Page 1

Volume XCVII, NO. 1

Huron, SD

Jan. 2014

South Dakota


Ellingson Member Profile Honored Page 3 Page 14

Leader Insights Pages 8 & 9

Farm Bill Conference Committee Inches toward the Finish Line The farm bill conference committee, tasked with working out the differences between the House and Senate versions of the legislation, has missed its year-end deadline but continues to work toward a final report and floor passage in January. Agriculture Committee leaders and their staff continued to meet on the farm bill until leaving town before the end of the year. Reports from the Hill say that several titles of the farm bill have been negotiated, including conservation programs, credit, research and horticulture. Other parts of the bill that are considered relatively non-controversial will likely be discussed in a similar way. On the other hand, public battles are being fought on more hot-button topics. Country-of-Origin Labeling (COOL) is the hottest topic in the farm bill in recent weeks. As NFU and allies warned, the study language on COOL in the House Farm Bill is a Trojan horse. Instead of calling for further research into how COOL will comply with World Trade Organization obligations, COOL opponents are using the provision to interject the idea of repealing or weakening the COOL statute. NFU and our allies are fighting back to defend COOL. It is now more important than ever that all Farmers Union members tell their Senators and Representatives why consumers have the right to know about the origins of their food. Negotiations over commodity programs are also a big issue among the farm bill conferees. NFU largely favors the House’s version of the farm safety net, which includes fixed target prices to provide protection from long-term price collapse, although efforts to strike a deal are underway. The level of cuts to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) remains the biggest piece of the puzzle. Once a compromise number is found – between the $4 billion cut in the Senate and the $40 billion in the House – the passage of a final bill becomes plausible and other issues like COOL and commodity programs may be quickly resolved. Because of this uncertain timeline, it’s important for NFU to keep the pressure on to support our farm bill priorities. ■

Be Part of the United Voice for Agriculture during the 2014 Legislative Session Independence, as many self-employed farmers and ranchers will attest, is a cherished benefit to working in production agriculture. However, when it comes to making your voice heard on issues and policy which impact you, there is great benefit to being part of South Dakota Farmers Union during the 2014 Legislative Session. “There is power in numbers,” explains Doug Sombke, SDFU President. “Farmers Union is a well respected lobbying organization in Pierre. It’s our role to advocate for the policy that impacts our membership. We focus on issues that directly impact rural communities, farmers and ranchers throughout our state.” The 2014 Legislative Session is when SDFU takes its policy and voice to Pierre - the policy that members vote on each year during the Farmers Union Annual Meeting. “Our policy is grassroots and founded in our members. I’m here, serving fulltime to represent our members and what SDFU stands for as an organization. I’m part of the Farmers Union team who works to ensure the success and See UNITED VOICE 2014 Page 4

Union Farmer From the President...

2014 begins with many topics that have the potential to greatly impact all of our lives - especially those who make a living farming or ranching. Just a few topics that come to my mind include: the EPA’s ruling to lower the RFS requirement; South Dakota’s decision to not expand Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act, and, whether or not the legislators will audit Northern Beef Plant (NBP) funds dealing with the EB-5 program. The EB-5 scandal Doug Sombke SDFU President in South Dakota is about more than misdirected money. It is about how the privatization of an immigration program opened the door for secretive schemers to put personal profit over national security. Homeland Security says those vulnerabilities arise from EB-5’s relatively lax and hard-to-verify eligibility criteria. Unlike most other permanent resident visa classifications, EB-5 beneficiaries do not need to establish a significant and verifiable background for program eligibility. For example, the permanent resident classification for employment requires proof of education and/or experience; and family-based visas require positively demonstrating bona-fide relationships. These classifications provide verifiable information that can be researched, vetted or cross-checked; whereas, the primary requirement for EB-5 eligibility is a lawful source of investment income. However, verifying the legitimacy of investment income sources is difficult. Therefore, the primary qualifying criteria for EB-5 beneficiaries is both limited in scope and hard to confirm [HSI via Grassley, 2013]. Homeland Security also questions the job creation formulas which the regional centers use to determine whether each EB-5 investment has created the 10 jobs necessary to win permanent U.S.

residence for the EB-5 investor. Homeland Security has reason to believe that the regional centers investigations are greatly exaggerating their indirect and induced job creation figures. By not having to provide evidence of jobs directly created, the RC inherently creates an opportunity for fraud, where the business goal can be initiating projects that give the appearance of creating job growth, with the sole intent to meet USCIS criteria rather than produce jobs [HSI via Grassley, 2013].
 Enough on EB-5 - how about EPA’s suggested ruling to lower ethanol use in gasoline? This is up for public comment until January 28. Let your voice be heard! You can submit a comment to (Docket ID No. EPA-HQOAR-2013-0479). Lowering the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) will greatly affect every South Dakotan - every American for that matter. It will cause gas prices to increase and give big oil and additional 10 billion dollars each year. At the same time, it will shut down ethanol plants, increase unemployment and stop investment in renewable fuels. This in turn will increase pollution and result in lower corn prices. If corn prices drop, it’s not just the farmers who will feel the pinch. Businesses, financial institutions and land values throughout rural states like South Dakota will take a direct hit. All this because big oil and its well-financed propaganda machine has spent billions lobbying Washington, D.C. and EPA. Congress never intended to give EPA the authority to waive RFS due to the lack of infrastructure. While at the same time it needs to STOP misinterpreting what is determined as inadequate domestic supply. Inadequate domestic supply determined by Congress was for those years of short supply - not because big oil is delinquent at upgrading infrastructure to handle ethanol. You can make a difference on this issue! Please make a comment today and tell everyone you know to do the same. Your comments have power. Neglecting to comment could change the course of our economy for the worse. We may not have the financial capability of big oil, but we do have your voice and we need it to be heard today. We need everyone and we need them now. I am confident with your help we will define South Dakota and rural America’s economic future for several years to come. Thank you and may God bless you into this New Year!

South Dakota

Union Farmer A PUBLICATION OF SOUTH DAKOTA FARMERS UNION South Dakota Union Farmer, ISSN 0745-8797, publishes ten times per calendar year, with issues printed in January, February, March, April, May/June, July, August, Sept/Oct, November, and December. Copies are available for $3.00 per year (included with membership dues), and non-members annual subscription is $7.50. Advertising rate is $6.00/column inch. Periodical postage paid at Mitchell, S.D. POSTMASTER: Address changes to: SDFU, PO Box 1388, Huron, S.D. 57350-1388

Contact SDFU 888.734.8136


1410 Dakota Avenue South, PO Box 1388, Huron, SD 57350

SDFU State Office Staff

Karla Hofhenke.......ext. 114 Executive Director Huron

Luanne Thompson.....ext. 111 Administrative Assistant Virgil

Mike Traxinger........ext. 112 Legislative Director Claremont

Kelsey Schnetzer........ext. 116 Membership Director Wolsey

Bonnie Geyer..............ext. 125 Education Director Huron

Erin Wilcox................ext. 118 Rural Development Director Huron

SDFU Board of Directors Doug Sombke.........President Groton

Wayne Soren..........Vice Pres. Lake Preston Terry Sestak...........District I Tabor Jim Wahle..............District II Salem Franklin Olson.....District III Pierpont

Contact NFU

Joel Keierleber.......District IV Colome Dallis Basel..............District V Union Center Lynn Frey...............District VI Lemmon Chad Johnson.......District VII Groton

National Farmers Union 20 F Street NW Suite 300 Washington, DC 20001

Roger Johnson, President ~ Claudia Svarstad, Vice President Doug Peterson, Secretary ~ Don Teske, Treasurer 202.554.1600

Farmers Union Members get

20% OFF


their entire purchase at

Double D

Western Wear & Tack 800 21st St., Huron, SD Please present this coupon with your purchase * Excludes all boots, men’s jeans and tack


