Take 32 South Dakotans involved in varying aspects of ag and you have a diverse mix. Send them to Washington, D.C., to meet with leaders in ...

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Connie Sieh Groop

DC trip: Looking for ag answers


Farm Bill cultivated in Congress

May 17, 2013

While farmers are struggling to get seeds in the ground and ranchers are moving livestock to pasture, Congress is stepping closer to piecing together the 2013 Farm Bill.

  • Planting for our future

    May 17, 2013

    It truly is crunch time in ag land as we’re been dealing with the coldest spring in years. Many planters and tractors are set to roll, but with soil temperatures still in the 45-50 degree range, it’s still a waiting game. Our front page story was written at the beginning of the week. We hope by the time you’re reading this week’s edition that conditions are right for planters to roll across fields hard and strong. As a comparison, last year soil temperatures in the area were around 58 degrees.

  • Walt and Lucas, great ag leaders

    April 3, 2013

     I was surprised this week to learn that Walt Bones, South Dakota’s Secretary of Agriculture, has decided to retire. It’s been a pleasure to work with Walt and his crew in Pierre. Walt’s been at many of the meetings I’ve attended, and he’s always been anxious to address issues around the state. His passion for ag has been evident as he’s logged thousands of miles across the state attending meetings as well as traveling to national meetings and international trade missions.

  • Centuries of history highlight German trip

    March 27, 2013

     Great friends and centuries-old structures and traditions enticed us to vacation in Germany this last month.

  • Deadlines change for Farm Forum information and ads

    January 31, 2013

    We know our readers like to get the Farm Forum on Fridays. Some of our readers don’t get their Green Sheet in their mail boxes until Saturday. Our publisher and circulation people have been talking with the folks at the  post office about the changes in post office delivery centralization. They have told us that if we print a day earlier and get Farm Forum to them on Thursday mornings, they can get the Farm Forum into more hands on Fridays.

  • Chance meeting with Temple Grandin

    January 4, 2013

    Last week was a little crazy as we flew back from Florida Wednesday after our Christmas vacation.

  • Showcasing innovation on Nov. 30

    November 8, 2012

    If you trail any farmer or rancher around his or her operation, you’ll find “innovation” follows them. What does innovation mean? Really, it’s a fancy word that means things are changed to make something work better. Who doesn’t do that?

  • Of storms and ag: What are the costs?

    November 2, 2012

    Fall continues to provide mild conditions for us here in the Midwest. After a summer of intense heat and little rain, most would welcome a good snowstorm or even a blizzard. But nothing as violent as what hit the East Coast this week.

  • Statue of Norman Borlaug being crafted

    October 19, 2012

  • Statue of Norman Borlaug being crafted

    October 19, 2012

    A man who worked with researchers around the world, developed high-yielding varieties and modern production practices that helped save untold numbers of people from starvation will be immortalized at the U.S. Capitol. It’s pretty neat that the image of Norman Borlaug, known to agriculture as the father of the Green Revolution, will be crafted into a statue by Aberdeen artist Ben Victor. 

  • Help us find the Farm Family of the Year

    October 12, 2012

    In the eight years that I’ve been editor of the Farm Forum, I’ve been privileged to meet some amazing people and families. This is shown by those passionate about agriculture and dedicated to caring for the land as well as the livestock in their operations.

  • Helpful canine companionship

    May 18, 2012

    Last Thanksgiving, our farm dog of 13 years went to doggy heaven. I’ve been resisting getting a new dog, thinking about the chewed gloves, holes that went to nowhere and encounters with skunks. He was also a great companion, and we walked many miles together.

  • Special price offered for S.D. AgXchange

    May 11, 2012

      A new agriculture venture is meant to take farmers out to the field and learn from experts. On June 28 and 29, the Farm Forum is helping to sponsor the AgXchange is Sully County.  

  • Challenge cascade thinking when you hear it

    March 29, 2012

    When I graduated from high school and college, the celebration marked a time of moving forward and getting ready to take on challenges of life. A lot of time has passed since those milestones. This last weekend, our South Dakota Ag and Rural Leadership Class VI took another step in that direction, as we have completed the 18 months of our study program.

  • Kids and parents ¿ a working relationship

    March 22, 2012

     Warm temperatures this winter have enticed many to believe it’s time to start planting crops. There are reports of people in the field, some disking and using chisel plows. Putting seeds in the ground this early always runs the risk of a late spring freeze. Some are weighing the likelihood of that happening versus the payoff if the plants are able get a good start this spring. 

  • `Essence of beef¿ sounds much better

    March 16, 2012

    Perception. It’s amazing how some people can put a derogatory spin on something and a meat product becomes an unsavory item for school kids.

  • Ag week: Step up for agriculture

    March 8, 2012

    Have you spoken up aboutag this week? This is designated as National Ag Week and a great time to share the story for what we do for our country. There are continual challenges to agricultural, especially since only about one percent of the population is involved in farming. Many more millions of jobs are created through the ag industry. People in our industry are very important in driving the economy. One of our problems is that we are modest in reminding people not involved in agriculture of how important we are.

