July 26, 2022
Being a champion of agriculture’s growth and prosperity is just one of the achievements that makes a great ag ambassador in South Dakota, where agriculture is the No. 1 industry.
Promoting his lifelong passion also helped Walt Bones of Parker, S.D., earn this year’s 2022 Governor’s Ag Ambassador Award for South Dakota. Bones was presented the award by Gov. Kristi Noem during the recent Governor’s Ag Summit.
A fourth-generation producer, Bones with his family operates a diversified crop, livestock and commercial agribusiness. He says he believes in the importance of advocating for agriculture on all levels: nationally, regionally and locally, including regularly hosting tours that feature his family’s diverse operation, conservation efforts and promotion of the agricultural lifestyle.
“I am what I am because of where I came from,” Bones said in his acceptance speech. “God’s blessed us all with many talents, and one of the biggest blessings is my family. They encouraged me, all of us, as we’re involved in a number of things, so my brothers and sisters took over.”
He credits his parents for his involvement: “They really embraced public service and encouraged us to be active in the community.”
Bones traces his life of public service back almost 40 years ago with the Jaycees, serving as president of the state’s organization. Since then, he has added service on multiple boards and committees including:
Ag Advisory Board for former Gov. Dennis Daugaard
South Dakota Corn Growers Board
Avera Foundation Board
South Dakota Cattleman’s Association Board
South Dakota ag secretary, 2011-13
Realizing the importance of getting the next generation interested and involved in agriculture, Bones is active in Junior Achievement and South Dakota Ag in the Classroom. Through Ag in the Classroom, Bones said that 92% of the state’s fourth graders are exposed to agriculture education.
In addition to educating the next generation about agriculture, he sees the need for more of the younger generations to take the torch from himself and others like him, carrying on the agriculture advocacy message.
Watch this video to hear Bones talk about his involvement in agriculture and the importance of others promoting the industry.
Bones joins previous Ag Ambassador Award recipients:
2021, Jeff Lakner
2019, Paul Casper
2018, Roger Scheibe
2017, Lake Area Technical College
2016, Michelle Rook
2015, Bob Thaler
2014, Brad Greenway
2013, Mike Held
2012, Jim Wooster
2011, Dan Gee
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