Jan. 2014

Union Farmer

Union Farmer

Always Welcome at the Missile Inn Bed & Breakfast

When the Air Force offered Sandee Gittings and her husband, George, the opportunity to purchase the Missile Command Center on their land near Philip, the third-generation cattle rancher knew exactly what she was going to do with the six-room facility. “I told my husband we should open a bed and breakfast. He said it would never work. I said, ‘we won’t know until we try it,’” Gittings says of how the Missile Inn Bed & Breakfast got its start. Since that time she has welcomed guests from all walks of life and around the world to the facility that originally served as a barracks to house Air Force personnel. From road construction and harvesting crews to bikers, tourists and hunters – the 13-bed Inn is open year-round. “We see all types of people – it’s especially busy during deer season.” It helps that more than 8,000 acres of walk-in areas surround the inn, making Missile Inn part of many hunters’ annual tradition, including Mike Blow, a salesman from Sioux Falls. For several years now, when he and his friends travel West for West River Deer Season, they stay at the Missile Inn. “Many hotels frown at you pulling in with a deer in the back of the truck, but here, they have a place for you to hang your deer,” Blow says. He adds that it’s also convenient because Sandee cooks a big breakfast for them before they leave to hunt and they can use the inn’s kitchen to make supper at night. “It’s more of a homey atmosphere – not like a hotel where everyone keeps to themselves. After a day of hunting, we can all hang out in the evening, play cards and interact with other hunters staying there. It’s like one big family,” he says. Converting a barracks into a cozy inn took time and a lot of hard work, says Gittings. “We put in new floors and painted all the walls – except the one with the mural on it.” The story behind the mural she mentioned is a bit of a mystery. But it was most likely drawn by one of the Air Force personnel living at the Command Center in the late 1970s. “Their unit was the Charlie Knights – which is why it’s a castle,” she explains. Over the years many servicemen and woman who lived and worked at the Command Center have stopped by to visit the old center and talk with Gittings. “One man began crying when he saw that we had preserved the mural,” she says. “It feels good that we were able to preserve a part of history. Everyone who visits is glad the center wasn’t torn down.” This summer Gittings is invited to attend a Charlie Knights reunion and hopes to learn who the mural’s artist is. Although the command center that used to be located below the barracks was long ago sealed up, if inn guests want to see what it looked like when it was operational, the Minuteman Missile National Historic Site is only a short drive away. Learn more about this National Park by visiting, index.htm. See RANCHING AND INN KEEPING Page 13

Union Farmer

Jan. 2014


Union Farmer Legislative News

By Mike Traxinger Legislative Director

The 89th South Dakota Legislative Session will convene on Tuesday, January 14 in Pierre. Hundreds of bills will be introduced, Governor Daugaard will give his State of the State address, and the session will proceed as normal, for the most part. In November South Dakotans will be voting for governor, attorney general, secretary of state, state auditor, state treasurer, school and public lands commissioner, state representatives, state senator, United States Senator and United States Representative. Even though the election is 11 months away, numerous candidates have already announced and the legislative session will be impacted by the politics of the election. Taking a look at the South Dakota State Senate, there are two sitting state senators who are running statewide. Senator Shantel Krebs, District 10 Republican from Renner, has announced her candidacy for secretary of state and Senator Larry Rhoden, District 29 Republican from Union Center, has announced his candidacy for United States Senate. Both State Senators serve on the Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee with Senator Krebs serving as chair. While both are strong supporters of agriculture, it will make for an interesting and dynamic year as they balance representing the constituents of their respective districts and simultaneously seeking statewide office. In the South Dakota House of Representatives there is only one sitting state representative that is seeking statewide office, Representative Stace Nelson, District 19 Republican from Fulton, has also announced his candidacy for United States Senate. It is also worth noting that there are six sitting members of the State House that are termed out. These include State Representatives Lance Carson, District 20 Republican from Mitchell; Marc Feinstein, District 14 Democrat from Sioux Falls; David Lust, District 34 Republican from Rapid City; David Novstrup, District 3 Republican from Aberdeen; Betty Olson, District 28B Republican from Prairie City; and Manny Steele, District 12 Republican from Sioux Falls. The two members of the Senate that are termed out include State Senators Jean Hunhoff, District 18 Republican from Yankton and Ryan Maher, District 28 Republican from Isabel. It is typical for those termed out in the State House to run in the State Senate and some have already indicated that they intend to do so. The two State Senators who are termed out have yet to indicate their intentions, but they could seek statewide office, run for the State House, or retire from public service for the time being. Either way, politics will play a much larger role this year during the legislative session.


Jan. 2014

2014 Legislative Sessions Issues to Consider As an initial preview, SDFU has selected three issues to highlight ahead of the 2014 Legislative session. These issues will most likely be introduced as legislation during the upcoming session. SDFU’s current policy is printed below each issue. Be sure to contact your Farmers Union county leadership and board members to share your thoughts on these issues. 1. Wheat Assessment Increase The wheat industry in South Dakota has discussed bringing forth a proposal to increase the wheat assessment rate from 1.5 cents per bushel to .4% (4/10 of 1 percent) of the market value per bushel of wheat. The increase would be used to invest in wheat research efforts at South Dakota State University. The current checkoff allocation is: 44% for research, 23% market development/promotion, 13% producer representation and education, 10% administration, 6% refunded, and 4% for general operations and travel. Recently the commission has had to dip into reserves with the decrease in wheat acres and the drought. SDFU Policy: State Checkoff on Farm Commodities a) Checkoff Programs We will support research and promotion programs financed by deductions from the proceeds of sales by producers of agriculture commodities, if the following criteria are met: 1) That disbursement of funds collected is controlled by boards of producers elected by the producers assessed and the operation of the program is controlled by those producer boards. 2) That all collections be voluntary and at the point of sale. 3) We support spending at least 75% of all collected checkoff dollars each year. 2. Actual Use The Agricultural Land Assessment Task Force supported legislation that would assess the taxation of agricultural land, cropland and noncropland, based on actual use, not the land’s highest and best use. A draft copy of the legislation can be found on the Legislative Research Council website under 2013 interim under agendas, minutes and documents of the October 29 meeting date. The proposed bill draft is number nine. See ISSUES Page 10

United Voice 2014: (continued from page 1)

vitality of South Dakota’s farmers, ranchers and rural communities,” Traxinger says. SDFU works to determine how policy at the local, state and national level impacts its members. The team monitors all legislation that is introduced, attends committee meetings, meets with legislators, and works with members to keep them informed of issues that they wish to show up and testifying on. Traxinger is a resource for SDFU members during the session. You can contact him if you have questions, need additional information, or want to know what SDFU’s policy is on a particular issue. You have a voice When it comes to making change in Pierre, Sombke says YOU are one of the strongest advocacy tools. “It’s one thing to have our legislative director, me or our board members show up in Pierre to discuss policy, but what really gets legislators attention is when members show up to provide testimony or fill a committee room,” Sombke says. Showing up doesn’t have to mean a trip to Pierre. Sombke says that letters and e-mails to legislators make an impact too. To learn more about how Farmers Union works for you this Legislative Session Sombke encourages you to attend the SDFU Legislative Day in Pierre Jan. 21. Members can also visit with their County President or give Traxinger a call, 605-377-4110. You can find contact information for your County President by contacting the state office, 605-352-6763. ■

Union Farmer

Mark Your Calendars for 2014 Farmers Union Legislative Day at the Capitol January 21, 2014 Farmers Union members are invited to travel to Pierre to participate in Farmers Union Legislative Day at the Capitol. Time: 9:30 a.m. CST Location: Meet at the South Dakota Education Association building (411 East Capitol , Pierre SD 57501.) R.S.V.P. Requested: Please contact Legislative Director, Mike Traxinger to let him know that you’ll be attending Legislative Day. Call him at 605-352-6761 ext:112 or Agenda: 9:30 a.m. Legislative Update presented by Mike Traxinger, Legislative Director. 10:00 a.m. Attend Committee Meetings in the Capitol Noon: Luncheon with Secretary of Agriculture Lucas Lentsch at the SDEA building. Lunch is free and all are invited to attend 1 p.m. Caucus Meetings in the Senate or House 2 p.m. Attend General Session of the House & Senate

Union Farmer

Will we see you in Santa Fe? The National Farmers Union 112th Anniversary Convention is right around the corner! The convention will begin on the evening of Saturday, March 8, 2014, at the Santa Fe Community Convention Center and runs through Tuesday, March 11. Registration is available now at Hotel reservation information is also on the website – be sure to make your arrangements soon, as time is limited to receive the Farmers Union discounted Roger Johnson rates. NFU President

This is truly the fight for COOL’s life. Here are two things you can do to help keep COOL: • Contact your Senators and Representative, or members of the farm bill conference committee, and tell them that you strongly support COOL and oppose any legislative changes to the COOL law. Ask them to speak out publicly in favor of COOL. Call the Capitol switchboard at 202-224-3121 and ask for a specific member’s office; and • Donate to the COOL Legal Defense Fund at to help Farmers Union defend this pro-farmer and -rancher law from a legal attack by the same multinational packers and processors who are pushing for legislative changes to the law.

COOL Update

RFS Recently Under Attack

Although much of the farm bill conference negotiations are taking place behind closed doors, NFU has learned that a number of the most controversial farm bill conference issues will be discussed in a public conference committee meeting. The meeting date has not been publicly announced but is rumored to be set for either Jan. 8 or 9.

America’s farmers and biofuels supporters are in a battle with Big Oil over the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS), our nation’s principle biofuels policy. The oil industry, arguably America’s most powerful lobbying force, recently convinced the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to lower total biofuel requirements for 2014.

