South Dakota

Come “Experience the Magic” at the South Dakota State Fairgrounds

Whether you want to “Experience the Magic” at the South Dakota State Fair or wrangle in some memories at the National Junior High Finals Rodeo (NJHFR), the State Fair Park is the place for you and your family this summer.

We are kicking off our summer celebrations with the second largest rodeo in the world; welcoming nearly 1,000 young rodeo athletes from 48 states, five Canadian provinces, and Australia to compete in the NJHFR the last week in June. This is a great opportunity to showcase our state sport over the next two years. To learn more about all you can see and do at the NJHFR, please visit

I also hope you will join us for the 2018 South Dakota State Fair, Thursday, Aug. 30, through Monday, Sept. 3. This yearly celebration has a deep history with the State of South Dakota since 1885 and continues to grow in attendance year after year. However, this year is extra special, as the State Fair Grandstand turns 100 years old. To honor this great achievement, we will be hosting a 1918 celebration where the State Fair will throwback to the year 1918, giving you and fellow fairgoers a chance to experience what the State Fair was like in the early 1900s.

You will not want to miss the great 21st century acts coming to the grandstand this year either! Entertainment this year includes the Red Wilk Construction Tuff Hedeman Bull Bash; Toby Keith with Chancey Williams and The Younger Brothers Band; Foreigner and Night Ranger; Gary Allan and Sawyer Brown; and the “Thunder at the Fair” Outlaw Truck & Tractor Pulling Association.

The annual state fair is a place to catch up with friends and take in a concert or a rodeo. It’s also an opportunity to recognize the important role agriculture has in South Dakota and her history. Every year at the State Fair, the South Dakota Department of Agriculture and South Dakota Farm Bureau recognize farms and ranches that have been owned by the same family for over 100 years through the Century Farm program. The Century Farm program symbolizes the long legacy of family-owned farming and ranching in the State of South Dakota. Since the start of the program in 1984, thousands of farms have been recognized for being in the family for 100, 125 or 150 years. If your family qualifies for this honor, we hope you take the time to fill out the application on the South Dakota Farm Bureau website and return it by Aug. 10, 2018.

The State Fair has always been magical for me because it is a time to catch up with friends and family and enjoy the last few days of summer. I am excited for everything happening at the State Fair Park this summer and hope you have time to pay us a visit to see for yourself.

SD Century Farm & Ranch Recognition Deadline is Aug. 10

HURON, S.D. – The South Dakota Farm Bureau (SDFB) and the South Dakota Department of Agriculture (SDDA) will again recognize and honor longstanding South Dakota families at the 2018 South Dakota State Fair.

South Dakota families having ownership of their farm or ranch for 100, 125 or 150 years have the opportunity to be honored on Thursday, Aug. 30, during the South Dakota State Fair in Huron.

To qualify as a South Dakota Century Farm or Ranch, a family must have retained continuous ownership of at least 80 acres of original farmland for 100 years or more. If the family ownership of land has reached 125 or 150 years, they may apply to be recognized as a Quasquicentennial or a Sesquicentennial Farm or Ranch respectively. Documentation of the original date of purchase must be included with the application.

Application forms are available online at by clicking “Century Farms” or by calling the SDFB at 605.353.8052. The application deadline is Friday, Aug. 10, 2018.

Since recognition began in 1984, there have been approximately 3,000 farms and ranches acknowledged so far.

Agriculture is a major contributor to South Dakota’s economy, generating $25.6 billion in annual economic activity and employing over 115,000 South Dakotans. The South Dakota Department of Agriculture’s mission is to promote, protect and preserve South Dakota agriculture for today and tomorrow. Visit us online at or find us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

Elder Abuse Awareness Day

PIERRE, S.D. – Gov. Dennis Daugaard has proclaimed June 15, Elder Abuse Awareness Day (EAAD) in South Dakota.

EAAD provides an opportunity for communities to promote a better understanding of abuse and neglect of the older population throughout the state.

Each year in the United States, an estimated 5 million older persons are abused, neglected and exploited.

In addition, elders lose an estimated $2.6 billion or more annually due to elder financial abuse and exploitation, funds that could have been used to pay for basic needs such as housing, food and medical care.

This statewide observation coincides with World Elder Abuse Awareness Day.

World Elder Abuse Awareness Day was launched on June 15, 2006, by the International Network for the Prevention of Elder Abuse and the World Health Organization at the United Nations.

