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Nef and Gonzenbach Families Named 2023 Governor’s Ag Ambassador

PIERRE S.D. – The Nef and Gonzenbach families of Milbank, South Dakota have been named the 2023 Governor’s Ag Ambassador Award recipients. They will be recognized on Tuesday, July 18, as part of the annual Governor’s Agricultural Summit (Ag Summit) in Watertown.

In 1929, Alfred Nef and Alfred Gonzenbach founded Valley Queen Cheese in Milbank, South Dakota. Today, their families continue to operate the company as a privately held enterprise, committed to growth and development in the state. The Nef and Gonzenbach families’ unwavering commitment to innovation and willingness to take calculated risks has spurred South Dakota’s dairy industry into a world-class destination for producers, one that many other states aspire to emulate. Over 90 years of commitment to South Dakota has paved the way for a thriving dairy industry, supporting the northeast corner of the state, providing jobs, and generating over 2.4 billion dollars in economic activity for the region.

Governor Noem highlighted Valley Queen’s success in her 2023 State of the State address, and you can find footage of those comments here.

“The Nef and Gonzebach families have been true leaders in South Dakota’s dairy industry,” said DANR secretary Hunter Roberts. “Their commitment to investing in the community continues to create jobs, grow dairy herds, and increase production.”

The 2023 Ag Summit is hosted by the South Dakota Department of Agriculture and Natural Resources (DANR) and is being held on the Lake Area Technical College campus on July 18 and 19. The event is free, and attendance is open to all, however pre-registration is required. To learn more, visit the Ag Summit website.

Past Governor’s Ag Ambassador recipients include Walt Bones, Jeff Lakner, Paul Casper, Roger Scheibe, Lake Area Tech, Michelle Rook, Dr. Bob Thaler, Brad Greenway, Mike Held, Jim Woster, and Dr. Dan Gee.

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