5 questions with ... Stacy Hadrick, agriculture advocate and rancher, Faulkton, S.D.
Q: What is your role in agriculture today?
My passion is helping people in agriculture build their businesses and develop personally. Currently I coordinate the beefSD program through South Dakota State University, a two-year program for beginning beef producers. We are currently on our third class, and it's so exciting to see the growth of the program and the people who have participated.
My husband Troy and I farm and ranch with his family in northeastern South Dakota. I help out as much as I can, mostly with the livestock. I also volunteer on the South Dakota Beef Industry Council and South Dakota Farm Bureau boards.
Q: How do you farm and ranch differently than a generation before you?
Technology. The things we're doing with our cattle is really exciting! We artificially inseminate every cow in our herd. We also genomic test our replacement heifers and bulls to help us make strong management decisions for our customers. We retain ownership of all steers and feeder heifers and sell choice and prime carcasses. Through the knowledge we've gained about our cattle and how they grade, we've started to sell bulls to people who raise beef cattle that are worth more money.
Q: As a mom, what is most important to you to instill in your three kids with their rural and agricultural lifestyle and upbringing?
How lucky we are to live in a rural community is so important to instill in our children. Our life is really simple and a wonderful way of life to raise a family. Living over an hour from fast food and Walmart takes a lot of extras out of our life. Sure there are things I wish we could experience, so we travel with the kids as much as possible. I want them to appreciate what they have because we have so much.
Q: What is one aspect or thing you love about your community of Faulkton, S.D.?
Faulkton is a very progressive small community that is thriving, not just surviving! We have an independent hospital, an active arts council that is bringing in an artist to paint a mural on our elevator this summer, an economic development board that is expanding our town on both the east and west sides and many amazing businesses. One of my favorite things in my small town is that I can park on Main Street and go to the pharmacy, bank, post office, bakery and grocery store all in a one-block area! It sounds funny, but it is so nice to have everything I need so close.
Q: Agriculture advocacy has changed since you and Troy started sharing your story more than 13 years ago. How has it evolved for you? Do you share and engage differently with farmers, ranchers and non-ag consumers today than you did a decade ago? Why or why not?
We've come a long ways in that decade-plus. We don't have to talk about what PETA and HSUS are doing. Farmers and ranchers are more aware now. We have been able to shift our discussions with them to next level action, and that helps to get more people pushing out the truth about agriculture. We also don't have to do workshops on social media anymore. People are using social media every day to share their stories of agriculture. Non-ag consumers are much more savvy and are looking to sort through all the noise and connect with people who raise their food. The best way to do this is direct contact. I don't think that will ever change.
Stacy Hadrick, raised on a western South Dakota ranch, is a graduate of SDSU with a double major in agriculture business and economics and a graduate degree in strategic leadership. She previously worked for SDSU Extension for 12 years. Together she and her husband, Troy, have done agriculture advocacy event speaking in 32 states and 3 countries. They reside near Faulkton with their three children.