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News and Blog

Posted 5/18/2017 2:00pm by SDSPA Marketing Contractor.

SDSPA is offering 11 free field tours across the state starting in June and running into September. Food producers, processors, gardeners, chefs, consumers and resource providers are encouraged to attend. Pre-registration is required only if purchasing lunch (optional).

Tour offerings include (printable pdf):

June 24th- Berries & Hops Producers Tour (Wagner & Armour, SD)

Hosts: Stewart’s Aronia Acres & Srstka's Hops Farm

Cost: $10 for meal (Blue Moon Bar & Grill). Register by June 22nd. Pay at site. Thank you to Northern Plains Sustainable Ag Society (NPSAS) for their partnership and financial support of this tour.


July 15th- Growing in Greenhouses & Selling in Boxes (Midland, SD)

Hosts: Cedar Creek Gardens, LLC with Chef Scott Brinker (RC Regional Hospital)

Cost: $12 for meal. Register by July 13th. Pay at site. 

Thank you to Rapid City Regional Health for their support of this tour by making it possible for Chef Scott Brinker to participate.


August 10th- Meat Goats & Growing Tomatoes in a Greenhouse (Custer, SD)

Hosts: Pleasant Valley Farm & Windsong Valley Garden

Cost: $12- $15 for meal (Black Hills Burgers & Buns). Register by August 8th. Pay at site.


August 17th- Vineyard & SDSU Campus Gardens (Volga & Brookings, SD)

Hosts: Schadè Vineyard & SDSU Local Foods Ed Center (Campus)

Cost: $5 Wine Tasting (Optional), $15 for meal (Pheasant Restaurant). Register by August 15th. Pay at site.


August 27th- Gardens & Greenhouses & Chef Tour (Rapid City)

Hosts: Country Road Garden & Rock Valley Garden & Chef Jeff Slathar (Colonial House)

Cost: $10 for meal. Register by August 25th. Pay at site.  


September 9th- Milling Organic Grains & SDSU Experimental Station (Alcester/Beresford, SD)

Hosts: Dakota Earth Bakery (Alcester, SD) & Exp. Station (Beresford, SD)

Cost: $10- $12 for meal (Dakota Earth Bakery). Register by September 7th. Pay at site.  


Attention chefs please note 2 CEH’s are available for each tour (4 per day). Additionally, these tours will qualify for Master Gardener Continuing Education hours.

Please contact Ms. Cory Tomovick ( with questions or to register for meals.

Posted 4/25/2017 8:55am by Chris Zdorovtsov.

Dr. Burrows, SDSU Extension Horticulture Specialist, discusses sources of contamination and mapping the flow of produce to avoid risk.

Dr. Burrows, SDSU Extension Horticulture Specialist, discusses sources of contamination and mapping the flow of produce to avoid risk.

SDSU Extension hosted a farm food safety training in Rapid City Apr. 8 for fruit and vegetable growers. The class helped producers who are creating farm food safety plans.

Dr. Rhoda Burrows, SDSU Extension Horticulture Specialist, discussed potential food safety risks such as contamination from watering practices, animal contact, people and equipment. Attendees had the opportunity to map their own farm's features and assess their own operations for potential risks and scale-appropriate best practices. 

Additional topics included the latest rules under the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) and determining if or when those rules applied to a given operation; current research-based recommendations for reducing risks from field to market; and information sources, templates and other tools for optimizing production and post-harvest handling practices. 


Michelle Grosek talks about safe food handling practices used in their Bear Butte Gardens operation near Sturgis. She noted that siting of animal pens, such as the poultry house, in relation to gardens and general traffic flow is very important when considering food safety.


Safe food handling practices are important in vineyards, too. Kris Booze with Red Valley Vineyard near Black Hawk introduces the product handling practices they use in the vineyard she manages with her parents Patty & Dave.


 Country Road Gardens' co-owner Mary Bodensteiner remarks that Good Agricultural Practices (GAPS) and safe food handling are critical to providing safe & healthy produce, eggs, meats and value-added products from their farm and commercial kitchen. Mary & husband Tom will host an on-farm tour later this summer.


Posted 4/25/2017 8:50am by Chris Zdorovtsov.

SDSPA Board, April, 2017

Many SDSPA members, partners and others involved in the local foods community participated in the 2017 Annual Membership Meeting in Oacoma on April 7th.

Highlights of the meeting included a brief recap of 2016 accomplishments, an appreciation for the growing partnerships that SDSPA is building for the benefit of members and the state, a positive financial report, status on 501c3 & 501c5 applications, a draft of revised Bylaws for members to review & comment, a request for all attendees to complete the online 2016 Annual Producer Survey, a presentation about website & Facebook outreach analytics to-date, and election of new Board of Directors members. 

Wanda Goodman & Kirk Hulstein from the SD Department of Tourism presented on Agritourism opportunities in SD. The no-host lunch allowed participants time for networking and the conference facility said they are open to utilizing locally-provided foods for next year’s event. The SDSPA outreach display featured hops growing & processing by Ryan Heine & Michelle Donner (Yankton) of 6th Meridian Hops.  

