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JUNE 4, 2018 - VOL. 54 No. 8

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Stockyards Ag Experience completes Community Appeals Campaign

By Mike Lynch
Forward Sioux Falls

Agricultural roots run deep in Sioux Falls–both metaphorically and literally.

The Stockyards Ag Experience, which completed a successful Community Appeals campaign on March 31, will provide residents and visitors alike with interactive learning experiences and historical lessons that bridge the gap between the past and the present by detailing the profound impact agriculture has had upon our city, state and region.

Funds raised through Community Appeals will be devoted to development of the 3.63 acre Stockyards Ag Experience Plaza, located on the original site of the Stockyards near Falls Park. Plaza construction is scheduled to begin in 2019, with 2020 being the first full season of operation. This will complete the second phase of the Ag Experience project; the first phase, the refurbishment of the barn at the Falls, was completed in 2017.

The Stockyards Ag Experience Plaza is a celebration of what has made Sioux Falls a unique place in the past, and our city and region's continuing role in feeding our nation and the world. Campaign Co-chair Dana Dykhouse said that because it is a site preservation project, the story is told right where it happened. "The Stockyards Ag Experience brings education and quality of life enhancements. It can play a part in economic development and attracting and retaining great staff members here in Sioux Falls," he said.

Dykhouse also stated that since the location is a gateway from I-229 into downtown Sioux Falls, it extends the Falls Park experience. "With all that's to come in our Falls Park neighborhood – Levitt Pavilion, the Sioux Steel redevelopment, and railyard redevelopment – adding to existing amenities like the Visitor Information Center and Farmer's Market, we are confident that the Plaza adds value."

With messaging for the campaign focusing on a "Home Grown" theme, celebrating what makes our region unique, campaign volunteers exceeded the $1.19 million goal by nearly $69,000.


Community Appeals Campaign

Goal: $1.19 million
Raised: $1.259 million

Community Appeals Campaign Timeline: November 1, 2017- March 31, 2018

Stockyards Ag Experience will create a living heritage outdoor plaza on the site of the original Sioux Falls Stockyards.


According to Stockyards Ag Experience Executive Director Jennifer Smith Hoesing, success was attributed to having a mission-driven approach. "Under the outstanding leadership of Jim Woster, Dana Dykhouse and Mike Begeman, sixty volunteers coalesced around our mission to connect agriculture to our lives. They shared in our vision of a world where everyone recognizes and celebrates the past, present and future of agriculture," she said. "Last but not least, we kept the process fun, celebrating milestones along the way."

Hoesing said volunteers expressed great joy in hearing stories from the public related to their Stockyards or agricultural connections and what they've learned about agriculture since arriving in Sioux Falls. "Hearing others share their stories helped us see that in historical and contemporary context, agriculture matters."

According to Begeman, who also serves on the Chamber Community Appeals Committee, the Community Appeals model is an integral component in pursuit of a successful capital campaign. "The structure that Community Appeals provides leads to consistent support year after year from the business community and is a testament to the profound trust in this longstanding process."

Looking into the future, a strategic plan will guide the next phase of operations with goal number one to complete the Stockyards Ag Experience Plaza. "We are also devoted to continuing to define, align and promote the brand; focusing on sustainability–both short and long-term–and designing and implementing strong programs, activities and partnerships," Woster said.

Woster added that ultimately, it comes back to the mission of the Stockyards Ag Experience to connect agriculture to our daily lives. "We often say, with a smile and a laugh, that if you wear clothes and eat food, you have a farmer to thank for it and that is the truth!"


 
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