  • SDARL experience broadens knowledge of agriculture

    March 2, 2012

    As with any trip, there are some lasting impressions. This week I was put on the other side of the interview chair as American News Reporter Jeff Natalie-Lees talked with me about our South Dakota Ag and Rural Leadership trip to China and Vietnam. That interview will be in the American News and in the March 9 edition of the Farm Forum.

  • There's no food like steak

    February 25, 2012

    Much like Dorothy in the Land of Oz, our South Dakota Ag and Rural Leadership trip to China experienced many wonders. While seeing many amazing sights in China and Vietnam, there is no place like home. Driving back from Sioux Falls Sunday night, it was great to see the wide open spaces and the lack of people. Does that make sense? My mind is still racing with all of the experiences these last few weeks. I do have to thank Dan Gee and Michelle Robbins for all of the work going into the preparation for the trip, to Darla Scarlett for handling my job while I was gone and to the American News/Farm Forum company for giving me this unforgettable opportunity. And to my husband Dale and family for their support. I’m going through my notes and will provide more information from our trip in future issues. Throughout all of our trip, we were offered tables full of food. For many in that part of the world, platters are filled and offered on a lazy susan, family-style. Guests help themselves to the offerings. We were very appreciative that our interpreters helped us understand what was offered. We were given some very unfamiliar choices. That all was part of learning about a different culture and how to get along. The presentation of the dishes was gorgeous, adding garnishes to set off the food. Carrots were carved into flowers and flowers were added to set off foods. Our western palates, accustomed to burgers, fries, pork chops and steaks, had a tough time with the variety we were offered. Small amounts of seafood, poultry and meat were offered with a mixture of vegetables. Dumplings and steamed buns hid sweet treasures. Most of the class became very adept at using chopsticks. (And some became very adept at finding places that sold Snickers candy bars.) Fresh fruit was a luxury enjoyed throughout the trip. In the Mekong Delta area, we were served freshly cut fruit in the jungle setting --- mango, freshly picked tiny bananas, pineapple and durian, which is one of the most controversial fruits. The outside has a horrible smell but inside is a creamy textured, almost custard-like flesh. One class member declared that it tasted a lot like Juicy Fruit chewing gum. The Longan means “dragon eye” and is a close relative to the litchi. The peel is brown and brittle. The meat is translucent white and is very juicy and sweet. We also were treated to fresh coconut and watched a family operation that turned coconut into candy to be exported. Quite a value-added industry. For lunch one day, we were presented with a beautifully cooked fish. At a loss as to how to serve it, our waitress pulled off fins and got down to the best part of the fish for us. She put a piece on a lettuce leaf, added sauce and other condiments, rolled it up and presented us with a delicious lettuce wrap. After all of our adventures, the group decided that we needed to have a good USDA steak before returning home. Morton's Steakhouse in Hong Kong was suggested. We were served many of the same dishes we could get back home. After 13 days, savoring the steak with friends while looking over Victoria Harbor provided a perfect ending to our visit. From now on, I’ll see foreign visitors in our country in a new way. As a take-away point, food is meant to nourish our bodies. Just as we sometimes struggled to try the various dishes presented to us, we were surprised at how good so many of them were. This was just a small part of our experience. By meeting with farmers and business owners, we learned how the farmers prepare their fields and the types of conditions they are working with. Our group is better able to understand where the demand is coming from within these countries and some of the obstacles that they face. Although farmers make up 60 percent of the population in China, they are not valued for the food they produce. When we look at the United States and only 2 percent of us produce the food we eat, it's quite a dichotomy. Many inroads are being made by private companies partnering to move agriculture ahead. While there are many differences, we have many areas in common. This familiarity will help us be better leaders as we seek to develop policies to move our industry forward.

  • Countdown to China, Vietnam

    February 2, 2012

    On Saturday, I head to China with members of my South Dakota Ag and Rural Leadership. I confess to excitement and great anticipation as well as a little dread of the long airplane ride.

  • Checking out Aberdeen¿s Extension Center

    January 26, 2012

    Our Chamber Ag committee enjoyed meeting Friday at the Regional Extension Center in Aberdeen. Many changes have been made in the last year in Extension, and this gave some us a chance to see the new regional center and meet the regional staff.

  • Turkeys, beef and tractors

    January 19, 2012

    Travel this last week took our South Dakota Ag and Rural Leadership class to the Mitchell and Huron areas. We started off with some thought-provoking sessions with Jolene Brown, ag speaker from Iowa. She also spoke to the Corn Growers the weekend before.

  • Savvy outlook for 2012 corn outlook

    January 13, 2012

     Last weekend, Dale and I joined other corn growers in Sioux Falls for the 2012 Annual Corn Growers meeting. Sessions were great, and of course, it was wonderful to meet some new people with common interests.