Ozone Exceedances in Eastern South Dakota

PIERRE, S.D. – Two air monitoring sites in the state have detected ozone levels slightly above the EPA’s new national ambient air quality standard level. High temperatures, high humidity, and low wind speeds have been conducive to the formation of ozone at these sites.

The air quality monitoring sites in Sioux Falls and in Union County near Elk Point have indicated the new federal 8-hour air quality ozone standard of 70 parts per billion was exceeded three times in the last two weeks. The most recent and highest 8-hour average was 75 parts per billion identified on Tuesday, June 5, 2018, in Sioux Falls.

“At this point, the levels are not of major concern, as they would not have exceeded the EPA’s older standards,” said DENR Secretary Steve Pirner. “Still, we encourage South Dakotans to visit our Real Time Air Quality Index map online to stay up to date on current air quality in their areas.”

Prior to 2015, the EPA standard for ozone was 75 parts per billion. The Department of Environment and Natural Resources opposed the change, arguing that the new standard was overly stringent and too close to background levels commonly seen in South Dakota.

South Dakota’s Real Time Air Quality Index map is available at The site updates hourly. Regional air quality data can be seen at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) website at

Air quality conditions will vary so DENR encourages the public to regularly visit the websites to determine if air quality in your area is reaching unhealthy levels. Sensitive groups are impacted the most and generally include children, older adults and people with lung disease. However, everyone may experience some effects at certain times.

Governor Proclaims June “General Aviation Appreciation” Month

PIERRE, S.D. – Gov. Dennis Daugaard has proclaimed June as “General Aviation Appreciation” month in South Dakota.

“General aviation in South Dakota plays a critical role with its citizens, businesses, farms and ranches, and is important to the state’s economy,” says Transportation secretary Darin Bergquist.

According to the 2010-2030 South Dakota State Aviation System Plan, the aviation industry supports over 7,000 jobs, $800 million in business sales and provides more than $250 million in wages. Agricultural aviation supports more than $10 million of income in the state, according to the same study.

The official proclamation cites the importance of general aviation to businesses and communities in the state. Given South Dakota’s geography, this service is also important for providing access to medical services, disaster relief and aerial forest fighting. Communities in the state depend on general aviation for the continued flow of visitors, tourism and commerce.

South Dakota has 71 public-use airports serving 2,333 certified pilots and 2,030 active general aviation aircraft, including a Civil Air Patrol Squadron. Organizations such as the South Dakota Pilots Association, the South Dakota Aviation Association and many others recognize and promote the interests and importance of aviation in South Dakota and throughout the world.

Aviation in South Dakota includes the airline industry, education institutions, aviation organizations and Ellsworth Air Force Base. The Department of Transportation and the Aeronautics Commission work aggressively to enhance and promote aviation in the state.

“Aviation plays a critical role in South Dakota and as a business owner and farmer, I see the value it brings to our economy for transporting goods and services,” says Aeronautics Commission chairman Eric Odenbach. “As a largely agricultural state, a strong aviation program is vital to the livelihood of the citizens of our state and I am proud to be part of a Commission that supports and fosters aviation success in South Dakota.”

Highway Patrol Trooper Kastein Receives AAA South Dakota State Trooper of the Year Award

PIERRE, S.D. – A South Dakota Highway Patrol Trooper, who has been praised for his professionalism and leadership, has been named as the 2018 South Dakota State Trooper of the Year.

Trooper Jerry Kastein, who is a member of the Watertown squad, was honored during a Wednesday awards luncheon in Rapid City. The award, which is sponsored by AAA South Dakota, is presented to a trooper for their continued demonstration of exceptional service to the agency, citizens and communities.

“Since he joined the Highway Patrol in 2012, Trooper Kastein has performed at a high standard in all that he does; whether patrolling the highways, mentoring younger troopers or serving his community,” says Col. Craig Price, superintendent of the Highway Patrol. “His desire to do his best in everything he does underscores why he is so deserving of this award.”

Trooper Kastein, who grew up in the Watertown area, joined the Highway Patrol after three years of active duty with the U.S. Army, including service in Iraq, and four years with the Kansas National Guard. He is part of the Highway Patrol’s  East River SWAT Team and serves as a field training officer, active shooter instructor, Honor Guard member, firearms instructor, and DPS Strategic Planning Committee team leader. He also has volunteered for several other duties.

