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Hungry for Truth Farm to Fork Dinner 2018

Farm-To-Fork Dinner Video Recaps Connections and Conversations

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. 

A mug of crockpot caramel apple cider topped with whipped cream, caramel and a cinnamon stick.

Crockpot Caramel Apple Cider

When the days are short and temps are cold, flavorful warm drinks are not a want, but a need. This crockpot cider recipe pairs the comforting flavors of apple and caramel with warm spices like cinnamon to fill your mug with feel-good vibes. So grab a few apples and plug in the crockpot! It’s time to get cozy.

Fortunately, the apples you’re reaching for already have a pretty solid shelf-life, but a new variety is taking their long-lasting qualities even further. Arctic® apples are a new GMO variety with less than 10 percent of the enzymes that cause conventional apples to brown as they age. With these improved traits, Arctic apples don’t produce the unappealing discoloration that contributes to food waste. GMOs can do more than boost the lifespan of apples, though. They also help farmers be more sustainable in the field, provide improved nutritional content for crops like soybeans and even save lives through medicine.

But enough chit-chat. It’s time to give this cider a whirl. Find the full recipe below and watch the video to see the simple steps in action.

If you want another warm drink to try, check out this caramel pumpkin soy latte!

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. 

Print Recipe
Crockpot Caramel Apple Cider
A mug of crockpot caramel apple cider topped with whipped cream, caramel and a cinnamon stick.
Course Snack
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 3 hours
Servings
Ingredients
  • 1 gallon apple cider
  • 1 cup orange juice
  • 4 cinnamon sticks
  • 6 gala apples cored and quartered
  • 1 orange sliced
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon whole allspice
  • 1 tablespoon whole cloves
  • Whipped cream for topping
  • Caramel for drizzle
Course Snack
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 3 hours
Servings
Ingredients
  • 1 gallon apple cider
  • 1 cup orange juice
  • 4 cinnamon sticks
  • 6 gala apples cored and quartered
  • 1 orange sliced
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon whole allspice
  • 1 tablespoon whole cloves
  • Whipped cream for topping
  • Caramel for drizzle
A mug of crockpot caramel apple cider topped with whipped cream, caramel and a cinnamon stick.
Instructions
  1. Place all ingredients into crock pot.
  2. Cook on high for 3 hours.
  3. Serve in a mug, dollop with whipped cream and drizzle caramel sauce on top. Enjoy!
Hungry for Truth Dane's Crop Report 2018

Dane’s Crop Report: GMO Seeds and Cover Crops For the Win

South Dakota farmers may have planted a record soybean crop this year, but the growing season and harvest have been challenging to say the least. Late planting coupled with a dry summer, unusually damaging hail and then rain and snow in October forced local farmers to take advantage of every sunny second in the combine to harvest a projected 277 million bushels of soybeans.

What’s the view from the field? Luckily we know a pint-sized crop reporter who has the 4-1-1 on all the soybean action near Andover. Dane Horter is back – with the help of his dad John – talking about harvest and sharing insights on how planting GMO soybean seeds and cover crops helps their family farm improve sustainability and protect yields.

Plus, we find out how second grade is going, whether or not Dane has a girlfriend and which football team he’s rooting for. Don’t miss out on all of this and a truck high-five!

Learn more about why local South Dakota farmers care about sustainability and plant GMO seeds. Be sure to leave your questions for Dane and John in the comments below.

 

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 Dane's Crop Report

Dane’s Crop Report: Spraying Smart

Dane’s back in the fields, and he’s taking a quick break from planting to explain how they use pesticides on his family’s farm. Dane and his dad, John, apply pesticides to protect soybean and corn crops from weeds, insects and diseases.

Like many South Dakota farmers, the Horters spray a pre-emergence herbicide to keep weeds from growing immediately after planting. This helps prevent problems throughout the growing season. Safety is important so they mix the herbicide with water according to label instructions. They use the precision technology in their sprayer to apply just the right amount.

How much do they use? How big is an acre? What is auto-steer? Dane answers all those questions and more in our latest crop report video.

Cheers to spraying smart! Interested in hearing what happens on the farm during planting season in South Dakota? Watch our pint-sized reporter to learn more.

