The Colorado flood and MTI Trade Center grand opening

Farm Forum

My wife and I returned recently from a trip to Colorado where we attended a family wedding. On the Thursday we left South Dakota, we drove into heavy rains. We stopped for the night at Sterling, Colorado, and listened with apprehension to the news about the flooding. My cousin and his wife had the good sense to turn around and head back to South Dakota. We called the parents of the groom and they assured us that the wedding was not postponed. There was a rock slide on I-70 west of Denver and we waited in the city while highway crews cleared the rock and mud. We did arrive at the rehearsal dinner in time, although we had bumper to bumper traffic in three lanes.

Coming home we saw firsthand the flooding at Ft. Morgan. Ivan Moreno and Manuel Valdes of the Associated Press reported that near Johnstown, the surging waters swept away barns, silos and fences, leaving houses covered in mud. Irrigation pipes were uprooted and spread around fields. Acres and acres of corn, lettuce, onions, and soybeans were submerged. My wife and I saw bales of hay standing in water and cattle stranded on islands before they could be moved to higher ground.

At the cafŽ I spoke with local residents. They said they were glad for the rain, but to get their total annual precipitation in three days was too much of a good thing. I couldn’t help but admire the resilience of farmers and ranchers in their ability to overcome such hardships. We hope and pray for those people whose loved ones are still among the missing since the flood.

On a lighter note, I had the good fortune to attend the Ribbon Cutting & Grand Opening Celebration last September 17th of the Mitchell Technical Institute Trades Center. A large crowd listened to the remarks of MTI Foundation President Scott Paulson, Mitchell Technical Institute President Greg Von Wald, and SDSU President David Chicoine, before the actual ribbon-cutting took place. The Trades Center is home to two divisions within MTI’s academic program: agriculture and transportation technologies, and construction and manufacturing technologies. Enrollment at MTI is at an all-time high with 1,227 students.

My personal impression of the new facility was just overwhelming. If you know of a high school senior or junior who is looking for a place to further his or her education, I highly recommend that you encourage the student to consider MTI. The opportunities created by MTI are solid and there is a 97% placement rate in the job fields for graduates. Please stop in for a visit at the Trades Center and meet one of the staff of the South Dakota Center for Farm/Ranch Management who has an office there. Our program is designed to provide education in record-keeping and general farm management to turn your farm or ranch into a more profitable operation. For more information call 1-800-684-1969 or go online to