A new face will be joining Don and Jennifer as a staff member for SDARL.  An Alum from Class X, Krysti Mikkonen was appointed as the Alumni and Communications Director.  Krysti Mikkonen (Class X) has stepped in to take on some of the responsibilities from CEO Don Norton who has started his transition to retirement coming this

November.  Krysti Mikkonen Rural Gold and SDARL Class XMikkonen will be making most of the website updates, generating social media posts, and taking over the newsletter development and distribution.  She will also help facilitate the alumni directory, events, and communications.  “I really hope alumni will share more success stories, awards, promotions, new businesses, elections won, appointments to boards, in-the-news features, advancements for themselves and their classmates” Mikkonen stated.  “People think sharing this kind of thing is bragging.  It couldn’t be further from the truth.  It is showcasing the greatness that lives in the alumni of the SDARL organization and helps more people want to be part of an organization that celebrates that success,” she added.

In addition to her years of experience in digital marketing and communications, Mikkonen brings a great deal of knowledge of South Dakota and the agriculture industry.  Mikkonen owns and operates Rural Gold, a website development agency where she has more than 15 years of experience.  She also serves as President of the board of Northern Plains Sustainable Agricultural Society. NPSAS helps provide education and connections to help farmers operate more sustainably and/or with organic farming practices for members in more than a dozen states and Canada. She also helps with marketing for Mikkonen Organic Farm where two of her four children are taking over as the fourth generation.

The SDARL board and existing staff are excited to have Krysti Mikkonen appointed as the Alumni and Communications Director.  In addition to her experience, she brings a healthy dose of enthusiasm and passion for the organization that will be a much-appreciated asset.


January 15, 2023

Congratulations SDARL Family

Check out the SDARL Life Events Celebrations and Recognitions for September 2022 CONGRATULATIONS to you all and welcome to the SDARL family for the new …

December 21, 2022

SDARL Announces Janelle Booth New CEO

SDARL Announces Janelle Booth as New CEO  Brookings, SD – The Board of Directors of the South Dakota Agricultural and Rural Leadership (SDARL) Foundation is …

December 19, 2022

Dacotah Bank Seminar on Environment, Biofuels, and Innovation Held Virtually Due to Blizzard

During COVID, the SDARL board made the decision to hold off proceeding with Class XI Seminars so that class members could experience the full depth …

December 5, 2022

CEO Don Norton Retires

After five years as CEO of South Dakota Agriculture and Rural Leadership, Don Norton has retired.  His last official event was the Agtergra Seminar on …

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