July 24, 2016

“Chalk it up to Ag” at the SD State Fair

As a tribute to agriculture, the South Dakota State Fair has teamed up with SD Farm Bureau (SDFB) to “Chalk it up to Ag” with an interactive chalk art contest during the fair Sept. 1-5 in Huron, S.D. “Chalk it up to Ag” will feature agriculture chalk art designs up and down Farm Bureau Avenue, along 3rd Street, during the five-day fair.

Experienced chalk artists are being sought and encouraged to fill out an application that can be found on www.sdstatefair.com or by calling the State Fair Office at 605.353.7340. Six chalk artists will be chosen to create agricultural masterpieces at the SD State Fair and receive prizes.SD State Fair 2016

“South Dakota Farm Bureau is excited to showcase agriculture in this unique way during the South Dakota State Fair,” said Krystil Smit, SDFB executive director. “Just imagine chalk art renderings of an agricultural scene filling the pavement on Farm Bureau Avenue on 3rd Street – and fair-goers having the chance to vote on their favorite design! We can’t wait to see how these talented artists ‘Chalk It Up to Ag’ in this special contest.”

“The State Fair is a celebration of agriculture so we are excited to be able to showcase it in this creative manner,” commented State Fair director Peggy Besch.

The “Chalk it up to Ag” drawings will be voted on in a people’s choice manner. The winner will receive a trophy and cash prize.

The 2016 South Dakota State Fair will run from Thursday, Sept. 1, through Monday, Sept. 5. Channel Seeds Preview night will be Wednesday, Aug. 31. This year’s theme is “Thrills, Squeals and Ferris Wheels.”



Trump Takes Aim at Renegotiating NAFTA – TPP “Not Going to Happen”

At the Republican National Convention last night during his presidential nomination acceptance speech, Donald Trump declared that he would renegotiate or scrap the NAFTA trade deal if he is elected – and he also had sharp words about China’s trade practices along with the lingering TransPacific Partnership Agreement.  Trump touted “individual deals, with individual countries.”

Trump has described the NAFTA trade deal with Canada and Mexico as a U.S. job killer.

The North American Free Trade Agreement took effect in 1994 during the administration of President Bill Clinton, the husband of Democratic Presidential nominee Hillary Clinton.

Trump used last night’s speech to repeat his criticism of Hillary Clinton’s past support of free trade deals.

RNC Convention Trump on Trade

Clinton no longer supports NAFTA or TPP. During her first White House bid in 2007, she called NAFTA “a mistake.”  Clinton once hailed TPP as setting “the gold standard in trade agreements” during her time as Secretary of State in the Obama administration, but has since come out in opposition of TPP during her presidential bid.

Democrats host their national convention in Philadelphia next week.


Finding the Balance in Sustainable Agriculture – The Triple Bottom Line

More U.S. food companies are focused on sustainable agriculture — and believe the ag retail sector is a crucial partner in scaling sustainability.

Land O’Lakes, Inc. on Wednesday announced the formal organization of a new business unit, SUSTAIN, and its leadership.

SUSTAIN was developed in cooperation with United Suppliers (USI).

General Mills, Smithfield Foods, Campbell Soup Company and now Kellogg’s are advocating SUSTAIN in their sourcing regions. The ultimate goal of the project is to work with farmers along all points in the food supply chain to reduce fertilizer runoff, safeguard the environment, and ensure farm productivity.

The SUSTAIN business will be led by Matt Carstens, who has moved to Land O’Lakes, Inc. to serve as senior vice president.


Land O’Lakes, Inc., which recently announced a new public-private partnership with the State of Minnesota to protect and improve water quality across the state, brings a strong and evolving commitment to do more with less while helping feed a growing global population.

USI is a cooperative of 560 locally owned and controlled agricultural retailers who operate nearly 2,500 retail locations, and who serve growers spanning 45 million acres in the U.S. and Canada. USI’s SUSTAIN platform has been helping growers across the country train ag retailers in using proven, effective technologies, practices, and products to improve their soil health practices. The ag retail staff then shares this knowledge with the growers they serve, so the potential for bringing sustainability to scale is tremendous.

USI’s goal is to have 10 million acres enrolled in SUSTAIN by 2020. This represents the largest agricultural sustainability commitment by any agribusiness or food company to date.