The nomination received for Trooper Kastein reads: “Trooper Kastein epitomizes what we look for in a South Dakota state trooper and exceeds those expectations on a regular basis. He is professional and fair. He volunteers for extra duties while still delivering high quality enforcement activity. He is a committed husband, father and leader within the community. He is an asset to the South Dakota Highway Patrol and the citizens of our state.”

Trooper Kastein also was praised for leading the community projects done by the Watertown Highway Patrol. One project was helping a World War II veteran stay warm in the winter.

“He saw the opportunity to be able to help a World War II veteran and organized the effort to resupply the veteran’s firewood supply that will heat his home this winter,” reads another nomination. “While it was a group effort it would not have been possible without Trooper Kastein’s commitment and community involvement to see this project through. It was a special moment to see the gratitude and emotions of the veteran and his wife while we were working on this project.”

This is the sixth year that AAA South Dakota has sponsored the Trooper of the Year Award. Marilyn Buskohl, manager of Public and Government Affairs at AAA South Dakota, says the organization is honored to be part of the award.

“This program every year reminds me that we have many outstanding law enforcement officers in South Dakota who protect and serve us every day,” she says. “While we can never thank them enough for what they do, this award is a chance for us to show our appreciation.

Other finalists for the award were Trooper Derek Schroding of the Northern Hills Squad and Trooper Dan Hup of the Brookings Squad.

Past winners of the award are Troopers Rob Mayer, Chris Spielmann, Josh Olson, Todd Albertson and Cody Jansen.

The Highway Patrol is part of the South Dakota Department of Public Safety.

South Dakota Awarded $21 Million Federal INFRA Grant

PIERRE, S.D. – Secretary of Transportation Darin Bergquist says the South Dakota Department of Transportation has received a $21 million Infrastructure Rebuilding America (INFRA) grant to be used for the Veteran’s Parkway project in Sioux Falls.

U.S. Sen. John Thune announced the award in a press release on June 5. Thune, along with colleagues in the House and the Senate, authored the grant program that was included in the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation Act of 2015.

“We are thankful to Sen. Thune for advocating to U.S. Secretary of Transportation Elaine Chao the importance of safe and reliable infrastructure to the citizens of our rural state,” says Bergquist. “This additional funding will not only help the Veteran’s Parkway project, but allow the department to move forward with an additional $21 million in construction projects for FY2018 that were not originally programmed.”

The Veteran’s Parkway project was let to bid in November of 2017 at nearly $55 million dollars and is one of the largest highway construction projects let by the SDDOT.

This multi-year project will reconstruct the interchange of Interstate 90 at Exit 402 with Veteran’s Parkway, reconstruct one mile of rural, two-lane Timberline Road to a six-lane divided highway and reconstruct two railroad grade separations. To date, the department has completed construction of Veteran’s Parkway from 57thStreet north to Rice Street.  Once this project is built the new roadway will connect travelers from Arrowhead Parkway to Interstate 90.

“Providing a safe, efficient and reliable infrastructure for the citizens and travelers of South Dakota is our number one priority, says Bergquist. “I look forward to the partnership with the city of Sioux Falls to deliver a much-needed roadway to accommodate the economic and quality of life needs for that area of the state.”

SD State Fair Grandstand Tickets to go on Sale June 11

 HURON, S.D. – Tickets to the 2018 South Dakota State Fair Grandstand will go on sale to the general public on Monday, June 11, at 8 a.m. CDT.

Tickets can be purchased at the grandstand ticket office, online at or by calling 866.605.FAIR. Ticket prices can be found on the grandstand page of the State Fair website.

The grandstand lineup includes:

—   Wednesday, Aug. 29, and Thursday, Aug. 30: Red Wilk Construction Tuff Hedeman Bull Bash

—   Friday, Aug. 31: Legend Seeds welcomes Toby Keith with Chancey Williams & the Younger Brothers Band

—   Saturday, Sept. 1: C&B Operations welcomes Foreigner and Night Ranger

—   Sunday, Sept. 2: American Bank and Trust welcomes Gary Allan and Sawyer Brown

—   Monday, Sept. 3: “Thunder at the Fair” Outlaw Truck & Tractor Pull presented by Kibble Equipment and Lankota

The Friends of the Fair ticket presale begins on Thursday, June 7, at 8 a.m. CDT.  Friends of the Fair information can be found online at or by calling the State Fair office at 605.353.7340.