It is certain that the public meeting will include discussions about COOL. This means it is more important than ever that members of the conference committee are ready to publicly defend COOL, as COOL opponents are sure to be especially vocal in their opposition. NFU has continued to ask conferees to not only support COOL with their vote, but also speak in favor of COOL at the public meeting and in the media.

The RFS calls for increasing amounts of biofuels to be produced each year. This is the first time since the RFS went into effect that the EPA has lowered the requirement, reducing the total target by an astounding 16 percent. The specific corn ethanol and total advanced biofuels requirements were slashed to levels below current production.

NFU and its allies have also been working to dispel the myths and misinformation that have been spread by the packer-producer organizations and their foreign counterparts. Recently, a group of consumer organizations sent the conferees a letter highlighting the support of consumers and their demand to know where the food they bring home to their families is produced. This is nothing more than an attempt by COOL opponents to scare Congress into premature and unwarranted legislative action because they see the writing on the wall: meatpackers’ chances of winning COOL challenges at the World Trade Organization (WTO) and in court are slim. Now more than ever, we need your help to protect American farmers, ranchers and consumers and keep this commonsense law in place!

continue stand up for the Renewable Fuel Standard that is cleaning up the environment, diversifying fuel sources and supporting rural economies. Women’s Conference NFU has partnered with Annie’s Project to put on another Women’s Conference in January. Mark your calendar for Jan. 11-15, 2014, to come to Clearwater Beach, Fla., with other women leaders in agriculture. The program promises to provide risk management insights for your family farm operation; leadership development, inspiration, networking; and lessons in the business of teamwork through cooperatives. Don’t delay! Register at www.NFU. org/education. 2014 is the International Year of Family Farming National Farmers Union is leading the United States’ national committee to promote the International Year of Family Farming (IYFF). The United Nations has declared 2014 IYFF and we will be working to highlight a theme each month – ultimately showing how important family farming is to every single person. Please stay tuned to our website, newsletter, blog and other social media sites to see how you can get involved. Please also visit ■

The EPA’s proposal to lower the 2014 RFS targets would have a devastating effect on the biofuels industry, corn prices, and the farm economy. Investors in advanced biofuels, an industry that is just getting off the ground, are spooked and may well take their investments elsewhere if the EPA does not raise the targets. Billions of dollars in investment have already been lost due to the proposed targets. If the EPA does not raise the targets, the United States will lose ground in the global race to dominate the advanced biofuels market. You can help push back against the EPA’s attack on the RFS by submitting written comments on the proposal at take-a-stand-for-lower-gas-prices. American-produced biofuels are a clear and environmentally friendly alternative to oil. Today’s ethanol reduces greenhouse gas emissions by more than 30 percent compared to gasoline. NFU will

Union Farmer

Jan. 2014


Union Farmer

Education News Students Elected to the Senior Advisory Council

By Bonnie Geyer Education Director

Happy New Year! Your Education Department is busy making plans for all the activities that are coming up in 2014 and we hope everyone is anxious to get started! Congratulations to the newly elected 2014 Senior Advisory Council members; Myles Bialas from Dimock and Alyson Hauck from De Smet. Senior Advisory Council members are chosen by the Education Council from qualifying Torchbearers. The Senior Advisory Council members are voting members of the Education Council representing their peers. They serve in an advisory capacity to the Junior Advisory Council in planning Farmers Union State Leadership Camp. They also participate in Education Council meetings, County Councilors and help with State Convention. The deciding factors in choosing the Senior Advisory Council are based on: leadership skills, conduct, interaction with their peers and other individuals and their overall participation in activities. I look forward to these young people continuing their leadership in the Farmers Union! The 2014 Legislative Session is underway and the Farmers Union’s Two-Year Senior Award Trip will be held Jan. 21-23. Twenty-two youth qualified for this special honor. We are excited for those who decided to take advantage of this valuable educational and fun opportunity. All of you are encoraged to join us on Jan. 21 for Legislative Day. Also, coming up is the annual College Conference on Cooperatives in Minneapolis, MN, Feb. 13-16, 2014. This regional conference is funded by the CHS Foundation and gives individuals attending the opportunity to come together and network with students from other states to experience firsthand the many different types of cooperatives. They discover what opportunities await them in the cooperative world, whether it is as a potential employee or patron of a local cooperative in their communities - or both. We appreciate the support of the CHS Foundation and look forward to future participation in projects such as this conference. We are looking for individuals interested in a great summer job as Interns/Staff for our 2014 Camping Program. Applicants must be 19 years of age or older and have completed at least one year of college or have been employed over the last year. If you are interested please give me a call at 1-888-734-8136, Ext. 125 for further information and/or an application. Interested parties can also apply online at I am looking forward to working together and accomplishing great things. Thank you for supporting Farmers Union and our programs!


Jan. 2014

Alyson Hauck of De Smet and Myles Bialas from Dimock were recently selected to serve on the South Dakota Farmers Union’s Senior Advisory Council for 2014. “I’m incredibly proud of these two fantastic young people,” said Bonnie Geyer, SDFU Education Director. “It’s an honor for them and their families and we’re proud to have such great young leaders who have chosen to be part of the Farmers Union family.” Alyson Hauck is a senior at De Smet High School and is the daughter of Jason and Bobbi Hauck from De Smet. Myles Bialas is a freshman at South Dakota State University majoring in agronomy and is the son of Craig and Stacey Bialas from Dimock. To run for the Senior Advisory Council, an indiAlyson Hauck vidual must have received their Torchbearer Award. Hauck and Bailas were selected based on their leadership skills, interaction with their peers and other individuals, as well as their overall participation in activities. As part of the Senior Advisory Council, Hauck and Bialas will serve as advisors to the Junior Advisory Council and serve on the Education Council as youth representatives. They will also assist in organizing and facilitating the 2014 Farmers Union State Leadership Camp. To learn more about this opportunity, contact Geyer at or all 605-352-6761 ext: 125. ■ Myles Bialas

State Camp Planning Begins

In the spirit of developing leaders for the future, Farmers Union selects six high school and college students to serve on the Junior Advisory Council and two students to serve on the Senior Advisory Council. These students are selected by the Youth and Education Council to serve as leaders, role models and representatives in planning and conducting State Camp. In December, the eight students came together to plan the 2014 Farmers Union Camp at Star Mountain in Rapid City scheduled for June 8 to 13. All members’ children who have completed the seventh grade through high school are invited to attend. Left to Right pictured here: Denise Mushitz, Dist. II Educational Coordinator, Geddes; Junior Council Members: Jackie Dethlefsen, Stickney; Myles Bialas, Dimock and Brooke Enright, New Underwood.

Union Farmer

Union Farmer

Take a Stand against the EPA RFS Proposal before January 28 “The ethanol industry has a $3.8 billion economic impact in South Dakota. This proposal (EPA proposed cut to the Renewable Fuel Standard) will negatively affect farmers, ethanol producers and communities throughout the state.” – U.S. Senator Tim Johnson

