Sturgis extends thanks to local ag producers

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Farm Forum

STURGIS — Meade County is tops in production of beef cattle in South Dakota.

And Sturgis businesses annually thank those producers for their efforts.

This year’s 23rd Annual Sturgis Ag Appreciation Banquet was on September 26 at the Sturgis City Armory.

The event began with a mixer in the parking lot adjacent the armory. The festivities then moved indoors for a meal featuring — of course, beef (and pork) — fellowship and a number of giveaways from local businesses.

South Dakota has just over 850,000 residents and four times as many cattle as people, according to recent statistics.

“We’re feeding a lot of people here in American and around the world,” said the event’s emcee, Adam Karrels.

Tourism is a big in South Dakota, especially in the Black Hills, but agriculture is still the state’s top industry, he said.

“It has a resounding $21 million impact on our economy. I, for one, am proud to be a part of that,” he said.

Karrels also said he was pleased that the Sturgis Area Chamber of Commerce takes the time to thank the hard-working folks who make their living through agriculture.

“Thank you. It’s very much appreciated,” he said.

Members of the Agriculture Committee of the Sturgis Area Chamber of Commerce include Brian Ortlieb, Gayle Roth, Kelley Keffeler, Lana Anderson, Iva Grubl, Liz Grubl, Marlowe Kinkade, Ranae Pickar, Ken Sabers, Ronda Snyder, Deb Black, Mike Johnson and Tacy Langemeier.

Jerrid Goebel, chamber president, said he’s excited to see the turn-around following the 2013 blizzard that paralyzed many ranching operations in the county.

“It affected everyone in this room greatly,” he said. “But, we’ve got a great market going on right now. And, it’s been a great year. We’re here tonight to celebrate that.”

Goebel said the ranchers involvement in the Sturgis community is essential.

“We appreciate that from the bottom of our hearts,” he said. “Hopefully we will continue to provide the kinds of services you need.”

Mayor Mark Carstensen concurred.

“It’s important that we recognize your contribution to our city and to our business economy,” he said. “It’s an honor to be a part of a community of people with such a great work ethic.”

John Williamson provided the invocation and thanked the Lord for life in Meade County, South Dakota.

“We are so blessed to be here in this beautiful creation that you have made,” he said. “We’re proud to be ag people and to work the land and livestock. Thank you for these rock solid people who make the world a better place.”

Deb Black, of the Chamber Ag Committee, said ag people are definitely the “salt of the Earth.”

“Sturgis depends on agriculture the other 50 weeks of the year,” she said. “Your hard work and dedication is not taken for granted. The United States relies on what you produce. Enjoy your night out on the town courtesy of Sturgis businesses.”