Thank you, Rod Geppert

Farm Forum

I wish to use this space to personally thank Rod Geppert of Ft. Pierre, S.D., former SDSU Extension 4-H Youth Livestock Specialist/Show Events Coordinator (2006-2013). Unknown to many, he moved on to other employment opportunities in early April. Because of his insight and quality efforts over the past 7 years, the 4-H youth livestock program in SD vastly improved. His work at expanding the award sponsorships and level of competition for 4-H youth needs to be recognized! Rod coordinated the expansion of trip awards in the senior livestock judging project by threefold. He secured sponsorship of awards (for all three age levels) in 4-H livestock judging in species and oral reason categories, recognizing high placing teams and individuals.

In the 4-H livestock shows through his ambition, gone became the days of simply showing for a chance to just win your class. Rod saw to it that breed champions became reality and supreme champions and reserves were awarded in the areas of dairy cattle and goats, breeding sheep, breeding beef, rabbits and poultry. In addition, he enhanced the 4-H market shows with added divisions. The meat goat project also began during his tenure and has expanded greatly since its inception. Rod saw the need for improved public relations. He instituted the construction of quality photography backdrops and more pictures of winners were released to media outlets. He also oversaw the initiation of senior showmanship contests in all species areas and added more integrity to the program by implementing weigh-backs, staging areas for cattle fitting, protest procedures, code of ethics and most recently DNA sampling of all market animal projects.

Now you may think that by reading the previous few lines that Rod Geppert was superman! No, nobody can attain those powers. However, it takes a strong individual with connections, knowledge and tremendous people skills to plan, ask, coordinate, implement, empower and lead others to help accomplish the array of improvements that have occurred in the program since 2006. As the youth livestock show season gets underway, take some time to thank Rod for his time, hard work and steady leadership. Simply put, Mr. Geppert left it better than he found it, and the difference he made will have a lasting impact for many years to come. The 4-H youth of S.D. now have a stronger program because of his passion for the 4-H youth livestock experience.

– Respectfully submitted, Jeff Lounsbery, livestock producer & 4-H supporter, Centerville, S.D.