  • Beef Bucks and Vanna White Jan. 9

    January 6, 2012

    Promoters of South Dakota Beef Bucks are counting down until Jan. 9 and waiting to watch the spin of the wheel. Why? Because SD Beef Bucks will be offered as one of the $1,000 prizes on the nationally syndicated television program, Wheel of Fortune. The prize appears on Monday, Wednesday and Friday evenings the week of Jan. 9.

  • Tour delivers view into cheese vats

    January 3, 2012

     I vaguely remember my dad milking a cow on the farm where I was raised. That’s the extent of my knowledge of dairy.

  • Dutch friends find space, opportunity

    January 3, 2012

     Earlier this year, I interviewed Mike Frey who milks about 100 cows at Frey-View Dairy near Claremont. A visit to the 2,100 cow dairy of Wilfred and Olga Reuvekamp near Elkton at Hilltop Dairy opened up another door into the world of dairy farming.

  • Major stories impact ag operations

    January 3, 2012

     Our poll question this week asks for your input on the top ag stories this year. Around the state, answers vary, but we remain constantly aware of the huge impact our industry has on the rest of the state.

  • The pounding hooves of buffalo

    November 10, 2011

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  • Handling the perfect harvest

    November 4, 2011

      Most people I’ve talked to this week have called this an almost perfect harvest. The weather has been good with moderate temperatures. Soybeans came off fields dry and corn was in good shape. Some of the yields were down but the ease in getting the crop off the field without rain and snow lightened the stress of the season. And all of this before Halloween!

  • 4-H is vital to S.D. Extension program

    October 28, 2011

    Sometimes a small piece of paper can hold a lot of meaning.  On the wall in the study in my mom and dad’s apartment is a certificate. It indicates that the farm that my great-grandparents homesteaded in Henry Township in Brown County was named one of the South Dakota Century Farms.

  • Recognize awesome farm families

    October 20, 2011

    Stepping back to recognize what is great in agriculture is something we don’t do enough. Adapting practices to work around water to plant crops in years like this is a real talent. And then getting in the fields to work with machines that can be balky also challenges the temperaments of many. And yet, many ag people will say, “I’m just a farmer” or “I’m just a rancher.”  I know I don’t have to explain that the products of agriculture travel beyond our farm or ranch to provide food and feed around the world.

  • Beans are in the bin, solo trip to Calif.

    October 13, 2011

     Have you ever tried to plan a vacation around harvest time? Trying to outguess Mother Nature is not a good idea.  The first part of August, I asked Dale when we could take a trip to see our daughter Alisha in California. With the late spring, he figured that we wouldn’t get a frost until late in September and so could plan to take a break around the end of the month.

  • China trip offers extensive education

    September 22, 2011

    As farmers continue to ready equipment for bean harvest, there is a little lag time to consider the harvest on a worldwide scale.

  • Freezing temps did in my beans

    September 15, 2011

    The ground in our yard was white with frost this morning. No doubt that those cold temperatures will have an impact on farm crops and garden produce around the area.

  • Beans: Not just livestock feed or edamame

    September 8, 2011

    HeadlineBeans: Not just livestock feed or edamame

  • Brown County Fair results published

    September 1, 2011

    HeadlineBrown County Fair results published

  • Insight into ag on the reservation

    August 25, 2011

    This column continues with an overview of what our South Dakota Ag and Rural leadership class experienced on our July trip. In traveling to the Standing Rock Reservation, we met with members of the Tribal Council and the Bureau of Indian Affairs at offices in Fort Yates, N.D.

  • Irrigation, tiling and the Fair, oh my!

    August 19, 2011

    Have you ever had a week where too many things get packed into too few days? This week, I decided that I had to put on hold my plans to share information about what we learned from the trip our SDARL class took to the Standing Rock Indian Reservation. I have notes and I have handouts but not the time to thoughtfully share information I learned. With the Brown County Fair in full swing this week, I’ll have to get that pulled together for next week.

  • Wakpa Sica Reconciliation Place

    August 11, 2011

    Last week, I shared thoughts about visiting the Mortenson ranch north of Pierre. There is a second part of the journey that provoked much more thought. This trip was part of the South Dakota Ag and Rural Leadership seminar.

  • Holistic ranch tour appreciated

    August 11, 2011

     Lush green native pastures, blooming wildflowers and yucca cactus flourish on the rolling hills of the Mortenson Ranch north of Fort Pierre. A tranquil, winding stream flows through the middle of one of the sections of the ranch, framing an idyllic setting for raising cattle.

  • Time with grandkids much too short

    July 14, 2011

     Our daughter Ellen and her family left Wednesday for their drive home to Florida. We wish we could have bottled the energy that the grandsons have!

  • Shaking up ideas to embrace new concepts

    July 7, 2011

     Our grandkids from Florida arrived this week along with their parents. We’re looking forward to fun days with them. Donnie and Nathan sent us pictures of what they plan to do this next week so we should be busy!