still decides which product they will purchase – whether that fuel is regular unleaded, E10, E15, E30 or E85 for flex fuel vehicles.” A View from the Combine With corn markets already down, the rollback All South Dakotans should be concerned about could cause additional price cuts. A costly change, the EPA’s proposal to cut the Renewable Fuel Stansays SDFU President, Doug Sombke. dards (RFS) by more than 1.3 billion gallons. “The biggest threat here is farmers will see a loss If the proposed cut is passed, it would have a in market of the value of their corn – whether you devastating ripple effect across the state, explains market corn to an ethanol plant or elevator – ethaJim Wahle, South Dakota Farmers Union District II nol provides an additional market to South Dakota Board of Directors. farmers. When you lose a market and compound it “Lowering the RFS will certainly cut demand with high input costs that a farmer cannot control, and lower prices for our corn. It will also hurt the one likely outcome is a loss of income to the prostate’s economy,” says Wahle, who is also Board ducer. When South Dakota’s number one industry President of NuGen Energy, LLC. “Our local ethais agriculture, this nol plant contributes will negatively impact more than $400,000 “When South Dakota’s number one South Dakota and in tax revenue to the county, city driver is agriculture, a cut to the RFS other rural states for to come,” Somand school district will negatively impact South Dakota and years bke says. each year – that’s in other rural states for years to come.” South Dakota’s 15 addition to the 50 ethanol plants produce local jobs it provides. - Doug Sombke more than 3.2 million Wahle says. “Not SDFU President tons of distiller grains only will this impact for livestock feed corn producers but the each year – if you take that out of the supply chain, ripple effect will be felt by all South Dakotans.” The ripple Wahle refers to in South Dakota alone Sombke says it may impact livestock producers. Although a decrease in corn prices may sound like amounts to the more than $3.8 billion in economic a good thing for livestock producers, once supplies impact and 1,900 jobs (with annual salaries avadjust for demand, and producers no longer have eraging $60,000) the ethanol industry provides the option to purchase low cost distillers grain, feed each year. Nation-wide, the ethanol industry supcosts may go up. ports nearly half a million jobs in all sectors of the economy. Pay at the Pump What is the RFS? According to an article in Ethanol Today, last year ethanol cut 33 million metric tons of GreenThe RFS is a national renewable fuels produchouse Gas emissions. In addition being an envition mandate under the Energy Policy Act of 2005. ronmentally friendly option, for several years now, Over the years this renewable fuels mandate has consumers have had the luxury of taking advantage gradually increased, resulting in more blended galof paying less for an American-made, blended fuel. lons of motor fuel each year. These fuels are de“Although there isn’t a precise statistic available rived from renewable, non petroleum sources – like – every resource sites a different savings. However, ethanol. one fact is true across the board, whether it’s E10 or In 2007 Congress passed the Energy IndepenE85 consumers save at the pump when they opt for dence and Security Act and expanded the RFS blended fuel,” Wilcox says. program to include diesel and gasoline. The Act She adds that during winter months, consumers required that 9 billion gallons of renewable fuel who use blended fuels gain the added protection enter the marketplace by 2008 with a target volume from ethanol in its ability to protect against gas of 36 billion gallons by 2022. It also gave the EPA lines freezing by absorbing any moisture that may authority to adjust the volumes as needed. In addition to ethanol, renewable fuels supported get into the tank. See STAND FOR RFS Page 11 by the RFS include; cellulosic biofuel, biomassbased diesel and advanced biofuel. Send in Your Comment Today! “Overall the RFS provides a path for renewable fuels to enter the marketplace,” says Erin Wilcox, The EPA is taking public comments SDFU Rural Development Director. “The consumer concerning the proposed cut to the

Renewable Fuel Standard.

Send Us Your Email Address


and make your voice heard.

Comment Period Closes January 28, 2014

Union Farmer

Rural Development News By Erin Wilcox Rural Development Director

The holidays were a time to see old friends and catch up with loved ones. The holiday season always manages to sneak up on us and speed right past us! Now it is time for a New Year – one the brings a fresh start, new challenges and New Year’s resolutions. In 2014 the Rural Development department will be busy. February begins the sixth year of Jr. REAL. Jr. REAL will be in schools across South Dakota on the following dates: Feb. 19 in Kadoka for Kadoka and Wall students; March 18 in Plankinton for Plankinton and Mt. Vernon students; March 31 in Flandreau for Flandreau and Coleman-Egan students; April 2 in Howard; and April 9 in Beresford. Speakers for the 2014 Jr. REAL will be Holly Hoffman as keynote; Malcom Chapman on Leadership; John Beranek on Community Service and Erin Wilcox for Credit and Identity issues. The second session of REAL will meet Jan. 20 - 21 in Pierre. There is an exceptional schedule of speakers including John Beranek, Joy Smolnisky and Gloria Schaefer. The group will have an opportunity to meet with their district representatives in the legislature. Representatives from South Dakota Public Utilities Commission and South Dakota Department of Environment and Natural Resources will also address the group. The Young Producers Group Conference will be Jan. 31 to Feb. 1 in Deadwood at The Lodge during the Stock Show. The speaker lineup includes: motivational speakers, Malcom Chapman and Ryan Taylor; South Dakota Secretary of Agriculture, Lucas Lentsch; South Dakota State Veterinarian, Dustin Odekoven; Marketing Specialist, Duwayne Bosse; representatives from Natural Resource Conservation Service and Farm Service Agency and Instructor for South Dakota Center for Farm Ranch Management at Mitchell Technical Institute, David Koupal. There will be an amazing wealth of information and resources shared with the group. This will also be a networking opportunity of the Young Producers in attendance. If you have any questions about any of these programs please contact Erin Wilcox at (605) 352.6761 Ext. 118.

Jan. 2014


Union Farmer

Leader Insights for the 2014 Legislative Session Secretary Lucas Lentsch - South Dakota Department of Agriculture

This past year has seen a lot of change for South Dakota agriculture. Many producers were impacted by freak weather events including an ice storm in April and a blizzard in October. Although there have been trials, South Dakotans have shown their sense of community and resiliency in tough times. It is with this sense of dedication that the South Dakota Department of Agriculture (SDDA) prepares for the upcoming legislative session. SDDA will be bringing a few bills this year. The main one is to continue the funding for conservation efforts with the State Conservation Commission. We are also working with the Animal Industry Board, the State Veterinarian, and various agriculture and animal groups on an animal welfare bill. The proposed bill was crafted over the past year at the request of several groups and the urging of several legislators. It is our hope that the animal welfare bill will put in place adequate regulations which still allow for standard animal care practices to continue. The Governor has proposed $460,000 of additional funding to offset previous expenditures out of the Rural Rehab Fund, thus protecting the fund for generations to come. This program has provided financial services to many producers and has helped grow agriculture in South Dakota. In addition to the funding for Rural Rehab, the Governor also proposed monies for the South Dakota State University Swine Facility Construction. The ongoing need for agriculture research and education funding is continuing to be discussed with legislators and agricultural groups. The Governor’s commitment to the construction of the Swine Facility is one step in the right direction. Transitioning the next generation of producers begins with proper education and outfitting them with the tools needed for the changes in agricultural technology. Your senators and representatives will be bringing pieces of legislation. Many of their recommendations may impact agricultural producers, so I suggest you speak with your local legislators about concerns or questions you may have. Legislation will be from various regions and will be about various types of agriculture. The needs of different South Dakota regions are all important. It is the duty of SDDA to provide factual information to legislators concerning proposed legislation for their decision making process. The 2014 Legislative Session should bring out differing viewpoints, lively debate, and individual citizens to testify on bills. All of this contributes to making South Dakota laws better. SDDA will continue supporting the interests of South Dakota agricultural producers and our number one industry. We are YOUR Department of Agriculture.

Secretary Jeff Vonk - South Dakota Department of Game, Fish & Parks Ever since 1984 increased precipitation has caused substantial flooding across much of the eastern third of South Dakota. Longterm increases in precipitation caused flooding of thousands of acres of private land and the situation has now persisted for nearly 30 years. This flooding has resulted in the creation of numerous lake basins, some of which are now several thousand acres in size. When South Dakota was originally surveyed by the federal government prior to settlement and statehood, bodies of water that were of substantial size and depth were deemed ‘meandered waters’ and the ownership of the land underlying the water was deemed public trust property. At the time of the original survey, many of the lake basins now flooded were dry or nearly dry and were therefore made available for settlement. Some of these basins that are owned in fee title have filled with water (non-meandered waters) and created situations where public water overlies private land. Fisheries have developed in many of these waters and many anglers have grown to enjoy these waters for recreation. This recreation has resulted in an escalation in conflicts between private landowners and anglers on some of these non-meandered waters. This conflict eventually led to a lawsuit and a South Dakota Supreme Court Decision (Parks vs. Cooper) in 2004 in which the court concluded that the SD Legislature had an obligation to determine the extent of recreational use of these now flooded private lands. There have been three unsuccessful attempts (2005, 2006 and 2013) to develop legislation to address this issue. The last attempt at a legislative fix during the 2013 legislative session was introduced by lobbyists representing private landowners. Although the bill failed, the resultant discussion prompted the Legislature to direct SD Game, Fish, and Parks to work with the private landowners over the course of the year to attempt to develop some compromise and resolution to the issue. Over the past several months, my staff and I have been working with landowner and sportsmen organizations along with key legislators to facilitate consensus-building on this issue. We have attempted to develop legislation that balances the interests and protects the rights of both property owners and public recreationists. If you have an interest in this issue, I encourage you to pay close attention during the 2014 legislative session. It will undoubtedly be one of the more challenging issues that legislators face during this upcoming session.

