Category Archives: News

Chase the Ace Event in Gregory

The “Chase the Ace” promotional event will begin Monday, March 1, 2021 at 5:15 PM CST which is sponsored by the Gregory Dallas Chamber of Commerce.

One can purchase $5 tickets each week to be entered. One ticket will be drawn each week. A person gets to draw a card out of the deck. (if they aren’t present, someone in attendance will draw for them) if it is the Ace of Spades, they win 50% of the pot. if it is not the Ace of Spades, they win 10% of that weeks ticket sales and the remainder goes into the pot. you can watch each week on Facebook Live or at that week in person location. Tickets can be purchased from Suzanne Braun at 831-9773, Chamber Board Members, or at the location of that week’s drawing.

Governor Noem Issues Statement on Attorney General Ravnsborg

Yesterday, Governor Kristi Noem issued the following statement in response to the conclusion of the investigation into the fatal crash involving Attorney General Jason Ravnsborg and Joseph Boever:

“Now that the investigation has closed and charges have been filed, I believe the Attorney General should resign. I have reviewed the material we are releasing, starting today, and I encourage others to review it as well.”

SDSU Extension Partners with Grocers for Double Up Dakota Bucks

Some South Dakota grocery stores are now offering participants of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) a chance to double up on fresh fruits and vegetables. Supported by SDSU Extension, the United States Department of Agriculture and the Fair Food Network, Double Up Dakota Bucks doubles the value of SNAP benefits when used on fresh fruits and vegetables.
“This program is aimed at helping those disproportionately affected by nutrition, particularly children and families,” says Samantha Dvorak, SDSU Extension Family and Community Health Associate. “Families are able to stretch their SNAP food dollars with the purchase of healthy foods, while farmers sell more produce and local retailers get more business.”
A grant-funded pilot program, Double Up Dakota Bucks doubles the value of SNAP dollars spent on fresh produce. For every $1 spent on fresh fruits and vegetables, $1 is matched, up to $10 to $20 per customer, per visit. Participants can then return to the retailer to redeem Dakota Bucks for more fresh fruit and vegetable purchases.
Participating South Dakota retailers for SNAP/Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) participants are:
  • Lakota Thrifty Mart, Dupree
  • Cahoy’s General Store, Lake Andes
  • Buche Foods, Oacoma
  • Buche Foods, Wagner
The goal of the program is to encourage the purchase of fresh fruits and vegetables and thus, cash cannot be used in place of the coupon. However, more than one coupon can be redeemed at a time to go towards the purchase of fresh produce.
The reason this program is limited to SNAP/EBT customers and locations, Dvorak says, is because it is a grant-funded pilot program. South Dakota and non-South Dakota residents using an EBT card can earn and redeem Double Up Dakota Bucks only at the store where the coupon was earned. Other SNAP-eligible items will continue to ring up at a regular price.

