Supporting agriculture important to Williams family of Wall, S.D.

Farm Forum

Being actively involved and serving in leadership roles for various agricultural organizations has been important to Myron and Mary Williams of Wall, S.D. because they recognize agriculture’s importance to their past, present and future.

Myron and Mary both grew up on agricultural operations and then attended SDSU. They each graduated in 1971, and the couple began their ranching career by leasing a registered Hereford ranch. Today, they run a cowherd and yearling operation and also have a feedlot facility for backgrounding calves – which they built in the late 90’s with input from SDSU Extension’s ag engineering specialists. The Williams’s son Marty works on the home operation, while son Monty operates his own cowherd nearby – both are SDSU grads.

Grandchildren are now also involved with the daily ranch activities, as well as 4H and rodeo.

Myron credits SDSU animal science faculty, researchers and Extension for providing valuable input for their ranching and feeding operation. “We utilize SDSU Extension for nutrition questions, balancing rations, range management or whatever we need input on,” he says.

Looking to the future, both Myron and Mary know that continuing to support and advocate for agriculture is key. Mary says, “Agriculture today is being bombarded from every direction by non-ag people who make decisions that affect our business and livelihood. We need to repeatedly tell our story – that those of us in agriculture are the real environmentalists, the legitimate stewards of the land, and we are adamant about animal care. Our livelihood depends on how well we do in these areas.”

Today, the Williams are doing their part to support the future of agriculture through their leadership roles in industry organizations as well as by supporting several SDSU programs including the recent “Send A Cow To College” fundraising campaign in which proceeds will fund the new South Dakota State University Cow-Calf Education and Research Facility.

Supporters of the unique campaign are being asked to play a role by donating dollars or the proceeds from a cull cow or group of cull cows to the SDSU Foundation to make the SDSU Cow-Calf Education and Research Facility a reality. Donations are tax free.

“We are helping to build the new SDSU Cow-Calf Education and Research Facility because investing in cows, kids, and college is the future of South Dakota agriculture,” Myron says.

By participating in the Send a Cow to College campaign, South Dakotans who support agriculture can assist SDSU in providing Animal Science students with the facilities that will prepare them to be competitive in the ever evolving cattle industry. The proposed facility has an estimated cost of $4.1 million. A little over half of that total has been raised at this point, some coming from the generosity of individuals, financial institutions, businesses and organizations that have already made substantial contributions to the Facility. However, the funding effort is far from complete.

How you can participate

South Dakota sale barn owners understand the program and are willing to provide the opportunity for cattle producers to participate in the Send a Cow to College campaign.

“The process is simple,” said Dave Barz, a large animal veterinarian with Northwest Veterinary & Supply in Parkston, and active in fundraising for the new center. “Cattlemen willing to support this cause should complete a Deed of Gift form that is available at their sale barn of choice. This transfers ownership of the cow or cows to the SDSU Foundation and relieves cattlemen of any tax consequences for the value of the animals donated to the campaign. That’s all there is to it.”

Barz added that if cattle producers prefer, they can donate calves instead of cows. For those not involved in the cattle business, but would like to support the construction of this center, monetary donations or tax free gifts of grain are also accepted.

For more information, contact Jim Krantz, SDSU Extension Cow/Calf Field Specialist at 605-480-1056. To learn more about the Williams family and other cattle producers who are contributing to the Send a Cow to College Campaign visit