2020 SDSPA Annual Membership Meeting Recap

The S.D. Specialty Producers Association (SDSPA) held its annual meeting in Chamberlain, SD March 7, 2020.  The annual meeting’s purpose is to conduct business, elect board members and facilitate discussion to create a “plan of work” for SDSPA to implement.

At the meeting we elected new board members and executive committee members. Charles Riggins, Riggins Homegrown Foods, was elected Treasurer; Cindy Tolle, Evergreen Ranching & Livestock, was elected Secretary; Peggy Martin, Cedar Creek Gardens, was elected Vice President; and Tom Bodensteiner was elected President and will serve a second term.

The morning session was a round table discussion to determine what SDSPA can do for the producers. SDSPA is building a strong website presence, working to increase awareness of local foods, providing seminars and conferences to promote and use local foods, coordinating legislative action, providing tours to increase area awareness with growers and consumers, and building a farmers market collaborative program.  The organization plans to continue to provide resources, tours, seminars and promotion to increase specialty product agriculture in South Dakota. Efforts will increase to build membership involvement and input to bring innovative ideas and solutions to fruition.

The meeting also included an opportunity for educational outreach and information sharing.

Legislative Action Committee Chair Jeff Stewart, Stewart Aronia Acres, discussed various legislative bills regarding herbicide and pesticide drift damage and responsibility. Some bills passed, but regulatory or enforcement bills were not passed. SDSPA has issued a position statement and maintains all applicators should be responsible for drift damage. Glen Pulse, Prairie Sun Organics, discussed HB 157, focused on local zoning.

Carol Ford, a deep winter greenhouse pioneer from central Minnesota participated through Zoom (web conference) and provided an insight into winter greenhouse design, production and marketing. Carol has information available on this website.

Nathan Jones, USDA/NRCS State Soil Scientist, spoke about a project in progress to assist growers in proper crop site selection for various fruit varieties. He is developing a web-based soil survey with interpretations for orchard and maybe even some specialty crops for South Dakota.  In order to do this right, he needs input from you, the producer. He needs to know the types of orchard and specialty crops you are interested in growing here and which you need soils information for.  Please send him a list of trees, berries and other plants you would like to grow. Also please share information you may have on these crops such as: best pH range, soil type, species of crops, where you want to grow them, when you want to grow them, whether or not you plan to irrigate, etc.  The more information he can collect the better. Contact him via email or at 605-224-8870.

Kim Brannen has resigned from the SDSPA Board of Directors effective March 26, 2020. SDSPA would like to thank Kim, past SDSPA President and Treasure, for the countless hours she has invested into SDSPA networking and building relationships, initiating and organizing SDSPA projects, overseeing the SDSPA financial accounts, and serving as a leader to the organization. Over the years Kim has been instrumental for securing grant funding for the organization and supporting programs including the S.D. Local Foods Conference, Sioux Falls Local Foods Fair, the S.D. Value Added Ag Day Producer Showcase, the S.D. Agritourism Working Group, SDSPA Producers Tours and more. Thank you Kim!