Breakout sessions in the afternoon included meetings of the SD Wine Growers Association and the newly-forming Hops Growers Chapter, planning meeting for the 2017 SD Local Foods Conference, and an open session with info for Aronia growers/marketers and a report on the 2016 SCBG for Farmers Markets from the SD Dept. of Agriculture.  Members indicated that a similar meeting style should be setup at this location for 2018, but should held earlier in the year.  

A special welcome and thank you to our new board members! Tom Barnes, Pleasant Valley Farm (Custer), Tom Bodensteiner, Country Road Garden (Rapid City), Michelle Donner, 6th Meridian Hops (Yankton), Julie Auch, Auch Aronia Farm (Yankton), and Sean Duffy, Papa’s Hops (Sioux Falls).   



President Kim Brannen leading the SDSPA annual membership meeting 


“Opportunities in Agritourism in South Dakota” presented by Wanda Goodman & Kirk Hulstein from the SD Department of Tourism! 


The SDSPA Annual Meeting Included 4 Breakout Sessions (Clockwise): The SD Wine Growers Association; Fruit & Vegetable Growers Session- Featuring the SD Dept. of Agriculture's presentation on Farmers Market Grants & Stewart's Aronia Acres; the SD Local Food Conference Planning Committee; & The SD Hops Growers & Craft Brewers.


Dining & networking during the SDSPA annual meeting.

Posted 3/27/2017 1:34pm by Chris Zdorovtsov.

Hops growers, others in the industry, and interested Partners!

We are reaching out to you on behalf of the SD Specialty Producers Association (SDSPA) and SDSPA members Ryan Heine & Michelle Donner of 6th Meridian Hops (Yankton, SD).  We invite you to join us for the industry information sharing & networking that starts in the ‘SD Hops Growing & Craft Brewing’ breakout session on Friday, April 7th at Cedar Shore Resort, Oacoma, SD.  

Dr. Christopher Graham, SDSU Extension, plans to join us.  This breakout session starts at 1:00PM (Central time) and you are also welcome to join us for an interactive presentation at 11:30AM by SD Department of Tourism Deputy Director, Wanda Goodman and Team Leader Kirk Hulstein, about AgriTourism opportunities in the state.  

The SD Specialty Producers Association’s Annual Meeting runs from 10:00-11:15AM and is open to the public.  There will be a no-host buffet lunch and great networking on-site from Noon to 1:00PM.  (Please say if you will join us for lunch – we need an accurate count for Cedar Shore’s kitchen.) Click here for more information on full program.

Our joint hope is that we can get the growers, brewers, potential growers, partners, and other interested folks together to start building this agriculture segment as a viable industry.  The discussion is open to more than just hops – we hope to have malters/grain growers, and other gruits producers included.  Essentially it would be a group dedicated to local production of everything the brewers need.  And we hope to build a good relationship with the SD Brewers Guild.  Some topics of mutual interest:

  • Education, Research, and Resources: provide grower education and give a portal from the SDSU extension & universities to the hops/brewers industry.


  • Marketing and Quality: build a community and work to build relationships among growers and hopefully raise the quality and improve testing of the South Dakota crop.


  • Work with state agencies & government & partners for awareness of our industry and its needs to be successful.


Meeting Agenda



Posted 3/23/2017 12:39pm by Chris Zdorovtsov.

SDSPA is seeking input from commercial producers to better understand and describe the economic impact of specialty crops and other local foods. South Dakota growers of fruits, vegetables, herbs, nuts, hops, nursery crops, and flowers, as well as producers of honey, processed goods, specialty types of poultry, meats, grains or dairy are needed to provide data and share industry needs. 

Complete Survey Here

SDSPA will share survey results with local food partners including the S.D. Departments of Agriculture, Tourism and Health, SDSU Extension and others who serve local food producers across the state. This data will guide entities as they provide educational training, expand partnerships, seek project funding and promote local food efforts.

The survey requests information from 2016 including what crops and products were produced, what markets were utilized, what food safety requirements were requested from buyers, production approach, technologies utilized and producer needs. The survey will take approximately 10-15 minutes. The information will remain strictly confidential and data will be presented in an aggregated form. 

Participants who complete the survey can enter into a drawing for prizes which include resource guides such as “Market Farming Success” or “Wholesale Success” and a gift certificate towards the 2017 Local Foods Conference in Spearfish Nov. 3-4th.  Winners will be notified by email or phone.   

This survey is part of a larger effort by SDSPA to support specialty crop producers by connecting them with resources, customers, agri-tourism markets, networking and educational opportunities via a Specialty Crop Block Grant funded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

2015 Survey Results

Posted 3/21/2017 8:34am by Chris Zdorovtsov.

