John Smith District 1

John Smith of Yankton says he began farming with his parents “as soon as I could walk.” He started farming full-time immediately after graduating from college. He chose this profession because it provides a wide variety of opportunities.

“From the markets and weather to fertility and spreadsheets, I enjoy managing the chaos that is part of being in agriculture,” he says.

Smith, who earned an agronomy degree from the University of Nebraska at Lincoln, grows primarily corn and soybeans. He says the most important issue facing today’s corn farmers is sustainability, “not only for our soils, but also for our livelihood.”

He was a member of Class I of the South Dakota Ag & Rural Leadership program, a nonprofit foundation that identifies and develops leaders for agriculture and rural communities. He also served on the Yankton Chamber of Commerce’s ag committee and is past president of the Mission Hill Watershed. Also, he has been a board member of the Yankton Area Pheasants Forever chapter for more than 20 years.

In his spare time, he likes to archery deer hunt. Smith and his wife, Jacki, have one son and one daughter: Logan, 24; and Rylee, 21.