The crops may be harvested and the equipment put away, but there’s still plenty to do on South Dakota farms in the winter. This is especially true for farmers, like John Horter, who raise animals. John is the fifth generation in his family to grow soybeans, corn, wheat and alfalfa near Andover. He also works with his parents, wife Jaclyn and two adorable children, Dane and Raegan, to manage a cow/calf operation and a farm repair and supply business in their local community.
With 98 percent of South Dakota farms being family owned, it’s important for farmers like the Horters to practice sustainability and excellent animal care to continue feeding families in the future. So what does a typical winter day on the Horter family farm look like? How do they keep their cows healthy during cold weather? We visited with John to get the scoop on his winter activities.
Q: What is a typical day like on your farm in the winter?
A: A typical winter day starts with checking on and feeding our cattle. We do our best to make sure they eat at about the same time every day. Once they’re taken care of, we spend time in the shop fixing equipment and working at our store. We also plan for the next growing season by reviewing harvest data to determine investments in seed, fertilizer and equipment. This type of data and the technology in our tractors help us use minimal resources to grow healthy crops.
Q: How do you keep your cattle comfortable in unpredictable weather?
A: We make a plan for each situation. If it looks like it’s going to be warm, we put down extra bedding to keep them out of the mud. When it’s cold, we feed them more to ensure they have extra energy. If it is unusually stormy or cold, we bring them closer to windbreaks for protection or inside our barns. We add windbreaks and plant trees throughout the year to give them more protection out in the pasture. We are constantly looking for different ways to keep them safe and healthy no matter the weather.
Q: How do you make sure your cows stay healthy when it’s cold?
A: We work with an animal nutritionist to put together the right diet for every season. As the temperatures fall, we adjust their diets to provide more energy to keep them warm. Cattle grow thicker hair in the winter to protect themselves against cold temps so they can stay comfortable grazing in sub-zero weather.
We also rely on our veterinarian to help us treat our animals if they get sick. When we notice an issue, our veterinarian helps us diagnose the problem and can prescribe an antibiotic through a veterinary feed directive. This ensures that we only use antibiotics when necessary and in the right doses. It helps us treat our cattle safely and as directed by law.
Q: What’s your favorite part about raising animals on the farm?
A: It’s really fun to see the way our children interact with the animals. In the summer, we all check on the cattle in the pastures together. We enjoy welcoming new calves every spring and watching them grow. It’s so rewarding to be part of providing healthy, safe and affordable food for South Dakota families.
In a state with more cows than people, it’s easy to see why cow comfort is so important to many farmers and ranchers. Read how animal care and cover crops are helping Shawn and Kristy Freeland create a sustainable future for their Rapid City ranch.
Hungry for Truth is an initiative about food and farming funded by the South Dakota soybean checkoff. The goal is to connect South Dakotans with the farmers who grow and raise their food.
Hungry for Truth’s annual Farm-to-Fork dinner is an opportunity for farmers and South Dakotans to gather around the table, share a meal and engage in conversations about how food is grown and raised. Our 2018 event took place at the Country Apple Orchard near Harrisburg, where more than 180 people came together to talk about topics such as environmental sustainability, pesticide use and food safety.
“The Farm-To-Fork dinner really brings the mission of the Hungry for Truth initiative to life. It’s a great way for us to personally share the truth about how we do things on our farms and honestly address questions or concerns,” said Vermillion farmer Jerry Schmitz. “Despite public perceptions, 98 percent of farms are still family owned in South Dakota, and we’re making more sustainable choices to ensure that tradition continues for generations to come.”
Let’s look at a few highlights from the evening, which included delicious local fare.
Do you have a question for a South Dakota farmer? Leave it in the comments below. Don’t forget to scroll down and sign up for our monthly e-newsletter to get delicious recipes and local farm-to-table stories delivered to your inbox.
Hungry for Truth is an initiative about food and farming funded by the South Dakota soybean checkoff. The goal is to connect South Dakotans with the farmers who grow and raise their food.
We’re used to indulging in traditional dishes on Thanksgiving, like grandma’s pumpkin pie and Aunt Susan’s green bean casserole, but at Friendsgiving, anything goes. A low-key get together with your favorite buds is a great way to celebrate friendship and test drive new recipes.
Like you, South Dakota farm families will be celebrating friendship and family this season too, but Thanksgiving carries an extra special meaning for them because it also marks the close of soybean harvest. As they look back on another successful growing season and the careful planning it took to raise their crops sustainably, soybean farmers have much to be thankful for when they take their seat at the dinner table.
Whether you’re reflecting on an important season in your life, or are simply ready to celebrate, here are a few Friendsgiving tips to impress your host.
