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South Dakota Soybean Director Election Results
South Dakota Ag Connection - 01/11/2019

South Dakota soybean farmers were elected to serve on the South Dakota Soybean Association (SDSA) board of directors during the 2018 SDSA Annual Meeting following 14th Annual AgOutlook Conference and Trade Show.

"Our team is eager to work for South Dakota's soybean growers. There is a lot we want to help accomplish -- pass a farm bill and open up trade again," says Jeff Thompson, a Colton farmer elected to serve as SDSA president.

SDSA is governed by a board of volunteer farmer-leaders who are elected by members of SDSA. The board includes directors from seven districts, plus three at-large directors.

"Because, like our members, we are soybean farmers, we understand the challenges and opportunities of the members and industry we serve," Thompson says. "I have confidence in our team and our new director, Jerry Schmitz. Jerry has a long background with the organization."

SDSA members elected the following South Dakota soybean farmers:

District 2: Jon Schaeffer, Viborg (re-elected)

District 3: Jeff Thompson, Colton (re-elected)

District 4: Chad Schooley, Castlewood

District 6: Arne Harstad, Wilmot

At Large: Kevin Deinert, Mount Vernon (former DuPont Young Leader)

At Large: Josh Kayser, Emery (former DuPont Young Leader)

At Large: Jordan Scott, Valley Springs (former DuPont Young Leader)

"I think it says a lot about the SDSA board and the organization's mission, that three of the Young Leaders decided to run for at-large director positions," Thompson says. "As the name suggests, these are the next generation of farmers and leaders."

The board held officer elections. Jeff Thompson was elected to serve as president, Josh Kayser, was elected to serve as first vice president; Geddes farmer, Derrick Scott, District 5, was elected to serve as second vice president; Frankfort farmer, Jamie Johnson, District 7, was elected to serve as secretary and Jon Schaeffer, was elected to serve as treasurer.

SDSA also welcomes Corteva Young Leaders, Brent and Mollie Greenway. As Corteva Young Leaders, the Greenways will serve a one-year term on the board. At the end of the first year, the couple may choose to serve two more years.

In order to be on the ballot, all board candidates met the following requirements:

- Directors must become a member of SDSA to hold a board seat.

- Directors must live in a county from the district he or she is representing.

- Directors must produce and market a minimum of 250 bushels of soybeans on an annual basis.

This will be the first term for Schooley and Harstad to serve on the SDSA board of directors. And, this is the first term for former DuPont Young Leaders Deinert, Kayser and Scott, to serve in an official board capacity.

Hamlin County farmer Schooley began farming with his dad at a young age. Today, he farms with his wife, Heidi, and hopes to one day farm with their children. Along with soybeans, Schooley raises corn, oats, wheat, rye and operates a cow/calf herd and feedlot.

"I'm eager to serve soybean growers because I want to be actively involved in policy to develop new markets and support innovative production practices," Schooley says.

Eleven years ago, Harstad and his wife, Becky, began farming in Roberts County -- a community neither of them grew up in. Today, along with soybeans, they raise corn and spring wheat. Along with farming, he operates an agronomic consulting business.

"As the FFA Creed states, "I believe in the future of agriculture..." Our participation in guiding agriculture policy sets the precedent for not only this generation of farmers, but the next,'" Harstad says. "International trade is my top concern. I will also promote growth in livestock production within our state, which boosts domestic demand for soybeans."

Farming with his dad and two brothers, Hanson County farmer Kayser raises corn and soybeans and operates a contract swine nursery. He decided to run for a board position because of the experience he gained serving as a DuPont Young Leader.

"Consumer outreach is an area we need to continue to pursue so the public is aware of the positive role South Dakota's farmers play in conservation efforts throughout the state," Kayser says. "Increased market access for our farmers and development of animal feeding throughout the state are two areas I also want to focus on."

Advocacy for the soybean industry as a South Dakota's Hungry for Truth representative, motivated Davison County farmer Deinert to take what he learned as a DuPont Young Leader and run for a board position. Along with soybeans, Deinert raises corn, alfalfa and oats and operates a cow/calf herd and feedlot with his dad and brother near Mount Vernon.

"We need to advocate for completing a farm bill that contains expanded MAP and FMD funding, to aid the soybean industry in expanding our markets," Deinert says.

Minnehaha County farmer Scott raises corn and soybeans with his dad near Valley Springs. Serving as a DuPont Young Leader, Scott says he had the opportunity to see firsthand the impact SDSA has on state and national government, on behalf of soybean farmers.

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