NOEM: State Fair embodies SD spiritThis year, the State Fair will honor family-owned farms.
By: US Rep. Kristi Noem, Guest columnist
There are few things that embody the spirit of South Dakota like our State Fair. For years, folks have flocked to Huron in late August from all over the Upper Midwest to show their livestock, take in a concert, revel at the carnival or exhibit their artistic or culinary skills. This year, the State Fair will honor family-owned farms. Farms that have been in the same family for 100 years or more will be awarded a Century Farm award. With 98 percent of South Dakota farms being family owned and operated, my guess is there will be a lot of awards to give out!
I have many memories of the State Fair. When I was a young girl, our day at the Fair involved checking buildings to see how our 4-H projects had fared and hoping that all that praying for purple ribbons had paid off. We always made a visit to mom’s favorite corn dog vender, and spent hours looking at machinery with dad. Years later, I found myself creating memories with my own kids at the fair, showing calves, participating in the special foods contests and public presentations, and enjoying rides on the midway. As a family, we love our time at the State Fair.
The State Fair is an excellent way for South Dakotans of all backgrounds to gain a greater appreciation for our agriculture industry. Agriculture is the backbone of South Dakota’s economy and consistently ranks in the top 10 producers of commodities like corn, soybeans and alfalfa. As an agriculture state, South Dakota probably understands the importance of hard work and follow through better than most. When I’m out in Washington, D.C., I often refer to “South Dakota common sense,” and always enjoy watching people nod with understanding, because they know folks from South Dakota don’t put up with nonsense.
The farmers and ranchers who work from dawn until dusk have been key to helping South Dakota weather the economic downturn better than most. Still, economic uncertainty is ongoing. That’s why it is so important to keep on teaching our children the critical importance of farming and ranching to our state, and to our nation’s national security, food supply and economy. In addition to the broader impact of agriculture, our children learn irreplaceable characterbuilding skills working on farms and ranches.
It’s traditions like the State Fair that remind me how lucky I am to call South Dakota home. The summer months are very busy for South Dakota families, and the State Fair represents a great opportunity to spend quality time together before school starts. Whether you are planning to attend a concert, watch the bull riding, check out the exhibits or just enjoy the sights and sounds of the midway, there is something for everyone at the South Dakota State Fair.
I am especially looking forward to riding the Ferris wheel with my kids and enjoying midway fare like fried pickles and cotton candy. Bryon and I, and the kids, are looking forward to the State Fair and hope we’ll see many South Dakotans in Huron today through Monday for an experience that will create lasting memories.