After years of virtual events, we are thrilled to be back in person to learn from experts in our region. This year’s conference will feature breakout sessions on vegetable production, pasture based systems, and inventive projects in regenerative agriculture. Check out this year’s speaker lineup below!

Keynote speaker

Hannah Breckbill, Humble Hands Harvest

“Relying on Each Other: The Practice of Community”

Hannah Breckbill is a first-generation farmer and founder of Humble Hands Harvest in Decorah Iowa, a worker-owned farm that raises organic vegetables, pastured pork, and grass-fed lamb for local markets. Hannah has earned recognition for her public experimentation with the economics of farming and land access, and for her crafting of the Queer Farmer Convergence, an annual gathering that celebrates the contributions of the queer community to agriculture and land tending. Lesser known but equally important are that Hannah plays any instrument with strings, she’s a Mennonite, and she keeps a “perennial list” on her fridge to stoke the tree-planting vision.

“Automation for High Tunnels, Watering Systems, and Monitoring Coolers”

Peggy Martin & Bud Manke, Cedar Creek Gardens

Peggy Martin and Bud Manke, co-owners of Cedar Creek Gardens, have been growing since 2009. Peggy has an extensive computer background, which has helped with research and choosing automation aspects. Bud has many years of practical on farm experience, which comes in handy when implementing a variety of trial and error methods to achieve different goals.  Cedar Creek Gardens (CCG) has 14 acres of vegetables and melons in field production, 8 high tunnels and 4 coolers, and most of these areas use some type of technology to manage them. Sales are made year-round via wholesale, farmer’s markets, and farm stands.

“SNAP and Incentive Programs at Farmers Markets”

Barbara Cromwell, Black Hills Farmers Market

Barbara Cromwell has managed the Black Hills Farmers Market for the past five years. She has supported local food systems as a volunteer since 2007. She enjoys collaborating with others, both within the Black Hills Farmers Market community and across South Dakota, to build support for local food systems.

“Growing and Marketing Unique Vegetable Varieties”

Jeremy Nelson, Tillford Rye Farm

Jeremy Nelson is the owner of Tillford Rye Farm, a diversified regenerative and organic operation started in 2017 that serves Sioux Falls and the surrounding community. Our focus is on producing outstanding, nutrient dense food while also building soil health. 

Chef Panel

Jordan Taylor, Chef and Co-Owner of Bread and Circus, Pizza Cheeks, En Place Catering, and Boathouse Bar and Grill; Matthew Wilson; Franky Young

Jordan Taylor is a career chef and restaurant owner/operator. For 15 years he worked his way up in kitchens in Portland, quickly moving into the role of Kitchen Manager and Executive Chef. In the Spring of 2017, he moved back to Sioux Falls, SD to start his first restaurant. Opening May of 2017, Bread & Circus Sandwich Kitchen made a name for itself for its unique take on traditional dishes. Its success is greatly due to Jordan’s ability to create unique and memorable dishes. Bread & Circus has attracted national attention, most recently being featured on The Food Network’s “Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives”. In 2020 Jordan, and his business partner, Barry Putzke, opened Pizza Cheeks, a chef-driven pizza-by-the-slice restaurant located in downtown Sioux Falls. The En Place Catering kitchen, opening in the Fall of 2021, was a natural addition to Jordan’s portfolio, as the volume of catering requests surpassed their other restaurants’ capacity. He has recently opened a fourth restaurant, Boat House Bar & Grill at Spring Creek, north of Pierre, and doesn’t plan on slowing down anytime soon. 

Matthew Wilson: Coming soon

Franky Young: Coming soon

“Cover Crop Strategies”

Shawn Freeland, Dry Creek Farm & Ranch

Shawn & Kristy Freeland are the owners of Dry Creek Farm & Ranch, a first-generation operation specializing in soil health, direct market pastured meats, and community education. The Freeland’s believe regenerative agriculture systems are imperative to the future of sustainable, nutrient rich meat production as is educating and connecting with their community. The farm has been completely no-till since 2016. Additionally, the farm utilizes cover crops for soil health and livestock grazing, practices managed grazing and does not use synthetic fertilizer. In September 2019, the farm added a crop maze and pumpkin patch to enhance their educational efforts.  

“A Mechanical Engineer’s Approach to Gardening”

Darin Waldner, Waldner Farms

Darin Waldner grew up in the great town of Webster, SD, where he attended Webster High School. He graduated in 2005 and attended SDSU in Brookings to study Mechanical Engineering. After graduating in 2010, he started working for Dakota Pump & Control, of which he is now a partner in the business. He got his first taste of gardening when he was growing up – there was never a shortage of tomatoes or cucumbers in the summer. He moved back to Webster after finishing school, and a 10 acre lot was available just down the road from where he grew up. He bought it, and the garden was started. What started out as a little sweet corn, tomatoes, and cucumbers for his family quickly evolved into the Waldner Farms operation it is today.

