The South Dakota Corn Growers Association recently honored several people for outstanding contributions to the agriculture.
Barry Dunn, dean of South Dakota State University's College of Agriculture and Biological Sciences, received the group's Most Valuable Player in Agriculture award. The MVP award is given to an individual or organization that has helped achieve common goals and create advancements in the agricultural industry. Dunn, who has three academic degrees from SDSU, was recognized for his commitment to agriculture and his vision for the future. Faced with a serious budget shortfall during a time of state budget cuts, Dunn restructured the Extension Service and placed a bigger emphasis on technology to meet the state's needs.
Paulsen Marketing, Sioux Falls, is winner of the Excellence in Agriculture award. It recognizes significant contributions to the ag industry as a whole. SDCGA recognized the agency for taking the organization's ideas and developing them to their fullest potential. Among the most successful recent projects are the True Environmentalists multimedia campaign and an interactive trailer, the Amazing Corn Adventure. The Paulsen staff was commended for its progressive approach, creativity, push for perfection, and commitment to agriculture. Paulsen has partnered with South Dakota Corn for a number of years and also works with other South Dakota agricultural associations. Paulsen President Greg Guse and several members of his staff accepted the award.
Michelle Rook, of WNAX Radio, is winner of the Excellence in Public Outreach Award. Rook, who grew up on a South Dakota farm, also is a regional reporter for nationally syndicated TV shows "AgDay" and "U.S. Farm Report." Her newest TV segment, "Heartland Consumer," appears on KELO TV.
State Rep. Kim Vanneman, Ideal, received the Outstanding Legislative Leadership Award. Vanneman, who represents Gregory and Tripp counties, took office in 2007. She is chairwoman of the Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee and has worked to maintain the state's business-friendly status, ensure that property taxes on ag land are fair and encourage the use of ethanol blender pumps.
Gary Duffy, Oldham, retiring SDCGA president, received the Presidential Recognition Award and also an Outstanding Service Award.
Other Outstanding Service Award recipients were Steve Domm, CEO of Central Farmers Cooperative and Fremar LLC, Marion, an industry representative on the SDCGA board; David Fremark, St. Lawrence, a retiring director of the South Dakota Corn Utilization Council (SDCUC) board and former president; and Kirk Schaunaman, Aberdeen, a retiring director of the SDCUC board.