Decide on the Dish
While the host typically covers the turkey, it’s up to the guests to add some flare with side dishes. Talk with your host ahead of time to coordinate the menu. They’ll appreciate a balanced spread rather than 10 different types of potatoes. If they say it’s simply up to you, feel free to let your creativity soar with something unique. Whatever you decide, bring your own serving dish and leftover containers to keep the meal hassle-free.
Choose Shareable Sides
Appetizers and sharables make it easy to get a little taste of everything. If your dish is easy to grab, it’ll be hard to resist. Try bringing something bite-sized or splitting the dish into individual portions. Some of our favorites are deviled eggs, sweet potato bites and prosciutto cheese bites.
Consider Easy Alternatives
Maybe you’re a little challenged in the kitchen or just don’t have much time to spare before the party. That’s okay! A meat and cheese plate or specialty bread will always win over a hungry crew. Fresh veggies and fruit are also appreciated. When choosing produce, know that it was grown with your safety as the top priority. Buying organic may be your jam, but know that you don’t have to spend the extra money to provide nutritious snacks for your friends. Organic and conventional farming are more similar than you think, especially when it comes to nutrition and safety.
Bake With Fall Flavors
Bring the Party
Cooking not your thing? Be the friend who brings the good times with decks of cards or a fun party game to ignite conversation. Or consider supplying necessities like folding chairs, tables or decorations.
No matter what, be sure to thank your host for the hospitality. Toast your host during dinner with a few heartfelt words. If speaking isn’t your strong suit, bring a nice bottle of wine or write a thoughtful note. After all, giving thanks is what it’s all about.
If you’re hosting Friendsgiving for your crew, be sure to browse these holiday hosting tips from The Event Company’s Addie Graham-Kramer. We also have a recipe for maple glazed turkey that will have your guests cheering.
Hungry for Truth is an initiative about food and farming funded by the South Dakota soybean checkoff. The goal is to connect South Dakotans with the farmers who grow and raise their food.
Farmers are driven to grow safe and healthy food while protecting the land. That’s why many use pesticides, along with other pest management techniques, to reduce damage from insects, weeds and diseases on their crops. In the words of South Dakota soybean and corn farmer Ram Farrell, “Farmers only want to apply as much as they need to grow a healthy crop. It saves money and, more importantly, it helps preserve the land for the next generation.”
Farmers put a lot of thought into their crop protection plan. Here are five questions farmers consider before applying pesticides to their fields.
Is it safe? Safety is the name of the game when it comes to pesticide use. Before they spray, farmers have to be certified by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). This certification shows they understand pest management and how to properly store, use, handle and dispose of pesticides and containers.
“We take spraying more seriously than planting and harvesting,” said Paul Casper, a soybean and corn farmer from Lake Preston. “It’s about being a good neighbor, making sure our children and grandchildren are safe, and growing healthy food we can all feel good about eating.”
What insect, weed or disease am I targeting? Farmers routinely walk their fields, looking for bugs, weeds or signs of disease. This is called scouting. Pesticides are just one tool farmers use to deal with harmful insects and weeds in their fields. There are other techniques, such as conservation tillage, GMO seeds and crop rotation, that help prevent and address problems. Knowing what pests are in their fields helps farmers make the right choice about whether to spray or employ another technique.
“Each method is part of a toolkit to safely manage and grow healthy crops,” said Dr. David Shaw, a weed scientist and professor at Mississippi State University. “Many farmers take a holistic approach to stopping pests.”
Have I used this pesticide before? Different products attack target pests in different ways. If farmers use the same pesticide over and over again, the target pest population can adapt over generations and become resistant. That’s why farmers are careful to rotate the products they use to ensure crop protection remains effective.
“The goal is to use pesticides accurately, efficiently and responsibly,” said Joel Pazour, a soybean, corn and wheat farmer from Chamberlain. “It’s just better all the way around.”
What’s the weather forecast? The weather plays a big role in determining when it’s safe to spray. We get some hot, hot, hot days here in South Dakota. When the temperature tops 90 degrees, farmers avoid applying pesticides. They also avoid spraying when wind speeds are over 15 miles per hour so that pesticides don’t drift into other areas. Lastly, they aim to spray during dry weather. Humidity should be between 50 and 60 percent, and no rain should be in the immediate forecast. When it’s too humid, pesticides can stay in the air, rather than settling on the crops and target weeds.
What if the weather conditions aren’t right? They wait to spray. “It’s just not worth taking a chance,” said Paul Casper.