SDSU Welcomes New Horticulture Faculty Member, Extension Specialist

The South Dakota State University Department of Agronomy, Horticulture and Plant Science, along with SDSU Extension, has named Dr. Kristine Lang to serve as an Assistant Professor and Extension Specialist in Consumer Horticulture. A native of Pelican Rapids, Minnesota, Lang brings an extensive background in horticulture research and community outreach to her new role.
“We are delighted to have Kristine Lang join our Horticulture team. Her enthusiasm and passion for working with others who love horticultural plants is unmatched,” says David Wright, SDSU Agronomy, Horticulture and Plant Science Department Head and Professor. “Her talents and knowledge of ornamental plants and vegetable crops are a perfect fit for SDSU Extension. She will lead the development and distribution of environmentally sound best management practices for ornamental landscapes and vegetable crop production on small-scale farms.”
“SDSU Extension is privileged to have Dr. Lang join our team of professionals,” says Karla Trautman, SDSU Extension Director. “Kristine has already gotten off to a great start, meeting with colleagues and constituents. We are so excited to have her expertise and passion for horticulture production as a part of our outreach portfolio, and we look forward to her leadership in providing impactful educational programs, information and resources for the citizens of South Dakota.”
Prior to joining SDSU, Lang served as an Extension Scientist for the Rodale Institute at the Midwest Organic Center in Marion, Iowa, where she assisted farmers across 12 states as they navigated the National Organic Program standards during the 36-month transition period to United States Department of Agriculture certified organic production. This assistance ranged from providing organic market and seed source options to addressing agronomic concerns, such as cover crop establishment or weed management.
During her formative years as a horticulturalist, Lang worked for three local garden centers, served as a design intern for two natural playgrounds and worked briefly as a florist. She spent two years as the Assistant Greenhouse Manager for the Agricultural Experiment Station Research Greenhouse at North Dakota State University, where her she managed the integrated pest management program for five campus greenhouse facilities.
Lang holds a bachelor’s degree in Horticulture and Communication from the University of Minnesota-Crookston and a doctorate in Horticulture and Sustainable Agriculture from Iowa State University. Her dissertation examined how high tunnel vegetable crop production could be optimized through grafting, cultivar selection and microclimate modification.
Lang credits her father for her passion for horticulture — from home gardening and landscaping to garden center management and large-scale food crop production. She hopes her broad set of horticultural experiences will equip her to address a variety of consumer questions from across the state. She is also excited to join the ongoing work to support South Dakota specialty crop producers by designing relevant, applied research projects.
“I hope to empower more South Dakotans to take up gardening and feel confident in gardening, and support Master Gardeners in their important work of local outreach,” Lang says. “I’m also really excited to work alongside staff at McCrory Gardens to celebrate public gardens as both a teaching and research tool. One of my goals is to provide relevant programming on gardening and small farms topics that the public is really interested in. I also want to amplify local food production through research and outreach by building relationships with specialty crop producers and working with SDSU Extension colleagues, the Local Foods Education Center on campus and partner organizations across the state.”

SDSU Extension to Host Second Community-Focused Book Read

Over the last month, the SDSU Extension Community Vitality team has been bringing South Dakotans together virtually for a community book read. After a widely-popular first round with much discussion and debate, the organization will be offering a second statewide book read beginning March 5.
“We had a lively and thoughtful conversation during our first book read that ended with a spontaneous visit from the author of ‘Little Chapel on the River: A Pub, A Town and the Search for What Matters Most,’” says Kari O’Neill, SDSU Extension Community Vitality Program Manager. “With this next book, we anticipate the dialogue to continue, as this is another excellent opportunity for South Dakotans to connect virtually on important community issues of the day.”
“Population: 485- Meeting Your Neighbors One Siren at a Time,” by Michael Perry will be the focus of the March book read and follows Perry’s returns to his small Wisconsin hometown after living in the city. To regain his creditability, he joins the local volunteer fire department, and through fires and rescues and community “smelt feeds,” he explores the history and the community members that make up an often-overlooked area of America.
“This book will continue to highlight our work in placemaking and helping communities envision their future,” says Peggy Schlechter, SDSU Extension Community Vitality Field Specialist. “The story is about characters we probably all recognize in our communities and get to work with in service projects.”
The book read will be held March 5–24 with facilitated discussions every Thursday evening. The sessions will be held over Zoom, which is readily available and free to individuals with internet capabilities. The timeframe will be 7:30 p.m. CST (6:30 p.m. MST), with an hour of interaction. Interested parties should register by March 1 to receive the link to join the discussion.
There is no registration fee; participants only need to purchase the book in advance of the start date. There will be a cap to the number of participants, with a plan to offer another book read in the fall.
To register, visit the SDSU Extension Community Book Read event page or contact O’Neill by email (Kari.Oneill@sdstate.edu), 605-685-6972; Schlechter by email(peggy.schlechter@sdstate.edu), 605-394-1722; or Joshua Hofer by email (Joshua.Hofer@sdstate.edu), 605-995-7378.

Grassland Coalition Calving Videos

The South Dakota Grassland Coalition has produced a series of videos for livestock producers across the region. The 25-video series features ranchers from across South Dakota who have discovered the benefits of matching calving to their ranch resources. The videos offer personal from nearly 30 individuals about the challenges and benefits of shifting calving dates to fit with natural cycles.

The men and women interviewed discuss the opportunities for improved livestock health and profitability as well as a more enjoyable and reduced stress family life.

The primary video topics include: When & Where to Calve;
Managing the Herd; Assessing Ranch Resources; Finance,
Profit & Marketing; and People, Relationships & Quality of
Life.

