Having open conversations about food and farming with South Dakotans and the farmers who grow it is what we do. In fact, that’s what Hungry for Truth is all about. We had an exciting opportunity to connect Shania Knutson, who is currently Miss South Dakota, with Brandon Wipf, a farmer from Huron, S.D., to chat about sustainability, crops, and what a day on the farm looks like a post-planting season. Below, Shania is sharing her perspective of her recent South Dakota farm visit.
As a seventh-generation South Dakotan and “farm kid”, being an advocate for agriculture hits close to home for me. On my family farm, row crops and livestock operations were the livelihoods of my family each day of my childhood. What began as having fun playing in mud puddles, riding with Dad in the tractor, and getting my first cardboard box of baby chicks from Tractor Supply, quickly grew into a deeper appreciation for farming.
What I love about the agriculture industry is that there is always more to learn from local farmers and their sustainable practices, which is exactly what spending the day with Brandon Wipf had to offer. The Wipf Farm is a row crop operation near Hitchcock, South Dakota. Brandon and his parents primarily manage soybeans, along with corn, wheat, and alfalfa. Brandon is on the Board of Directors for the American Soybean Association and does a fantastic job representing South Dakota farmers on a larger legislation level.
Seeing Brandon’s face light up when he began talking about each new conversation topic was incredible. His deep appreciation for nurturing the land is so inspiring. For Brandon, and many farmers, it is much more than getting food on the table – it is about the long-term preservation of cropland so that we can see bountiful harvests for generations to come.
My visit to the Wipf farm was an incredible experience that made me appreciate the time and dedication that is implemented into the sustainable practices of the operation. Crop rotation, row tillage, and tiling systems are just a few practices that I learned more about during my visit.
Farmers spend endless time doing “behind the scenes” work that a majority of people would never think of. Brandon shared more about how the little things add up quickly, which makes for a busy schedule. Not only do farmers have to plan out their schedules, but they also have to trust that the weather will cooperate and adjust accordingly.
Brandon Wipf was the perfect farmer for the job when it came to giving a farm tour (complete with two Rangers to drive around and cookies for a snack break). We drove around as I learned about and appreciated his operation. Brandon shared that although it may have taken his father some time and patience to adjust to some new farming practices, it quickly became clear to him that implementing sustainable practices would be worth it in the end.
As technology and social media essentially seem to run the world, we will continue needing farmers to be active in teaching and informing consumers WHAT they are doing and WHY they are doing it.
I am thankful for the Hungry for Truth Ambassador Program, South Dakota soybean farmers and their Checkoff, the South Dakota Soybean Research & Promotion Council, and the South Dakota Soybean Association for connecting farmers with consumers. Farmer and food education plays a pivotal role in how our consumers view farming operations. I am so proud to know farmers, such as Mr. Wipf, that are willing to spend their time influencing and informing consumers. I am thrilled to continue sharing my positive experiences learning from local farmers and encouraging others to become informed as well.
Shania is a graduate of South Dakota State University and the owner of The Stem Floral Studio. Shania is Miss South Dakota USA 2022 and will represent South Dakota at Miss USA on October 3rd in Reno, Nevada. To learn more about Shania, connect with her via:
Facebook: Shania Knutson