An Ear to the Ground

Posted: 6/21/2011

By Walt Bones, South Dakota Secretary of Agriculture

Governor’s Ag Development Summit

All too often, I become consumed with some of the day to day happenings on the farm. I’m sure you have all been there - the water tank froze up, the tractor won’t start, or the cows went through that fence again. We get the “blinders” on and are so focused on the immediate task at hand that we forget about the big picture.

This is exactly the reason for the second annual Governor’s Ag Development Summit being held at the Sioux Falls convention center on June 28th and 29th.

At the request of the Governor, our first day will center on our Key Leader’s Ag Roundtable discussion. We have invited representatives from each of our commodity and farm organizations to participate in a facilitated discussion. The result will be agriculture’s unified message which will be presented to and discussed with the Governor.

After some brief remarks by Gov. Daugaard, our second day will start with a panel discussion on the current challenges and opportunities in our ag credit and financing industry. Farming and ranching are very capital intensive businesses and it is imperative that we have a good relationship with our lenders. That means that we must understand their world just as they must understand ours.

After a networking break, the discussion will focus on rural health care. The average age of our producers here in South Dakota is over 55. So, given the current costs and challenges associated with health care, our panel will focus on the availability and affordability of this vital service.

Rep. Kristi Noem will deliver the keynote address at the noon luncheon, followed by our final panel focusing on agriculture from the industry’s perspective. This will be an excellent time to look into the future of agriculture.

After another networking break and wrap up, we will convene to the Governor’s Ag Banquet starting with a 5 p.m. social followed by dinner at 6 p.m. Lt. Gov. Matt Michels will deliver the evening address followed by the presentation of the first SD Governor’s Ag Ambassador Award.

We look forward to having you join us. This is an example of one of the many projects that our SD Department of Agriculture’s Ag Development team works on.  For further information and banquet reservations, please visit our website at:

One of my goals as Secretary of Agriculture is to be accessible and responsive to our producers and constituents. If you have an issue you’d like to discuss, please call me at 800-228-5254 or email me at



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