Soil Health & Cover Crop Management for Vegetable Production

Rhoda Burrows and Kristine Lang, South Dakota State University Extension 

Dr. Rhoda Burrows is a Horticulture Specialist with SDSU Extension, focusing particularly on fruit and vegetable production and producer food safety. She also retains a keen interest in Soil Biology, having obtained her PhD in Plant Pathology (Univ. of Minn.) studying the relationships between native plant diversity and its associated mycorrhizal community. Her M.S. in Horticulture (Univ. of Minn.) involved study of asparagus transplant timing. She is a trainer for the disease and fruit and vegetable sections of the SD Master Gardener program.

Dr. Kristine Lang is a South Dakota State University Assistant Professor and Extension Consumer Horticulture Specialist based in Brookings, SD. She holds a Ph.D. in Horticulture and Sustainable Agriculture from Iowa State University, where her research focused on sustainable vegetable production. Her horticultural career has included working in private-sector, university, and non-profit organizations across four Midwestern states. Dr. Lang works with citizens across South Dakota to empower Master Gardeners, celebrate public gardens, champion local food and cut flower production, and address herbaceous plant questions from aster to zinnia. Dr. Rhoda Burrows is a Horticulture Specialist with SDSU Extension, focusing particularly on fruit and vegetable production and producer food safety. She also retains a keen interest in Soil Biology, having obtained her PhD in Plant Pathology (Univ. of Minn.) studying the relationships between native plant diversity and its associated mycorrhizal community. Her M.S. in Horticulture (Univ. of Minn.) involved study of asparagus transplant timing. She is a trainer for the disease and fruit and vegetable sections of the SD Master Gardener program.

Lamb & Wool: Adding Value to Your Operation

Lisa Surber, LM Livestock Services, and Jaelyn Quintana, South Dakota State University Extension

Dr. Lisa Surber, PhD was born and raised on a ranch near Medicine Hat, Alberta, Canada and is still active in her family’s commercial cattle operation. She obtained her B.S., M.S., and PhD in Animal and Range Sciences from Montana State University. During her time at MSU, she was the managing director of the Montana Wool Lab. Lisa served as a Wool Education Consultant for the American Sheep Industry Association and with WestFeeds as a Ruminant Nutritionist. Lisa now runs her own business providing nutritional expertise for cattle and sheep, wool buying, classing, and education services, sheep marketing and sales, NSIP certified ultrasounding services, and OFDA on-site wool testing services. She is also the Executive Secretary for South Dakota Sheep Growers Association. She is a certified sheep ultrasound technician and instructor and an ASI Level 4 wool classer and instructor, and performs these services across the US and Canada. Lisa lives in Opal, SD and can be reached at lmsurber@gmail.com or 406-581-7772.

Jaelyn Quintana serves as the SDSU Extension Sheep Field Specialist based in Rapid City. She grew up direct marketing lamb, beef, and goat with her family and has a passion for advocacy and producer-consumer connections. She received her Master’s degree in Animal Science from the University of Wyoming focusing on lamb production and meat quality. Jaelyn truly believes that the greatest assets we have in agriculture are the producers telling our farm to table story.

Regenerating a Local Food System on the Pine Ridge Reservation

Nick Hernandez, Makoce Agriculture Development

Nick Hernandez is a member of the Oglala Sioux Tribe and a citizen of the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation (SD). Nick is the father of two boys, Alee Jax and Kai Tyndall Hernandez and significant partner to Liz Welch. Nick earned a master’s degree in Lakota Leadership and Organizational Management from Oglala Lakota College (2019). Today, Nick has founded Makoce Agriculture Development, a 501c3 non-profit, which is the next level of local Indigenous agriculture and food systems development on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation. Nick is passionate and dedicated towards creating viable change for his community through a self-determined, indigenous led reconnective local food system, designed to regenerate healthy equitable communities, economies and our environment for many generations to come.

“Controlled Environment Agriculture at Western Dakota Technical College”

Kelsey Murray, Western Dakota Tech

Dr. Kelsey Murray, Program Director of the Environmental Engineering Program and Co-Program Director of the Controlled Environment Agriculture Program, has been full-time faculty at Western Dakota Tech since 2018.  She received her Ph.D. in Biomedical Engineering from South Dakota School of Mines and Technology.  Dr. Murray’s current research works to establish connections between the environment and human health, with emphasis on pathogenic and antibiotic resistance potential of microbes in surface and wastewater environments.  In addition, she is a collaborator on a national award-winning aquaponics project.  Dr. Murray continues to develop sustainable agriculture opportunities in South Dakota including constructing a Deep Winter Greenhouse and operating an on-campus apiary. 

Farm To School Panel

Rhonda Ramsdell, Meade School District, Lynn Dunker, Wall School District, and Kyle Cox, Cox’s Farm Stand

Rhonda Ramsdell, CDM, CFPP, is the Food Service Director for Meade School District. She currently serves as state president of the School Nutrition Association. A self-proclaimed ‘town kid’, Rhonda is a former member of the Black Hills Farmers Market and sold fresh bread there for 7 summers.