What’s the proper rate at which I can apply this pesticide? Farmers read product labels to learn the use rate for each one. The EPA reviews pesticides and determines the rate at which they’re safe and effective. The whole process takes nearly 10 years from start to finish, and pesticides are re-evaluated every 15 years to make extra sure they’re still safe. You might be surprised to learn that farmers aim to use as little of a product as they can. To cover an acre, which is about the size of a football field, a farmer will use about 20 oz. of pesticides. That’s about the size of a large coffee.
“We’re not spraying more than we need. We formulate a specific recipe for each field and apply no more, no less,” said Kevin Deinert, a soybean, corn and cattle farmer from Mount Vernon.
Now that you know a little bit about all the considerations that go into a pesticide application, you can feel confident that farmers keep your family, food and safety top of mind. Learn more about how farmers control weeds by reading about the Pazour family farm.
Hungry for Truth held its third annual Farm-to-Fork Dinner in June, bringing to life its mission of uniting farmers and consumers around the dinner table to have open conversations about how food is grown and raised. Approximately 180 farmers and South Dakotans gathered at the Country Apple Orchard near Harrisburg for a social hour and meal featuring local food and beverages.
While the emerald orchard trees, luscious pink peonies and rustic wood architecture created a picturesque backdrop, the pinnacle element of the evening was the opportunity to share stories and connect.
“My favorite part of attending the Farm-to-Fork Dinner is the opportunity to hear more about what the farmers do year-round to create healthy food. There’s so much more to farming than just planting a seed and harvesting the crop,” said guest Lexie Frankman. “Plus, it’s a really fun vibe, and the menu is full of fresh, local favorites.”
Sandra Melstad agreed. “As someone who works in public health, I appreciate resources that can help families eat and live healthier lifestyles. Learning more about locally grown, sustainable foods is important to me and the people I serve. Hungry for Truth does a great job of bringing farmers and families together at this event,” she explained.
Dinner began with a welcome from Vermillion farmer Jerry Schmitz. He described his farm and how he grows soybeans, corn, apples and also keeps bees for local honey producers. Other farmers, including Jeff Thompson, Walt Bones and Alan Merril addressed the crowd throughout the meal, explaining how their family farms are becoming more sustainable.
“Our farms have changed to grow and raise food more efficiently but we’re also committed to caring for the soil, water, air and wildlife for future generations,” stated Walt, who gave some specific examples of technology and how it’s helped farmers grow more with less land and resources. “If farmers today used the techniques from the 1950s, we wouldn’t be able to grow enough food to feed approximately 131 million people. That’s equal to the number of people who live in the 9 most populated U.S. states.”
Alan shared how technology has helped him be more efficient with pesticide application and making sure just the right amount is applied to the crop at the right time.
Guest Karla Santi said she appreciates learning more about food and farmer safety when it comes to pesticides. “Pesticides can be useful in protecting crops, but it was good to learn about the growth of biotechnology products compared with pesticides. It’s good to know farmers use technology that helps keep them and our food safe.”
For Karla and other urbanites whose regular connection to the farm is the grocery store or a farmers market, sharing a meal around the table with a local farm family is a special treat.
“Farming is really key to being a South Dakotan. It’s a big part of who we are, and I’m excited to be part of celebrating it,” said Natalie Eisenberg.
According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) — the agency responsible for evaluating the safety of all new and existing pesticides — the fruits, vegetables and soy foods we eat today are safer than they’ve ever been. This is all thanks to a strict pesticide evaluation process that puts food safety and the environment first.
Here are five ways the EPA works to ensure the food on your plate is safe to enjoy:
1. Extensive review
Registering a new pesticide can take nearly 10 years from start to finish. The manufacturer must first present evidence that its product is safe and effective according to strict EPA standards. It then faces multiple risk assessments and public comment periods. Finally, every pesticide goes through a team of expert scientists for review.
“The EPA works to make sure that registered pesticides pose no unreasonable risks to people or the environment,” said Bill Chism, a senior biologist who has been with the EPA for nearly two decades. “I believe that American families have very safe food and that farmers have a wide range of pesticides available to them so that they can choose a product with the least impact on the environment.”
2. People First
In 1996, Congress passed the Food Quality Protection Act to improve food safety standards and place special emphasis on protecting children from pesticide exposure. Since then, the EPA has cancelled or restricted the use of almost 300 pesticides. It has also lowered the rates of pesticide residue allowed on foods popular with children such as apples, grapes and potatoes. The result has been an overall decrease in the amount of pesticide residues on food and use of safer crop protection products over time.
3. Farmer Safety
Safer pesticides don’t just protect the foods we eat, they also benefit the farmers who grow them. The EPA makes sure label instructions are clear and easy to use, and that the pesticide does not place workers at risk.
