Tyson Martinmaas, our South Dakota Agronomist, is participating in
a one-year leadership development program sponsored by the South Dakota Agri-Business Association (SDABA), designed to improve leadership skills of South Dakota men and women working in agri-business. This year, 11 candidates were selected from several different ag companies across South Dakota, with the goal of increasing their understanding and knowledge of the programs and services provided by SDABA. Furthermore, the TAL program will increase the awareness of the many state and federal agencies that provide oversight to the agri-business industry in South Dakota. This program will also improve leadership and communication skills through professional development and leadership training sessions. Lastly, TAL will promote future leadership involvement in SDABA for years to come.
He was able to briefly outline his first two sessions for us:
Session I of the TAL program was held January 14, 2020 in Sioux Falls. It was held prior to the start of the Ag expo in Sioux Falls which is put on by South Dakota Agri-Business Association. The objective of session I was to welcome the 11 individuals that were chosen to participate in the program. It was really interesting to interact and get to know the 10 other members that were selected to be part of this program. In session I, we did an ice breaker to give the other members a bit of info on who we are. We then learned we would be responsible for researching a SD bill and tracking it through the entire legislation process, something I’m really looking forward to. We also heard from two prior TAL members on what to expect and what to take away from the program. At the end of the session, we had the pleasure of meeting the SDABA Board of Directors.
For Session II, we traveled to Pierre (the capitol of South Dakota) for two days of meetings that started January 27th, 2020. Day one started out with us meeting with Kathy Zander (one of the SDABA staff members) and learning about the state’s legislative process; admittedly, something I have very little knowledge on. We learned when and how it operates, how a bill becomes a law, and who all the players were. We later met with South Dakota’s State Treasurer, Josh Haeder, who described the many roles of his job. It was quite interesting to hear about all of the unclaimed properties they have to deal with. When the treasurer got done speaking, we met with a panel of lobbyists which consisted of a lobbyist from Farm Bureau, SD Soybean and SD Pork, and the SD Highway Patrol. They explained the details of a bill, and how an amendment to a bill could affect them all so differently. When seeing a new bill, you are just seeing the tip of a much bigger iceberg that could have so many different repercussions. The highway patrol lobbyist talked about the impact of possibly changing the legal height of hay that can be transported on the roads. The higher height could increase accidents and also damage low clearance overpasses. Once we finished with the lobbyists, we attended Ag Fest for the evening, with the goal of meeting and networking with South Dakota’s legislators. Ag fest was sponsored by various different companies and associations.
Day two of the Session II started out with us attending legislative committee meetings that consisted of the committee talking about certain bills. I sat in on two different committee meetings; one that dealt with charging commercial applicators more for their licenses to help offset the costs of disposing of out dated chemicals and empty chemical containers. I found it interesting how you could tell some of the committee members had an interest in this and how some could care less about it. Once the committee meetings wrapped up, we met with the Secretary of Agriculture and the directors of Ag services. This gave us a chance to pick their brains and get to see them interact with the SDABA lobbyist. After that, we went back to the capitol to monitor the senate and the house chambers in session. It looked a bit hectic when they were discussing a topic. I found it hard to follow along because they talked so fast. The end of Session II consisted of us meeting with Governor Kristi Noem and Lieutenant Governor Larry Roden. It was a bit surreal meeting the governor and hearing what led her to becoming involved in politics. Apparently, this is the first time in history where the Governor and the Lieutenant Governor both had Agricultural backgrounds, which was surprising to me.
I’m excited to for the next session which involves us going to Washington D.C. and having personal visits with the South Dakota Congressional Delegation in July.
Stay tuned to hear more on what else Tyson learns and how this business and leadership development!