Senator Shantel Krebs (Dist. 10) - Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee Chair Governor Daugaard delivered his proposed budget to the Legislature on December 2, 2013. The role of the legislature is to decide how the tax dollars will be appropriated and to whom. The governor stated that he would like to give a 3 percent increase to education as well as medical providers and towards state employees. I think the education community was surprised to see a 3 percent proposal going into the per student allocation formula versus just a one-time influx of money towards schools. Instead, he would like to see the use of the one time extra revenue of $30 million to pay down bonds. Farmers Union Members The state will gain an unexpected 70 million dollars from the unclaimed property account that is linked to national banks and insurance companies that are chartered in South Dakota. The Governor is wanting to use this one-time money to pre pay 58 million of bonds on state facilities. By pre paying these bonds, it would save taxpayers interest and fees of around 17 million in the future. Outside the usual topics that get attention are: one time spending on the new Blood Run Nature Area, Mickelson Trail in the Black Hills, fighting the pine beetle epidemic and work on the underground science lab at the Homestake Mine. The SDSU Swine facility construction proposal would possibly receive $2 million in state funds if the legislature approves it. Another one-time proposed expense would be to pay cash versus borrowing for the state veteran’s home being built in Hot Springs. One of the biggest increases in the budget was outside of the state’s control: a $20 million charge from Call Kelsey at 605-352-6761 ext. 116 for your customer the federal government requiring South Dakota to pay a larger share of Medicaid. number and order over the phone for great discounts!

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Jan. 2014

Union Farmer

Union Farmer Senator Jason Frerichs (Dist. 1) - Minority Leader and Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee Member Farm and ranch families are affected each year by the decisions of our legislative session. The direct effect can usually be linked to the property taxes owed. If the State shorts local school district funding the schools will look to the property taxpayers to make up the difference. This upcoming session is important for our agriculture producers because some urban lawmakers would like agriculture to pay much more in property tax. Please be willing to stand up for what is fair when contributing to fund local governments. Any shift from residential/commercial to ag land must be justified and at this point I have yet to see any logical explanation. Urban versus rural issues are real, but rarely strike a negative tone among legislators. Each of us have a constituency to represent along with our professional backgrounds. Stay tuned for possible further developments between the bankers and the Farm Credit system/credit unions. The banks want a level playing field on bank franchise taxes paid. Any change on requiring farm credit and the credit unions to pay bank franchise tax would most likely affect the dividend we receive as members of those “cooperatives.” Actual use to value agriculture land in our productivity model to determine the assessed values on ag property will most likely garner plenty of discussion. I support this concept because if someone would like to leave cropland in grass they should be assessed on that potential and the same if they choose to raise crops on rangeland the accurate valuation should be applied. This is an equity question and we should not have tax policy that dictates cropping patterns. Non meandered water legislation that would clarify public access to flooded lands for recreation will be introduced early in session and I expect forward progress on this complex problem. Landowners and sportsmen deserve direction from a state perspective and in the end we owe the landowners respect for the use of their land occupied by water and the sportsmen can still harvest the resource. Other agriculture issues will include updating animal cruelty legislation, and possible opportunities to enhance pheasant habitat. Our watershed taskforce spent the summer/fall gathering information and touring affected areas in Brown and Day counties. We recognize the need for a mediation option to settle disputes dealing with drainage and will develop a plan to create water basin districts that ultimately could provide technical assistance to counties and landowners navigating water management.

Representative Julie Bartling (Dist. 21) - Assistant Minority Leader and Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee Member As the 2014 legislative sessions draws near, the House Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee will be looking at a number of issues affecting agriculture, the environment and the property owner. The committee will be hearing legislation regarding the public’s right to use nonmeandered bodies of water. In the 2013 session, House Bill 1135 received considerable public testimony and debate regarding public access to lakes through private property. The bill narrowly passed the House and was subsequently defeated in the Senate State Affairs committee. It was agreed upon by all interested parties, to meet in the interim and bring forth legislation in 2014 to address the issue. The Department of Game, Fish and Parks will have a proposal to designate a set number of lakes (public bodies of water) for public use, hopefully bringing resolution to past disputes between landowners, sportsmen and the state agency. As of this writing, I am personally not aware of any legislation regarding Powertech and its proposal to begin uranium mining in the Southern Black Hills region. Hearings before the Water Management Board were held this past fall, with the board granting Powertech’s motion to continue the administrative hearing process regarding federal applications for approval to mine in the area defined as the Dewey-Burdock Project. Public concern over this project will continue to be raised throughout the application process. One bill that will be coming to the legislature that will most likely be heard before the Taxation committees, but will be of interest to agricultural land owners, will be a bill that provides for assessment and taxation of agricultural land based on its actual use. This bill will come from the interim Agricultural Land Assessment Implementation and Oversight Advisory Task Force. This piece of legislation was brought forth as a result of non-cropland being broken up and planted for row-crop production. The pros and cons on this bill will be ones of taxing upon actual land use (taxation fairness) versus farming management decisions. Certainly, good points from both sides will come forth. As a Representative from District 21 (Bon Homme, Charles Mix, Gregory, and Tripp Counties), I look forward to hearing from constituents about these and all other matters of concerns, but I also invite anyone across the state to contact me with their thoughts about the 2014 session and bills that come forth.

Representative Charles Hoffman (Dist. 23) - Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee Chair 2013’s legislative work in South Dakota will be very pivotal in many ways dealing with a multitude of situations. First we need to explain to the public why the Ag groups are bringing a bill clarifying what constitutes a felony animal abuse act. In a nut shell once we take charge of criminal animal cruelty law we lessen the risk of an outside group forcing a statewide vote on an overburdening compromising statute against farmers and ranchers raising livestock. Another very important facet involving many farmers and ranchers is what we as a State can do to promote the habitat needed for pheasant reproduction knowing that same cover increases deer numbers as well. Our friends and neighbors West of the Missouri River are still reeling from the economic loss of Atlas and discussions of economic incentives for rejuvenating those pastures are going to be front and center in many agricultural circles. Each and every farmer/ rancher who has lost one animal understands the devastation and heartbreak this has caused our West River ranchers. The issue of public hunting and fishing on water above private land is the Non-Meandered bill still in progress within the Game Fish and Parks and legislative Ag leaders in both the House and Senate. So far the bill has either a 25 or 40 acre sized body of water exempted from public access and a hearing process which would allow a landowner to receive GF&P Commission approval for removing that area from public hunting and fishing. One idea would be to make private all water covering private land from October 1st through December 31st which would allow winter ice fishing and summer fishing and certain duck hunting while keeping the pheasant and deer hunting capabilities of the surrounding land kept for the landowner for three months. Legislators are true public servants serving you the public. The Capital is your building and is open at all times for you to come listen and testify if you choose. Agriculture dominates South Dakota’s economy putting $21 Billion of the $40 Billion Gross Product into our economy.

Union Farmer

Jan. 2014


Union Farmer

Winter Storm Atlas is Bad News for Some Pests

BROOKINGS, S.D. - While the aftermath of Winter Storm Atlas is still felt by ranchers, growers of field and forage crops in storm-hit areas of western South Dakota might see an unexpected positive outcome for the coming season when it comes to insect pressure said, Anitha Chirumamilla, SDSU Extension Entomology Field Specialist. “The timing of storm and the amount of precipitation might have a negative impact on field insect populations leading to low insect pressure on crops,” Chirumamilla said. She explains that the early storm didn’t give insects an opportunity to go into diapause - the winter survival technique of many ‘cold hardy’ insects. “Diapause is a physiological mechanism equivalent to “dormancy” used in plants and animals. Insects in diapause are in a sleeping mode with no food, little or no movement or development, and minimal metabolism just to keep them going,” Chirumamilla said. “Diapause allows insects to survive through the winter and have enough energy reserves to start development when it warms up in the spring. “ However, as she explained, to have a successful diapause, insects have to do a lot of planning ahead of time. “They need to eat as much as possible and as quickly as possible to pack on fat reserves and keep an eye on daily temperatures and hours of light while they are busy munching on plant tissue or sucking plant sap. By the time it gets cooler and days get shorter, insects should have built enough body reserves and reached appropriate stage of development to start making their travel to winter lodging (overwintering) sites, which could be deep in the soil, seed, stubble, plant debris, and even our houses,” she said. Chirumamilla points to two unusual climatic events that occurred this fall which might have fatal effects on insects: 1) early snow likely killed many insects as their bodies were not physiologically ready to tolerate the cold stress; and 2) the immediate wet cycle that lasted for more than two weeks probably killed a large portion of insects that were already making their move to dormant sites but did not reach their destination. Considering the cropping pattern in West River South Dakota, Chirumamilla said the major insects of economic concern such as alfalfa weevil, grasshoppers, blister beetles, banded sunflower moth, red sunflower seed weevil, wheat stem saw fly, wheat midge, and corn rootworm, that overwinter in soil or stubbles will be hit hard. “With the exception of grasshoppers, the rest of the above insects overwinter as mature larvae in or at considerable depths of soil. The mature and immature larvae that are still feeding will succumb to the early See ATLAS Page 14