The 2018 South Dakota State Fair will run from Thursday, Aug. 30, through Monday, Sept. 3. Channel Seeds preview night will be Wednesday, Aug. 29. This year’s theme is “Experience the Magic.” For more information on State Fair events, contact the Fair office at 800.529.0900, visit or find them on Facebook or Twitter.

Agriculture is a major contributor to South Dakota’s economy, generating $25.6 billion in annual economic activity and employing over 115,000 South Dakotans. The South Dakota Department of Agriculture’s mission is to promote, protect and preserve South Dakota agriculture for today and tomorrow. Visit us online at or find us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

Public invited to comment on proposed changes to state graduation requirements

PIERRE, S.D. – The public is encouraged to engage in the statewide conversation about proposed revisions to South Dakota’s high school graduation requirements. The official public comment period on the related administrative rule changes is now open.

Members of the public can view the proposed rule changes and make public comment by visiting and following the “Department of Education” link.*

Written comments must be submitted by July 12. The state Board of Education Standards will hold a public hearing on the proposed rule changes at its July 16 meeting in Pierre. Individuals may also provide comment at this meeting.

Proposed changes to the graduation requirements aim to combine opportunities for rigor, student engagement and flexibility. The proposal was developed to provide students with multiple opportunities to meet their postsecondary and career goals within a framework of general high school graduation requirements.

“One major change in these proposed requirements is the concept of endorsements,” said Secretary of Education Don Kirkegaard. “The proposed requirements would allow all students to graduate with the same high school diploma, but additionally, students could earn advanced endorsements, which signify students have taken coursework with a specific focus.”

Students could earn more than one advanced endorsement, since they share some of the same course requirements. Students would not be required to earn endorsements.

The proposed endorsements are as follows:

  • Advanced: indicates a student has pursued the coursework consistent with entrance requirements for postsecondary education at a university
  • Advanced Career: indicates a student has career experience in a concentrated area, based on academic and/or workplace experience and a related credential
  • Advanced Honors: indicates a student has pursued advanced rigorous, academic coursework consistent with the South Dakota Opportunity Scholarship course requirements

First Human West Nile Virus Detection Reported

PIERRE, S.D. – A Todd County blood donor is South Dakota’s first human West Nile virus (WNV) detection of the season, the state Health Department reported today. The person is in the 30 to 39 age group.

“This individual was not ill but was detected through the routine screening of blood donations that takes place to make sure the blood supply is safe,” said Dr. Joshua Clayton, State Epidemiologist for the department. “It’s a clear indication that mosquito-to-human WNV transmission is taking place and people need to protect themselves.”

Clayton said South Dakota has a disproportionately high number of WNV cases compared to other states and he encouraged residents to reduce their risk by taking the following actions:

·         Apply mosquito repellents (DEET, picaridin, oil of lemon eucalyptus, para-menthane-diol, 2-undecanone or IR3535) to clothes and exposed skin.

·         Reduce mosquito exposure by wearing pants and long sleeves when outdoors.

·         Limit time outdoors from dusk to dawn when Culex mosquitoes, the primary carrier of WNV in South Dakota, are most active.

·         Get rid of standing water that gives mosquitoes a place to breed.

·         Regularly change water in bird baths, ornamental fountains and pet dishes.

·         Drain water from flower pots and garden containers.

·         Discard old tires, buckets, cans or other containers that can hold water.

·         Clean rain gutters to allow water to flow freely.

·         Support local mosquito control efforts.

These precautions are especially important for people at high risk for WNV, including individuals over 50, pregnant women, organ transplant patients, individuals with cancer, diabetes, high blood pressure or kidney disease, and those with a history of alcohol abuse. People with severe or unusual headaches should see their physicians.

Visit the department’s website at for more information about WNV.

Emerald Ash Borer Workshop: What can tree owners do?

SIOUX FALLS, SD – Ash tree owners in the Sioux Falls area are encouraged to attend an emerald ash borer (EAB) workshop on Monday, June 11, to learn about the insect and effective treatments.

