Members of the South Dakota Farm Bureau participated in the American Farm Bureau Federation’s 95th annual meeting recently in San Antonio, T.X., bringing home several honors for the state.

Membership Growth

SDFB received the "Navigator Award" from its national organization in recognition of exceptional membership growth. South Dakota Farm Bureau reached 105 percent of its state membership goal in 2013, with an all-time record for the state of 13,800 Farm Bureau member families.

State Awards of Excellence

SDFB was also honored with two State Awards of Excellence. The first was in the “Public Relations & Communications” category for SDFB’s new publication, Town & Country Connection, a quarterly magazine that features the stories of South Dakota farm and ranch families and the food they bring to your table.

The second was in the category of “Leadership Development” for SDFB’s own “Farm Bureau University” (FBU) program. “FBU” is a multi-phase leadership development program for members of County Farm Bureaus, designed to improve and revitalize County Farm Bureaus by engaging producer members in personal development, leadership, and skill building. South Dakota’s FBU program also received a President’s Award, the top award in the Leadership Development category.

Leadership Elections

Scott VanderWal, President of the South Dakota Farm Bureau and a third-generation farmer from Volga, S.D., was re-elected to represent the Midwest Region on the American Farm Bureau Board of Directors.

Travis Gebhart, a young rancher from Meadow, S.D., was elected by his peers as the Vice Chair of the AFBF Young Farmer & Rancher Committee. He and his wife, Renae, were elected to serve on the national YF&R Committee last year.