Jan. 9, 2015 - VOL. 50 No. 4

Chair's Column
New Members
Member Anniversaries
Cover Story
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Ribbon Cuttings
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Community Appeals Capital Drive Schedule



Farm Show Schedule
City slicker's guide to bidding: How to participate in the Mayor's Round-Up
& Sale of Champions

Muller honored for service to ag industry

Farm Family of the Year
Sale of Champions

2015 Sioux Empire Farm Show Schedule

Tuesday, January 27   4:30
Ribbon Cutting-Expo Building
4H/FFA Invitational Calf Shows

Wednesday, January 28   8:00


Market Barrow and Gilt Show
Angus Show
Simmental Show
Simmental Sale
Angus Sale
Ribbon Cutting-Convention Center

Thursday, January 29   8:00



Hereford Show
Charolais Show
Red Angus Show
Limousin Show
Maine Anjou Show
Hereford Sale
Charolais Sale
Red Angus Sale
Limousin Sale
Maine Anjou Sale
Feeder Heifer Show
Market Lamb Show

Friday, January 30   9:00
Supreme Row Judging
Market Goat Show
Market Beef Show
Feeder Steer Show
Market Goat Show
  6:30 PM Mayor's Round-Up &  Sale of Champions
$12,000 Supreme Row Cash Awards Presentation
sponsored by Tri-State Neighbor, Wells Fargo Bank (South Dakota) NA and Campbell Supply Co.

Saturday, January 31   6:30
Senior College Judging Contest
Youth and Open Rabbit Show
Junior Livestock Judging Contest
Breeding Beef Heifer Show
Announce Junior Judging Contest Winners
Pony Pull
 Draft Horse Pull

Commercial Exhibits in the Expo Building, the Sioux Falls Convention Center and
the Arena open daily Wednesday through Friday, 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

This schedule is subject to change


City slicker's guide to bidding: How to participate in the Mayor's Round-Up & Sale of Champions
Why participate?

Return to your agricultural roots or learn more about one of South Dakota´s largest industries. Either way, you can enjoy the camaraderie of hundreds of folks from Sioux Falls area businesses. Get together with your friends and co-workers for a great prime rib dinner and to support agriculture.

Local Recognition

When you purchase livestock at the Mayor´s Round-Up & Sale of Champions, your company will be recognized in advertisements in the Argus Leader, Tri-State Neighbor and Chamber News. Business representatives who bid on the Grand and Reserve Champions and 3rd place market livestock for each animal species will have their photos included in the ads.

Support the Visitor Industry

The growing Sioux Empire Farm Show draws exhibitors from more than 20 states and brings more than 30,000 people to Sioux Falls annually. An estimated $3 million is brought into the greater community through the five-day show.

Support the Agricultural Industry

Agriculture is South Dakota´s No. 1 industry, generating an annual revenue of $20.9 billion. By participating, you show your support for the regional agricultural community.

Support the Sioux Empire Farm Show

The Sale of Champions is a big incentive for producers to attend the Sioux Empire Farm Show. In 2014, more than $60,000 was paid out to 22 market livestock producers in cash awards and bids. By showing financial support yourself or through your business, you are able to support agriculture and promote the region´s largest market and purebred livestock show.

Mayor's Round-Up &
Sale of Champions

Friday, Jan. 30
Best Western PLUS
Ramkota Exhibit Hall

5:30 p.m. Social
6:30 p.m. Dinner
7:30 p.m. Program/Auction

Cost: $45 per person,
with reserved tables of 8

RSVP to Maddie Guierrez:
or call (605)373.2015.

How to Bid:

Buyers who participate in the Mayor´s Round-Up & Sale of Champions are paying a premium to the market livestock producer – which means you are not purchasing the animal on which you are bidding. This dollar amount is in addition to the market price they receive for their animal (the Sioux Empire Farm Show is a terminal show so all livestock sold at the Mayor´s Round-Up & Sale of Champions go to slaughter).

Livestock is auctioned by the head. This means the dollar amount you bid is the dollar amount you pay.

Livestock can be purchased by Cooperative Bidders.

Each year the Mayor´s Round-Up & Sale of Champions Buyers Committee works to increase the premiums paid to producers – which is a great opportunity for multiple businesses to partner to purchase an animal at the auction. The Sale of Champions is an incentive for many producers to attend the Sioux Empire Farm Show. Partnering with another business is a great way to bump up the premiums for the producers.

