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Kelsey Geraets named 2023 Dakotafest Woman Farmer/Rancher of the Year

The annual Woman Farmer/Rancher of the Year Award was presented on the last day of Dakotafest in Mitchell.

Five finalists were recognized by outlining their qualifications and services to the agricultural industry.

The Woman Farmer/ Rancher of the Year Award aims to recognize female farmers and ranchers from across the State.

This year’s winner is Kelsey Geraets. She is the first female on the South Dakota Corn Growers Association board.

To be considered for the award nominees must meet a list of eligibility and criteria. Geraets met most of these stipulations through her job as a feedlot manager of 2,500 head of cattle. She said she enjoys the surprises each day brings her.

“So on an average day, the only consistent thing is that I feed cattle, twice a day. Anything in-between that could be a surprise a majority of the time. You never really know what is going to happen when you wake up. You just know when you go to bed at night, your gonna get up, and not know what’s going to happen the next day. It can be anything from doctoring cattle to doing fieldwork," says Geraets. "Especially in planting and harvesting season we are doing that harvesting and planting, so, getting that work done in-between those two feedings.”

Geraets holds a seat on the Beef Industry Council Board, is president of the SD Cattlemen’s Auxiliary, and helps with her local FFA chapter.

As a young female in the agricultural industry, Geraets said she wants to encourage young women who are interested in agriculture to never give up.

“Get out there. Get your name out there, get your foot in the door. Don’t be afraid. People will doubt you, people will put that in your mind. People will tell you you can’t do it. But I am living proof, I am standing here, I do it every day and I do it really well. So, just get out there, have tough skin, people will say very hurtful things to you but use that to your best advantage and drive forward,” said Geraets.

Along with the title, recognition, and honors Geraets also received a $1,000 dollar cash prize.

Evan Walton is an SDPB reporter based in Sioux Falls. Evan holds a Master’s in English Literature from Southern New Hampshire University and was honorably discharged from the United States Army in 2015, where he served for five years as an infantryman.
Jordyn is a videographer with SDPB.