Category Archives: News

Governor Noem Thanks President Trump for Pardons of South Dakotans

Governor Kristi Noem thanked President Donald J. Trump yesterday for three pardons issued to South Dakotans. President Trump issued pardons to John Nystrom; Gregory, Deborah, and Martin Jorgensen (posthumously); and Jessica “Jessi” Frease.

“I am tremendously thankful to President Trump for his support of these three pardons,” said Governor Kristi Noem. “The Trump administration has done an excellent job balancing justice with forgiveness, and tonight’s pardons will provide these individuals with a second chance to continue as productive members of our South Dakota community.”

Governor Noem advocated for these presidential pardons with letters to President Trump. You can read her letter regarding the Nystrom pardon here, the Jorgensen pardon here, and the Frease pardon here. Governor Noem also secured additional support from relevant community leaders.

You can read the White House press release announcing the pardons here.

Gregory City Meeting Tomorrow Evening

The Gregory City Council will meet tomorrow, Tuesday, January 1st 6:00 p.m. at Gregory City Hall located at 120 W 6th Street.  Items of new business that will be discussed tomorrow night include:

a) Building Permit/Bart Birkeland
b) Set back recommendation for Grandview Commercial Lots
c) Supplement to 2020 Budget
d) Preliminary Dec. 2020 Financial Report
e) COVID Update

Chamberlain City Meeting this Tuesday

The Chamberlain City Commission will meet this Tuesday,  January 19, 2021 at 6:00 p.m. at the Chamberlain City Offices  located at 715 North Main Street.

For those needing assistance please contact the Finance Office by phone or in writing by 10:00 AM the day of the meeting. Phone 234-4401.



Winner City Meeting

The City of Winner will hold their City Council meeting this Tuesday, January 19th which is one day later than usual (second and fourth Monday of each month) due to Martin Luther King Day this upcoming Monday.  The meeting will take place at 6:30 p.m. in the Winner City Council Chambers.

SD Health Department Announces Beginning Stages of Priority Group 1D for Next Week

 The South Dakota Department of Health announced that starting on Monday, January 18, 2021, the Department of Health and its health partners across the state will start vaccinating a prioritized population group, within Group 1D, of the state’s vaccination T. This first prioritized population group will be those 80 and over, as well as high-risk individuals and will be expanded to other groups within 1D as vaccines become available. The modification comes amidst the federal government’s plan to release vaccines to states to speed up vaccinations nationwide.
“Given the progress we’ve seen in groups A through C, we are confident that with an increase in vaccine allocations, we can move into a limited population of group 1D. We will begin with those 80 and over and high-risk individuals, and from this starting point, adjust accordingly as allocation permits,” said Kim Malsam-Rysdon, Secretary of Health. “We want to reassure those who’ve already received their first dose, and those in groups A through C who are already in the queue, that their second-dose will be available.”
In addition to the release of COVID-19 vaccines, Operation Warp Speed announced it is changing how it will allocate such vaccines to states. Federal officials will increase weekly allocation to states based on the size of a state’s 65+ population and take into consideration how quickly each state is administering the vaccine to the general public. Currently, South Dakota has been receiving an average of 11,000 doses a week and has administered over 47,950 doses. To see detailed vaccination effort numbers statewide, click here.
“Given our strong partnerships with stakeholders, and the non-stop efforts of our healthcare systems, the Department of Health is proud to say that South Dakota remains among the top states in the country in vaccination efforts– Shots in arms, that’s our goal, ” added Malsam-Rysdon.
Updated infographics with detailed information on the beginning stages of group 1D can be found here.
For additional information and the latest COVID-19 resources, visit COVID.SD.GOV.

Winner Dairy Queen Owner Receives Community Service Award

Lonnie Heier, the owner of Dairy Queen restaurants in Pierre, Eagle Butte, Martin, Winner and Vermillion received the Community Service award this week at the South Dakota Retailers Association annual banquet in Pierre.

The award recognizes a business that goes above and beyond to give back to the citizens of the communities it serves.
Heier is known for generosity both with his employees and the communities he serves.

