Inspiring and advocating: SD women in ag recognized

Farm Forum

The South Dakota Women in Agriculture (SDWIA) hosted the annual Rural Women’s Conference with a new addition to the agenda this year. The South Dakota Ag Woman of the Year and the South Dakota Young Gun of Ag award recipients were named during the evening program on Oct. 6 at the K Bar S Resort, in Keystone. Laurie Johnson, of South Shore was named Ag Woman of the Year, while Tiffani Robertson, of Hermosa, was the people’s choice award recipient. The Young Gun of Ag award was open to ladies 25 years old and younger. Payton Eagle, of Winner, was awarded the Young Gun of Ag award, and Kelsey Ducheneaux, of Eagle Butte, was named the people’s choice award recipient.

“This is a fun new aspect to our programming. Like all women in South Dakota’s agriculture industry – these ladies are multi-talented, driven and dedicated to the preservation of our industry,” says Codi Mills, SDWIA board president. “Laurie, Tiffani, Payton and Kelsey are exceptional representatives of ag women in South Dakota. Our board is honored to recognize them.”

Laurie Johnson, of South Shore, is an agriculture instructor at Lake Area Technical Institute (LATI), in Watertown. She spearheaded the addition of online agriculture courses and degrees through LATI as well as the implementation of a range management program. Laurie farms with her husband, Brandon and their children. Laurie consistently works to find success in their operation through continuing education, advocacy, financial awareness, and most importantly, passion.

Tiffani Robertson and her husband, Tyler, live on a cow/calf and horse ranch operation near Hermosa. She is a key member on a variety of boards and committees in Rapid City and Hermosa, where she brings an agricultural perspective. Tiffani is a strong supporter of rodeo and enjoys coaching young, aspiring cowboys and cowgirls. Tiffani has been instrumental in helping young people get involved in the ag industry.

Payton Eagle-Pravecek, of Winner, is in her first year at South Dakota State University, where she’s pursuing an agriculture degree. Throughout high school, Payton was involved in 4H and FFA. In 2016, Payton was named South Dakota’s Miss United States Agriculture and earned the national title of Miss United States Agriculture this past summer. A true role model, Payton shares her knowledge and love of agriculture with her peers.

Kelsey Ducheneaux grew up on the Cheyenne River Reservation. She lives, breathes and promotes agriculture on a daily basis. On any given day she’s riding horses, working cattle, studying for her graduate classes, working with youth, or flying across the country to inspire and energize the next generation of youth in agriculture. She is dedicated to and passionate about agriculture – and encourages young people to learn more about the industry.

Dozens of nominations were received, with finalists being chosen in both divisions. Additional voting took place on the SD Women in Agriculture’s Facebook page. Finalists in the Ag Woman of the Year division included Heidi Selken, of Humboldt, and Peggy Greenway, of Mitchell.

The nomination process for the 2017 awards will open later this year – and award recipients will be announced during next year’s conference. More details will be shared on Facebook and online at