Minimum Wage Increase on the State Ballot Minimum Wage Increase on the State Ballot A measure to raise the state’s minimum wage will be on the 2014 general election ballot as Initiated Measure 18. Secretary of State Jason Gant says that based on a validation of a sample of signatures, the group sponsoring the measure submitted nearly 21,000 valid signatures. That’s well over the 15,855 needed. The measure, which is supported by South Dakota Democrats and labor unions, would raise the minimum wage from the current federally set $7.25 to $8.50 an hour and increase the $2.13 hourly tip wage to half the minimum wage. It would also tie future increases to the cost of living. Supporters say about 62,000 South Dakotans would get a raise if it passes. Opponents worry about the cost to businesses. This proposed increase would not apply to agricultural employment as defined by the Fair Labor Standards Act passed by Congress. Under the Act, most agricultural employment practices are fully or partially exempt from minimum wage requirements, overtime pay requirements, or both. For more information you can visit the United States Department of Labor website. ■


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SDFU Policy: Property Taxes b) To achieve fairness and equality, the assessments on agriculture land should be based on the capability to produce, land use, terrain, climate, location, soil type, and actual use. 3. Animal Cruelty At the request of legislative leaders, South Dakota’s State Veterinarian, Dr. Dustin Oedekoven has led efforts to redraft the state code governing animal neglect, inhumane treatment, and fighting. The crux of the draft would add a felony penalty for anyone who is found guilty of inhumane treatment. The draft adds clear exemptions for agricultural production, competitions, general practices and more. The dog fighting and animal fighting sections would also be combined into one section on animal fighting. SDFU Policy: 11. Livestock Development Livestock production is essential to the well-being of South Dakota. Keep up with what is going on in Pierre by signing a) We actively promote the development of live- up for the Rural Lobbyist. A weekly e-newsletter, stock production in South Dakota as a vital the Rural Lobbyist, tracks all bills and issues imcomponent in maintaining a healthy agricul portant to Farmers Union members and provides tural sector. updates. To sign up and have the Rural Lobbyist b) We favor the humane treatment of animals; delivered to your in-box each week e-mail however, we urge caution in passing laws Mike Traxinger at regarding animal rights so that sound manage- ment practices are not adversely affected. c) We support agricultural industry established standards for the management, care and treatment of animals in agriculture, commerce and research. d) Misinformation about animal welfare from any source should be combated with facts. More to come: This is simply a preview of some of the issues that are expected to come up during the upcoming session. Know that as other issues arise and bills are presented, we will keep you informed through the weekly Rural Lobbyist e-newsletter. ■

The Rural Lobbyist


Jan. 2014

Union Farmer

Harvest of the Month Mini-Grant Available

BROOKINGS, S.D. - Grants to encourage South Dakota children to eat healthier are now available thanks to a collaborative effort between SDSU Extension and the South Dakota Department of Health. The grants will provide resources so children can taste and actively participate in education about a variety of fruits and vegetables. The collaborators are investing in a team approach which includes local schools, parents and community grocery stores. The Harvest of the Month (HOM) mini-grant offered for spring and summer of 2014 will be open to schools, after school programs, preschools and summer programs. Agencies may apply for a grant based on the total enrollment of the classes who will experience HOM: 0 to 100 children will receive $125, 101 to 200 children will receive $250, 201 to 400 children will receive $500. Mini-grant requirements include: using a team approach, providing education and tasting experiences on four fruits and four vegetables using free HOM materials, conducting a pre- and postsurvey, and following 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans in samples. Funds may be used to purchase fruits and vegetables for lessons and tasting experiences, nutrition education materials and child-friendly tools for fruit and vegetable preparation. In an effort to involve grocers in promoting fruits and vegetables, the grant will also provide print resources for Harvest of the Month/ Pick it! Try it! Like it! signs and recipe cards for the first 10 grocers who agree to be a part of their school’s HOM mini-grant plan and will provide these complementary materials for shoppers in their stores. Free downloads for the materials can be found at the following links: HOM materials - http://; HOM/Pick it! Try it! Like it! materials - Apply today Applications are accepted today until all available funds are committed. To download an application, visit the HealthySD website, http:// or the SD Harvest of the Month website, / Notification of grant approval will be within one week of receipt. Implementation may begin immediately upon receipt of the contract. Final summary and evaluations are due Aug. 15, 2014. If you have any questions, contact, Karlys Wells, SDSU Extension EFNEP/FNP Program Associate at ■

Union Farmer

New Weather Station in Marshall County

BROOKINGS, S.D. - Thanks to a publicprivate partnership, Marshall County has a new weather station. The station, sponsored by Full Circle Ag of Britton, reports live weather and ag data. It will operate as a part of the statewide network of weather stations maintained by South Dakota State University. Joe Gustafson, Location Manager at Full Circle Ag, saw the need for agricultural weather monitoring in Marshall County. He contacted Nathan Edwards, Network Manager, to see what options were available. Full Circle Ag became a station sponsor, covering the annual cost of operating the station. “Sponsorships like this are essential to the ongoing operations of these stations,” said Edwards. “We can’t do this alone.” The South Dakota Weather Network With reports several times per hour and the goal of one station per county, South Dakota State University’s network of weather stations is the state’s source for live and local weather. General

weather information is accessible to the public. The agricultural industry benefits from tools related to irrigation scheduling, planting, chemical application, evaluation of soil conditions, etc. A continuous data feed to the National Weather Service is used for forecasting and is critical to their weather warning operations. Additionally, the stations also help in drought monitoring as well as flood forecasting. The stations measure: temperature, humidity, wind speed and direction, sunshine, soil temperature and rainfall. Ag-Specific Weather Products “For those in agriculture, our most popular resource is the ‘Ag Weather’ tool,” Edwards said. To utilize this weather tool, simply visit Selecting a station and dates yields a daily breakdown of ag weather variables for an entire season or part of it. For those decisions that need to be made on the spot with what information is available from the cab of a pickup or tractor, the mobile web site is available at and provides current conditions, recent history, forecasts and any warnings that might be in effect. ■

Stand for RFS: What can I do? (continued from page 7)

What can I do? The push to decrease the RFS is primarily driven by big oil Companies, Wilcox explains. “Ethanol accounts for about 10 percent of total fuel consumed by Americans. Why would big oil want to give up 10 percent of its market share? No industry wants that,” Wilcox says. The only way to stop the proposed decrease to the RFS is to take a stand. South Dakota Farmers Union urges you to write a comment to the EPA before the Jan. 28, 2014 deadline. “We need to look at the big picture and understand that renewable fuels are a large part of our state’s economy,” Sombke says. “Policy makers need to hear from citizens in our state. If enough of us take a stand and express our concerns, we can have an impact. Please take five minutes and send a comment in.” To comment, visit and click on the icon for RFS. ■

Ethanol Talking Points

There are many reasons to keep South Dakota’s ethanol industry strong. Here are some points to consider when encouraging your friends and neighbors to visit and post their comments on the EPA website. • Ethanol is a USA made product. Maintaining a strong ethanol industry is a matter of National Secu- rity. The more renewable fuels produced in this country the less crude oil is imported. • Ethanol blended into gasoline lowers the price at the pump (South Dakota Corn Growers Associ- tion Website). • South Dakota has 15 ethanol plants which have the capacity to produce 1 billion gallons of ethanol and 3.2 million tons of distiller grains for livestock feed. (Ethanol Producer Magazine 7-16-13) On average plants produce 2.8 gallons of ethanol per bushel of corn. • Ethanol plants process field corn not the sweet corn purchased in the grocery store. Only the starch of the corn kernel is used to produce ethanol. Ethanol plants extract the corn oil for poultry feed, biodiesel and many other products. The remaining portion of the corn kernel is the by-product called Distiller Grains. The distiller grains and corn oil are used as a feed for the livestock industry (cattle, swine, dairy, poultry) that produces the steak, hamburger, pork chops, eggs, milk, and etc that is purchased in the grocery store. • Distiller grains provide options to livestock producer for lower feed costs. • South Dakota ethanol plants provide about 1,900 jobs in rural communities with average salaries of about $60,000 per year. The plants also help stimulate their local economy with purchase of vehicles, fuel, office supplies and many things a large company needs to operate. (Ethanol Producer Magazine 7-16-13) • Nationally the ethanol industry supports more than 494,000 jobs in all sectors of the economy. • Ethanol guards against gas line freeze by absorbing any moisture that may get in the tank during cold weather, saving consumers money on over-the-counter de-icers. • NASCAR uses ethanol blends in their cars.

