AgOutlook Exudes Optimism, Builds Connections

January 3, 2022

On December 8–9, ag industry leaders and producers from across the state gathered together for South Dakota Soybean Association’s 17th annual AgOutlook Trade Show & Conference at the Ramkota Exhibit Hall in Sioux Falls.

The two-day event offered a variety of learning opportunities, including panel discussions, workshops and presentations covering topics such as regenerative practices, the sustaining influence of women on the future of agriculture, grain marketing, weather forecasting and more.

Meaningful connections built among attendees

AgOutlook also presented an opportunity for farmers to connect, share challenges and build relationships that will help them thrive in today’s ever-evolving industry.

Jerry Schmitz

“It is fantastic to see people with such passion,” said South Dakota Soybean executive director Jerry Schmitz. “Having those conversations about agriculture builds our foundation of knowledge and helps us to assist and support each other.”

It was likewise encouraging to bring so many other South Dakota commodity groups and farmer-led organizations under one roof, where they were able to exchange ideas and explore ways to collaborate on initiatives that serve the interests of the state’s ag producers.

The South Dakota Soybean Association annual meeting consumed much of Wednesday’s activities, followed by a ceremony to celebrate the 2021 yield contest winners as well as the evening Uniting Ag Social gathering.

Optimism prevails for state’s soybean producers

While 2021 was a difficult year for soybean production across the state due to pervasive drought conditions, the event retained a largely positive tone.

This sort of optimism traces its roots to the tangible momentum in market demand for soybeans and expanding uses for soy-based products—including biodiesel, asphalt sealant, rubber tires, artificial turf and more.

“There are so many new uses for soybeans coming all the time,” said Schmitz, who continues to farm outside of Vermillion in addition to his role at South Dakota Soybean. “And new uses drive market prices. From the soybean perspective, I don’t think there has been a more positive time.”

Schmitz was pleased with the level of engagement at this year’s AgOutlook event after a largely virtual experience the year prior. He acknowledged the significant contributions of the members serving on the South Dakota Soybean Association Board of Directors to help make it a successful endeavor.

“There are individuals that consider their leadership and their devotion to moving industry forward as a priority over their farms in many cases,” said Schmitz. “That’s a tremendous gift to all of their neighbors and other producers across the state.”