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 Farm-to-Fork Dinner 2017

Enjoy an Exclusive Look at Hungry for Truth’s Farm-to-Fork Dinner

If a picture is worth a thousand words, then a video is worth so much more. Here’s a look at the exclusive Hungry for Truth Farm-to-Fork dinner festivities, which brought farmers and community members together during an unforgettable summer evening on the farm. From the local food and the chic décor to great questions and conversations, the evening set the table for sharing stories about South Dakota agriculture.

This video gives you a glimpse at the annual event, which brings real South Dakotans and farmers together to enjoy food that’s grown safely and sustainably on real local farms.

 

 

Our next dinner is coming up in June. Stay tuned to find out how you can get an invite to this event from South Dakota soybean farmers. We’ll be sharing news soon with our newsletter subscribers and on social media. Be sure you’re part of our community so you don’t miss out. In the meantime, see photos and read about activities from past events in these blogs.

Farm-to-Fork Dinner Conversation With Cynthia Mickelson

Farm-to-Fork Dinner Connects South Dakotans Through Conversations and Local Foods

Farm-to-Fork Dinner Brings Sioux Falls Urbanites to the Farm

 

Paul Casper walks through his field.

Technology Helps Farmers Be Good Neighbors

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.

Dane’s Crop Report: Digging Into Planting

Our favorite crop reporter and farmer is back with a brand new planting update! Dane “farms” with his dad by Andover, and is delivering his latest update straight from the field.

Jeffplanting (33 of 65)

We know farmers are hustling to plant their soybean and corn fields for the season, but what all goes into the process? Dane explores the technology they use to prevent seed waste, regulate how fast they drive and monitor how many acres they cover in a day. Does having a tablet in the tractor cab also mean they watch Netflix while they work? Let’s find out!

Now it’s time to head out to the field. Dane explains why soybean seeds aren’t the color you’d expect and how everyone works together as a team to get their crops off to a healthy start. Planting soybeans is just the beginning. The Horters also use a piece of equipment called a land roller to roll over the ground, making it more level and reducing equipment damage from rocks. Then they spray a pre-emergence herbicide to protect young plants from weeds.

Since they just planted soybeans, there isn’t much growth to see, but the corn is starting to sprout. Dane tells us how long that takes and why farmers make sure their plants are evenly spaced. It looks like the corn loves the sunshine just as much as we do.

Planting can be a hectic time for many farm families, but it’s also a favorite. The start of another growing season means the opportunity to grow food for families and animals in South Dakota.

Jeffplanting (17 of 65)

Can’t get enough of the cuteness? Watch Dane’s Across the Table episode featuring farm sustainability and cupcakes. To learn more about planting in South Dakota, here’s a Q&A with farmer Monica McCranie.

Improve Food Safety with meat Thermometer Hungry for Truth

Improve Food Safety With a Meat Thermometer

Whether you’re manning the grill at a family cookout or making dinner in your kitchen, the only thing worse than overcooking meat is serving meat that’s so undercooked it looks like it could walk off your plate. Meat thermometers are a simple technology you can use to balance flavor and food safety.

Farmers also use technology to make sure the meat you purchase in the grocery store gets off to a safe and healthy start. Today’s pig, poultry, cattle and dairy barns are temperature controlled to protect animals from the elements and predators. Many also have automated systems to provide fresh water and a nutritious blend of feed made from soybean meal throughout the day. This gives farmers more time to monitor the health of their animals through personal visits and with cameras they can control via applications on their computers and phones.

You don’t have to be high tech to use a meat thermometer. Here are some tips for selecting and using thermometers to make this your safest grilling season yet.

Chicken on the grill.

Choose Your Thermometer

  • Ovenproof thermometers often include a digital readout that keeps you from opening the oven door throughout the cooking process.
  • Microwave-friendly thermometers are made just for use in microwave ovens.
  • Digital and dial instant-read thermometers provide a quick, convenient gauge of temperature when inserted into cooking meat.
  • Pop-up thermometers like those often found in poultry can be purchased for use in other meats.

Whatever style you choose, be sure it’s a meat thermometer and follow the manufacturer’s instructions for use. Don’t try to repurpose a thermometer designed for candy making or other cooking applications.

Target Temperatures
Once you have your meat thermometer, be sure to prepare your meat according to the minimum temperatures deemed safe by the USDA.

