SIOUX FALLS – The South Dakota Corn Growers Association recognized outstanding agricultural achievements during the organization’s 33rd annual meeting Jan. 19 at the Sioux Falls Convention Center.
The association presented its Most Valuable Player Award to Jeff Zimprich, state conservationist with the Natural Resources Conservation Service of South Dakota. The Excellence in Agriculture Award posthumously recognized the late Al Miron, a former Corn Utilization Council director from Sioux Falls. The association presented its Legislative Leadership Award to State Rep. Kent Peterson of Salem and its Public Outreach Award to Jarrett Renshaw of Reuters news service.
Most Valuable Player in Agriculture – Jeff Zimprich
As head of the South Dakota office of the Natural Resources Conservation Service, Zimprich provides overall leadership in helping people conserve, maintain and improve natural resources and the environment.
The NRCS and South Dakota Corn have partnered in several programs and projects focused on sustainability and improving soil health. The partners also created a sustainability director position to work with farmers on conservation programs, perform public outreach and conduct research trials.
Zimprich’s 29-year conservation career includes jobs in Montana, Iowa and at NRCS national headquarters. As state conservationist, the Brandon native has made it a priority to develop and nurture strong relationships with agricultural groups. He has a deep passion for soil health and a strong commitment to the future of our precious resource – our land.
Excellence in Agriculture – the late Al Miron
The Corn Growers recognized Miron for his significant contributions to the agriculture industry. Throughout his lifetime, he maintained a strong passion for preservation of soil resources. He was an avid promoter of sustainable practices during more than 45 years of farming.
He was constantly learning and wanted to share with other people, including many visitors from foreign countries who tapped into his knowledge and experience.
Miron, who had a degree in dairy science and master’s and doctorate degrees in nutrition, served on the South Dakota Corn Utilization Council’s board of directors. He was a valuable and dependable resource for the organization, as well as an exceptional spokesman for agriculture. He was a champion of soil health up until the day he died Nov. 19, 2017. His family accepted the award.
Legislative Leadership – State Rep. Kent Peterson
Rep. Peterson was honored for his commitment to agriculture and rural South Dakota as a member of the South Dakota Legislature. A fifth-generation farmer, he has a deep understanding of agriculture, which made him a valuable resource during legislative sessions.
Among legislators, there has been no stronger advocate for ethanol than Peterson, whose commitments included speaking at a tractor rally in Sioux Falls that promoted year-round sales of E15 and targeted EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt, who later resigned from that job.
When South Dakota Corn, South Dakota State University and others proposed and pushed for a precision ag facility at SDSU, Peterson took the reins in Pierre to help make this important project a reality. The Raven Precision Agriculture Center at SDSU is under construction.
Excellence in Public Outreach – Jarrett Renshaw
This award recognizes an individual who goes the extra mile in spreading agriculture’s story with fairness, accuracy and due diligence. As national energy reporter for Reuters, Renshaw does that and is a well-respected go-to source for breaking news and information. He keeps tabs on what’s happening in Washington, D.C.
In presenting this award, the Corn Growers Association commended Renshaw for his extensive and comprehensive reporting of energy issues, including the ethanol industry that is so important to South Dakota. He has provided thorough coverage of biofuels issues, including the Renewable Fuel Standard and exemptions issued to oil refineries.
While a growing number of news outlets put their own spin on stories, Renshaw’s coverage of issues is unbiased, reliable and accurate. His stories are picked up by many media outlets.