The Planted Row: Some things can only be learned on a farm

Farm Forum

My son is finally back from three weeks at my father’s “Grandpa’s Farm Camp.” One of William’s goals for the trip was to learn how to drive a tractor. Dad eased him into the process. William, who is 11, started out on a riding lawn mower. As he became comfortable with that, he started calling it his “personal tractor,” and he used it to get all over the farm. Later, he moved up to an old 1970’s era International Cub garden tractor. Finally, Dad let him use an old John Deere 40, (a Poppin’ John, as we call it, due to the sound it makes).

Dad posted videos on Facebook of William driving the mower and the tractors around the farm, sometimes pulling equipment behind him, and as I watched, I teared up a few times – with pride for my son and with gratitude for my dad taking him in and teaching him skills that can only be learned on a farm.

Initially, my dad wanted to keep him for a month, and while I agreed with that, my wife didn’t. So we compromised at three weeks. Next year, it’ll be hard for me to let him stay even that long. Not because the trip was a failure, but because I had no idea I’d miss my son that much.

50th Anniversary Edition

Even if you missed the notices on our front page, I’m sure you’ve noticed by the heft of today’s paper that there’s something different about it. Inserted in the paper, you’ll find our 50th Anniversary Edition. In this edition, we look back at the last 50 years of agriculture in our area.

This edition will provide you with an overview of the important events in ag, historical ag production facts, and a history of ag developments and challenges in the area told by the voices of those who lived through it. I hope you enjoy this glimpse into the past.

Many people and institutions helped us compile this information. I’d like to thank South Dakota State University, South Dakota Farmers Union, Ag United for South Dakota, South Dakota Farm Bureau, U.S. Department of Agriculture, South Dakota Agricultural Heritage Museum and Dacotah Prairie Museum, South Dakota Corn Growers Association, South Dakota Wheat, South Dakota Soybean, and South Dakota Secretary of Agriculture Lucas Lentsch. Without their help and the help of their staffs, we would not have been able to put this publication together.

Our writer (and former editor), Connie Sieh Groop, wrote several stories for this edition and did much of the work to coordinate with others and compile information. Without her help, this edition never would have happened.

The agricultural community on the Northern Plains has a long tradition of cooperation, and I’m very grateful for that.

Win an iPad

The American News and Farm Forum would like to get a better understanding of how people use our products and different media. To accomplish this, we’ve created a short web survey. The survey should take about 7 minutes to fill out. In exchange for your responses, we’ll enter you into a drawing for a new iPad Mini.

Please note that only one response per person will be accepted into the drawing. And only adults 18 years old and older will be allowed to enter the drawing. This survey is running until Aug. 10. To take the survey and enter to win, visit

Contest winner

This week’s Farm Forum 50th anniversary cash giveaway contest winner is Vivian Roseland of Seneca, S.D. Vivian will receive a replica windmill and is eligible to win the $5,000 cash grand prize. Prizes are mailed at the end of each month.