Safe temperature guide for cooking meat

Achieve Accuracy
Where you place the meat thermometer is key to your success. Position it in the center of the cut of meat, or where it is thickest. This holds true for burgers or a meatloaf made with ground beef too. Avoid bone, fat and gristle. Be sure to test your thermometer for accuracy before using.

To test, simply insert the first two inches of your thermometer stem into a pot of boiling water. It should read 212 degrees Fahrenheit, unless you’re atop South Dakota’s Harney Peak, where water boils at around 202 degrees. Altitude is just as important as attitude when it comes to great results on your grill.

Watch this video to see how to use a meat thermometer in three easy steps.

For more grilling safety tips, read this blog. Here are some great recipes to try on your grill:

Steak and Potato Kabob

Cheeseburger Sliders

Grilled Pork Tenders with Chile Mango Salsa

Food Safety Tips: Rinsing Fruits and Veggies

Wash Away Your Worries About Pesticide Residues On Produce

Pesticide residues on your food can be a scary thought. Maybe the topic crossed your mind while making dinner or as you shopped the produce aisle in your grocery store. Pesticides are used to protect crops as they grow, but do they remain on plants after they leave the field? And, more importantly, should you worry about feeding your family those crops?

If you’ve spent time online reading lists like the Dirty Dozen, you may think your family’s health is at risk. The truth is crop protection products like herbicides and pesticides must meet safety standards before they can be used in the field. The farmers who use them are required to attend educational classes and become certified so they apply them in the right amount, at the right time and only when needed. They use precision technology to make sure their application is accurate. After all, they feed their families the same foods you do and want to make sure they’re safe for everyone.

So what is the right amount? Well that depends on the crop, product and pest problem, but the average farmer applies only about a coffee cup’s worth of pesticides per acre of crops. An acre is approximately the same size as a football field. Most of the spray that goes on the field is water. Any pesticide residues that may remain on plants in the field decrease considerably as crops are harvested, transported and exposed to light.

By the time food reaches the grocery store, it has gone through testing with the USDA to ensure it meets requirements set by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and is safe to eat. Pesticide residues allowed on produce are so small they’re measured in parts per billion. In fact, the average child could consume 7,240 servings of carrots in one day without any effect, even if the carrots have the highest pesticide residue allowed by USDA.

Most fresh fruits and vegetables test below the threshold levels set by EPA, so you shouldn’t be worried about their safety. The best way to protect your family from unwanted residue, dirt or surface microbes is simply washing all fruits and vegetables before serving. This is also true for foods grown organically. Rinsing fruits and veggies is an easy task. For most foods, a quick water rinse should do the job. Thick-skinned produce such as carrots, potatoes and squash should be scrubbed. With leafy greens, toss the outer leaves.

Watch this video for a quick review.

You can also create your own produce wash by mixing one tablespoon of lemon juice or white vinegar with two cups of water in a spray bottle.

Have you ever calculated how much fruits or vegetables you’d have to eat to feel the effects of pesticides? Try this calculator. You might be surprised at the results. Learn more about how farmers responsibly use crop inputs like pesticides by reading these blogs:

How Much Pesticide Do Farmers Really Use?

Spraying on the Farm

How Farmers Go Green

 

Dane's Crop Report: Planting Season

Dane’s Crop Report: Planting Season

It’s almost time for South Dakota farmers to get out in the fields and begin the 2017 growing season. There’s a great deal of preparation that goes into planting, and everyone in the family helps out.

Back in March, we checked in with John Horter and his 6-year-old son Dane on their family farm near Andover. Dane shared some insights about what he does to prepare for planting season, what it takes to grow healthy crops and why it’s important to grow food for people and animals in South Dakota. It all starts with a tractor high five!

Can’t get enough of Dane’s on-farm insights? Watch his report from the 2016 harvest.

Across the Table Spring Cupcakes

Across the Table: Spring Cupcakes

SPOILER ALERT: Cuteness overload!

It’s time for our latest episode of Across the Table. Host Melissa Johnson from Oh My Cupcakes! shares some of her favorite kid-friendly cupcake toppings with local farmer John Horter and his son Dane for a fun, springtime activity. Plus, Melissa talks with John about why sustainability matters so much in farming.

Melissa talks with John and Dane.

As a fifth-generation farmer who wants to pass on the farming tradition to his kids, John knows how important it is to take care of his land so he can leave it for future generations. From using new technologies to implementing advanced farming practices, farmers like John continually find new and more effective ways to ensure their farm is in better shape than they found it.

