Farmers Union Day at state fair will bring producers, consumers together on Sept. 4

South Dakota Farmers Union
South Dakota Farmers Union logo

HURON, S.D. - More than 1,000 South Dakota State Fairgoers will enjoy lunch for $0.25 on Sept. 4 during Farmers Union Day at the State Fair.

The $0.25 is the profit farmers and ranchers receive for the food they produced to make the pulled pork sandwich lunch.

“It’s South Dakota Farmers Union way of helping consumers understand that the prices they pay in the grocery store are not the prices South Dakota family farmers and ranchers receive,” explains Karla Hofhenke, SDFU Executive Director.

During the Farmers Share Lunch, fairgoers gather around tables set up in the Farmers Union tent south of the Freedom Stage to enjoy the lunch.

“This lunch serves not only as a great way to educate consumers, but enjoying a meal together is also a great way to get to know each other — those of us who produce the food and those who buy the food we produce,” explains Doug Sombke, a Conde farmer and SDFU President.

Wessington Springs cattle producer Scott Kolousek, 46, appreciates the efforts of the state’s largest agriculture organization to educate and inform during the State Fair.

“I really enjoy growing the crops and growing the animals,” Kolousek says. “But marketing is the worst part because others dictate what you get paid.” Kolousek is a fifth-generation farmer. “It has been very frustrating, and the prices have been pretty ugly the last four years.”

Kolousek is referencing the fact that in years when he sold his cattle, he and most other cattle producers lost money. The reason? Lack of competition among the corporations which process the live cattle.

Today, there are only four packers and of those, three are owned by foreign entities.

As a family farmer and rancher grassroots policy organization, Farmers Union has worked to lobby in D.C. for fair prices for family farmers and ranchers.

“As meat shortages during the COVID-19 pandemic showed, concentration among packers is not only a farmer and rancher issue, it impacts consumers as well,” Sombke explains.

Additional State Fair events sponsored by SDFU

A premiere sponsor of the South Dakota State Fair, in addition to the Farmers Share Lunch, South Dakota Farmers Union has a lot planned for Farmers Union Day at the State Fair.

Rural Dakota Pride Award: Five volunteers from rural communities across South Dakota will be recognized for their service to community with the Farmers Union Rural Dakota Pride Award. The 2021 honorees include:

  • Liz Farley, Winner
  • Doug Kazmerzak, Erwin
  • Ryan Jensen, Wessington Springs
  • Shirley Mallow, Black Hawk
  • Kayla and Kelly Konechne, Kimball

To learn more about this year's honorees, visit www.SDFUFoundation.org.

Farm Safety Quiz Bowl: FFA members from Beresford, Hoven, Viborg-Hurley and Parker will compete in the South Dakota Farmers Union Farm Safety Quiz Bowl championships. The winning team will receive a cash prize. The teams qualified for the championship during the 2021 State FFA Convention.

Farm Safety Trailer: Youth will have an opportunity to gain hands-on farm safety knowledge in the 24-foot-long Farm Safety Trailer. A learning space developed by South Dakota Farmers Union, the Farm Safety Trailer is a creative and fun way for kids to gain safety training for high-risk farm activities.

Designed for active learning, the Safety Trailer features an ATV simulator, miniature farm, grain ladder and safety harnesses and more.

To date, more than 7,000 South Dakota youth have engaged with the Safety Trailer.

Farmers Union members receive free entrance on Saturday to the South Dakota State Fair. For tickets, contact the South Dakota Farmers Union office in Huron at (605)352-6761.