Chism, who grew up on a vegetable farm in the Salinas Valley of California, meets with farmers and crop consultants several times a year. They talk about how farmers use pesticides and ways to improve the safety of crop protection. Farmers are also required to attend local certification meetings to ensure they have the latest tools and information to safely protect themselves and their crops during pesticide application.
4. Environmental impact
All pesticides approved for use must demonstrate that they pose no undue risk to humans, wildlife, fish, waterways or plants, including non-target insects and endangered species. The EPA also establishes measures for effective use that help protect the environment. One example is creating “no-spray” buffer zones around communities and waterways. This helps provide a sustainable future for our food system.
5. Continued evaluation
The EPA re-evaluates product safety every 15 years. This includes reviewing new science or data that’s emerged. During this time, the EPA welcomes public comment to make the process transparent to consumers.
With pesticide residues being a concern for many families, it’s helpful to know there’s a rigorous approval process and continued testing to keep all of us safe. For more answers to your pesticide questions, check out this blog with weed scientist Dr. David Shaw or leave your questions in the comments below.
Whether you work in a tractor or at a desk, everyone needs a quick, easy meal to ward off midday hunger. This easy Cuban slider fits the bill. Make a big batch on Sunday evening, and you’ll have delicious, hearty ham sandwiches to fill your lunchbox for the whole week.
Not only does ham provide high-quality protein, it also is one of the most sustainable meats available. Sustainability means doing what’s right for the environment and continuously improving the land. Pork farmers have done just that by reducing their carbon footprint by 35 percent in the last 50 years. Feeding pigs a nutrient-rich diet of sustainably-grown soybean meal allows farmers to raise delicious meat while leaving the land better than they found it.
Now, it’s sandwich time! Follow along with this video to see step-by-step instructions for this quick lunchtime hit. Need a dinner recipe? Try these Pork Chops With Rosemary Apple Butter.
Bradee Pazour has always been passionate about farming. She grew up on a family farm just outside Chamberlain and married into the farm life. Today, she grows soybeans, corn and wheat alongside her husband, Joel and his family, near Pukwana, South Dakota. They stay busy raising cows and two spunky kiddos on the plains.
Bradee cherishes her role helping Joel manage the day-to-day demands of farm life. “We care tremendously about growing safe food for families and protecting the environment,” she explained.
This includes assisting when she can with planting and controlling early-season weeds that can threaten the health of their crops. Just like many South Dakota farmers, the Pazours take steps to carefully select the types of pesticides to use and apply them safely. The strategy of using just the right amount to get the job done is important to Bradee, who wants to grow healthy plants without sacrificing the safety of her family, neighbors and the environment.
“Weed control is similar whether you live in town or on the farm. For example, many people want to protect their yards from crabgrass. One of the best ways to prevent it is to apply a pre-emergence herbicide in the spring to keep it from ever coming up,” explained Bradee. “It requires strategic pre-planning but translates to healthier plants down the road.”
Applying a pre-emergence herbicide to stop weeds on the Pazour farm means crops don’t have to compete for resources like water, sunlight and nutrients from the soil. Since the tiny seeds are resistant to the herbicides thanks to genetic modification, the plants can put all their energy into growing strong and healthy.
Selecting the right product is just one part of the equation. Farmers like the Pazours also have to attend classes to get certified to apply all types of pesticides. They also learn when to spray and how to mix the product for optimal performance and safety.
“The precision technology in our sprayer allows us to apply the right amount down to the inch across the field,” explained Joel. “The goal is to use pesticides accurately, efficiently and responsibly. It’s just better all the way around.”
You have probably heard it said, “Eat more fruits and vegetables.” Health experts agree increasing plant-based foods in your diet has important health benefits. Fruits, vegetables, whole grains and soy protein sources have nutrients that help prevent heart disease, stroke and some cancers. In addition, making lower calorie foods like fruits and vegetables a larger portion of your diet may help you manage your weight.
With these positive benefits, we should be increasing our consumption of plant-based foods, but because of confusing messages about the safety of conventional and organic foods, studies show shoppers buy fewer fruits and vegetables.
As a dietitian, I encourage a healthy diet with a variety of fruits, vegetables, grains, dairy products and protein sources like lean meats and soy protein. It’s concerning to me that fear may be keeping people from safe, affordable food. Because I am a family farmer, a dietitian and I also listen to scientists, I know we have a safe food supply. We should let facts, not fear, guide our food choices.
So, what are the facts?
Pesticide residues are not a safety concern in the U.S. food supply.
