Experiencing the richness and variety of South Dakota’s natural resources, and the cooperative partnerships that manage them, was the focus of the sixth seminar of South Dakota Agricultural & Rural Leadership Program (SDARL) Class XI during the Natural and Cooperative Resources Seminar June 13-16, 2022.

On Tuesday, June 14, class members toured Custer State Park via Buffalo Jeep Safari, learning the history, purpose, and management of the park and experiencing the land and animals of the premier property in the South Dakota State Park system. A discussion with Forest Supervisor Jeff Tomac of the Black Hills National Forest came next, providing context for the forestry and tourism aspects of both the land and timber. Later that day the class visited the Pine Ridge Reservation office of the South Dakota State University Extension to explore how small-scale farming projects can help the Lakota Sioux provide food and income for their families and communities.

The next day of the seminar featured a visit to Custer State Park’s new Bison Center and a discussion of the annual buffalo roundup and sale. The group then traveled to Camp Rapid in Rapid City to learn about leadership in the South Dakota Army National Guard from Brigadier General and Assistant to the Adjutant General Patrick Pardy, and the SDNG’s annual Golden Coyote exercise. Next was an excursion to West Camp Rapid, where Class XI participated in a Leadership Reaction Course under the direction of Master Sergeant Jen Litzen, completing a series of mental and physical challenges designed to develop teamwork, communication, and problem-solving skills. The day was capped off with a SDARL alumni social and dinner at the Pennington County Fairgrounds.

Rounding out the seminar’s final day was a discussion of the book “Extreme Ownership: How U.S. Navy Seals Lead and Win,” by Jocko Willink and Leif Babin, and a visit to the production facility at C-Lock, Inc., in Rapid City, to learn about the company’s cutting-edge technology in monitoring and analyzing cattle emissions of methane gas.

The purpose of the seminar was to provide class members with leadership, learning and reflection opportunities around the themes of partnerships, public goods, natural resources, and military leadership principles. The upcoming seventh seminar will feature agriculture as a driver of economic development in the state.



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