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Muller honored for service to ag industry

By Amy Smolik
Marketing & Communications Manager

Glenn Muller
Muller honored for service to ag industry

Glenn Muller has seen the ag sector from a number of angles – as a producer, an educator, an ag lender, an employee of one of the country´s largest pork processors, and for the past five years, as an advocate for all South Dakota pork producers.

Muller has been named the Agri-Business Citizen of the Year by the Sioux Falls Area Chamber of Commerce´s Agri-Business Division. He, along with the Farm Family of the Year, will be recognized during the Sioux Empire Farm Show at the Mayor´s Round-up & Sale of Champions dinner on Friday, Jan. 30. For more information about that event, see the story on page 27.

"I´ve been in agriculture and the swine industry all my life," Muller said. He´s in his fifth year as Executive Director of the South Dakota Pork Producers Council (SDPPC). "We do for the producers the things that they can´t do on their own," Muller said of his organization.

Muller grew up on a hog farm in the Lennox/Davis area and still lives on the family farm. He first became involved in the SDPPC as a pork producer. He taught high school for three years in northwest Iowa and later taught farm management at Southeast Tech. Muller served as an ag lender for three years and spent 13 years working in risk management at John Morrell & Co. A number of years ago, Muller exited the hog production business, but is still involved in agriculture – as are all four of his children and their families. He still assists, with limited involvement, in the farming operation and is glad to have the opportunity to still be involved – both with his operation at home and position with the SDPPC.

The SDPPC was formed in 1954 to give direction to do all things possible to improve or increase the quality and production of the swine industry in South Dakota and the U.S.

Today it has nine committees and is governed by a 19-member Executive Board of Directors from districts across the state. The organization is funded with both checkoff and non-checkoff dollars.

"Our primary expenditures for checkoff go toward promotion, research and education and the non-checkoff funds go toward information and legislative issues," Muller said. "The staff and volunteer leadership the SDPPC is able to do collectively for producers are those things that are hard for them to do independently, such as image campaigns, addressing public policy issues and doing promotional activities."

South Dakota is also represented on the National Pork Board (NPB), with two of 15 seats on the board held by South Dakota producers. It´s an honor for South Dakota to have this much representation at the national level, Muller said, and speaks highly of the level of involvement that South Dakota producers have on the NPB, considering that South Dakota ranks 11th nationally in pork production.

Hometown: Davis

Professional: Executive Director of the South Dakota Pork Producers Council

South Dakota State University, degree in ag education and minor in animal science

Wife (Joan), nurse with Sanford Women´s Health; Children: Sarah Voegele (Shannon), Lennox, S.D.; Scott (Natalie), Davis, S.D.; Shelly Altena (Cory), George, Iowa; Steven (Amy), Agar, S.D.; Grandchildren: Cash and Sage Voegele, Kinsly Altena and Shaden Muller

More information:

The NPB, headquartered in Des Moines, Iowa, was established under the terms of the Pork Promotion, Research and Consumer Information Act of 1985, also known as the Pork Act, which was included as part of the 1985 Congressional Farm Bill. The board is responsible for overseeing the provision of consumer information, performing industry-related research and promotion of pork as a food product, most notably through its "Pork. The Other White Meat." advertising program. The board´s activities are funded by a mandatory commodity checkoff program for hog farmers, which requires producers to pay into a marketing fund each time an animal is sold (see p. 24 for more information about checkoff programs).

Public policy is a huge part of what the SDPPC and NPB work on, Muller said. The Public Policy Committee has the responsibility of monitoring all issues that may affect the pork industry, especially those issues requiring legislative efforts on the state and national level. Some of the specific responsibilities of the committee include screening and recommending to the executive board a lobbyist to represent the council during the state legislative session, planning for the legislative session, presenting a legislative overview at the annual meeting and participating at the annual NPPC legislative seminar in Washington, D.C. The program of work and other expenses associated with the Public Policy Committee are entirely funded with non-checkoff dollars.

"Our producers are very highly-skilled at production practices and doing on-the-farm activities, taking care of their animals and providing a safe product, but don´t necessarily have the time to address public policy issues or coordinate promotional activities. That´s what I see as the major role of the SDPPC," Muller said.

Muller travels to Washington, D.C. about twice a year with SDPPC leadership, he said. During the legislative session, he may travel to Pierre to testify along with producers on any legislation that affects the industry. A lobbyist is in Pierre for the duration of the session, representing the industry. The SDPPC maintains correspondence year-round with state legislators and South Dakota´s Congressional delegation about issues that affect the industry and the impact of any legislation that is being considered.

