Aberdeen farmer named VP of National Farmers Union, state lawmaker recognized with service award
In his role as National Farmers Union Vice President, Jeff Kippley will serve members to fulfill the union’s mission to “fight for a fair market and against corporate monopolies.”
DENVER — An Aberdeen farmer was named vice president of the National Farmers Union (NFU) and a state lawmaker was honored with an award at the union’s annual convention in Denver earlier this week.
Jeff Kippley, a cow, calf and crop farmer from Aberdeen, was elected Feb. 28 to serve as vice president of the NFU.
“I am honored family farmers and ranchers put their trust in me to help lead this organization in its mission,” said Kippley, who farms with his wife, Rachel, and dad, John.
The need for fair prices motivated Kippley to serve.
“Policy changes need to take place soon, so our children can earn a fair living on the family farm or ranch,” Kippley said.
Like many agriculture producers, Kippley also works full-time off the farm to sustain the family’s farming operation.
“Working with family, Rachel and I own a tax preparation service. As tax advisors, we see the numbers behind many family farms and ranches,” Kippley said. “It’s not just our family farm that needs off-farm income to stay afloat financially — it is the majority of family agriculture producers.”
In his role as National Farmers Union Vice President, Kippley will serve members together with NFU President Rob Larew to fulfill the union’s mission to “fight for a fair market and against corporate monopolies.”
At the same convention, NFU officials also recognized South Dakota state Rep. Oren Lesmeister, D-Parade, as the Bruce Miller Award winner for his active involvement in both state and National Farmers Union events and service to his community.
Lesmeister and his wife, Tracy, are the third generation to operate the cow and calf operation his great-grandfather homesteaded in the early 1900s. To supplement the ranch income, the couple also owns and operates a feed store, Fox Ridge Ag Supply in Eagle Butte.
With an interest in politics sparked when he testified on a bill for the first time, Lesmeister started in the state legislature in 2017, after former minority whip Dean Schrempp reached his term limit.
He’s worked on bills regarding the agriculture industry on the state level, while also taking time to lobby for NFU priorities on the national stage at the U.S. Capitol.
“I appreciate the grassroots nature of this organization,” Lesmeister said. “This organization gives family farmers and ranchers a voice because at the end of the day, our policies and what we believe in is member-driven.”
Through his role as a South Dakota State Legislator and involvement in leadership of the state’s largest agriculture organization, Lesmeister said he works to continue to build bridges for family farmers and ranchers and provide a voice in the state capitol for the issues that impact their farms, ranches and families.
The National Farmers Union believes that good opportunities in production agriculture are the foundation of strong farm and ranch families, and strong farm and ranch families are the basis for thriving rural communities. Vibrant rural communities, in turn, are vital to the health, security and economic well-being of our entire national economy.