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MTI gets major grant to expand farm/ranch program

Mitchell Technical Institute has garnered a $147,542 federal grant to help it expand its Farm/Ranch Business Management Program statewide.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture's National Institute of Food and Agriculture grant will help the newly named South Dakota Center for Farm/Ranch Management hire an instructor in Mitchell to replace Calvin Pietz, who is retiring next year, and hire a new one in northeast South Dakota, program instructor Roger DeRouchey said today.

MTI President Greg Von Wald noted that the state's economy is dominated by agriculture and the average age of farmers nationwide is 57, with a higher average for the state.

"The real purpose is to get a new generation of farmers into the field," he said.

About $35,000 from five partners was used as a local match for the federal grant, said Heather Lentz, MTI Foundation director. The partners are Farm Credit Services of America, South Dakota Pork Producers Council, South Dakota Wheat Commission, South Dakota Corn Utilization Council and South Dakota Soybean Research and Promotion Council.