Category Archives: News

Watertown & Aberdeen Ladies named to Spirit of Dakota Selection Commission

Carol Johnson of Watertown and Julie M. Johnson of Aberdeen have accepted positions on the Spirit of Dakota Selection Commission. The announcement was made by the Spirit of Dakota Award Society of Huron.
These ladies join a statewide commission representing a diverse spectrum of business, civic and professional backgrounds. The commission includes Tona Rozum, Mitchell, Chair; Julie Garreau, Eagle Butte; Jean Hunhoff, Yankton; Suzette Kirby, Sioux Falls; Marsha Sumpter, Kadoka; Ginger Thomson, Brookings; and Bev Wright, Turton.
The public is invited to attend the 35th annual recognition event at the Huron Event Center on Saturday, Oct. 2. A social begins at 5:30 p.m. with the awards banquet following at 6:30 p.m. An art show will be held from 4-7 p.m. in conjunction with the event. For ticket information, contact the Huron Chamber and Visitors Bureau at 352-0000.
Carol Johnson moved to Watertown in 1993 with her husband Brad. Together they raised two daughters and became part of many different communities. Her community outreach has meant serving on several boards including Friends of South Dakota Public Broadcasting, S.D. Lung Association, Operation Black Hills Cabin and chair a fundraising event for the Prairie Lakes Healthcare Foundation. She is a member of Rotary and P.E.O. When she decided to retire from corporate life in 2015, she transitioned to a fundraising role with Friends of SDPB and currently spends her time connecting with donors across South Dakota. She is a native of Dearborn Heights, Michigan.
Julie M. Johnson is a lawyer from Aberdeen. After attending the University of South Dakota, where she earned her B.A., an M.A., and J.D. in Law, she returned to her hometown to practice in a firm. Her career changed when Governor Bill Janklow called, and she joined his Cabinet as Secretary of Labor for several years and stayed with Governor George Mickelson for a time. She then became President of what is now known as the Industry and Commerce Association of South Dakota. She was the CEO and Chief Spokesperson/Lobbyist for the South Dakota business community. In 1995, Governor Janklow called again and asked her to come back as his Secretary of Revenue. Later she ran the South Dakota Rural Development Council, a giant collaboration, and later served as an Administrative Law Judge for the state.
She returned to Aberdeen to run a growth initiative known as “Absolutely Aberdeen” and Prairie Vision, its regional development arm. She has taught college courses for USD, NSU, SDSU, Capital University Center, and a few other institutions of higher education.
Throughout her career, she has been deeply involved with the S.D. Legislature and served as a registered lobbyist for almost her entire career. She is probably the longest-standing woman lobbyist in the hallways of the State Capitol. Issues in which she has been involved include the state’s economic development efforts, workforce, housing, nonprofits, and all forms of development. She continues to be quite involved with several key nonprofit organizations on these topics, including helping to originate the S.D. Nonprofit Network recently. She also serves as the state’s SCORE District Director.
She and her husband Bryan Hisel live at Mina Lake, just west of Aberdeen.

Governor Noem and Republican Governors Call on President Biden to Change Failed Border Policy

Governor Kristi Noem and 25 other Republican governors wrote to President Biden, urging him to change his failed border policy. The governors requested a meeting within the next 15 days to address this crisis. You can read the letter here.

“The months-long surge in illegal crossings has instigated an international humanitarian crisis, spurred a spike in international criminal activity, and opened the floodgates to human traffickers and drug smugglers endangering public health and safety in our states,” wrote the governors. “A crisis that began at the southern border now extends beyond to every state and requires immediate action before the situation worsens.”

Governor Noem had previously deployed 48 South Dakota National Guard troops to the southern border for a two-month deployment. This was in response to a request from fellow governors Greg Abbott of Texas and Doug Ducey of Arizona. Governor Noem subsequently announced that South Dakota will be sending an additional 125 members of the National Guard to the border for a 9 to 12-month deployment at the behest of the federal government. That subsequent deployment will be made later this year.

The governors highlighted the efforts by the states to fill the void left by the Biden Administration’s policy mistakes: “While governors are doing what we can, our Constitution requires that the President must faithfully execute the immigration laws passed by Congress. Not only has the federal government created a crisis, it has left our states to deal with challenges that only the federal government has a duty to solve.”

Governor Noem was joined in signing the letter by Arizona Governor Doug Ducey, Texas Governor Greg Abbott, Alabama Governor Kay Ivey, Alaska Governor Mike Dunleavy, Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, Georgia Governor Brian Kemp, Idaho Governor Brad Little, Indiana Governor Eric Holcomb, Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds, Maryland Governor Larry Hogan, Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker, Mississippi Governor Tate Reeves, Missouri Governor Mike Parson, Montana Governor Greg Gianforte, Nebraska Governor Pete Ricketts, New Hampshire Governor Chris Sununu, North Dakota Governor Doug Burgum, Ohio Governor Mike DeWine, Oklahoma Governor Kevin Stitt, South Carolina Governor Henry McMaster, Tennessee Governor Bill Lee, Utah Governor Spencer Cox, West Virginia Governor Jim Justice, and Wyoming Governor Mark Gordon.

South Dakota State University Announces Reschedule of 2021 Eminent Leaders in Agriculture, Family and Community, Nominations Extended

The South Dakota State University College of Agriculture, Food and Environmental Sciences and the College of Education and Human Sciences announce that the 2021 Eminent Leaders in Agriculture, Family and Community award celebration is rescheduled for January 28, 2022 at McCrory Gardens in Brookings.

