The South Dakota Corn Growers Association (SDCGA) recognized achievements in development of the ethanol industry, service to agriculture, legislative issues and public outreach during the organization’s 28th annual meeting Jan. 18 at the Sioux Falls Convention Center.
The association honored Dakota Ethanol of Wentworth as Most Valuable Player in Agriculture, Gary Duffy of Oldham for Excellence in Agriculture, State Sen. Shantel Krebs of Renner for Outstanding Legislative Leadership and Connie Sieh Groop of Aberdeen for Excellence in Public Outreach. South Dakota Corn also honored four directors of its boards for their service.
Most Valuable Player in Agriculture – Dakota Ethanol
At a time when there was an overabundance of corn and prices were dismal, a group of South Dakota farm leaders decided to create a new market for their corn. They formed the Lake Area Corn Processors cooperative and started an equity drive in 1999 to build an ethanol plant at Wentworth.
The result was Dakota Ethanol, a plant that today uses 17 million bushels of locally grown corn to produce 48 million gallons of ethanol annually. With a staff of more than 40 employees, the plant is a huge asset for the local economy.
Dakota Ethanol’s immediate success after opening in fall 2001 paved the way for formation of other cooperatives and the construction of additional ethanol plants in the state.
Excellence in Agriculture – Gary Duffy
Gary Duffy of Oldham has donated many hours of service to agriculture. His work includes serving on the boards of the South Dakota Corn Growers Association and South Dakota Corn Utilization Council, including terms as president for both groups.
Duffy was founding chairman of the South Dakota Value-Added Development Center and was a member of the South Dakota Crop Improvement Association state board. He serves on the East Dakota Water Development District Board of Directors, and is a past liaison to the U.S. Grains Council where he worked to boost international markets for corn and dried distillers grains. He’s been a strong voice for agriculture on key issues.
Outstanding Legislative Leadership – State Sen. Shantel Krebs
Shantel Krebs was elected to the South Dakota House in 2004, then to the state Senate in 2010. She was majority whip in both the House and Senate. Her service includes chairmanship of the House Transportation committee and the Senate Agricultural and Natural Resources committee.
Krebs comes from four generations of farming and has stood up for agriculture on key issues such as water, railroads, fertilizer, landowner rights and property taxes. She is supportive of ethanol and other renewable fuels. She represents District 10, serving part of Minnehaha County. In addition to her legislative duties, she has served on many boards and committees.
Excellence in Public Outreach – Connie Sieh Groop
Connie Sieh Groop is a familiar name and face in South Dakota agricultural coverage. As an editor and a reporter with the Farm Forum in Aberdeen, she’s been a leader at covering national, regional, state and local stories. She has a vast knowledge of the issues and is passionate about agriculture.
This award recognizes Groop for going the extra mile to spread agriculture’s story to the general public with fairness, accuracy and due diligence. She covers agricultural events across South Dakota and is involved in organizations and programs, including South Dakota Ag and Rural Leadership. The weekly Farm Forum, commonly known as the Green Sheet, is a go-to source of agricultural news.
Presidential Recognition Award
This award honors a retiring president for his service to the organization.
• Retiring South Dakota Corn Utilization Council President Brian Smith of Montrose.
Outstanding Service Awards:
These awards are presented to retiring directors of the South Dakota Corn organizations to honor them for their years of service.
• Chad Blindauer of Mitchell, a Corn Utilization Council retiring director and former president
• Brian Smith of Montrose, a Corn Utilization Council retiring director and president
• Kurt Stiefvater of Salem, a Corn Growers Association retiring director and secretary/treasurer
• Bill Whipple of Wilmot, a retiring Corn Utilization Council director