Both conventional and organic farmers rely on synthetic or natural pesticides as a tool to control pests and diseases on their crops, and these pesticides are regulated to ensure the safety of our food. They apply them very carefully and use just the right amount to protect crops. With all produce, follow the FDA recommendation and take this simple step: Just Wash It. You will be removing any dirt, bacteria and pesticide residue, if there is any, that may be on your produce.
A pesticide residue calculator found on the Alliance for Food and Farming website gives a great perspective on any concerns about pesticide residue you may have. It shows, for example, my grandson could consume 181 servings of strawberries in one day without any effect, even if the strawberries had the highest pesticide residue ever recorded for strawberries by the USDA. I want my grandson to benefit from the vitamin C, potassium, folate, fiber and antioxidants in strawberries, and know I can safely share my favorite fruit with him.
The fact is the health benefit of increasing your fruit and vegetable intake should far outweigh any concerns about pesticide residues. Fruits and vegetables can be consumed in any form to provide you with the nutrients you need: fresh, frozen, canned, dried and 100 percent fruit or vegetable juice. The amount of fruits and vegetables you need daily depends on your age, gender and level of physical activity. However, aiming for half of your plate to contain fruits and vegetables is a great place to start.
Still concerned about potential pesticide residues? We’ve got tips on how to properly wash your produce. Be sure to leave any questions for Charlotte in the comments.
There are a lot of choices when it comes to food in South Dakota grocery stores and farmers markets. “Low fat,” “gluten free” and “non-GMO” are just a few of the labels companies add to packaging to stand out and appeal to your dietary preferences. While they may be helpful, these labels can also lead people to wonder about the safety and health of foods without labeling claims.
“Organic” is a great example of this because foods grown using organic and conventional practices are equally safe and nutritious, but organic foods receive a little extra attention. That’s because organic farmers go through a certification process that requires them to use some different practices. However, you may be surprised to know that conventional and organic farmers are more alike than you think.
In the past, we’ve explored ways organic farming is different than conventional, so today we’re looking at some of the top similarities.
Families own and operate 97 percent of the farms in South Dakota. There are approximately 31,000 farms in the state and about 103 are certified organic. Whether they use organic or conventional methods, there’s almost always a family behind the food you eat.
Conventional and organic farmers can both use pesticides to control harmful insects. The difference is that organic farmers can’t use most synthetic substances, while conventional farmers can use any type of pesticide deemed safe by the USDA. No matter what they use, by the time the food reaches grocery store shelves, it’s safe to eat. In fact, a woman could eat 850 servings of apples in a day with no effects from pesticides. See for yourself.
Farmers who use conventional and organic methods seek ways to improve their farm practices each year to protect the land for future generations. Environmentally friendly practices like crop rotation, no-till farming and cover crops protect and preserve the land, and aid in improving soil quality. Composting and applying animal manure also fertilize the ground.
Organic and conventional farmers who raise animals care about their safety and want to keep them healthy and comfortable. They protect them by providing shelter in barns, making sure they have access to water and feeding them a healthy diet of soybeans, corn and vitamins. Soybeans – grown organically or conventionally – are a favorite protein-packed meal for pigs, chickens, turkeys and cows in South Dakota. Farmers work with veterinarians to treat sick animals. Though organic farmers cannot use antibiotics to treat them like conventional farmers, they can use some vaccines and pain medications.
Foods raised organically and conventionally must meet safety standards set by the USDA. South Dakota farmers grow and raise foods that are healthy for your family and theirs. The methods may be different, but safety is a top priority for all family farmers.
The next time you’re in the grocery store trying to decide between the organic and conventionally raised strawberries, you can feel confident you’re making a safe and healthy choice no matter which carton you pick. Keep growing your food-shopping knowledge by reading about meaningless food labels and if paying a little more for organic is worth it.
Curious about how pesticides used on the farm translate to the grocery aisles? We recently talked with weed scientist Dr. David Shaw for answers to the top questions South Dakota soybean farmers are asked at Hungry for Truth events and online.
Dr. Shaw is a distinguished professor and vice president of research and economic development at Mississippi State University. He has served as president of the Weed Science Society of America and chair of a USDA task force that developed a report on herbicide resistance management. He’s also a father who enjoys cooking with his family and cheering on the Cardinals at Busch Stadium.
Q: Will the pesticides used on the produce I buy harm me or my family?
A: There are a lot of regulatory and safety requirements that must be met before any pesticide can be used. The testing process is rigorous and designed to protect consumers first. Having looked at the science behind the approval process, I can say I have a great deal of confidence in the pesticide requirements from both the EPA and FDA. As a father looking out for my children, I want to be absolutely certain what I’m buying is safe.
Q: Isn’t it possible there are traces of pesticides on the produce I buy?