He finds unique ways to reward individual members of his staff for meeting personal and employment goals, providing them with everything from shoes to laptops to concert tickets.

Recently when an employee fulfilled a commitment to turn his life around, Heier rewarded the employee with a mobile home.
When nursing home and assisted living residents weren’t able to have direct contact with their families due to COVID-19, Heier organized a fund-raiser to provide them with iPads. He is currently
sponsoring a scholarship program for nurses.

“We feel like we need to be more than just a business that comes in and takes your money; we need to help and that’s what we do,” Heier said. “If you give, you get back more in return through more business and better relationships. It’s something employees can be proud of, and of course we should be proud of.”

While 2020 was a struggle for businesses, Heier made it his mission to continue generous support for individuals and projects, saying, “If we’re going to go down, we’re going to go down giving back.”

CJ Foods USA to Build World-Class Asian Food Production Facility in South Dakota

 CJ Foods USA Inc. (CJ Foods), a U.S.-based affiliate of global lifestyle company CJ CheilJedang (CJCJ), today announced its plans to build a new 700,000square-foot Asian food production facility in Sioux Falls, S.D.

The new facility, planned for Foundation Park in Sioux Falls, will result in more than 600 new full-time jobs by 2025 and include automated state-of-the-art food production lines, a warehouse and distribution center, shipping and receiving docks, and office space. The project will represent an overall investment of several hundred million dollars over the course of construction and will be funded through operating cash flow. Further investments in the facility’s capabilities will be made as demand increases over the next several years.

All foods made at the production facility will be sold and distributed by CJ Foods and Schwan’s Company, a fellow U.S.-based affiliate of CJ Foods. Once complete, people working at the facility will focus on making a broad range of Asian-style meals, sides, snacks and appetizers in the shelf-stable and frozen categories. The new South Dakota facility will represent an expansion of CJCJ’s Asian food production capabilities in North America, with CJ Foods already operating five Asian-style food plants in California, Ohio, New York and New Jersey and Schwan’s Company operating two in Texas.

“This strategically important new investment represents an extremely exciting time for both CJ Foods and Schwan’s Company,” said Executive Chairman of CJCJ Food, Americas and Schwan’s Company CEO Dimitrios Smyrnios.  “Adding this world-class Asian food plant in South Dakota will help us lead the fast-growing Asian food category in North America and achieve our long-term growth plans. Ultimately, this plant will meet the increasing needs of our retail and food-service customers by creating significant production capacity, fueling Asian food category growth, and enabling future innovation.”

“We thank state and local officials in South Dakota for helping to bring this project to Sioux Falls. We look forward to building a long-lasting relationship that will be mutually beneficial for CJCJ’s family of businesses and the residents of South Dakota,” added Smyrnios.

Investing in Asian Food Marketplace Growth

CJ Foods is investing in the new Asian-food facility to support it and Schwan’s Company’s growth initiatives in the retail and food-service markets in North America. The two companies offer several Asian-style brands in both the food-service and retail sectors, including Bibigo®, Pagoda®, Kahiki®, Minh® and Annie Chun’s® foods.

Asian food is extraordinarily popular in the United States alone, representing a more than $38 billion industry across retail stores and food-service venues, which includes 70,000 Asian-style restaurants. Worldwide, the cuisine’s popularity is growing rapidly as consumers increasingly embrace more global flavors. In a recent study by Technomic®, a leading consulting and research firm, 23 percent of global food consumers say they are preparing more global flavors at home than two years ago. This rate was at 39 percent with millennials, according to the study.

“The growth and popularity of Asian cuisine is something we expect to continue unabated over the coming years, especially as consumers have the opportunity to increasingly experience high-quality, authentic global foods when dining out or preparing meals at home,” said Smyrnios. “We are excited to work with our retail and food-service customers to expand the Asian food category and create great consumer experiences.”