Lynn Dunker was raised in rural western SD and has been in school nutrition for 15 years. She and her husband Bruce raised three kids in Wall, SD where she is the food service director at the school. The school implemented Beef to School into their program in 2019, and she has worked on getting local beef in schools and on students’ plates since then.

Kyle Cox: coming soon

“Pricing Your Products”

Michelle & Rick Grosek and Kiara Poitra, Bear Butte Gardens

Michelle and Rick Grosek have operated Bear Butte Gardens since 2011 and The Farm Stand at Bear Butte Gardens since 2020. They and their crew grow certified organic products as well as non-certified products to sell in the farm stand. They also source from over 50 other regional producers for their year-round farm store. Michelle’s background is a degree in Business and Marketing, training as a South Dakota Master Gardener and a Master Food Preserver, along with many years working in various healthcare-related positions. Rick’s background is a degree in Computer Information Systems, serving as the Senior Database Administrator for Monument Health, and an avid permaculture and regenerative agriculture follower. Kiara Poitra, Farm Stand and Kitchen Manager, will also be collaborating on this presentation. She started working at The Farm Stand at Bear Butte Gardens in 2021 in the Commercial Kitchen Manager Apprenticeship and graduated from the apprenticeship in the spring of 2022. Kiara’s background is in food service and customer service and she is also a Master Food Preserver. Bear Butte Gardens is a certified organic farm just outside of Sturgis.

Adding Livestock to a Vegetable Farm

Hannah Breckbill, Humble Hands Harvest

Hannah Breckbill is a first-generation farmer and founder of Humble Hands Harvest in Decorah Iowa, a worker-owned farm that raises organic vegetables, pastured pork, and grass-fed lamb for local markets. Hannah has earned recognition for her public experimentation with the economics of farming and land access, and for her crafting of the Queer Farmer Convergence, an annual gathering that celebrates the contributions of the queer community to agriculture and land tending. Lesser known but equally important are that Hannah plays any instrument with strings, she’s a Mennonite, and she keeps a “perennial list” on her fridge to stoke the tree-planting vision.

Seed Saving Panel

Trish Jenkins & Jeremy Smith, Cycle Farm, and Rachel Saum, Common Roots Seed Library

Rachel Saum has spent the last 10 years working in and educating themselves on local food systems in South Dakota and beyond. Rachel has worked for various sustainable farming operations, including vegetable, fruit, and dairy production. They worked as the produce manager of the Sioux Falls Food Co+op for 5 years, building relationships with local growers in southeastern South Dakota, and was active in Homegrown Sioux Empire’s local foods campaign. Rachel currently works for the non-profit Project Food Forest and manages Common Roots Seed Library in Sioux Falls, among other things.

“Chicken Processing”

Jamie Boley, Mayborne Acres

Jamie started processing chickens as part of his first job cleaning fish and doing fur. When he got an acreage, he started raising some chickens for himself. Soon, others in the community wanted chicken, and things escalated from there. Now, Jamie not only runs a chicken CSA but also supplies local restaurants with his chicken.


SARE Farmers Forum

“Wiconi Waste Resistance Farm: a Lakota agroforestry and permaculture demonstration farm”

Michelle Tyon, Wiconi Waste Farm

Michelle Tyon, a Lakota woman from Porcupine, SD, is regenerating her land though agroforestry and permaculture. She is focusing on food sovereignty by growing her own food and on preserving her culture by reintroducing endangered native plants and medicines that were used by the Lakota people for centuries.

“No money, no problem. How to build a roller crimper on a budget.”

Dr. Ryan Schmid, Ecdysis Foundation

Ryan Schmid has been a research scientist with Ecdysis Foundation since 2018. He credits his upbringing on a family farm for honing his interests to work with farmers and ranchers to develop practical solutions to their problems. When not building roller crimpers, his time is spent investigating services provided by arthropods in agroecosystems.

“SARE Project Update: Enhancing producer resources to build small meat processing capacity and local meat demand”

Dr. Amanda Blair, South Dakota State University

Dr. Amanda Blair received her PhD from Purdue University in 2007 where she focused her research in the area of meat science. In the same year she joined the faculty at South Dakota State University where she is currently a Professor in Animal Science with a research and Extension appointment. Dr. Blair’s research is focused on understanding the effects of pre- and post-natal management strategies on growth, body composition and meat quality of beef cattle. Her Extension programming is focused on connecting producers with the processing and product sides of the industry as well as enhancing consumer understanding of meat production and products. In addition to her work with SDSU, Amanda ranches with her family near Sturgis, SD raising and marketing Angus cattle.

SARE Featured Speaker

Creating an artisan-in-residence program to further education in value-added agricultural products specific to our remote, ranching community”

Eliza Blue Loughlin, Plainsong Farm & Fiber

Bio: Coming soon



This year’s event was made possible by our planning committee: