Ag groups will gather to develop plan of action at Pierre Ag Summit June 26

Farm Forum

With the theme of “Agriculture – A Call to Action,” ag leaders are invited to Pierre on Wednesday, June 26 for the Governor’s Ag Development Summit.

South Dakota Department of Agriculture (SDDA) Secretary Lucas Lentsch invites ag producers to the summit which will begin at 8 a.m. at the Best Western Ramkota Inn in Pierre.

In the past, SDDA has had a great response to the Key Leaders’ Roundtable. This year, Lentsch said the roundtable is combined into the Governor’s Ag Development Summit, all on one day. Initiatives from the last few years have been addressed and reports of progress will be given.

A key part of the event will be hearing from Congressman Charlie Stenholm, Senior Policy Advisor at Olsson, Frank, Weeda, Terman, Matz Law Firm in Washington, DC. Stenholm was a member of the House Committee on Agriculture throughout his 26-year House career. He earned a reputation for building bi-partisan alliances in areas as diverse as agriculture, resources conservation, food safety, Social Security, energy, health care and budgeting.

Sara Caslin, Livestock Development/Program Specialist with the SDDA said that Stenholm was selected to offer a fresh perspective and bring national dialogue into the state discussions. In a world where partisanship runs amok, Stenholm has been recognized for the bipartisan alliances he has formed.

“We have done an analysis and talked about priorities for agriculture in South Dakota,” said Lentsch. “We need to bring together action plans. At the key leader round tables, there has been a lot of buy-in from the organizations that come together for these meeting. That has brought the level of expectations up for those attending. We want to make sure that all of the voices are heard from the many facets that make up our one industry. It’s people coming together to find out what unites us and what divides us.”

From the priorities selected last year, groups have been divided to address those issues, Caslin said. Those key leader groups have been meeting to identify the challenges and build solutions. At the Summit, each group will have 30 minutes to present what they have found and answer questions.

“The original intent of the group was to decide on a course of action, not just for the Department of Agriculture, but for the industry,” Lentsch said. “Each group has a different take on what solutions look like. This provides a loose environment for creative ideas to see which will be adopted and moved forward and hopefully create more dialogue for the entire group.”

Lentsch noted that the country is run by the people who show up, who want to be part of the conversation. “We invite people to come and start listening and weigh in with thoughts about what state government should be doing. Those of us in the department of agriculture work for you. We are your department of agriculture.”

Summit Agenda

Tuesday, June 25

5-7 p.m. Social Hour/Registration/Networking

Wednesday, June 26

8-8:30 a.m. Welcome

8:30-10 a.m. Key note speaker – Honorable Charles W. Stenholm

10-10:30 a.m. Networking break

10:30 – 11 a.m. KLR explanation – Dr. Helen Usera

11-11:30 a.m. Education & youth key leaders

11:30 a.m.-1 p.m. Lunch & presentation of Ag Ambassador Award – Governor Daugaard

1-1:30 p.m. Livestock development key leaders

1:30-2 p.m. Water, natural resource, & energy key leaders

2-2:30 p.m. Infrastructure & zoning key leaders

2:30-3 p.m. Networking break

3-3:30 p.m. Value added processing key leaders

3:30-4:30 p.m. KLR group review – Dr. Helen Usera

4:30-5 p.m. Closing remarks – “Where do we go from here?”