Ed and Wanda Blair of Vale have been named the recipients of the “Richard Kjerstad Friend of YF&R Award” for their outstanding, long-time support of Farm Bureau’s Young Farmers & Ranchers program.

This award is named for the late Dick Kjerstad of Quinn, who was South Dakota Farm Bureau’s 13th President, serving from 1995 to 2004. The award was presented to the Blairs as a surprise during the South Dakota Farm Bureau annual meeting, held recently in Sioux Falls.

Ed and Wanda Blair have been active Farm Bureau members for nearly 40 years. As a young couple in South Dakota Farm Bureau, they served on the state Young Farmers & Ranchers Committee from 1979 until 1983. They were elected to serve on the American Farm Bureau Federation’s national YF&R Committee in 1982 and 1983. At that time, they were only the second couple from South Dakota to do so. The Blairs are considered trailblazers in the organization, as several couples have been inspired to follow in their footsteps to serve on the national YF&R Committee.

Wanda Blair currently serves as South Dakota Farm Bureau’s Vice President, and was re-elected by the organization’s members at this year’s annual meeting to another two-year term. The couple ranches near Vale, northeast of Sturgis, and operates Blair Brothers Angus Ranch with their family.

Farm Bureau’s “Young Farmers & Ranchers” program is for young people ages 18-35 who want to develop skills to become leaders for agriculture, while enjoying fellowship with others who share common goals.

South Dakota Farm Bureau is the state’s largest general agriculture organization, representing more than 14,300 farm, ranch and rural families.

Ed and Wanda Blair are shown, right, with Patty Kjerstad and the 2014 South Dakota Farm Bureau YF&R Committee.