Edinger, Vanneman finish strong on S.D. Wheat

Capitol News Bureau
KELO Winter Wheat

PIERRE, S.D. (KELO) — Two farmers took part for the last time Tuesday on the South Dakota Wheat Commission.

Chet Edinger of Mitchell had served since August 2007 when then-Governor Mike Rounds appointed him.

Clint Vanneman of Ideal was eligible to serve another three-year term but wants to focus more on back home. The husband of state Agriculture Secretary Kim Vanneman was first appointed by Rounds in August 2010.

The state commission self-funds through check-off fees charged on wheat sold by producers, who can request refunds.

Reid Christopherson, the organization’s executive director, said Governor Kristi Noem has “more names than there are seats” for possible successors.

She plans to choose the new commissioners before November 1, according to Christopherson.

The terms expire October 31, although a state law allows an appointee to continue serving longer if the governor hasn’t selected someone.

“The governor has good names,” Christopherson said.

Earlier Tuesday, the five commission members talked about steps that could be taken to further reduce spending.

They said financially strained farmers are struggling to get crops harvested from wet fields, with snow and rain forecast in the next few days.

Vanneman and Edinger came back to those points as they accepted plaques commemorating their service.

“At some point we will rebound,” Vanneman said. The rancher, who has cows and calves and also raises hogs, added, “I guess I’m always the ‘glass is half-full’ person.”

Edinger farms in a partnership with his brother. Edinger said he’s sometimes asked why he keeps at it. He said wheat farmers have 20 months to figure out how to market their crops.

“Things are always darkest before the dawn,” Edinger said.

Vanneman is the third generation of his family to farm in South Dakota. He said his grandfather homesteaded in the Onida area.

“It’s just been great,” Vanneman said about his time on the commission. As for why he grows wheat, “It makes my rotation work the best it can for my area.”

Edinger said he’s been involved in wheat since 1995. “I’ve made a career of it,” he said. “I wouldn’t change it for anything in the world.” He added, “Wheat is what put my family on the map for my area.”

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