Dane takes a big bite of the cupcake he decorated.Dane gives a big thumbs up while enjoying his cupcake.

Watch the full episode to find out about how John uses some of those technologies and practices, like GMOs, responsible pesticides use and conservation practices, on his farm.

If you can’t get enough of Dane’s cuteness, you can watch his adorable harvest crop report from last fall.

Don’t forget to check out our other Across the Table episodes here.

Hungry for Truth Farm to Fork Dinner 2016

#TBT to Warm Weather and Sun at Our Farm-to-Fork Dinner

We’re daydreaming of warmer days and our beautiful Farm-to-Fork Dinner from last summer! It was such a fun night connecting the food on our table back to the farm and hearing from local farmers about how they raise their crops and livestock. Today, check out a few more photos from that amazing night and pretend like we’re still enjoying the summer breeze and sunshine. You can see a full recap of the event here and read Sioux Falls blogger Kaylee Koch’s post about her experience at Apple of My Ivy.

P.S. We will host our second annual farm-to-fork dinner again this summer, so be on the lookout for more info this spring!

Guests enjoy good food and conversation on a local South Dakota farm. The hosts' farmhouse. Vintage Farmall tractor on the local farm. The Event Company setting up the beautiful decor. Volunteers carrying the signature Hungry for Truth table. Volunteers prepare the farm for the dinner. The sun shines on the farm.  Guests arrive at the event.  A red tractor passes by. Table with beautiful place settings ready for guests to enjoy their meal. Centerpieces of greenery and candles. Guests sample appetizers.  Appetizers are served. Guests enjoy their meal with a view of beautiful, green soybean fields. The meal featured on the Hungry for Truth table. A closeup of the featured meal. Refreshing citrus-infused drinks. Guests eating and chatting. Guests eating and chatting at Farm-to-Fork 2016.  Strings of decorative lights against tall pine trees. Appetizers and centerpieces. Guests enjoying a glass of wine and conversation. South Dakota farmers Paul Casper and Morgan and Jason Kontz. South Dakota farmers John Horter and Peggy.  Guests mingling among the cocktail tables.  Guests raise their glasses for a toast to another great year of Farm-to-Fork.  Guests listen to a speaker. A local duo playing music.  Ice cream sundae bar. Guests build their ice cream sundaes. Guests enjoy music and conversation.  Hungry for Truth Farm-to-Fork Dinner 2016  Guests mingle on the local farm. Guests share in conversation, enjoying drinks and appetizers.

Hungry for Truth Hits the Soccer Field

A new Hungry for Truth TV commercial hits the screen this week, and it’s all about GMOs and making sure kids get nutritious options.

The commercial features local farmer Bradee Pazour from Pukwana. “Now more than ever, moms are concerned about what they’re feeding their kids. As a farmer, I think it’s very important to share with others the safe and efficient practices we use in food production on our family farms.”

 

“Hungry for Truth supports choice,” said Marc Reiner, farmer from Tripp and volunteer for the initiative. “We believe everyone should have the choice of what to feed themselves and their families. Research shows GMOs are a safe and nutritious choice, and we want people to feel comfortable in that knowledge when they make decisions about food.”

Cited in the spot is a May 2016 report by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine that found no substantiated evidence of a difference in risks to human health between current commercially available GMO crops and conventionally bred crops, and no conclusive evidence of environmental problems tied to GMO crops.

Coming up on the blog, we’ll be interviewing Bradee, the star of the commercial. If you have questions for Bradee, write them comments and stay tuned to the blog to find your answers.

Hungry for Truth Heads to Your TV Screen

You might see the famous Hungry for Truth table in some familiar spots around South Dakota on your TV screens this fall. From the beginning, the table has been a focal point of Hungry for Truth. In many homes, the kitchen table is where most conversations occur, and family and friends are food and fellowship. In the newest Hungry for Truth commercial, the table journeys across South Dakota and shows the connections made with fellow South Dakotans.

The Horter family, who farm in Andover, are featured in the commercial sitting around the table having meaningful discussions with another family about food, farming and everything in between. John’s wife, Jaclyn, and their two children joined in for the Hollywood treatment.

 

John laughs with his daughter at the table.

 

Jaclyn and Dane enjoy the meal together.

 

The Horter family smile for a photo together on set.