“We are very excited about this opportunity to recognize leaders across our state,” said John Killefer, South Dakota Corn Endowed Dean of the College of Agriculture, Food and Environmental Sciences. “We encourage people to nominate deserving individuals. We look forward to seeing you in the spring.”

In light of the decision to reschedule, the nomination deadline for this year is extended through November 1, 2021

“There were a number of factors that contributed to the decision to postpone festivities,” said Angela Loftesness, Assistant to the Dean of the College of Agriculture, Food and Environmental Science, who coordinates the program on behalf of the university. “We want all of our honorees and guests to have the best experience possible.”

How to nominate

Official Eminent Leaders in Agriculture, Family and Community nomination forms with instructions are available online at Paper copies are available by request. All nominations must be received by November 1, 2021 to be considered for this year. The regular annual deadline is May 1. Completed nominations are accepted year round, and should be emailed to or mailed to ELAFC Nominations; ATTN: Angela Loftesness, SDSU CAFES, Box 2207, Brookings, SD 57007.

In 2022, the event will return to the traditional date in September.

SDSU Extension Invites Cattle Producers to Take Culling Decisions Survey

South Dakota State University (SDSU) Extension is seeking input from cattle producers across the northern Great Plains to identify management decisions influencing culling decisions in reproductive herds.

“Strategic culling provides benefits to the operation in different terms, such as value-added opportunities or genetic advancements,” says Olivia Amundson, SDSU Extension Cow/Calf Field Specialist. “We hope to gain an understanding of the intended and unintended consequences of decisions made and collect identifiers in relation to paradigms associated with cull cow strategies.”

In addition, Amundson says the team will analyze the results to characterize producer perceptions of culling, to determine what factors influence beef cattle culling decisions to improve operation management, and to examine what decision support tools are needed before making culling choices.

Individuals involved in managing a reproductive beef herd are invited to participate in the short, online survey ( The survey is voluntary and confidential and will be open from Sept. 15 to Dec. 1.

For more information or questions, contact Amundson at or 605-782-3290.

Paint the Town Event in Gregory October 2nd

Paint the Town is coming to Gregory, South Dakota on Saturday, October 2nd from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. on Main St.  It is hosted by the Gregory Dallas Chamber of Commerce. Attendees are encouraged to help spread Art around the Gregory/ Dallas area by entering the sidewalk painting competition or kid’s chalk art competition!

Lakota Lake Road Upgrade

Lakota Lake Road will be getting an upgrade starting today. The Great American Outdoor Act (GAOA) is providing funding for the reconstruction of the road going into the day-use area, the parking area and needed gate repairs.

Lakota Lake Road is currently a single lane road that connects to a popular day-use recreation site and trailhead.

The project will reconstruct the road to two-lanes, fix drainage issues, eliminate ruts, resurface the road and parking, add barriers, and replace non-functional gates.

Lakota Lake Road will be closed (see closure order: beginning September 15, 2021 until the project is complete, which is anticipated to be done by November 15, 2021.

Lakota Lake is located southeast of Keystone SD, on US Highway 16A (Iron Mountain Road) within the Norbeck Wildlife Preserve. It is a small, non-motorized lake and a popular destination for fishing and kayaking. A hitchrail is provided for horses, along with access to Iron Creek Trail #15. Several picnic tables offer a scenic view of the lake.

For more information on the Black Hills National Forest, visit

Beef Continues Reign as Official Protein of the 2021 Sanford International PGA Tournament of Champions

The South Dakota Beef Industry Council (SDBIC) is proud to announce that PGA Golfers, John Daly and Rich Beem will be joining Celebrity Chef Justin Warner as official judges at the upcoming Grillin on the Green event. The event will headline the Sanford International Saturday, September 18, 2021 evening activities with an approximate 6:00 p.m. start time. Spectators are welcome to attend and will have the chance to win 10 competition travel grills at the conclusion of the event.

Back by popular demand, the Grillin on the Green Burger Battle brings media partners and ranchers from across the state to battle it out at the grill for top honors as the Official Sanford International Burger Battle Champions. Attendees can expect representation from Midco Sports, Keloland TV, Dakota News Now, NewsCenter1, WNAX, Paulsen Marketing, Townsquare Media, Golf Channel, Par Caterers, Sanford Media, as well as the following SD Beef Industry Council partner organizations as they bring the ranchers: SD Farm Bureau, SD Beef Breeds Council, SD Cattlemen’s, SD Stockgrowers, SD Livestock Auction Markets, SD Farmers Union, SD Cattlewomen, SD Cattlemen’s Auxiliary, These organizations make up the SDBIC and play a huge role in guiding South Dakota’s Beef Checkoff program.

SDBIC Executive Director, Suzy Geppert is excited to have PGA Golfers, John Daly and Rich Beem join the Grillin’ on the Green Burger Battle this year. “This event is always a fun way to allow our consumers an opportunity to experience not only our product, but the beef community. We are excited to have John and Rich joining Justin as official guests of the event and I encourage Sanford International attendees to stop by the Ranch and visit with our SD Beef farmers and ranchers about their commitment to providing a high-quality protein for not only their families, but families all across the United States.”

We welcome everyone to join us on Saturday September 18, 2021 at 6:00 p.m. at “The Ranch” found near the 17th hole at the Minnehaha Country Club in Sioux Falls, South Dakota for this year’s Grillin on the Green Burger Battle!

The South Dakota Beef Industry Council works on behalf of South Dakota beef producers through the $1 Beef Checkoff program.