On a Mission for Cooperation: It's Camp Season 2016

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Growing up on a farm south of Gregory, Dowain Kerner didn't give his dad, Dean's, career much thought. That is, until he began attending Farmers Union Camp as a kid.

 "I was born on a farm; it's what my dad does for a living. But when I was little, I wasn't into farming at all. Attending camp really gave me an interest in farming," says Kerner, 18, who has been attending Farmers Union Camp since he was 8.

 Positive peer pressure is how Kerner explains his change of heart. "I really connected with the kids and leaders at Farmers Union Camp. They were excited about farming, ranching and cooperatives - this sparked an interest in me."

Finished with his first year at the School of Mines and Technology in Rapid City, Kerner is pursuing Chemical Engineering with the hopes of putting his degree to work for the agriculture industry.

"I thought it would be cool to work for a company that produces products my dad and other farmers use to protect or enhance their crops," explains the 2015 Torchbearer.

Like Kerner, each summer more than 2,000 rural youth ages 6 through high school seniors attend one or more of Farmers Union's 58 county day camps; three, three-day district camps and one state leadership camp.

 Through fun activities, Farmers Union teaches rural youth about cooperatives and farm safety where they can gain confidence, friendships and leadership skills, all while learning about the state's number one industry, explains Rachel Haigh-Blume, S.D. Farmers Union Education Director.

 "Today, as we become more and more removed from farms, South Dakota's kids need to know about agriculture and its economic impact on our state," says Haigh-Blume, who is new to Farmers Union, but is a veteran camp director.



Growing up on a farm south of Gregory, Dowain Kerner didn't give his dad, Dean's, career much thought. That is, until he began attending Farmers Union Camp as a kid.

 "I was born on a farm; it's what my dad does for a living. But when I was little, I wasn't into farming at all. Attending camp really gave me an interest in farming," says Kerner, 18, who has been attending Farmers Union Camp since he was 8.

 Positive peer pressure is how Kerner explains his change of heart. "I really connected with the kids and leaders at Farmers Union Camp. They were excited about farming, ranching and cooperatives - this sparked an interest in me."

Finished with his first year at the School of Mines and Technology in Rapid City, Kerner is pursuing Chemical Engineering with the hopes of putting his degree to work for the agriculture industry.

"I thought it would be cool to work for a company that produces products my dad and other farmers use to protect or enhance their crops," explains the 2015 Torchbearer.

 Like Kerner, each summer more than 2,000 rural youth ages 6 through high school seniors attend one or more of Farmers Union's 58 county day camps; three, three-day district camps and one state leadership camp.

 Through fun activities, Farmers Union teaches rural youth about cooperatives and farm safety where they can gain confidence, friendships and leadership skills, all while learning about the state's number one industry, explains Rachel Haigh-Blume, S.D. Farmers Union Education Director.

 "Today, as we become more and more removed from farms, South Dakota's kids need to know about agriculture and its economic impact on our state," says Haigh-Blume, who is new to Farmers Union, but is a veteran camp director.


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