at the subject of the latest diet trends and food labels. It was at that time, I realized growing up on the farm gave me a very unique perspective as it relates to the food we put on our tables every day, and perhaps, I had taken the role agriculture played in my life for granted. 


Fast forward 8 years to my current role as Communications Director at the South Dakota Soybean Research and Promotion Council in Sioux Falls. While I am not involved in day-to-day farming activities, I am happy that I can contribute to family’s legacy in agriculture through my work, particularly with the Hungry for Truth initiative.  Hungry for Truth is an initiative by the South Dakota Soybean checkoff designed to open conversations about food between South Dakotans and the farmers who grow it. 

 HFT - Farm to Fork 2018-89.jpg

The Hungry for Truth program merges two of my life’s greatest passions – food and farming. 

Now, more than ever, people want to feel connected to their food. This is an opportunity South Dakota farmers are embracing through Hungry for Truth. We like to say, “we’re putting it all on table to have real conversations about food and farming.” 

The volunteer farmers behind Hungry for Truth have a few rules they live by: 

  • They are open and honest about their farm practices. There is no better way to build trust than through transparency. 
  • They don’t tell people what to eat or how to eat. Hungry for Truth supports choice. People need to make the best food decisions for themselves and their families, just like farmers need to make the best choices for their operations. 
  • Food is our overall connector. The farmers behind Hungry for Truth want to build a genuine relationship with South Dakotans. Let’s have some fun, share some yummy recipes and learn a little bit about real South Dakota farmers in the process!


HFT - Farm to Fork 2018-115.jpg

If you’ve ever found yourself pondering over a food label in the grocery store, or if you’re curious about the way something is grown, I would encourage you to reach out to a farmer. Hungry for Truth has a number of resources on our website, and we’re happy to connect you directly to someone who can help answer your questions. 


Sarah with her husband, Michael, and dog, Fletcher.


Sarah also recorded this week's Farmer's Daughter radio segment, which aires on KELO 107.9 FM at 10 am each Monday. Listen to the segment here: Sarah Tveidt Farmer's Daughter Radio segment.mp3



Mon, 30 Jul 2018 14:46:00 -0500
Farmer's Daughter Blog: Growing Green & Going Green Hello everyone, my name is Katie Schoenfelder and I am a farmer's daughter!

When most people think of “going green” & “recycling” the image of a farm rarely comes to mind. However, today’s farmers use quite a few methods to recycle resources and nutrients on their operations. 


Our first example is manure; if it stinks, you know it’s working! Farmers and ranchers will often spread or inject the manure into crop ground to build up organic matter and replace nutrients in the soil. Crops need nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P) and potassium (K) in order to grow, and farmers are able to provide that fertilizer through the manure produced by their livestock. Farmers and Ranchers are able to calculate exactly what each of their fields need and apply accordingly for the health of their soil. 


 Unknown-1.jpeg   images1604_24B.956.jpg   Unknown.jpeg


While on operations such as dairies, water is recycled 3-5 times on average, but can be re-used many more. On dairies, farmers use water to cool the milk, flush manure from the allies, clean the facilities, and water crops.

Screen Shot 2018-07-19 at 2.05.35 PM.png

Additionally, some farms also implement anaerobic digestors, which break down livestock manure and food waste and turn them into Biogas, which can be used to generate power and heat, and Digestates, which can be used as fertilizers, compost, soil amendments, or animal bedding. 


 Farmers recycle and reuse on their farms in so many ways the list is endless. Here are a few of my favorite ways that farmers get creative and go green on their farms. They recycle by cutting up and re-using old tires to weigh down tarps on silage piles, the countless way they can re-use bale twine, or even the old scrap iron/metal pile that is on every farm and is used to fix and make various project throughout the year. On our farm, we use old jugs as buoys in stock tanks, so that you can check the water level when you drive by. 


Another thing we do on our farm to maintain a healthy environment is clean our ditches. We put our ditches up for hay, which we use to feed our animals. However, we always go around and pick up all of the trash in the ditches around our land multiple times a year to keep them trash free. When someone litters by throwing out a empty pop can or garbage from their vehicle as they drive by; it lands in the ditch and this trash can accidentally end up in the feed. Cows can actually die from eating ground-up cans and plastics. We love our land, our animals, and wild-life which is why we always make an effort to make sure our environment is as clean as possible. Consumers can really help farmers maintain a healthy environment by making sure not to litter or by cleaning up ditches as part of a volunteer effort.   









Farmers and Ranchers love their land and care deeply about sustainability, not only because it’s where they live and work but also because a healthy environment is more productive. Remember that farmers and ranchers both Grow Green and Go Green when it comes to their operations.  

 Learn more about going green on the farm here:

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

Listen to it here: 7.23.18 FD Katie Farmers Recyclers.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, 23 Jul 2018 09:00:00 -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.

Screen Shot 2018-07-10 at 3.51.27 PM.png

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.

IMG_2379 (1).jpg

 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