A: Just because a substance is detectable doesn’t necessarily mean it will cause any harm. The exposure limits that are set on pesticides are very conservative and are far lower than the levels that could actually put you in danger.
Have you ever looked into how much produce you’d have to eat to feel the effects of pesticides? Try this calculator. You might be surprised at the results.
Q: What are farmers doing today to reduce their use of pesticides in the fields?
A: Well, farmers use pesticides alongside other pest management practices like crop rotation, cover crops, promotion of beneficial insects and more. Each method is part of a toolkit to safely manage and grow healthy crops. Many farmers take a holistic approach to stopping pests.
Q: Is organic farming better when it comes to pesticide use?
A: I have no argument against organic production, and it does have its own niche. But to be able to produce both the quantity and quality of food necessary to feed our growing population, organic production alone is not enough. I’d encourage folks to go out and spend a bit of time on an organic farm to really understand all the challenges and limitations these farmers face. This means everything from managing insects to maintaining a staff large enough to provide all the hand-weeding required to eliminate pesticide use. It’s a lot of challenging work. To be able to feed all the people in our world, we really need farms of all sizes.
People also have a misconception that organic farmers do not use pesticides. They do, and just like synthetic pesticides, some of these organic pesticides can be toxic if not used correctly. The key with both organic and synthetic pesticides is to use the products correctly according to their labels and then no one’s health will be threatened.
Still have questions about pesticides and food safety? Leave them in the comments below and we’ll help you find an answer. Whether you’re wondering how much pesticides farmers apply to South Dakota staple crops like soybeans or if you should worry about eating fresh produce from the grocery store, Hungry for Truth strives to help get you the facts from local farmers who have your family’s health in mind.
Hungry for Truth is about connecting South Dakota families with the farmers who grow your food. We love taking trips to the farm to show you how farm families care for their crops and animals and encourage conversations. It’s all part of helping you feel confident about the food you eat.
Some of our favorite stories focus on sustainability because being environmentally friendly is so important. Over the past 30 years, soybean farmers across the U.S. have increased soybean production by 46 percent while reducing energy use by 35 percent, soil loss by 47 percent and water use through irrigation by 33 percent. Read the report.
While we address how farms are becoming more sustainable, we don’t often focus on why they care about it. The why is family. Yours and theirs. Everyone thrives when our children have access to safe food and a healthy environment.
Don’t just take our word for it. Hear it straight from these South Dakota farmers.
“It’s important to me to use the best practices for our kids and the families who depend on us for food. Healthy food comes from healthy soils. We can’t deplete our resources if we want our children to continue eating safe and healthy food.”
– Jamie Johnson, farmer from Frankfort
“Sustainability is our number one priority. I’m a fourth-generation farmer, and my son is the fifth. This land is what and who we are. It is our livelihood. Protecting it from chemicals, water and soil erosion: That’s our job, and it’s one we love. As farmers, protecting the environment is our goal because we want to leave the land in better shape for the next generation.”
– Paul Casper, farmer from Lake Preston
“It’s not just better for our land, animals and the people who buy our meat. It’s also a way for our family to keep doing what we love.”
– Kristy Freeland, rancher from Rapid City
“For me, it’s such a privilege to watch my kids grow up on the farm. They are the sixth generation on our farm, and you can tell their passion for agriculture comes from within. There’s nothing more rewarding than teaching my children what has been passed down to me through the generations and see them grow to appreciate the land that provides for us.”
– John Horter, farmer from Andover
Food isn’t the only reason farmers protect the land and water. Family activities like hunting and fishing are also part of family fun. Here’s one story.
During snowy South Dakota winters, sometimes it just feels good to snuggle in at home with our favorite comfort foods. When blogger and designer Oksana Silchuk needs to take time for herself, she recharges by spending time in the kitchen. Cooking comforting meals, like this Potato Chicken Noodle Soup, takes her back to her Ukrainian roots and fuels cozy days at home with her husband and two toddlers.
Shopping for the ingredients for her Potato Chicken Noodle Soup reminds her of the impact farmers have on her family.
“My appreciation for farmers runs so deep,” Oksana said. “Every time I am at the grocery store, I am reminded that the produce and meat I purchase is there because of their labor and care. It’s humbling.”
That’s one of the reasons why she’s a fan of Hungry for Truth. It’s an opportunity to get to know the farm families behind the food she enjoys. Though she grew up in town, she understands the work that goes into growing crops and raising animals. Her family even raised a few chickens in their backyard.
“I recall feeding them, chasing them, taking care of them and, ultimately, my mom making us delicious meals with them,” said Oksana.