“The emerald ash borer was confirmed in Sioux Falls this spring. This invasive insect is responsible for the loss of more than 100 million ash trees in 33 states,” said Dr. John Ball,  forest  health specialist with the South Dakota Department of Agriculture (SDDA). “The EAB will kill any ash tree that is not being protected by insecticide treatments. The insect is flying and the time to treat is now.”

The workshop will be held from 6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. CDT at the Cooperative Extension Regional Center, 2001 E. 8th St., in Sioux Falls. The workshop will include presentations on EAB biology, identification, quarantines and other management concerns, followed by treatment demonstrations and an ash identification session.

This event is sponsored by the SDDA, the South Dakota Cooperative Extension Service and the South Dakota Arborist Association.  There is no fee or registration for the workshop.

For more information on the EAB, please visit the SDDA’s dedicated emerald ash borer webpage.

Agriculture is a major contributor to South Dakota’s economy, generating $25.6 billion in annual economic activity and employing over 115,000 South Dakotans. The South Dakota Department of Agriculture’s mission is to promote, protect and preserve South Dakota agriculture for today and tomorrow. Visit us online at or find us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

At Thune’s Request, U.S. DOT to Fund Veterans Parkway Project in Sioux Falls

“Secretary Chao understands that safe and reliable infrastructure is vital to the lives and well-being of all South Dakotans.”

WASHINGTON — U.S. Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.), chairman of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, which has jurisdiction over the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT), released the following statement after Secretary of Transportation Elaine Chao announced that at Thune’s request, the DOT has proposed to award $21 million in federal funding to construct the Veterans Parkway project in Sioux Falls through the Infrastructure for Rebuilding America program. Thune, in conjunction with colleagues in the House and the Senate, authored the grant program that was included in the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation Act of 2015, which provided the first-ever freight-focused grant program for projects of national and regional significance.

“Secretary Chao understands that safe and reliable infrastructure is vital to the lives and well-being of all South Dakotans,” said Thune. “I want to thank the secretary and the DOT for taking action so this important project, which will not only ease congestion on Interstate-229, but also improve safety, economic competitiveness, and provide significant new freight access for current and future industrial use, can be completed. This project will help deliver a reliable and effective transportation route to connect a growing commercial and retail area in and around Sioux Falls and benefit the surrounding region.”

In October 2017, Thune wrote to Secretary Chao on behalf of the South Dakota Department of Transportation and the City of Sioux Falls to highlight how reconstructing the interchange on Interstate-90 at exit 402 and rebuilding the rural, two-lane highway into a four-lane divided highway would provide new access for current and future industrial use, deliver a reliable and effective transportation route for growing commerce and retail, and accommodate the economic needs for the City of Sioux Falls and the surrounding region.


On Thursday, Google announced that 2,300 South Dakota businesses, publishers and nonprofits used Google search and advertising tools to connect with the people and communities they serve — generating $133 million in economic activity. By using Google products those businesses increased their online presence and were able to grow, bringing more money and jobs into the local economy. This is the ninth year Google has released its economic impact report.

“People turn to the web to learn, discover, find, and buy things. Being online can have a big impact; it’s where businesses can connect with their customers,” said Mary Ellen Coe, President of Google Marketing Solutions. “At Google, we see the power of the web working for American businesses and we believe that with hard work and the help of technology, every business in South Dakota can grow.” 

Google’s South Dakota Economic Impact Report detailed how Strider Bikes in South Dakota used digital tools to increase their online presence and reach customers. AdWords drive nearly 30 percent of their online traffic and the company uses Google Analytics to track ad performance, observe site visit trends and discover new ways to improve their site. 

“The beauty of the Internet is that, even from the most remote locations, you can still be connected to the whole world.” said Ryan McFarland, Founder & CEO of Strider Bikes. 

To help more small businesses, Google launched its Grow with Google initiative to help create economic opportunities for Americans. Drawing on Google’s history of building products, platforms, and services that help people and businesses grow, the initiative aims to give Americans access the best of Google’s training and tools to grow their skills, careers, and businesses. More about these resources are at 

A recent national study by Deloitte found that over 80% of small businesses surveyed are not taking advantage of online digital tools. The same report determined the following:

  • Digital small businesses are nearly three times as likely to have created new jobs in the last year.

  • Digital small businesses are seeing four times higher revenue growth

  • Digital small businesses are almost three times as likely to reach more customers via increased calls, leads and sales inquiries

  • Digital small businesses are three times as likely to have exported a product or service