Working with South Dakota Public Officials

To help facilitate the project, company leaders from CJ Foods and Schwan’s Company worked with state and local public agencies and officials in South Dakota, including: Gov. Kristi Noem; Governor’s Office of Economic Development (GOED) Commissioner Steve Westra; Sioux Falls Development Foundation CEO & President Bob Mundt; and Sioux Falls Mayor Paul TenHaken.

“South Dakota is open for business, and we’re excited for this tremendous investment in our state. The Sioux Falls community will benefit greatly from the new full-time jobs that this facility will provide,” said South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem. “I want to thank Dimitrios and everyone at CJ Foods and Schwan’s who worked with us to make this happen.”

Groundbreaking Event in Sioux Falls Planned for Spring 2021

More details about the specific products and brands that will be made at the facility, as well as renderings and more specific construction timelines, are expected to be shared at an event at the Sioux Falls site of the future plant in the spring. Event attendees will include CJ Foods and Schwan’s Company leaders as well as South Dakota public officials.

SDSU Extension Launches New Agritourism SD Program

Do you farm or ranch and want to share your passion and excitement for agriculture with others? Are you interested in diversifying your operation’s income? Are you willing to invite people onto your operation for hunting, tours or pasture walks? Are you interested in becoming involved in local foods or farm-to-table ventures? Have you thought about providing lodging or starting a bed and breakfast as an additional enterprise?
If you answered “yes” to any of these questions, then SDSU Extension has the program for you. AgritourismSD is an opportunity for any working farm or ranch that is interested in drawing visitors while providing a supplemental income for the owner. A new, two-year intensive educational program, AgritourismSD will provide the tools and skills needed to start and develop an agritourism enterprise that can help farmers and ranchers diversify their business.
During the two-year program, participants will engage with each other and experts through face-to-face workshops and interactive webinars, networking and out-of-state learning experiences where they will meet with Case Study Coaches that have strong agritourism enterprises. Participants will be coached through the process on how to enhance or develop their agritourism business plan, with the goal of launching it by the end of the two-year class period.
An additional component of the AgritourismSD program is that three communities (Faulkton, Timber Lake and Wall) have been selected to participate as agritourism hubs. Participants in the program that live near these communities will work together with other local partners to foster that community as an agritourism destination. These hubs will serve as models that other participants can recreate in their own local communities. The three sites will be holding recruitment meetings in January.
“This program will provide participants with not only the tools and resources they need to be successful in agritourism, but it also is a great stepping stone for our South Dakota communities to really put themselves on the map,” says Peggy Schlechter, SDSU Extension Community Vitality Field Specialist.
“Today’s visitor to South Dakota is different,” says Jacey Ellsworth, Industry Outreach and Development Representative with the South Dakota Department of Tourism, who is also involved with the project. “Visitors are looking for more unique, off-the-beaten path experiences. They visit our state and drive by all our farm and ranch land and there really is a desire to learn more. This is a great opportunity for producers to educate those visitors on agriculture.”
Workshops during the program will take place throughout the state and participants are expected to provide their own transportation to most in-state events. Other expenses associated with the meetings (hotels and meals) will be covered by AgritourismSD.
The program is open to all farmers and ranchers who have less than 10 years of agritourism experience. Producers must have started an agritourism business or possess a strong desire to add one to their operation. Up to 20 operations will be selected based on an application and a webinar interview. Husbands and wives, siblings or direct family members can apply.
Participants must make a two-year commitment to the program and take an active role in all program components. The registration fee is $1,250 per individual. The program will start summer 2021.
AgritourismSD was developed after the SDSU Extension team saw the impact the beefSD program was having on participants, connecting the love of agriculture between beefSD alumni and those eager to share their agriculture story. As a result, the program follows the beefSD model of an intensive, educational program that puts the participants front and center and exposes them to new ideas and opportunities. Alumni of beefSD who wish to develop an agritourism enterprise are encouraged to attend.
The program is funded by a USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture Beginning Farmers and Ranchers Development Program grant (
For questions or more information about the program, contact Stacy Hadrick, SDSU Extension Associate and Program Coordinator at 605-374-1195 or or Krista Ehlert, SDSU Extension Range Specialist at 605-394-2236 or