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.”

Jeff Kippley.JPG
South Dakota cow, calf and crop farmer, Jeff Kippley (middle) was elected to serve family farmers and ranchers from across the nation as National Farmers Union Vice President. He was elected Feb. 28 during the 2022 National Farmers Union Convention held in Denver.
Photo courtesy of the South Dakota Farmers Union
We are part of The Trust Project.

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.”

Oren Lesmeister.JPG
Parade rancher and District 28A Legislator Oren Lesmeister (right) was recognized by the National Farmers Union during the 2022 National Convention with the Bruce Miller Award for his active involvement in state and national Farmers Union events as well as service to his state and community.
Photo courtesy of the South Dakota Farmers Union

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.

Dunteman covers general and breaking news as well as crime in the Mitchell Republic's 17-county coverage area. He grew up in Harrisburg, and has lived in South Dakota for over 20 years. He joined the Mitchell Republic in June 2021 after earning his bachelor's degree in journalism from the University of Minnesota Duluth. He can be reached at, or on Twitter @HRDunt.
What to read next
Expanding health insurance for low-income families is on the ballot in November. Measure would increase the maximum income to qualify to 133 percent of the federal poverty level. That portion of the population grew between 2018 and 2020.
Everything you need to know about the four quarterfinal games, played Thursday and Friday at Cadwell Park in Mitchell.
The South Dakota Department of Public Safety is releasing daily updates on crashes and crime in and around Sturgis for the duration of the nine-day rally.
Fire Marshall Shannon Sandoval said a fan in the attic caused the fire, but crews managed to put it out within about 20 minutes