 

“It was an interesting experience because we’ve never been involved in something like this,” said John. “It was a new experience for me, having make up done, wardrobe … I’ll tell you that.”

John says life ended up imitating art on the set. Sitting around the table with their fellow South Dakota family, they had conversations about where our food comes from and what life is like on the farm.

“In between takes, we talked about our farm, and they had a lot of questions. We loved sharing our story and learned things from them too. Being on the farm all the time, it’s nice to hear the perspective of people outside of that life. After all, we all have to eat.”

 

The Hungry for Truth table featured in the commercial.

 

 

The meal featured in the commercial.

 

The place settings featured in the commercial.
Processed with VSCO with a6 preset

“This commercial is about connecting with South Dakotans and hopefully enticing them to talk with a farmer, finding out more on our website or engaging with us on social media,” said John. “Today, not many people grew up on farms or have family who farm, so it’s important for people to have a real person to connect to. We want to talk with people every day about how food gets from our farm to their table. We want everyone to know the way it really works and understand why we make the choices we do. We’re putting the same food on our family’s table.”

 

The actors and the Horter family enjoy the meal together.

What do you want to know about the Hungry for Truth initiative? Do you have questions for John and his family about what they grow on their farm? Leave them in the comments.

Also, check us out on social media:

The Story of Soybean Harvest

This time of year, the leaves are changing and the weather is cooling. It’s time to visit a pumpkin patch, make Halloween plans and break out the cool-weather clothing. For farmers, this time of year holds a different meaning: It’s harvest time. While many of us see the equipment in the fields and know that crops are done growing for the season, there is much more that goes into soybean harvest than just driving a combine across a field. John Horter is a father of two and a farmer from Andover. He grows corn and soybeans, and raises beef cattle. We caught up with him to find out everything that goes into the soybean’s journey from field to plate.

John’s son Dane is a young farmer-in-training. He loves to share the latest “crop reports” from their farm. Here he is with a crop report on soybean harvest.

The machines you see out in the fields are likely combines, which farmers like John use to harvest their crops. How does John know his soybeans are ready to harvest? First, farmers watch their fields. For South Dakota farmers, this usual starts in mid- to late September. Check out our soybean growth infographic for more information.

“We monitor the fields very closely,” said John. “We watch for visual signs. The leaves will turn from green to brown and start to drop. Once we think they are close, we take moisture samples. We’re looking for 13.5 percent moisture or less before we can harvest.”

John and his family walk around their local farm.

John, his two kids and his wife on their family farm.

John with his daughter.

Weather is Key
Dry weather is imperative to a successful harvest. If the plants are too wet, the seeds won’t be able to separate from the pods; and if the ground is too wet, equipment could get stuck in the field. Weather is a major factor in the timing of planting and the health of soybeans throughout the growing season. John said this year, Mother Nature worked in his favor.

“We are in the northwest part of the state where we had warmer, drier weather so harvest was ahead of schedule. It went very well because we didn’t have weather delays.”

The impact of weather makes a big difference in harvest conditions for farms in different regions of the state. Southern South Dakota had a lot of rain this year, which delayed planting in the spring, so their harvest began later.

The Horter family holds hands on a walk through their farm.

John and Dane discuss the latest crop report.

Dane on his family's farm.

The Art of Harvest
“Once soybeans show the visual signs of being ready for harvest and moisture levels are dry enough, we head out to the fields with our combine to start taking the crop out of the field,” said John. “The combine has the capability to be flexible as it goes over the ground. It’s pretty neat technology that guides the part of the combine that does the harvesting along the contours of the ground, cutting off the plants. Next, it’s fed into the big drum in the combine that separates grain from the pods with sieves that shake the pods away from the seeds. Those seeds are what we end up harvesting.”

“Even though the weather was very dry in our region during the growing season and we had some hail, we still found very good yields,” he said. “I attribute that to modern genetics and our GMO crops being able to more efficiently use moisture even in adverse conditions.”

When John is done harvesting, he will prepare his fields for next year’s crop and take care of other areas of his farm for the winter months. He’ll use the what he learned from this past season to plan for next year.

Dane

Dane adventures about his farm.

Dane plays on his family's farm.

“As we harvest, we have a lot of monitors that show us how our crop did. We always think about how to improve and do things more efficiently next year,” he said. “Our goal is to make sure we use as few inputs as possible to grow a healthy crop.”

