The 25th annual Dakotafest featured several SDARL graduates on panels, in display booths, and in the dunk tank raising funds for the South Dakota Agricultural Foundation.

Shirley Thompson (SDARL V) – third from left – was featured on Women in Ag discussion panel. From left in the picture above, Cathy Eichacker owner/operator of Eichacker Simmentals; Suzi Geppert, Executive Director of the SD Beef Industry Council; Shirley Thompson, Territory Business Manager for Zoetis; and Amanda Radke, ag speaker. The panel addressed key topics in agriculture today, challenges facing women, and advice and recommendations for other females in the ag industry. You can see a video of the Women in Ag discussion HERE.

South Dakota Cattleman’s Association (SDCA) President Eric Jennings (SDARL VIII) – at right in the picture above – spoke on a panel at Dakotafest about issues in the cattle markets. Eric mentioned that the SDCA remains committed to enhancing price discovery while safeguarding producers’ cattle marketing options. SDCA policy which is member directed, has directed SDCA’s movement on this issue.  Eric also discussed how it’s important to talk about markets in good and bad times, that delivery and consistent message to Washington D.C is important for the future of the industry.
Also on the panel – at left in the photo – is Scott VanderWal (SDARL III), President of the South Dakota Farm Bureau and Vice President of the American Farm Bureau Federation.


In the spirit of fun after a year of COVID, First Dakota National Bank sponsored a dunk tank at Dakotafest to raise funds for the South Dakota Agricultural Foundation. SDARL graduates and staff couldn’t turn down the opportunity to cool off from the August heat. Below, Dawn Scheier (SDARL V), Mike Jaspers (SDARL IV) and CEO Don Norton take turns getting dunked for a good cause! The event raised $2,500.




December 19, 2021

Communications Seminar and Alumni Festivities Highlight a Busy December

SDARL Class XI members learned communication skills and heard personal stories of leadership during the Communication Excellence Seminar held in Brookings December 14-16, 2021.     …

December 13, 2021

Four Ag Secretaries from SDARL at Uniting Ag Event

SDARL was well represented at the December 8, 2021 South Dakota Agriculture Stakeholders reception, sponsored by the South Dakota Soybean Association and South Dakota Soybean …

December 13, 2021

SDARL Graduate at Forefront of Dairy Digester Project

Ground was broken on November 10, 2021, for the development of VF Renewable Energy, one of the newest anaerobic digester facility projects to be designed …

November 25, 2021

SDARL Graduates Featured at Farm Bureau Annual Convention

The South Dakota Farm Bureau held its 104th annual convention on November 19 and 20, 2021 in Sioux Falls. Several SDARL graduates were in attendance …

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