South Dakota farmers and ranchers travel to Kansas City for National Farmers Union Convention

HURON – More than 30 South Dakota family farmers and ranchers traveled to Kansas City, Mo., to develop policy advocating for agriculture during the organization’s 116th national convention held in Kansas City, Mo., March 4-6.

“As a grassroots organization, Farmers Union truly gives family farmers and ranchers a voice,” said Doug Sombke, a fourth-generation Conde farmer and President of S.D. Farmers Union.

He explained that the policy South Dakota delegates bring to the national convention was developed at the county level then voted on during South Dakota Farmers Union state convention. “What’s voted on at the national level will be the policy our organization lobbies for in D.C.,” Sombke explained.

Advocating for the future of South Dakota’s number one industry is the reason Union Center rancher, Tammy Basel and her husband, Dallis left feeding and lambing chores in the hands of their adult sons and made the 12-hour drive.

“Times are tough across ranch and farm country, we need to make our voice heard in D.C. and work together to make positive change here at home,” said Basel who raises sheep and cattle.

Other South Dakotans to attend the convention include: Lisa Snedeker, Woonsocket; Mark Snedeker, Woonsocket; Doug Sombke, SDFU President, Conde; Karla Hofhenke, SDFU Executive Director, Huron; Christina Dexter, SDFU Legislative Specialist, Huron; Rachel Haigh-Blume, SDFU Education Director, Huron; Wayne Soren, SDFU Vice President, Lake Preston; Kirk Schaunaman, Aberdeen; Larry Birgen, Sioux Falls; Matt Birgen, Beresford; Hannah Sumption, Aberdeen; Dalton Gerlach, Stickney; Karly Schaunaman, Aberdeen; Jennifer Hanson, Britton; Brenna Johnson, Groton; Jim Brockel, Shadehill; Joseph Nugteren, Canistota; Bill Chase, Wolsey; Hank Wonnenberg, Dallas; Becky Martinmaas, Orient; Gail Temple, Clark; Lynn Frey, Lemmon; Rocky Forman, Huron; Melissa Wonnenberg, Dallas; Taylor Sumption, Frederick; Marissa Holinka, Watertown and Lorrie Hanson, Britton.

In addition to policy debates, South Dakota members celebrated Beresford farmer, Matt Birgen, 88, recognized for his leadership and service to agriculture with the National Farmers Union Meritorious Service Award.

To learn more about the National Farmers Union Convention visit www.nfu.org. To learn more about how South Dakota Farmers Union serves South Dakota’s family farmers and ranchers, visit www.sdfu.org.

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