Soybean field

Illinois farmers haven’t shifted their crop acres much in the past several years. Last year, farmers in the state planted 11 million acres in corn and 10.8 million in soybeans. University of Illinois economist Gary Schnitkey expects about the same this year.

The South Dakota Soybean Association is proposing an expansion and a rework to its districts.

Initially, commodity organization was governed in five districts with five board members and seven districts. In the 1990s, the association expanded to seven board members to facilitate those seven districts.

In September of last year, South Dakota Soybean added two new board members to the mix, which executive director Jerry Schmitz called a simple update. Now, the association is proposing to expand to nine districts.

When the association was founded in the early 1980s, it was directed to have between five and nine districts and board members. Over time, as soybean acres in South Dakota expanded northward, Schmitz said they’ve wanted more representation on their board.

“To better represent those areas up in the northwest, we’d like to change the districts and add two more,” he said.

South Dakota grew roughly 257 million bushels of soybeans in 2018, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Farmers across most of the eastern half of the state grew soybeans – something that wasn’t the case when the soybean association was first founded, Schmitz said.

Districts boundaries will be reworked so each produces about the same amount of soybeans. The aim is to better represent growers.

Schmitz said no one has approached him about any negatives to it and he said he believes the move will pass the South Dakota Department of Agriculture’s public comment period with flying colors.

A public hearing will be held April 17 in the South Dakota Department of Agriculture Conference Room, on the third floor of the Joe Foss Building in Pierre, South Dakota. To comment by mail, letters must be postmarked by April 29.

Reach Reporter Jager Robinson at 605-335-7300, email or follow on Twitter @Jager_Robinson.


Jager is a repoter for Tri-State Neighbor, covering South Dakota, southwestern Minnsota, northwestern Iowa and northeastern Nebraska.