Producers discuss ag issues at 2017 SD Farmers Union Convention

Orient farmers, Ray and Becky Martinmaas, join with family farmers and ranchers from across South Dakota in Huron for the 2017 South Dakota Farmers Union State Convention held in Huron, Nov. 30 and Dec. 1. South Dakota Farmers Union photo

South Dakota Farmers Union

HURON — South Dakota Farmers Union 2017 State Convention brought many family farmers and ranchers to Huron today to develop policy, discuss rural healthcare and many other issues impacting those who help feed and fuel our state, nation and world.

“This is a grassroots organization who has been serving South Dakota’s family farmers, ranchers and their communities for more than a century. Perhaps policy development is the most important item accomplished here,” says Doug Sombke, South Dakota Farmers Union president.

Sombke adds that the annual state convention provides a great opportunity to bring in experts to discuss topics impacting South Dakota’s farmers, ranchers and rural communities.

During the two-day convention, industry leaders will discuss everything from rural healthcare, innovative agri-marketing ideas and the future of ethanol in South Dakota to faith’s role in farming and inventory grain management.

The opportunity to glean knowledge was Orient farmer, Becky Martinmaas’ motivation to leave her farm and taxidermy business for a couple days.

“I am always hoping to learn something new,” says Martinmaas, who attended the convention with her husband, Ray.

Speakers include: Alana Knudson, Public Health Program area director at the University of Chicago NORC; Jeremy Freking, outreach and agriculture development operations director for South Dakota Department of Agriculture; Jim Ennis; Kari O’Neill, SDSU Extension community vitality field specialist; Marc Rausch, co-founder and executive vice president of The Auto Channel; Dale Christensen, Glacial Lakes Inc. board member; Craig Blindert, Salem farmer and crop insurance agent; Frayne Olson, crop economist/marketing specialist with NDSU Extension and Saleem Shaik, associate professor of agribusiness and ag economics at NDSU.

“You cannot make changes unless you make yourself heard,” Martinmaas says.