How we handle our produce, starting in the field, affects its safety and our relationships with buyers. Buyers in all markets are increasingly expecting farmers to be proactive about the safety of the produce they sell. The FSMA Produce Rule has increased the importance of addressing on-farm food safety.

Integrating food safety systems with production and postharvest practices, conservation, and market relationships supports the development of systems that are viable, cost-effective, scale-appropriate and environmentally responsible.

This training is hands-on and scenario based. In-class work will include:

  •   Creating land use maps and postharvest process diagrams.

  •   Identifying potential food safety risks and potential pathways to the food such as wind, air, people, equipment, and animals.

  •   Developing record-keeping/traceability systems that align with the farm work.

  •   Writing “Food Safety Action Plans” that are Produce Rule compliant and meet other requirements (including organic) that are specific to participants’ produce operations.

April 8th, 2017 8:30am - 4:30pm
West River Ag Center, 1905 Plaza Blvd., Rapid City
$35 (Includes lunch), Register by April 5. On/after April 5th, add $10.
For details contact Dr. Rhoda Burrows, Professor and Extension Horticulturist (605)-394-2236


Posted 3/16/2017 11:35am by Chris Zdorovtsov.

The South Dakota Specialty Producers Association (SDSPA) is hosting its annual membership meeting April 7, from 9:30 a.m. – 4 p.m. CDT at Cedar Shore Resort in Oacoma, SD.  Members as well as non-members involved in specialty crop or local food production are encouraged to attend.

Full Schedule

Hops Growing & Craft Brewing Breakout Session Schedule

In addition to the membership meeting Wanda Goodman, Deputy Director & Kirk Hulstein, Industry Outreach and Development Team Leader, of the SD Department of Tourism will present “Opportunities in Agritourism is South Dakota.”    

Afternoon breakout sessions will provide time for subgroups to gather.  The Hops Growers & Brewers Guild, S.D. Wine Growers Association, SD Dept of Ag- 2016 Farmers Market Grant Results, and SD Local Foods Conference committee are scheduled to meet.  If another group (E.g. Food hub, fruit growers, chefs, agritourism farms, etc) would like to meet during the event they may contact the SDSPA membership coordinator for scheduling.

SDSPA president Kim Brannen encourages members to participate in the annual meeting to express their voice as they guide association development and leadership. “Meeting participants will learn about the organization’s restructuring to an IRS non-profit, vote on new bylaws, and elect board of director members,” said Brannen. The meeting is open to all, however current membership is required to vote.

This is a free event and registration is not required to attend. A soup and sandwich buffet will be offered at your own cost.  

SDSPA was founded in 2001. It is made up of growers, processors and others interested in producing and marketing South Dakota specialty crops and products. We represent locally grown non-commodity products including fruits and vegetables, herbs and medical plants, grapes, golden flax, hops, honey, nursery crops and more.  

SDSPA Treasurer, Pat Garrity, said, “The original intent for the SDSPA was to create an umbrella organization to represent several of the smaller organizations in the state. We wanted to create this organization so that all of the smaller groups could have a stronger impact – from grants, to policy, to marketing.”

The organization works to promote specialty crops and products; develop cooperative marketing opportunities; create opportunities for producers to market, network, and learn; market agri-tourism; develop South Dakota product identity; support research and serve as a venue for networking and information gathering.  

Membership dues are $25 and applications for 2017 are available at the SDSPA website, http://sdspecialtyproducers.orgSpecialty producers can also stay up-to-date on relevant issues and educational opportunities by following SDSPA on Facebook at

For more information on this event or membership contact Cory, SDSPA membership coordinator, at

Posted 2/14/2017 9:47am by Chris Zdorovtsov.

It is now time for SDSPA membership to provide input on what training topics are desired for the 2017 field tours. If you are willing to host a field tour, please also let us know. Additional requests or comments for SDSPA leadership are welcome.

Request Form

Please complete this form and email it to:


Posted 2/2/2017 9:04am by Chris Zdorovtsov.

Its Time to Join SDSPA!

The South Dakota Specialty Producers Association is made up of growers, processors and others interested in producing and marketing South Dakota specialty crops and products. We represent locally grown non-commodity products including fruits and vegetables, herbs and medical plants, grapes, golden flax, hops, honey, nursery crops and more!

Goals of our organization include:

  • Promote South Dakota horticultural, specialty crops and products
  • Develop cooperative marketing opportunities
  • Create opportunities for specialty crop producers to market, network, and learn
  • Market Agri-tourism
  • Develop South Dakota product identity
  • Offer educational programs
  • Help support research
  • Partner with other organizations working on common goals
  • Serve as a venue for networking and information gathering


Consider joining to stay informed, boost your visibility, and improve your business! Complete the 2017 membership application today!

Posted 10/28/2016 5:27pm by Karen Brannen.

Here are the schedules for the 2016 SD Local Foods Conference:

Full Conference Schedule (Nov. 4-5)

Pre-Conf Schedule (Nov 3)

Visit Eventbrite to register!