Current SDARL class visits Slovek Ranch

The 2007 South Dakota Agricultural Rural Leadership (SDARL) latest class trip began on June 5.

Members met in Pierre, joining newly appointed South Dakota Department of Agriculture Secretary Bill Even for a discussion on agriculture. They also met with newly appointed SD Education Association Executive Director Bryce Healy.

SDARL member Bill Slovek and his wife, Pennie, gave a guided tour of area rangelands on their ranch. The Sloveks are engaged in an intensive rotational grazing program.

Fellow area SDARL member, Lola Roseth said, "It is always interesting to see other family operations. It is a beautiful ranch."

Another ranch visited was the Scott and Paula Phillips ranch north of New Underwood. They presented a short class on range management. The class members ate at the Phillips' River View Lodge on Wednesday.

On Thursday, they were at the Blue Bell Lodge in Custer State Park. Class assignments call for individuals to present book reports for other class members between seminars. Custer State Park Superintendent Richard Miller discussed park issues, including the area of the 1998 Galena Forest Fire. Other talks were on grazing permits and current national forest issues.

"We also toured a logging operation and a saw mill at Hill City, Rushmore Forest Products, Inc.," reported Roseth.

The SDARL class concluded the field trip by touring Union Center. Individual stops included Cammack Ranch Supply, the Baptist Church, the Community Center, a taxidermy shop, a cabinet making shop, Cenex and the Unique Shop that was formerly a church.

The SDARL class is currently gearing up to visit the country of China next February.