The SDPPC also promotes pork consumption and the industry. Each year they host a chef competition called Taste of Elegance in Sioux Falls and Rapid City. Pork Producers staff and volunteers can be found at a variety of events across the state – both ag-related, like the Sioux Empire Fair and other fairs, and large events with lots of attendees who are a captive audience to learn more about pork, such as Hot Harley Nights in Sioux Falls or the annual Sturgis Motorcycle Rally – "It presents an opportunity for us to reach out throughout the nation and beyond," Muller said.

Throughout the year, SDPPC provides educational training for producers about maintaining food safety and employee management.

Approximately 1,200 people will attend the SDPPC´s annual meeting this month – the 46th Annual South Dakota Pork Congress. The event includes a trade show with more than 100 exhibitors displaying the latest technology, equipment, vet supplies and more. All SDPPC members are encouraged to attend to help establish policy and elect new board members. The staff and leadership will update members on events and issues that are being addressed by the Council.

Statistics that show pork´s economic impact on South Dakota indicates the high-level of management and efficiency that South Dakota pork producers employ, Muller said. Today the size and scale of operations is much larger with fewer producers, but a relatively stable number of hogs produced. Muller said one of the main issues his organization deals with at the state and national levels are the concerns residents have about hog operations.

"It´s been more difficult to get permits for new operations, even though they´re proven to be safe, friendly to the environment and provide economic value to the communities," Muller said.

People may have concerns, but not all of the concerns are legitimate, Muller said. Due to bio-security reasons to maintain the health of animals, many hogs are now housed in buildings. The public has their perceptions of why that´s been done, he said, while the true reason is to maintain a higher level of animal health and control their environment. Muller said the environment of a swine barn is more closely regulated than residential homes and many of the swine barns are equipped with monitors that notify the owner whenever any environmental conditions go outside of an acceptable range, such as temperature, air movement, etc. Educating people that hog producers are very concerned with their animals´ well-being is one of the SDPPC´s primary goals. "We are excited about the fact that we´ve been very involved in securing funding for a new swine, education and research unit at South Dakota State University," Muller said.

The groundbreaking was held in October 2014, with construction to begin this spring. The facility will be open by the fall term of 2016. In addition to offering an educational facility for students at SDSU and research facilities for the staff, this facility will also have observation walkways to allow anyone who is interested in viewing modern swine production to have the ability to observe modern production practices.

"We hope this will help our residents of South Dakota better understand what we do and how concerned our producers are about environmental impacts and well-being of our animals," Muller said. "We have a growing demand for food from population growth, and yet we see a movement to try and limit production efficiencies to better meet the demand. That´s a critical role of our organization, and other farm organizations–to help educate consumers."

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Knutsons named Farm Family of the Year

By Amy Smolik
Marketing & Communications Manager

Knutsons named Farm Family of the YearKnutsons named Farm Family of the Year

A "wall of fame" in the Jason and Alicia Knutson family dining room pays homage to hours of work in agriculture by the four Knutson girls – every available space is covered with purple ribbons, plaques and photos of sheep.

When asked what their favorite part of working with their animals, the girls unanimously responded: "showing" – and their hard work has certainly paid off. They´re actively involved in the day-to-day operations and chores at their family farm between Viborg and Centerville in Turner County, and all four have been showing since they were three or four years old. They also collectively own their own land and grow their own crops each year, in addition to managing the sheep. The Knutsons have been named the Farm Family of the Year and will be recognized during the Sioux Empire Farm Show at the Mayor´s Round-Up & Sale of Champions.

The Knutson operation consists of row crops, alfalfa, wheat, cover crops, registered Suffolk and Rambouillet sheep and a few chickens, rabbits, cows and hogs. Their sheep operation has grown and has been nationally recognized at shows. Alicia also owns Jaks Dollar & Tanning and Jaks Bridal in Viborg.

Their farm is located just seven miles from where Jason grew up. His parents had cattle and sheep were added as part of a 4-H project, Jason said. "It´s a 4-H project that got out of control," he jokes. Today his children are the ones who are actively involved in raising and showing sheep.

He and Alicia met through FFA and married while they were both students at South Dakota State University. They had the opportunity to move back to the area where Jason grew up. "There just wasn´t an option for any other way," Alicia said of their decision to live on a farm and continue that tradition.

She grew up in the Sturgis area and while her mother was raised on a sheep ranch, Alicia was not involved in farm life other than being an FFA member and focusing on agri-business activities. "I didn´t like town life. It just wasn´t for me," she said. "I always wanted to live on a farm. I love the quietness of the country."

