Derek Little is the Chair of the 2020 Sioux Empire Livestock Show. He is an Agri-Business Loan Officer at First Dakota National Bank and holds a bachelors degree in ag business from SDSU. Derek is active on the Chamber's Agri-Business Advisory Board and with SDARL. Derek and his wife Erin run a small club lamb and Angus farm near Brookings.
Q: What have you gained from being a Chamber member?
A: Being involved in the Chamber builds great connections for myself and First Dakota in the Sioux Falls business community. It has allowed me opportunities that I might not otherwise have had to get involved in events that highlight and promote ag in our trade area.
Q: How did you choose your profession?
A: I grew up on a farm and have always wanted to keep close ties to ag. One of my best friends is a few years older than I, and when he started working in ag finance, I thought it seemed like something I would enjoy. After landing my first ag lending job in White Rock, Minnesota it didn't take long to decide I had found what I wanted to do. This career has given me a chance to work with a variety of farmers and ag businesses across the region, which has been very rewarding.
Q: What is the best piece of advice you have received?
A: A coach in high school always said, "do the small things right and big things will happen." I've tried to carry that mindset in adult life and apply it professionally and personally.
Q: What is your favorite thing about the Sioux Empire Livestock Show?
A: The show brings back a lot of good memories since I was a livestock exhibitor and part of the collegiate judging contest in the past. The heifer show on Saturday continues to be one of the toughest contests of the show season. Some of the best in country are on display that day and it is a lot of fun to watch. A close second would be the Collegiate Livestock Judging Contest on Saturday morning. Colleges from all over the country come to Sioux Falls to compete in that event, which features some great livestock thanks to many local breeders and exhibitors of the show. As a volunteer, it exciting to build on a great foundation of volunteers who have worked many years to make that show what it is but also to make sure it's there for current exhibitors.
Q: How do you describe Sioux Falls to people who don't live here?
A: It's a city with a small-town feel. Sioux Falls has deep roots in agriculture and that will continue to be the lifeblood of the area. However, between the booming business sector and a vibrant down town it's clear to see this town has a lot to offer.
Q: What might someone be surprised to learn about you?
A: After graduating from SDSU, I moved back to the area where I grew up and didn't see myself living in South Dakota again. A little time went by and I found myself wanting to be back here, now I wouldn't have it any other way.
Q: How did you first get involved with the Chamber's Agri-Business Division?
A: I had been involved in a few actives around town that made me familiar with the businesses and people involved in the Agri-Business Division. It's a very passionate and energetic group that has been a lot of fun to work with.
Q: What is an opportunity for today's ag industry?
A: It's very possible that some day we will look back on these past couple of years as another large pivot point in the history of production ag in this country. The amount of technology used in the industry has absolutely exploded in the past ten years and has enabled a level of production not even dreamed of a generation or two ago. The current investment into the swine, dairy and food processing industries in this region mean there are fantastic growing opportunities for people who want to be involved in agriculture. There will be growing pains and problems that need to be addressed along the way, but this industry will continue to produce more using less resources which is a good thing for producers and consumers.