Oksana is thankful that Hungry for Truth gives her the chance to teach her children about how South Dakota farmers care for their animals, crops and the environment. Oksana’s kids even get a chance to learn about how crops like soybeans are used for so many different things like animal feed, cooking oil and even the crayons they color with. Not bad for two Sioux Falls city kids.
Who knows? Her children might get the chance to call themselves farm kids one day.
“I’ve always lived in the city but am a total farm girl at heart,” she said. “I dream of one day owning some livestock and living on a farm.”
Wherever the Silchuk family winds up, they’re sure to have many more cozy days gathered around the table, sharing soup and each other’s company.
“This is the one meal my babes can’t get enough of. They can easily gobble up a few bowls and ask for more,” Oksana said. “Hope you enjoy this recipe as much as we do.”
Snuggle up to Oksana’s soup recipe below. Looking for more comfort food? Try this Crockpot Turkey and Edamame Chili recipe to warm your winter days.
For more than four generations, the Casper family has grown soybeans and corn near Lake Preston. Paul and his wife Korlyn use sustainable practices to take care of their land and water so they can pass it along to their children and grandchildren. This includes safely and responsibly applying pesticides to protect crops.
Certification is key. Like other farmers, Paul must go through training to determine how much and when to apply. You might be surprised to know that the amount of pesticide used on an acre of crops, approximately the size of a football field, is roughly equivalent to a large cup of coffee. By using less, today’s farmers are doing more for the environment.
Hear why taking care of the land is so important to Paul and his family.
Safety is the first step in pesticide application. What are the others? Get the scoop.
When it comes to food and choices in the grocery store, it’s tough enough to decide what to make for dinner. The last thing you need to worry about is pesticides on your produce. To help keep crops and your food safe, South Dakota farm families use technology to apply just enough pesticides to protect crops and get the job done. They are always looking for ways to improve how they farm to be good neighbors.
For Lake Preston soybean farmer Paul Casper, this translates to planting GMO crops, driving a sprayer equipped with automatic shut-offs and using large nozzles to ensure more product stays on the plants. These tools help him apply less pesticides in a more effective way. Like all farmers, Paul goes through training so he knows how to mix and spray safely.
We’ll let Paul explain how he uses technology to protect his family and yours.
Interested in learning more? Get a deeper look at the crop protection technology on Paul’s farm.
There’s a good chance you’ve thought about food safety while shopping at the grocery store. Did you know the farmers behind your food are always thinking of ways to improve and keep your family safe and healthy? This includes carefully applying pesticides to protect crops.
We spent some time talking with Lake Preston soybean farmer Paul Casper to learn more about what pesticides are, why he uses them and how they can be a great tool for farmers when applied accurately and responsibly. He even shares how the products his wife, Korlyn, uses to keep fruits and veggies safe in the garden are very similar to the ones he uses in the field. As parents and grandparents, Paul and Korlyn always put safety first.
Watch this video to get the scoop on pesticides and plant protection.
Keep growing your crop protection knowledge with this blog featuring South Dakota State University Weed Expert Paul Johnson. He shares more about pesticide safety and how farmers learn to apply them.
There’s no doubt preparing a holiday spread filled with your family’s favorite dishes takes time, energy and money. It’s a labor of love that equates to about $50 for a 10-person meal at Thanksgiving. While that seems like a steal for comfort foods, holiday leftovers are certainly something you don’t want to waste, especially when it comes to the turkey.
Americans love turkey. We eat about 46 million on Thanksgiving day, which accounts for 20 percent of the 228 million turkeys eaten each year. South Dakota’s soybean farmers contribute to your holiday feast by raising 5 million of those turkeys—enough for six turkeys for every person in South Dakota! It’s a known fact: keeping turkeys in care and comfort is the number one goal of farmers. Dennis Thomas, CFO of Dakota Provisions, works with growers and knows that they live their . Turkeys live in an indoor facility with plenty ventilation, protecting them from predators while giving them access to fresh air.
But enough turkey talk—you can find more in our Across The Table video—it’s time to explore the safest ways to refrigerate, reheat and freeze leftovers as well as some ideas for transforming them into meals.
Start by removing food from the table within two hours of serving. It may be tempting to simply pop on the top and leave it in the serving dish, but leftovers stay safer, longer if you package them in clean, airtight containers. Help them cool quickly by packing food in shallow containers with more surface area. Avoid stacking them so heat escapes. Leftovers can be kept in the refrigerator for up to four days.
When reheating leftovers later, only warm up the amount you want to serve. Reheating foods multiple times contributes to loss of flavor and moisture. Use a thermometer to make sure you’re achieving the safe temp of 165 degrees F. Sauces, soups and gravies should come to a full boil and cool again before you dig in.
