Children and agriculture, two of the most important things impacting the future of our part of the world, always make a great story. And I have one to share with you here.

South Dakota Farmers Union recognizes six rural youth for their commitment to agriculture and their communities with the Torchbearer distinction award.

The Torchbearer award recognizes youth who have completed all levels of the Famers Union youth achievement awards. It is the highest achievement award the organization presents to its youth membership.

The following high school seniors received the Torchbearer award:

Dayton Trujillo of De Smet, son of Kathy McAdaragh and Steven Trujillo; Keely Thompson of New Underwood, daughter of Dana and Roxona Thompson; Brooke Enright of Union Center, daughter of Travis and Jone Enright; Bailly Enright of Union Center, daughter of Travis and Jone Enright; Alyson Hauck of  De Smet, daughter of Jason and Bobbi Hauck and Jackie Dethlefsen of Stickney, daughter of Cheryl and Clyde Dethlefsen.

"These youth have exhibited leadership and given back to their communities and the industry of agriculture through participation in Farmers Union leadership training, camps and volunteering their time for community development," explains Bonnie Geyer, South Dakota Farmers Union Education Director.

Many of the Torchbearers became involved in Farmers Union youth programs as elementary students attending Farmers Union day camps. This is true for Dayton Trujillo.

"I've learned a lot about myself and developed self confidence and communication  skills through Farmers Union youth programs. The last few years I've been able to give back as a camp counselor working with young kids," Trujillo says.

Along with friends, Bailly Enright says she gained leadership and speaking skills through Farmers Union camps and education opportunities that paid off when she ran for student body president.

Each of the six Torchbearers received an all expense paid trip to the National Farmers Union Convention in Santa Fe, New Mexico, March 8-12.

To learn more about Farmers Union youth programs, contact Bonnie Geyer at 605-352-6761 ext. 125.

Karla Hofhenke, South Dakota Farmers Union

Pictured: Front row (left to right):  Bonnie Geyer,  South Dakota Farmers Union State Education Director, Huron;  Keely Thompson, New Underwood;  Alyson Hauck, DeSmet; Bailly Enright, Union Center. Back row (left to right):  Brooke Enright, Union Center; Dayton Trujillo, DeSmet; Jackie Dethlefsen, Stickney.