ag summit

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. -- The Governor's Agriculture Summit is open in Sioux Falls at the Sanford PREMIER Center, in the midst of tough times in farm country. State Ag Chief Kim Vanneman acknowledges the challenges in her welcoming remarks.

"This has been a tough year and it's been a tough year on top of several tough years."

Still, Vanneman says the South Dakota ag industry and its economic impact continue to grow. She says in 2014, the total economic impact was $25.6 billion. The latest numbers show a healthy rise.

"This economic impact with the new 2017 census data has jumped to $32.5 billion. Isn't that great"

One of the major themes of the 2-day summit is the 'Next Generation'. The future of agriculture and what young producers bring to the table, their special challenges and opportunities. Governor Kristi Noem will moderate a panel Thursday on next-generation producers. Also, Thursday is a town hall meeting on the Emerald Ash Borer and ways to slow its spread across the state.

The bug is now confined to Sioux Falls, but Tree Expert John Ball says over the next 20 years it will reach every corner of South Dakota.

"It's a good wake up call to everybody else in the state to come look at what Sioux Falls is doing..."

The Agriculture Summit is open to the public and it's free.