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South Dakota celebrates excellence in specialty crop farming
South Dakota Ag Connection - 11/30/2023

The South Dakota Specialty Producers Association (SDSPA) has announced its search for the 2023 South Dakota Specialty Crop Producer of the Year. This prestigious award aims to honor a farmer who has significantly advanced the production of specialty crops in the state. These crops range from fruits and vegetables to tree nuts, dried fruits, honey, and nursery crops, including floriculture.

Supported by the South Dakota Department of Agriculture and Natural Resources (DANR) and the Specialty Crop Block Grant Program at the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Agricultural Marketing Service, this initiative highlights the importance of specialty crops in South Dakota's diverse agricultural landscape.

The state takes pride in its wide array of local foods, which include honey, cut flowers, fruits, vegetables, nuts, jams, and salsas. These are readily available across various platforms, from farm stands and farmers markets to grocery stores and restaurants.

The 2023 award will not only recognize a producer's contributions to agriculture but also their role in promoting growth, innovation, and prosperity in South Dakota's local food systems. It's an opportunity to celebrate those who provide visionary leadership, advocate for specialty crops, and mentor the next generation of farmers.

Farmers and members of the public are encouraged to participate by nominating individuals who have made remarkable achievements in this sector. Nominations, limited to 500 words and accompanied by at least one photo, must be submitted by December 15, 2023. A panel from SDSPA will shortlist the top nominees, followed by public voting starting January 5, 2024.

The winner, to be announced at the Upper Midwest Urban and Rural Agriculture Innovation (UMURAI) Conference on February 8-9, 2024, will receive a range of honors. These include a full conference pass to the UMURAI Conference, a one-year membership to the SDSPA, and features in various state-wide publications and digital platforms.

For more details and to access the nomination form, click here.

This is an excellent opportunity for the community to come together and acknowledge the hard work and dedication of South Dakota's specialty crop producers. Join in celebrating the individuals who are shaping the future of agriculture in the state!

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