Union Farmer

Jan. 2014


Union Farmer


(Part 4 of 4 part series) Guest Column By: David Ganje, Ganje Law Offices

My grandfather was a sodbuster but that is not the type of sod busting discussed in this article on water drainage. Beginning in 1985, the federal government has encouraged crop producers to engage in soil conservation practices which are commonly known as the “Sodbuster Regulations.” By making these practices a condition for farm program eligibility and enacting several disincentives, farmers are encouraged to be David Ganje more conscientious of soil erosion on highly erodible croplands and are steadily working to preserve soil quality. The problem of high rates of soil erosion ‘arguably’ began in the early 1970s with farm commodity programs encouraging high levels of crop production on highly erodible land, rendering it useless within a few seasons. By the early 1980s, it was clear that something needed to be done to help preserve soil and subsequent crop quality. To combat these practices, the Food Security Act was passed in 1985 which included several provisions aimed to improve soil conservation efforts and reverse this harmful cycle. For starters, the Food Security Act required farmers to implement soil conservation systems on their highly erodible lands (HEL) and to refrain from using HEL in the future, in order to preserve soil quality. Some of these soil conservation tactics include installing windbreaks. The process of installing windbreaks involves planting dense rows of trees on the windward exposure side of a crop field to protect it from high levels of wind erosion. Farmers can also use conservation tillage systems and crop rotation tactics to protect the soil, or “retire” lands that are in danger of eroding away completely. In addition, they are encouraged to refrain from over irrigation and, through “Sodbuster Regulations”, from draining wetlands for crop production – a harmful practice that can easily throw a fragile ecosystem out of balance. By complying with the Food Security Act, farmers are granted several benefits from many federal agricultural programs. Some of these benefits include price support loans, income support payments, and participation in programs such as the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP). By refusing to engage in soil conservation practices, farmers may become ineligible for all program benefits, which can severely hamper a farm’s chances


Jan. 2014

of success and profitability. In this way, farmers are not exactly rewarded for their cooperation in soil conservation tactics, but rather punished by taking away their benefits if they refuse to implement these methods. There are arguments in favor of and against the appropriateness of the program revolve around whether the soil conservation tactics are effective at improving soil quality. For example, according to the United States Department of Agriculture, the annual rate of soil erosion declined by nearly 40% between 1982 and 1997. Also, 90% of the reduction in erosion occurred on farms receiving government benefits from participating in soil conservation programs. The argument here is that soil erosion has declined significantly as a result of the Food Security Act and soil conservation programs. However, there are some concerns as to how effective this program will continue to be in the current economy. There are concerns that more farmers will actually decline from participating in these programs in order to farm on these highly erodible lands. While they will not be receiving government benefits for using the highly erodible lands, they will have the extra profit that some farms need just to stay operable. Governing bodies need to take this recession into consideration when trying to convince farmers to preserve land and soil quality. What worked in 1985 is not necessarily working now. Another aspect that is lacking from the 1985 Food Security Act is its solution to water drainage issues. South Dakota has been facing water drainage problems for decades. The goal of soil conservation goes hand in hand with the use of effective water drainage systems. Draining off excess water to allow air to better move through the soil can result in a decreased amount of runoff and topsoil loss with water drainage which improves soil quality. Therefore, in an effort to help farmers faced with financial struggles today, implementing water drainage systems will make the soil healthier, crops healthier and more abundant, and generate better

Union Farmer

profits which are incentives both economically and environmentally. In addition to the above, basic agricultural practices have also changed in the nearly three decades since the Food Security Act. Today, there are far fewer independently-owned farms than when the bill was originally passed. Currently, there are a few large corporations that own a large majority of land where crops are produced upon. These larger corporations often do not depend upon the program benefits, and therefore are not as concerned with soil conservation efforts. Furthermore, many farmers now tile their land, which causes additional problems such as added sediment in streams. The laws need to keep up with today’s economic situations and common practices in order to be most effective. However, there is still hope. The economy is steadily improving and coupled with the recent drop in commodity prices, it is predicted that more people will enroll in these programs and employ soil conservation practices. The sodbuster program is still on the books. By applying for benefits through the Farm Service Agency (FSA) or the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), a farm’s eligibility for these programs will be determined. At the very least, a farm must disclose their gross income, the quality of their land (to be determined by the FSA), and agree to comply with highly erodible land conservation and wetland conservation requirements. This is done through a form titled AD-1026. After being approved, a specific conservation plan can be made with help from the NRCS, and the producer can start receiving benefits as long as they continue to comply with sodbuster regulations. ■ David L Ganje of Ganje Law Offices is an attorney in Rapid City who practices commercial law and natural resources law. Contact him at 605-3850330, or write to him: David L. Ganje, Ganje Law Offices, 1830 West Fulton, Rapid City, S.D. 57701.

Union Farmer

Still Time to Sign up for Women in Blue Jeans Membership News Join women from across South Dakota in celebrating rural women by attending the Women in Blue Jeans event held Jan. 16-17 in Mitchell. And, if you’re interested in attending, Farmers Union would like to pay its member’s way by covering the registration fee for the first 30 women who sign up. Event Details: Women in Blue Jeans is held at the Highland Conference Center in Mitchell. Thursday: • Doors open at 5 p.m. • Browse booths filled with literature, samples and activities to showcase South Dakota products. • Learn how our check-off money is spent and how these organizations impact our rural economy. • Beef-up boring menus with area chefs • Learn how to fit your own Unique style in the Fitting Room where three clothing vendors who will have samples, models, information and provide a how-to guide. • Shopping Extravaganza will feature only hand-made items Friday: • 8 a.m. breakfast • During the day we will cover food preservation, identity theft, the role of women in South Dakota, fast crisis reporting, niche farm, apps for your mobile device. Amanda Nolz will be the luncheon speaker, “Real Housewives of Rural America.” To learn more: Visit the Women in Blue Jeans website, http://, to learn more about this event. For your FREE registration to the event, contact Karla Hofhenke, Executive Director 605-352-6761 ext:114. ■

Ranching and Inn Keeping

(continued from page 3)

Gittings says running a bed and breakfast works well with managing a cow/calf operation because most guests arrive later in the evening and leave after breakfast. For years she even maintained off-ranch jobs in Philip, but recently, after being diagnosed with breast cancer in June 2013, the bed and breakfast has become her main focus. She is currently cancer-free, and says the illness showed her how much she is loved by her family and community. “The community really pulled together. They hosted benefit auctions and a free-will breakfast – my grand-daughter cooks supper for me every Monday night and my husband, George, has even made breakfast for guests!” Along with ranching and inn-keeping, Gittings and her husband are also actively involved in Farmers Union. She is the County Councelor Secretary and George is the County President. Members for more years than she can count, Gittings says they enjoy meeting other members from across the state and appreciate being informed. “It gives us a boost as agriculture producers to know that Farmers Union is backing us. We always come away from conventions with a lot of good information and like staying informed on what is going on at a state and national level,” she says. “Mike Traxinger is doing a wonderful job keeping us up to date on what is going on at the legislative level.” To learn more about Missile Inn Bed & Breakfast, search for it on Facebook, or call 605-859-2265. Room rates begin at $50 a night. ■

Union Farmer

By Kelsey Schnetzer Membership Director

Hello one and all! Hope this finds you well and ready for an AMAZING 2014! I look out my window to the beautiful, sparkling snow that will cover the earth for the next few months. Other than the chill, I love the beauty that a New Year brings; like New Year’s resolutions, that are typically a brief memory by the first of February, and the hopes of a bright future with many stones left unturned for the New Year. I reflect on my first six months here at South Dakota Farmers Union and I am so blessed to be a part of this organization. I have had the opportunity to go places and meet people I would never had the pleasure. Thank you all for a wonderful first six months on the job! 2014 is going to prove to be a great year with some amazing membership activities planned and farm shows to attend. Throughout the first three months of 2014 we have planned six sale barn coffees, two in Huron, Watertown, Aberdeen, St. Onge, and Faith. In January I will be traveling to meet with our county and district officials. February is FULL of farm shows across the state, and March will be finishing up farm shows and more travel to meet with members. Hopefully weather permits all the travel that we have planned. To kick off the New Year, we are announcing a great NEW Membership Incentive in coordination with Titan Dealers across the state. All Farmers Union members qualify for $500 off selected machinery at all South Dakota Titan Dealerships. Visit your local dealer and take advantage of this amazing deal! 2014 membership due rates are up from 2013. We will send information on the new rates and all of our member benefits, including the Titan Incentive soon. I’m always eager to hear what YOU are interested in, what activities would you like us to organize in your community? If you have an idea or are looking for ideas, please contact me so we can start planning. My number is 605-352-6761 ext.116 or e-mail me at

Jan. 2014


Union Farmer District 2 Farmers Union Member Honored

Southeast Farmers Coop First Annual Meeting

Dist II Farmers Union membership honored Gene Ellingson for his many years of work as Membership Director for Dist II during their Annual Meeting Dec. 14 in Woonsocket. He is pictured here with his wife, Mae.

