SIOUX FALLS -- The South Dakota Corn Growers Association (SDCGA) board elected Dave Ellens of Madison as secretary-treasurer for 2021 at its annual meeting on Tuesday.

For the past two years, Ellens has been on the board representing District 2, which includes Lake, Miner, Minnehaha and Moody counties.

"I'm excited to step into a leadership role with South Dakota Corn to help our state's farmers be more profitable and successful, because that's why we're all here," Ellens said.

As a third-generation Pioneer Seed dealer, he farms near Madison raising corn and soybeans. He and his wife Karli have three daughters.

Ellens owns an ag retail business, Lakeco Crop Services, and recently opened a wholesale operation, Legacy Ag.

"I think it matters when someone in your area is in leadership because you know they will stick up for your same industry and support the causes that matter most to both of you," he said.

According to Ellens, trade is a key topic for the board to focus on for 2021.

"We want to market not just locally but to open markets worldwide, because that affects us locally, too," he said. "We want access to sell our grain in more outlets.

``Ethanol is a huge part of my District 2 with Dakota Ethanol right in nearby Wentworth," Ellens said.

He is starting his second year on the ethanol action team with National Corn Growers Association, which focuses on new technology and markets and educates consumers about the benefits of ethanol.

Since being involved with the board, Ellens now realizes the magnitude of impact when the South Dakota Corn story is told face to face in Washington, D.C.

"No one is going to tell your story better than you," he said. He hopes to be hands-on with legislation to ensure fairness to his fellow farmers.

Other officers for the new year are as follows:

-- Current board member Scott Stahl of Bridgewater will take the place of outgoing President Doug Noem effective Jan. 1.

"By helping increase demand that leads to profitability, I'm honored to represent the best part of South Dakota," Stahl said. "I want to help sustain rural communities and family farms across the entire state."

-- Travis Strasser of Wilmot will take over as vice president.

-- Gary Duffy of Oldham was re-elected as member at-large.

-- Travis Mockler of Centerville and Austin Hillestad of Volga are new board members joining the SDCGA.

Hillestad said he looks forward to being involved on a board that's dedicated to policy issues.

"Day-to-day uncertainty on what the government will do next is one of the biggest challenges we face as corn farmers," he said.