NewsOctober 18 2017

Kennebec Elementary take a ride

Posted by Lucy

Kennebec Elementary take a ride
 
In honor of National Fire Prevention Week local fire departments visited with youth at each elementary school teaching students about fire safety and the role that the departments play within our community. Pictured is Mrs. Samco’s fifth grade class at Kennebec Elementary. The class rode on the fire truck after Fire Chief Don Manger and Rod Bowar gave a presentation about fire safety and the tools the firemen use when they combat a fire.

NewsOctober 18 2017

South Dakota’s unofficial October holiday

Posted by Lucy

South Dakota’s unofficial October holiday
 
By: Senator John Thune
 
  For many South Dakotans, myself included, the third Saturday in October is always circled on the calendar. While most fall weekends are primetime for college football and Major League Baseball playoffs, those are all overshadowed, at least for me, by walking through a food plot, slough, or corn field and hearing a friend or family member yell, “rooster!” The South Dakota pheasant opener is more than an annual event. It’s an unofficial holiday, and it’s right around the corner.   
  For me, hunting has always been more about the experience than the number of birds I bring home. Sure, limiting out on ringnecks is great, but it’s the memories I’m able to create along the way that matter the most. As long as I’m walking the fields with friends and family, an empty hunting vest never bothers me. I’m blessed that I’m still able to enjoy hunts with my siblings and my dad who is 97 years young. My sons-in-law have also taken up pheasant hunting, which is exciting for me to be able to pass this tradition on to the next generation. 
  We wouldn’t have pheasants in South Dakota if it were not for the several hundred thousand acres of suitable habitat that allows them to survive and successfully reproduce in our sometimes harsh climate. We’re fortunate to have landowners throughout the state who both love the thrill of the hunt and understand the importance of wildlife habitat and conservation. We couldn’t have one without the other. While the land and opportunities exist in South Dakota, this year’s drought and diminishing Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) footprint didn’t do the pheasant population any favors. According to a state survey, the population is 45 percent smaller than it was last year. 
  For a lot of hunters, when they hear CRP mentioned, they think of pheasants. The popular and well-respected conservation program provides incentives for landowners to set aside portions of their property that can serve as nesting and brood-rearing areas for pheasants. This year’s low pheasant population and low commodity prices are great reasons to increase the number of available CRP acres. This is why I’ve introduced legislation that would boost the CRP acreage cap to 30 million acres in the next Farm Bill, which represents a 25 percent increase. I’ve introduced additional bills in Congress that would authorize a shorter-term (three-five years) conserving use program that would complement CRP, and expand the sodsaver initiative nationwide, which is something I first authored in the 2008 and 2014 farm bills. 
  Each year pheasant season brings people from around the world to South Dakota, and it has a significant residual effect on the state’s economy. Pheasant hunters bring hundreds of millions of dollars in economic activity with them. They’re staying in hotels, eating at restaurants and diners, and they’re picking up supplies at sporting goods stores around the state. It’s important that we look for ways to strengthen and preserve the state’s pheasant population, which is what several of my farm bill proposals are aimed at achieving.   
  They don’t call South Dakota the “pheasant capital of the world” for nothing, so as folks hop in their trucks, put on their blaze orange, and bring their dogs into the field, I wish everyone a safe, successful, and memorable hunt.

NewsOctober 11 2017

Well deserved recognition

Posted by Lucy

Well deserved recognition
 
   My name is Owen St. Clair, I am the superintendent at Wyoming Indian Schools in Ethete, Wy.  
   This past weekend both our cross country teams competed in the Lakota Nation Invitational in Rapid City, SD. I want to share with you the exemplary sportsmanship shown by one of your students, Brenden Estes. 
  My son, Owen Jr., is a freshman on our Chiefs cross country team and has Down Syndrome. Owen Jr., is always far behind other runners but has the will to finish whatever he does. During the race Saturday, Brenden had been encouraging Owie (Owen Jr’s nickname), but with about a 1/2 mile left in the race he started running with Owie. He had a backpack on and carrying some things, his mother told him to put it on the ground and she would pick it up. At that point, Brenden joined Owie with nothing but encouragement and praise. Runners from our cross country team joined Brenden to help Owie finish the cross country race.  
  As a parent who has a son with a disability, you don’t find many kids who will go out of there way to help and encourage. Brenden showed true sportsmanship in helping Owie, but I am more impressed with who Brenden is. After the race, our high school country coach thanked Brenden for what he did, Brenden mentioned that’s what he should do. He was presented with one of our cross country shirts. 
  As an administrator, these are the type of kids that should be celebrated. He showed his true heart which is powerful, and shows great leadership.

NewsOctober 11 2017

NRCS Announces EQIP Program Signup Deadline October 20, 2017

Posted by Lucy

NRCS Announces EQIP Program Signup Deadline October 20, 2017
 
   NATURAL RESOURCES CONSERVATION SERVICE (NRCS), Huron, S.D. October 5, 2017 – U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) officials announce October 20, 2017 as the batching date for applications for the popular Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) administered by the USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS). 
  Landowners seeking to address natural resource concerns on their property are encouraged to apply for participation in the USDA’s EQIP. As a voluntary program, EQIP offers landowners both financial and technical assistance for a wide range of practices, explains NRCS EQIP Coordinator Jennifer Wurtz, Huron, SD, “Anything from practices on cropland, cover crops, rotational cropland, no till practices, grassland practices such as prescribed grazing, water development, wildlife habitat and a specific initiative to develop honeybee habitat.”  
  The first step in addressing resource concerns through EQIP is to formulate a conservation plan. Plans should strive to improve soil health, water and air quality as well as other natural resources. Wurtz says NRCS conservation employees work one-on-one with landowners. “We provide technical assistance to help identify resource concerns that you may have on your operation. We offer ideas for different treatments because there may be a wide range of options to address the resource concerns on your operation. After that, then we look at the USDA programs that may fit your operation.”  
  The EQIP program provides financial and technical assistance to help farmers and ranchers voluntarily implement conservation practices to improve natural resources on working agricultural lands. Payment is provided for a variety of practices to address resource concerns such as water quality, grazing land health and productivity, soil erosion and soil quality, and wildlife habitat development.  
  There are several initiative areas for additional emphasis: Honey Bee Pollinator, National Water Quality Initiative, Soil Health Initiative, Sage Grouse Initiative, and the Red River Basin Initiative. Operators or landowners interested in applying for the EQIP can fill out an application at any time. However the next batching date for fiscal year 2018 EQIP funding is Oct. 20, 2017. Wurtz encourages people to apply early. Applications are available online or at any USDA Service Center. 
  For information about technical assistance and conservation programs, visit www.nrcs.usda.gov/GetStarted. For more information about the EQIP or to apply, please contact your local NRCS office or visit www.nrcs.usda.gov/Programs/FinancialAssistance/EQIP.
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