The Calving Alternative videos will be released over a five
week period. Each weekly release will contain 4-6 videos
associated with the five main topics (see sidebar). Viewing
the videos is free, and they can be accessed by visiting the
SD Grassland Coalitions webpage Calving Alternative Videos
(https://www.sdgrass.org/calving-considerations/) or you
can go the Coalitions You Tube Channel SDGC You Tube
(https://bit.ly/3bke3v6).

Jim Faulstich is a Highmore, SD area rancher and Board
Member of the SD Grassland Coalition. It was at Faulstich’s
urging that the Board initially pursued this project, but it did
not take long for all to realize there was a need to encourage
livestock producers to take a hard look at their financial and
natural resources related to calving seasons.

Faulstich offered the following when asked about
the end result of the video project, “For anyone considering changing their calving season, the SD Grassland Coalition series of calving timing videos should really offer a wealth of information
and answer most questions about the transition. Plus, the real value is that it offers a large listof experienced producers that the listeners can call on for additional questions, guidance, and
mentoring.”

In total, the video series offers over 5 hours of in depth testimony, with individual videos ranging from 3 to 25 minutes, depending on the topic.

The first 5 videos will be released on Thursday, February 18, and weekly on Thursdays for the next month, the remainder of the videos will be posted. In addition to the videos, the Coalition will also be hosting ‘Tuesday Night Live’ zoom meetings featuring those who appear in the calving series.

These open public sessions will allow livestock producers to ask questions to the participants. The first of the ‘Tuesday Night Live’ calving discussions will be held Tuesday February 23rd at 7 pm (CST). To join the live session, go to this link.

Governor Noem Signs Senate Bill 32

Governor Kristi Noem has signed Senate Bill 32 that allows for the expansion of the access critical nursing facility program which has been in effect since 2011.

South Dakota Department of Human Services Cabinet Secretary Shawnie Rechtenbaugh said, “This bill provides assurance to families that they will be able to choose nursing facility services close to home and avoid lengthy trips to visit loved ones.”

Senate Bill 32 allows for the expansion of the program with the addition of three nursing facilities:

  • Bethel Lutheran Home – Madison, S.D.
  • Platte Healthcare – Platte, S.D.
  • Tekawitha – Sisseton, S.D.

 Rechtenbaugh added, “Nursing facility care can be more expensive to deliver in smaller, more rural areas due to availability of staffing and delivery of goods and services to the location.  An enhanced reimbursement process helps to make sure that these services remain available.”

 Currently, the program includes facilities in Eureka, Gettysburg, Martin, Lemmon, Miller, Philip, Chamberlain, Hot Springs, and Britton.

 The new legislation is effective July 1, 2021

SDSU Extension Introduces Master Health Volunteer Program Introduction Webinar

SDSU Extension has recently launched a community changing volunteer program called the Master Health Volunteer Program. Similar to the Master Gardeners or Master Food Preserver, programs also offered through SDSU Extension, a Master Health Volunteer becomes certified to provide program specific workshops and educational opportunities for their communities.
“With South Dakota being a large state geographically, the Master Health Volunteer Program was built to expand program reach to rural communities,” said Hope Kleine, Health Education & Food Safety Field Specialist with SDSU Extension.
When signing up to become a Master Health Volunteer, one can select one of five program tracks to become certified to lead:
  • Better Choices Better Health: Facilitate a self-management education workshops to help improve other’s quality of life.
  • Fit & Strong!: Instruct a program focusing on cardiovascular fitness and strength training to improve overall health
  • Walk With Ease: Help those who suffer from arthritis by being active through this walking program
  • Money Mentor: A network of trained volunteers who will provide one-on-one money management guidance and group personal finance education.
  • Growing Healthy Families & Communities: Offer evidence-based program to youth and adults that focuses on healthy eating, physical activity, food resource management, food security, and food preparation.
This program takes volunteers through extensive training which qualifies volunteers to provide programs to their communities using evidence-based programs. Training for this program includes an estimated 40 hours of online training. Following the completion of this training, Master Health Volunteers are considered an intern until 40 hours of give back volunteer hours are completed within the first year of service. After give-back hours are completed, the volunteer becomes a Certified Master Health Volunteer.
“As a leader, hearing participant success stories from our programs is so rewarding. When you hear these successes, there is an innate desire to spread the reach of these programs to help others,” said Kleine. “The Master Health Volunteer program was developed to onboard others who are passionate about health and wellness to bring these programs to their communities.”
The program onboards new volunteers every year. This year, registration will bein in March.
“We are hosting a webinar to introduce the Master Health Volunteer Program in March. Our tema has been working hard with this program over the last year, and seeing it come together is very exciting. I believe this program will benefit South Dakotans for the long run,” said Cheyanne Roth.
To learn more, on March 24th 12 p.m. CT, attend our webinar, The Master Health Volunteer Program: A Way to Expand Health Programming in Your Community. Register for the webinar here: https://extension.sdstate.edu/event/master-health-volunteer-program-introduction-webinar.

