The South Dakota Corn Growers Association (SDCGA) recognized outstanding achievements in the promotion of farmers, service to agriculture, legislative issues and public outreach during the organization’s 29th annual meeting Jan. 17 at the Sioux Falls Convention Center.
The association honored Culver’s restaurants as Most Valuable Player in Agriculture, Bryan Jorgensen of Ideal for Excellence in Agriculture, retiring State Sen. Larry Rhoden of Union Center for Outstanding Legislative Leadership and Mary Kennedy of DTN for Excellence in Public Outreach. South Dakota Corn also honored three directors of its boards for their service.
Most Valuable Player in Agriculture – Culver’s restaurants
Culver’s is an industry leader in the promotion of agriculture. One of its key successes is a “Thank You, Farmers” campaign that started in Sioux Falls and grew into a state and national promotion.
The company has raised hundreds of thousands of dollars for the National FFA organization, local FFA chapters and farm families across the country,
It also launched an online donation campaign and Facebook promotion to contribute to the cause. This business, its staffs and its customers also have raised money for other agricultural causes through collections in coin boxes.
Culver’s also uses many products that come from the farm, and considers farmers to be its partners. CEO Craig Culver accepted the award.
Excellence in Agriculture – Bryan Jorgensen
Bryan Jorgensen, who operates a diversified farming operation near Ideal, was recognized for a variety of significant contributions to the agricultural industry.
Jorgensen has been at the forefront of change and agricultural development, and was visionary in the fields of research and biotechnology. He has donated many hours of service to agriculture and was instrumental in getting the Dakota Lakes Research Farm near Pierre started.
He also serves on the Rails to the Future board, which is the driving force behind much-needed rail rehabilitation and expansion projects. His list of service on various boards and associations includes six years on the South Dakota Corn Utilization Council board of directors.
Outstanding Legislative Leadership – Retiring State Sen. Larry Rhoden
Larry Rhoden was honored for his 14 years of legislative leadership, including his tireless work on property taxes, landowner rights, individual freedom and personal responsibility.
Rhoden served in the South Dakota House of Representatives from 2000 to 2008, and was House Majority leader. He was elected to the state Senate in 2008 and served there as chairman of the Senate State Affairs Committee. He also sat on the Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee.
The South Dakota Corn Growers Association and Rhoden didn’t always agree on the issues but worked together to find common ground. Rhoden decided not to seek re-election to the state Senate in 2014.
Excellence in Public Outreach – Mary Kennedy
Railroad service was a key agricultural issue this past year, with railcar shortages, transportation delays and infrastructure needs. Mary Kennedy of DTN was at the forefront of the issue and provided timely updates on backlogs, rail projects and related issues to keep farmers and the public informed.
Transportation issues go beyond rail, and Kennedy reported, blogged and tweeted on various factors that affect grain exports, such as water levels in the Missouri and Mississippi rivers, barge traffic and port labor issues.
Kennedy, a grains analyst, has spent more than 25 years in the grain business. DTN, a private company based in Omaha, is a leading business information services company focused on agricultural, energy and weather business markets.
Presidential Recognition Award
This award honors a retiring president for his service to the organization.
- Retiring South Dakota Corn Utilization Council President Mark Gross of Bridgewater.
Outstanding Service Awards:
These awards are presented to retiring directors of the South Dakota Corn organizations to honor them for their years of service.
- Andy Dupraz of Aurora, a Corn Utilization Council retiring director
- Frank Kralicek of Yankton, a Corn Utilization Council retiring director