FFA remains an important part of the Knutsons´ life today. Jason served as the 1993-94 South Dakota FFA Secretary, received an American FFA Degree in 1995 and an Honorary State FFA Degree in 2012; Alicia received an Honorary State FFA Degree in 2005 and American FFA Degree in 2011. Alicia is known as "FFA Mom" to many students (including some who are now adults) across the state, her daughters say, because of her work with the organization.

Leadership and involvement is a trait the Knutsons have passed on to their daughters. Both Jaclynn and Alison serve on the United Junior Suffolk Sheep Association Board. Their leadership roles have enabled them to travel across the country and gain skills that will benefit them in the future, as well as connecting them with people in the sheep industry across the country. The Board, made up entirely of young sheep producers ages 13-21, is tasked with putting on an annual show and all the responsibilities it entails– sponsors, awards, judges and a banquet. Both girls will travel to Massachusetts for the 2015 show, which includes about 50-100 juniors and 200 sheep.

Hometown: Viborg (Jason: Centerville, Alicia: Sturgis)

Professional: All are involved in the Knutson farm, Alicia also owns Jaks Dollar & Tanning and Jaks Bridal in Viborg

Jason and Alicia are both graduates of South Dakota State University; Jaclynn and Alison attend Viborg High School; Shania and Kasi attend middle school in Hurley

Jason and Alicia Knutson; children: Jaclynn (17, junior), Alison (15, sophomore), Shania (13, 8th grade) and Kasi (11, 6th grade)

Community/Ag Activities:
all four girls are involved in sports and extracurricular school activities; Jaclynn and Alison serve on the Board of Directors for the United Junior Suffolk Sheep Association; the girls also regularly compete in pageants focused on academics and community service

Making connections through leadership has enabled the girls to have "go-to" people to ask when they have questions, Jason and Alicia say. They say they also benefited from their time at SDSU, making lifelong friends who also serve as great resources for ag-related questions.

Travel to and from shows has kept Jaclynn and Alison busy, especially last summer. "Me and Shania got really good at chores last summer," Kasi said. Between the crazy schedules, Alicia said everyone works together to ensure that chores are done and that the house is kept up. Between sports and extracurricular activities, it all works out, they say.

Technology enables them to be efficient in their work on the farm, from GPS and auto-steering in tractors to ultrasounding their ewes. But some things are still done the old-fashioned way – Jason makes the girls write everything out when it comes to putting their budgets together for their farm operation.

For most teenagers, what the future holds is unknown – but not for the Knutson girls. All four girls intend to follow in their parents´ footsteps and go to SDSU. They may not know exactly what they want to study yet, but know that agriculture will still be a major part of their lives.

"I´ve learned a lot showing sheep and want to continue with that. Not just about sheep, but lessons in life. I really love it. I feel we can expand our operation further and learn more," Alison said.

Their parents know that it is harder today for young farmers to get started, but feel they are giving their girls the tools they´ll need if they choose to continue in the family farming operation.

"I will continue the sheep operation wherever I go," Jaclynn said. "I would like to grow our operation to become a nationally-known family. Although we have put our name out there, I want people to know that we mean business, that we´re very competitive at the national level. I want people to say, ‘Oh, they´re the Knutson girls.´"

The girls own 100 acres and rent an additional 150 acres under the name "Knutson Girls Land and Livestock." When land prices were fairly reasonable, they were able to purchase land and used the profits from their crops from a few good years to pay everything off. Jaclynn has planting corn since she was 15 and Alison helps haul manure. Shania and Kasi also assist where they can. Alicia runs the combine and can still manage her store using her phone while she´s out in the fields. Jason says he usually just chases after the women.

"It´s too expensive for someone to start out fresh. If we don´t help them get somewhere from the start, it´s not ever going to be possible," Alicia said. "If none of them decide to come back here and they all meet someone somewhere else, we can rent it from them or they can sell it. It´s all kind of paid for itself. It will help pay for college and get them a start."

Alicia said people have asked Jason if he wished he had any sons – and both are quick to defend their daughters. The girls can do anything a boy can do and 10 times more, Alicia said. "And we can do it better," Jaclynn said.

The girls all agree they wouldn´t want to grow up any other way than on a farm.

"I don´t see myself in any other life. It´s the way we were raised," Jaclynn said. "Of course you don´t like scooping manure or being outside in below zero temperatures, but put it all together and it´s what makes the operation a family operation – everyone working together and getting it all done."

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