In an effort to educate consumers, family farmers and ranchers treated fairgoers to a 30 cent lunch in the South Dakota Farmers Union tent at the 2017 South Dakota State Fair.

“There is a large gap between prices charged in grocery stores and the actual profits received by farmers and ranchers who raise the ingredients,” explains Doug Sombke, President of S.D. Farmers Union. “We receive pennies on the dollar – even in year like this when markets are down to the point that many farmers and ranchers are actually paying to raise crops and cattle.”

The annual Farmers Share Lunch, sponsored by S.D. Farmers Union at the State Fair is the grassroots organization’s attempt to convey this message.

“State Fair provides us with the opportunity to share our story and explain the investment we make in raising safe and healthy food while at the same time, taking care of our natural resources,” says Terry Sestak, District 1 Farmers Union board member and fourth-generation Tabor farmer. “Yes, farming and ranching is a business, we need to make a profit in order to continue feeding the world, however it is also a way of life we value.”

Today, Sestak and several other family farmers and ranchers were able to share this message with consumers as they engaged fairgoers who enjoyed a lunch that would typically cost $10, if it were purchased at a café.

South Dakota Farmers Union charged only 30 cents – the amount South Dakota farmers and ranchers would receive for the ingredients. The lunch is a pulled pork sandwich, baked beans, potato chips and milk.

“It’s good to have a reminder like this because everyone thinks farmers make all this money,” says fairgoer, Sheri Severson, who makes the trek from Aberdeen to Huron to spend a day with her family at the state fair each year. “I’m thankful to our farmers for providing our food for us – I like knowing where my food comes from.”

Sheri Severson (center) with her mom, Lois Taylor and daughter, Bethany Severson, were among more than 1,000 fairgoers who enjoyed the S.D. Farmers Union Farmers Share Lunch held at the 2017 South Dakota State Fair.