Farmers Union Enterprises Donates 35,000 Pounds of Pork Ribs to Feeding South Dakota

Farmers Union Enterprises teamed up with South Dakota Farmers Union to donate 35,000 pounds of pork ribs to Feeding South Dakota.
“COVID-19 continues to impact jobs and many South Dakota families continue to see their grocery budget shrink. We see this as a way to help,” explains Doug Sombke, President of Farmers Union Enterprises (FUE).
Sombke is also President of one of the state’s largest farm and ranch organizations, South Dakota Farmers Union (SDFU).
The donation comes at a time when demand for food has doubled, due to job losses during the COVID-19 pandemic, explains Jennifer Stensaas, Communications Coordinator for Feeding South Dakota. “As we approach nearly a year of service since the pandemic began, we continue to feed many individuals and families who have never needed food assistance before,” she says. “We are grateful to organizations like South Dakota Farmers Union for joining forces with us to help meet this increase in demand.”
Feeding South Dakota partners with nearly 350 non-profit agencies to provide food to those facing food insecurity in all 66 counties across South Dakota. During the pandemic, to keep volunteers and those they serve safe and healthy, Feeding South Dakota closed food pantries in Rapid City and Sioux Falls. Instead, the organization established mobile distribution centers, where South Dakotans can receive emergency food boxes.
More about Farmers Union Enterprises
Farmers Union Enterprises is made up of several businesses — the dividends of which help fund Farmers Union organizations in South Dakota, North Dakota, Minnesota, Montana and Wisconsin as well as Farmers Union Enterprise programs and National Farmers Union.
All told Farmers Union Enterprises donated 150,000 pounds of pork ribs to various food pantries in the five states it supports.
The pork ribs are from Redwood Farms, one of the entities in the Farmers Union family of businesses owned by Farmers Union Enterprises. Redwood Farms supplies premium pork products to high-end restaurants in New York, Chicago and other cities across the U.S.
Today, Sombke’s three sons all work on the family farm where they raise crops and operate other value-added enterprises. Sombke says like most Americans, COVID-19 also impacted incomes for South Dakota’s family farmers and ranchers.
“We are all in this together,” Sombke says. “COVID has impacted all of us – urban and rural alike.”
To learn more about how South Dakota Famers Union works to support family farmers and ranchers, visit www.SDFU.org.

South Dakota Beef Industry Council to Hold Quarterly Board Meeting

 Directors and staff of the South Dakota Beef Industry Council (SDBIC) will gather at Drifters Conference Center in Ft. Pierre, South Dakota on Monday, February 22, 2021. Committee meetings will begin at 8 A.M with full board of directors meeting to follow at 11 A.M. John Hinners, United States Meat Export Federation will also be in attendance to provide an update.
This meeting provides a valuable opportunity for beef producers to network with their peers in understanding the Beef Checkoff. All beef producers are invited to attend. Please RSVP to Suzy Geppert at sgeppert@sdbeef.org or call the SDBIC office at (605) 224-4722 if you plan to attend so that meal arrangements can be made.
Visit www.sdbeef.org to learn more about the South Dakota Beef Industry Council and the state’s Beef Checkoff program or visit www.beefboard.org to learn more about national efforts.
The South Dakota Beef Industry Council works on behalf of South Dakota beef producers through the $1 Beef Checkoff program.
For more information on Beef Checkoff and statewide efforts visit www.sdbeef.org and www.MyBeefCheckoff.com or contact Suzy Geppert at sgeppert@sdbeef.org.