Farmers Cooperative Elevator Company, Beresford and Southeast Farmers Elevator Cooperative, Elk Point merged to form Southeast Farmers Coop with locations in Beresford, Centerville, Elk Point and Jefferson. Many members gather for the first annual meeting.

Thank You

ATLAS BAD NEW ON SOME PEST (continued from page 10)

snow while the mature larvae that dropped to the ground will likely be killed by drowning or disease,” she said. On the other hand, Chirumamilla said because grasshoppers overwinter as eggs deposited in soil and glued together as egg pods, the heavy snow combined with prolonged wet conditions might lead to drowning or exposure of egg pods to diseases. “All the above factors suggest that we may be seeing lower than usual insect pressure on crops in the coming season. However, beneficial insects like pollinators, predators and parasitoids will also be equally affected by the winter storm and it will be no surprise if we see few of them around as well,” she said. While Atlas may have affected insects that overwinter locally, the migratory insects that cause seasonal damage will be free of the impact. “For example, insects like sunflower head moth, and potato leaf hopper (alfalfa) do not have the ability to overwinter in South Dakota and migrate every year from southern states,” Chirumamilla said. She encourages growers to spend time scouting for migrating insects as they are at an advantage because of lack of competition from local insects as well as natural enemies. “Also, it is important to keep in mind that there is always a certain percentage of insects that survive the odds and contribute to the future buildup of the populations. It might take a couple of years for the pests to bounce back with full force, but it is always wise to keep scouting,” she said. To learn more, visit ■

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Jan. 2014

Thank you so much for your sponsorship to the Parliamentary Procedure CDE at the 2013 Fall State FFA Leadership Contest. Your time and dedication is greatly appreciated, and it takes people like you to keep this contest going.

-Thanks again, Clark, Wolsey-Wessington, Garretson, McCook Central, Menno, Lennox, Flandreau, Willow Lake, Highmore, Wall, DeSmet, Milbank, Chapters of Future Farmers of America

Thank You Thanks to you and your staff for everything you did to make SD Farmer’s Union Day such a success. It’s always a pleasure working with you. Despite the heat that greeted the State Fair, attendance came in strong at 183,000.Thanks again! I look forward to 2014.

- Candi Hettinger

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The Kimball FFA Chapter and I would like to say thank you for sponsoring District Four Senior Parli Pro Career Development event. With your help, our Parli Pro team took 1st place to advance to State! Thank you!

Thank you for your support of the South Dakota Rural Women in Agriculture conference. The perks made possible by your sponsorship make it an extra fun get-away.

Sincerely, Kimball FFA & Ethen Gaulke

Union Farmer

- Holly, Julie Davis

Union Farmer

Farmers Union Footnotes Congratulations

SD Farmers Union congratulates Patricia Larson, District 2 Farmers Union Education Director, and Richard Carsrud on their recent marriage. They were married on November 29, 2013 in Woonsocket SD at the St. Wilfred’s Catholic Church.


Antonia Bernadine “Toni” Kopp, age 98, rural Box Elder, died Thursday, Dec. 5, 2013, at the Golden Living Center-Bella Vista, Rapid City. Toni was born Jan. 15, 1915, at Voerde, Westfalia, Germany, to Bernard and Antonia (Lutum) Leusing. For a young immigrant, the transition from postwar Germany had its’ initial challenges. Growing up she enjoyed the outdoors, riding horses, and helping out on the farm. As soon as she was able to, she became a United States citizen. As a young woman, for a time, she worked at the Alex Johnson Hotel in Rapid City. During the difficult depression years she was very active in the Farmers Union organization. During 1944-1945, she worked for the South Dakota Farmers Union in Mitchell. Toni married Wallace Kopp on June 13, 1946, in New Underwood. They had six children. On the farm with Wallace, Toni was an energetic partner in raising cattle, chickens, and harvesting various crops. A prodigious cook, she enjoyed knitting, quilting, and other hobbies. Her fingers were never idle. Besides her activities with the South Dakota Farmers Union, she was an active member of St. John’s Catholic Church and Ladies Guild, and the Box Elder Remnant Club. She served for many years on school and election boards. She was very generous with her time and monetary contributions, supporting the church and numerous charities. She is survived by her loving family including her children: Fred Kopp, Rapid City, John (Ann Erb) Kopp, Nipomo, CA, Frances (Jim) Krupka, Traverse City, MI, Ralph Kopp, Rapid City, William (Julie) Kopp, Box Elder, and Mary (Bernie Peterson) Wickler-Peterson, Rapid City; 11 grandchildren, Carol (Frank) Hassler, Madison, WI, Andrew Kopp, Watertown, Ed Kopp, Rapid City, Chris (Janel) Kopp, San Diego, CA, Tim Kopp, Rapid City, Mary Krupka, Chicago, IL, Peter Krupka, Traverse City, Rose (Jeff) Peters, Gainesville, FL, Stephanie Krupka, Chicago, Kristie (Scott) Miller, Everitt, WA, and Josh (Lindsay) Wickler, Pine, CO; and two great-grandchildren, Logan Miller and Violet Hassler.

Thank You Thanks for helping to sponsor another great conference. The speakers were outstanding and provided us with great motivation to me as a ranch wife and mother trying to promote agriculture. Thanks, Karie Sanders, Avis Jennings

Brody Niel Bumann, 3 months and 8 days died on Friday, November 29, 2013 at the DeSmet Hospital in DeSmet. Brody Niel Bumann was born August 21, 2013 to Doug and Tonya (Johnson) Bumann at Sanford Hospital in Sioux Falls. He weighted just 1 pound 3 oz. He was a fighter spending the first 98 days of his life in the NICU at Sanford Hospital, where he received excellent care from all the doctors and nurses. Brody finally got to come home on November 27, 2013. He was so happy to finally be home and loved laying in his crib looking at his new room. His parents and brothers were so happy to finally have him home. Grateful for having shared his life were his parents, Doug and Tonya, big brothers Brock and Byron, Maternal grandparents George and Carol Johnson, (Beadle County Farmers Union Board of Director), Paternal great-grandma Gen Bumann, many uncles, aunts, cousins and friends.

Clip & Save Calendar January 2014 1 State Office Closed, New Year’s 10 Magness Sale Barn-Coffee w/ SDFU 11-15 NFU Women’s Conference, Florida 14 Bales Sale Barn-Coffee w/ SDFU, Huron 14 Legislative Session Begins, Pierre 16-17 Women in Blue Jeans Conference, Mitchell 18 District III Annual Meeting, Quality Inn, Watertown 18 Bonn Homme Co. Meeting 20 State Office Closed, MLK Day 20-21 REAL Session II, Pierre 21 SDFU Legislative Day, Pierre 21-23 2 Yr. Award Trip, Youth Education – Pierre 31-Feb. 1 Young Producers Meeting, Deadwood

February 2014 11 12-13 13-16 17 18 19 19 24

Ag Fest, Pierre State Board of Directors Meeting, Huron College Conf. on Coops, Mpls State Office Closed, Pres. Day District IV meeting, Winner Jr. Real, Kadoka & Wall

Watertown Sale Barn Coffee w/ SDFU, Watertown Aberdeen Livestock Coffee w/ SDFU, Aberdeen

March 2014 8-12 14 18 21 24 24-25 28-29 31

NFU Convention-Sante Fe Lemmon Farm & Home Show

Plankinton/Mt. Vernon Jr. Real @ Plankinton

St. Onge Sale Barn Coffee w/SDFU, St. Onge Faith Sale Barn Coffee w/SDFU, Faith REAL Session III, Sioux Falls Little “I”, Brookings Jr. Real, Flandreau

April 2014 1 7 9 21

Jr. Real, Howard FFA Quiz Bowl-Brookings Jr. Real, Beresford State Camp Planning Meeting, Huron

May 2014 12-16 Summer Intern Training, Huron 27-29 District I & II Camp, Swan Lake

June 2014 8-13 23

State Leadership Camp, Storm Mt., Rapid City Tripp County Camp, Colome

Visit the Events section at for more details on upcoming events.

The South Dakota Union Farmer is published 10 times per calendar year with issues in January, February, March, April, May/June, July, Aug./Sept., October, November, and December. All information for publication must be submitted by the 15th of the month. You may submit items by mail to the State Office, P.O. Box 1388, Huron, SD 57350 or email items to:

Union Farmer

Jan. 2014


South Dakota Union Farmer - January 2014  

The South Dakota Union Farmer is a publication of the South Dakota Farmers Union, a nonprofit family farm organization headquartered in Huro...

South Dakota Union Farmer - January 2014  

The South Dakota Union Farmer is a publication of the South Dakota Farmers Union, a nonprofit family farm organization headquartered in Huro...