If you don’t eat your leftovers within a few days, it’s time to transfer them to the freezer. Hint: The sooner you make the transfer the better they taste.
Pack side dishes like stuffing and mashed potatoes in airtight freezer containers or plastic freezer bags. Leave some space at the top of the container for liquids like soup or gravy to expand. Avoid stacking containers until the food inside is frozen solid. Wrap sliced turkey meat in freezer paper or foil, then seal in plastic freezer bags. Make sure to press out all the air before sealing.
Leftovers can technically be kept indefinitely as long as they’re stored at 0 degrees F, but they taste best when eaten within two or three months.
Having a plan to get creative with leftovers can help them disappear quickly. Here are a few meal ideas from Sioux Falls Hy-Vee Dietitian Anna Heronimus.
- Hearty Harvest Stew: Start with leftover gravy with the fat skimmed away before making gravy as the base. Add leftover turkey and veggies. Thicken with mashed or sweet potatoes. Cook to 165°F.
- Turkey-Berry Wrap: Spread wrap with cranberry sauce, add sliced turkey and shredded greens in whole-wheat tortillas. Sprinkle in toasted pecans for satisfying crunch.
- Cranberry Smoothies: Blend cranberries, frozen yogurt and orange juice for a cool treat.
- Crunchy Turkey Salad: Combine cubed turkey, celery, apples and light mayo with shredded baby spinach for a light meal.
Want to create room in your refrigerator ahead of the holidays by throwing out foods that are past their shelf life? Here’s a guide to help you know what to keep and what to throw.
Admit it: There’s something thrilling about hitting the open road and embracing the adventure that comes along with a summer road trip, regardless of where you’re headed. If you decide to stay in-state, there’s plenty to see according to the South Dakota’s Department of Tourism’s good time guides. While travel any distance can provide unforgettable memories and valuable family time, road trips can sometimes be difficult to plan.
Don’t worry. We have you covered. Follow these simple tips to help you minimize clutter and ensure a comfortable and safe ride for your crew.
- Snack smart. It’s certainly not a real road trip without the snacks! If there is one key to keeping a crowded car happy, it’s food. Be sure to pack portable snacks that will minimize messy crumbs and spills. Keep your crew well fueled by offering healthy options like trail mixes, roasted soy nuts, and chopped fruit or vegetables.
Travelling with food in the hot summer sun can be tricky as it’s important to keep it safe and cool. However, with proper planning and these great cooler tips, packing food safely is a snap. Choose the most efficient cooler size possible to keep food colder longer and save space in the car. Also, use frozen water bottles instead of ice to minimize excess water and double as a cold drink for later.
- Engage and entertain. Arguably just as important as the snacks, is crafting the ultimate road trip playlist. Long car rides offer great opportunities for naps and enjoying the wide-open spaces of the countryside, but watching trees and fields pass is only interesting for so long. Make sure to bring along some entertainment like personalized playlists or portable DVD monitors.
You can also engage your travelers by researching the areas you pass through on your phone, or playing games while you road trip. You might be surprised what you can learn about the passing farms and attractions. Did know 98 percent of farms in South Dakota are family owned? More than 2,000 have been in the same family for more than 100 years. Also, be on the lookout for cattle and bison. South Dakota farmers raise more beef cattle than any other commodity and lead the country in bison farming. It’s likely you’ll pass corn and soybean fields. They are South Dakota’s top field crops.
- Be strategic. When creating your packing list and picking out your luggage, be strategic. Be realistic about what you will actually use and do your best to pack light. Who really needs six pairs of socks for a two-night stay? Choose luggage, like duffle bags, that is flexible when stacking and create a system for organization that will make things easy to access on the go.
- Think safety. Road trips are an inexpensive way to travel when you have your squad in tow. However, there are some risks you should always be ready for. A flat tire or dead battery can really put a damper on the trip, so think ahead and make sure your spare tire and jumper cables are ready to go when the time comes. There’s nothing worse than being stranded waiting for a tow truck, burning valuable hours you could be poolside or relaxing on the boat.
- Keep cozy. Sitting for hours isn’t a comfortable situation for most people, especially for young, active passengers. Keep cozy in the car by packing small throw pillows and blankets for passengers. Plan to make stops every two to three hours so everyone can stretch their legs and burn off energy. It’s human nature to want to move around a bit. You can either take control of the situation and prep for it, or you can spend a fair amount of time turning around, reaching into the back seat and trying to break up WrestleMania 2017.
Before soybeans and other locally grown foods get to your table, they go on their own road trips to get from the farm to your fork. Learn more about their journey here.
Do you have any creative road trip hacks to share? Tell us how you make travels memorable and fun in the comments below.