S.D. Cattlemen’s Foundation pledges more protein to South Dakotans in need

Farm Forum

The South Dakota Cattlemen’s Foundation (SDCF) recently revealed details of the first annual Prime Time Gala, an upscale banquet and entertainment event that will raise funds to fight hunger in South Dakota.

“The SDCF is excited to announce that country music artist Gary Allan will headline the Prime Time Gala concert event slated for June 14, 2014, at the Sioux Falls Arena,” said Ryan Eichler, SDCF board member. “All proceeds of the Gary Allan concert will be donated to Feeding South Dakota to assist their efforts in providing more protein to food insecure families in our state.”

There are four and a half times as many cattle as there are people in South Dakota. When SDCF board members, cattle producers themselves, learned that securing protein is one of the most critical needs for Feeding South Dakota, they immediately wanted to find a way to help.

“It was eye-opening to learn how severe the hunger problem is in South Dakota. In a state with an abundance of beef, if we as producers and the livestock industry can’t work together with Feeding South Dakota to provide more nutrition to hungry people in our state, then we’re missing the mark. This is our way to step up to the plate,” said Todd Wilkinson, cattle feeder from DeSmet, S.D., and SDCF board member.

Of the approximately 12.5 million pounds of food that was distributed by Feeding South Dakota to hungry individuals in need in 2013, only 4 percent (or 536,774 pounds) was meat. Considering the percentage of protein that is required for a healthy diet, there is definitely a need for more donated protein products.

“Beef, and proteins in general, is critical to a balanced diet. Oftentimes, it is one of the most difficult foods for us to secure and get to those who are hungry,” said Matt Gassen, executive director of Feeding South Dakota. “We’re honored to partner with the Cattlemen’s Foundation. The money raised through this event will be a blessing to those we serve.”

“As cattle producers, we take pride in raising the highest quality, nutrient-rich beef from birth to the finished product and we want all South Dakotans to have access to the protein that we all need in our diets,” Wilkinson said.

According to Feeding South Dakota:

• One out of every eight individuals in South Dakota is food insecure.

• Four South Dakota counties are in the top 10 U.S. counties with the highest poverty rates.

• Combined, the Sioux Falls and Rapid City pantries serve more than 90,000 people each year.

• In order to meet the hunger gap across South Dakota, Feeding South Dakota needs to provide an additional 16 million meals.

“Today through the use of technology and sustainable practices, we can efficiently and safely produce more food than any time in history,” Eichler said. “Feeding a growing population needs to start right here in our own state of South Dakota.”

Tickets for the Gary Allan concert go on sale Friday, Feb. 14, at 10 a.m., at the Sioux Falls Arena Box Office, charge by phone at 1-800-745-3000, online at, and all Ticketmaster locations. Ticket prices range from $25 to $55 for the concert only.

Individuals can also choose to attend the entire Prime Time Gala event, which includes an upscale dinner and guest speaker. Tickets for the Prime Time Gala, which includes the meal and reserved seating at the Gary Allan concert, are $125 per person or $1,000 for a table of eight.

“We are incredibly proud as South Dakota cattle producers and the supporting industry to be able to offer this unique opportunity to see a top country music artist perform and know that proceeds of the cost of your ticket will go toward helping someone who is hungry in South Dakota eat beef,” Wilkinson said.

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