HURON -- Representing more than 18,000 family farmers and ranchers throughout South Dakota in his role as S.D. Farmers Union president, Doug Sombke was re-elected to serve as treasurer of the national organization's executive board during the 118th NFU convention.
"My first priority is serving South Dakota Farmers Union members. This role strengthens my ability to ensure national lobbying efforts clearly represent South Dakota's members," said Sombke, a fourth-generation Conde farmer. "By serving on the executive board, I work closely with NFU President and staff. I have a lot more input on what is happening and how we are implementing our current policy and special orders of business."
As NFU treasurer, Sombke provides oversight to the national organization's finances. Since 2017, Sombke has also served as president of Farmers Union Enterprises, the organization that oversees Farmers Union Industries.
Farmers Union Industries is made up of several businesses, the dividends of which help fund Farmers Union organizations in South Dakota, North Dakota, Minnesota, Montana and Wisconsin as well as Farmers Union Enterprise programs and National Farmers Union.
The diverse business portfolio Farmers Union Enterprises oversees includes grain-free pet food, wheat-based cat litter, grease and animal rendering plants. Like the organizations it supports, Farmers Union Industries also focuses on funding policy and advocacy.
A fourth-generation Conde farmer, Sombke's three sons have all returned to the family's farm where they raise crops and operate other value-added enterprises.
Sombke's clear understanding of the life and challenges family farmers live and face daily serve him well in his leadership roles as SDFU president, NFU treasurer and FUE president, said Rob Larew, president of NFU.
"You can talk about agriculture, but unless you've planted corn, fed cattle and endured several market cycles, it's hard to appreciate how stressful and important every decision can be to a family's farming operation," Larew says. "Doug understands agriculture because he is a farmer. He lives it."