John and South Dakota farmers like him work hard to grow healthy crops. So next time you break out your jacket and head to the pumpkin patch, remember that farmers are breaking out their combines to start the process of turning their crops into the nutritious ingredients that make up the great food on our plates.

Do you have questions for John about soybean harvest or what he’s up to this time of year? Leave them in the comments.

The meal served at Hungry For Truth Farm-to-Fork Dinner 2016

Gathered Together on the Farm

On the evening of June 23, community leaders and local farmers came together for an enlightening evening on the farm. It was perfect place to learn about your food and its connection to farming. The community came together to share a meal and conversations about food and how it’s raised.

The Thompson Farm in Colton, South Dakota, set the scene for the Farm-to-Fork Dinner where guests talked with farmers about how food makes its way from their farms to the table. They discussed topics like GMOs, pesticides, organic and conventional farming, sustainability and much more. Many guests shared that they left the experience feeling a stronger connection to the people who grow and raise their food.

What would you like to learn about farming? We would be happy to connect you with a local farmer or answer any of your food or farming questions. Just leave us a note in the comments section.

You can learn more about our Farm-to-Fork Dinner here.

Farm-to-Fork Dinner Brings Sioux Falls Urbanites to the Farm

The first Hungry for Truth Farm-to-Fork Dinner on June 24 was the perfect night, from the delicious local food to the conversations between South Dakota farmers and their Sioux Falls neighbors. The dinner took Sioux Falls residents outside the city limits to Jeff Thompson’s farm in Colton, South Dakota. Dinner guests enjoyed alfresco dining overlooking the Thompsons’ fields while talking with local farmers, exploring questions about everything from family life on the farm to antibiotic use in livestock.

Event attendees listen to presentations.

Monica McCranie, a Claremont farmer involved with Hungry for Truth, was excited to have the chance to talk with other South Dakotans about how she and other local farmers raise crops and livestock.

Monica talked about her passion for farming while greeting dinner guests. She shared the legacy that’s been passed down through generations, drawing herself and others to continue the farming tradition.

“Many people were surprised to learn that so many farms in the state are multigenerational. For me, farming has always been a family affair,” said Monica. “My grandfather was actually one of the farmers who helped establish the first soil conservation district in South Dakota.”

Hungry for Truth table with plates featured at the event.

The goal of this event, and the Hungry for Truth initiative as a whole, is to spark conversations between South Dakotans and the farmers who grow their food. South Dakotans learned about how their food gets to their plates and farmers heard what people care about when it comes to food and farming. Those conversations build greater community connections around two things we all have in common: food and family.

“A lot of guests I talked with didn’t know most South Dakota farms are family owned or that farmers always strive to be more sustainable so they can leave the land even better than they found it,” she said. “It was great to have the opportunity to visit with our neighbors about what we do. The setting and food made the whole event wonderful.”

Prepared by Sioux Falls Chef Jeni, the four-course meal featured foods sourced from the same local farmers who sat next to guests that evening. The dinner event ended with ice cream made nearby at South Dakota State University.

The dessert spread offered at the event.

If you want to read more about the dinner, check out local blogger Kaylee Koch’s Apple of My Ivy blog. Find out what she loved about the event and her conversation with a Mitchell farmer. Have questions of your own about food and farming? Let us know in the comments, and check out our other blogs to learn more about everything from GMOs to sustainability.

How do farmers properly care for their animals?

“On our farm, animal care is the top priority,” says Peggy Greenway, farmer from Mitchell, South Dakota. She and her husband raise hogs and always look for ways to improve conditions for the animals on their farm. Watch the video to find out what big changes they made to improve the comfort of the animals on their farm.

With indoor facilities, farmers can better monitor animals’ health, keep them from harming each other and manage their diet more precisely. Also, sick animals can be kept separate from others. Housing situations for all livestock vary slightly depending on the species. Each species has their own needs, but warm, comfortable shelter is a priority for all farmers to ensure their animals’ health and safety.

Peggy says they are very pleased with their decision to the switch to indoor housing. When they kept their pigs outside, they spent a lot of time bedding them down with straw and cleaning pens out by hand. It was difficult to keep them dry and warm in the winter. When they are safe and comfortable indoors, Peggy knows they are providing the best care for their animals.

Read more from Peggy: