Meet the newest ASA Corteva Young Leaders from SD

January 2, 2024

ASA’s longest-running leadership program, Young Leaders was founded in 1984 and continues to set the bar for leadership training in agriculture, identifying and training new, innovative and engaged growers to serve as the voice of the American farmer. Participants commit to attend two training sessions, the second of which is held in conjunction with the annual Commodity Classic trade show and conference.

Young Leaders not only enhances participants’ skills through leadership, communications, and issues-based training, but also builds a strong peer network, generating increased success in their businesses and communities. Many graduates of this training program will assume leadership roles with their state and national soybean associations. Young Leader seminars feature intense coursework designed to enhance leadership skills for the benefit of not only soy but also the entire agricultural industry. Training, open to all ages 21 and up, is interactive and includes evening group activities. Young Leaders are expected to be active supporters of agriculture and participate fully in all training aspects and evening activities.

Meet this year's Young Leaders from South Dakota!

Riley Schoenfelder

Riley is a Mechanical Engineering graduate from the South Dakota School of Mines and Technology and worked as a Reliability Engineer at Cargill for six years. His wife, Kelcy, in addition to being a full-time registered nurse, plays a key role in Schoenfelder Farms, helping with farm operations from driving trucks to assisting with year-end bookwork.

Schoenfelder Farms, a diversified operation near Parkston, S.D., spans 2000 acres of corn/beans, 300 acres of winter wheat, and 450 acres of alfalfa. Additionally, they manage two 2500-head wean-to-finish hog barns and a cattle operation of about 110 cows. The farm emphasizes sustainability, incorporating practices like manure injection and adopting new technologies for water resource management.

Riley envisions the farm moving towards more strip-till/minimum-till practices, with a focus on efficiency and sustainability. He plans to hire additional help to achieve a better work/life balance and contribute to the long-term success of the operation. Weed control and chemical resistance are acknowledged challenges in the soybean industry, and Riley aims to be actively involved in local soybean processors and checkoffs, serving as an informed advocate for the industry. The new processing plant in Mitchell, S.D., is seen as a crucial opportunity for their soybeans and a platform for industry engagement.

Ross Tschetter

Ross and his wife, Jennifer, of Bridgewater, S.D., find joy in raising their family on the farm. Ross brings a wealth of education and training, including participation in programs such as the Agrivisions Beginning Farmer Rancher Program and the South Dakota Agricultural and Rural Leadership Class VII.

As the chair of the McCook County FSA COC and a member of the SDARL Board of Directors, Ross is actively involved in both farm and non-farm activities. Tschetter Farms, a family operation, focuses on a 50/50 corn and soybean rotation, incorporating innovative practices like early adoption of ag tech for efficiency and stewardship.

Looking ahead, Ross envisions a shift to a multiple crop rotation and a full no-till model for Tschetter Farms, integrating grazing livestock. He recognizes sustainability and trade as critical issues in the soybean industry, emphasizing the need for strategic decisions to ensure a prosperous future for agriculture.

Ross Tschetter sees leadership not as an accident but as a responsibility and blessing. He envisions contributing back to the industry and ecosystem that have been foundational to his family, engaging with the broader community to secure a resilient future for agriculture.

Learn more about the program!