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SDWC Commissioners


According to SDCL 38-10-4, the South Dakota Wheat Commission is composed of five members who:

  1. Are landowning residents of South Dakota;
  2. Are at least twenty-five years of age and residents of South Dakota;
  3. Are actively engaged in growing wheat in the state for a period of at least five years;
  4. Derive a substantial portion of their income from growing wheat;
  5. Are participating growers.

Commissioners are appointed by the Governor based upon nominations from wheat producers. A term is three years in length, and no Commissioner shall serve more than four consecutive terms (38-10-7).

Two of the five members of the wheat commission shall be residents of and having farming operations in that area of the State of South Dakota west of the Missouri River; two of the members shall be residents of and having farming operations in that area of the State of South Dakota east of the Missouri River; and one member shall be selected as a member at large from the State of South Dakota (38-10-6).

Current Leadership

Tregg Cronin, Gettysburg, was appointed to the South Dakota Wheat Commission by Governor Daugaard in April 2016.

Tregg has worked in many areas of the agriculture industry including time as a commodity broker, grain buyer, elevator operations and production agriculture with his family farming operation.  Tregg grew up on the farm he now works at with his family as Cronin Farms, Inc. in Gettysburg, SD.  He graduation from the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul, MN in 2009, after which he took a job with CHS, Inc. in their commodity training program.

During this time he worked in a country location buying grain from farmers, loading shuttle trains and merchandising the grain leaving the elevator.  In addition, time was also spent in CHS’s Grain Marketing department merchandising barges heading for New Orleans.  Following his training program, Tregg was hired full time with CHS’s commodity brokerage, CHS Hedging, Inc.  He worked there for two years managing risk for famer and elevator clients as well as providing daily market commentary and research.

In April of 2013, Tregg returned to his family’s diversified crop and livestock operation where he works today.  Tregg contributes to various media outlets on commodity markets as well as presenting commodity outlook presentations during the offseason.  He is excited to bring his knowledge of the grain markets to the Halo Commodities and provide insight to Midwest producers.

In August 2007, Governor Rounds appointed Chet Edinger to the South Dakota Wheat Commission. Edinger farms with his brother as part of the Edinger Brothers Partnership. He and his family live in Mitchell but farm in Aurora County with some land in Davison and Sanborn counties.

Edinger Brothers Partnership is a crop only operation that specializes in raising wheat, corn, beans and sunflowers with some peas, millet and milo.

Edinger comes to the Commission well prepared to address issues facing South Dakota producers having served as the vice-president and president of South Dakota Wheat Inc. Board of Directors. SD Wheat Inc. is a membership-based agriculture association that concentrates on all aspects of agriculture production and rural life. As an office in the state association, Edinger has held several committee positions on the National Association of Wheat Growers (NAWG) Board of Directors.

“It may take me a short time to acquaint myself with the details of the Commission’s work,” says Edinger, ‘but the big picture I already understand very well. Making the production of wheat a profitable occupation is very important to me.”

As a producer Edinger especially appreciates the benefits of checkoff dollars invested in research. “The variety development at South Dakota State University has resulted in increased yields,” says Edinger. “This dramatic jump in yields would not be possible without strong breeding programs. Breeding programs that cost producers very little compared to the technical fees that for-profit seed companies charge.”

While on the Board of Directors for NAWG, Edinger worked hard to increase the coordination and communication between NAWG and US Wheat Associates, the wheat industry’s overseas market development association. “Over the past eight years, I have seen increased coordination between the two wheat organizations and expect this trend to continue. We need to look at ways of optimize the strengths of both groups so that producers get top-rate return on their investments.”

In October 2012, Terry Hand was appointed by Governor Daugaard to serve on the South Dakota Wheat Commission. Hand, along with his two brothers Michael and David, raise spring and winter wheat, sunflowers, corn and milo near Midland, SD. In addition, the family runs a cow/calf and back grounding operation. The Hands also have an official advisor, their father James David Hand.

Hand brings several decades of farming experience to the position. After attending South Dakota State University and obtaining a degree in Ag Business he returned to the farm and has been farming ever since.

Hand, along with Clint Vanneman, represents the western, winter wheat part of the state. South Dakota has a special geographical significance because it is at the interface of the southern and northern areas of wheat production. This requires that winter wheat adapted to the state be able to resist new disease pathogen races that generally develop in the southern region of the United States and spread northward. “South Dakota winter wheat varieties represent some of the most disease resistant germplasm in the region, particularly resistance to scab,” says Hand. “It’s important to continue to focus variety development on maintaining and improving disease resistance while developing varieties that can produce in the drier parts of our state.”

Breeding programs make up the majority of the Commission research dollars. “I am particularly interested the development of white wheat varieties,” says Hand. “We have two excellent varieties, Alice and Wendy, which are well suited to the West River environment and have excellent yields. The market seems to be expanding, but until United States producers cross that point of critical mass, the demand is not there.”

Hand believes all farmers should take an active part in developing checkoff programs which supports production, variety research, market development, and education. “I believe all farmers should learn more about what the Commission is doing with their check off dollars to better enhance our markets and improve marketing opportunities.”

Hand and his wife, an agronomist, have two young sons.

In January 2018, Governor Daugaard appointed Leon Koeppe, Claire City, SD, to the South Dakota Wheat Commission Board of Directors.

Leon began farming in 1981 around the Claire City area in northeast South Dakota.  His operation consists of approximately 3,000 acres.  On average each year, he plants 800 acres of spring wheat, 100 acres of winter wheat, 800 acres of corn, 800 acres of soybeans, 100 acres of barley, 40 acres of oats and the rest of the acres are used or his cow/calf operation.

In the early 1980’s, Leon purchased the certified seed cleaning business in Claire City from the local elevator.  Since then, he has been producing, cleaning and selling certified spring wheat, winter wheat, barley and oats, all of which are raised on his farm, with primary sales being in spring wheat and winter wheat.

Leon was appointed to the South Dakota State’s University’s Foundation Seed Board of Director in 2001 and served until 2006.  Leon became a Director on the South Dakota Crop Improvement Association Board in 2005, serving until 2016.

Leon is also involved in several local community boards including the First Lutheran Church, Clair City Fire Protection District, Enterprise Township Supervisor and on the advisory board for the Ag Experiment Station Northeast Research Farm.

In August 2010 Governor Rounds appointed Clint Vanneman, a wheat producer from Ideal, SD, to the South Dakota Wheat Commission Board of Directors.

“This is an exciting time to be in production agriculture,” says Vanneman. “There are significant challenges facing us and I look forward to working on initiatives to address these issues.”

According to Vanneman, another significant challenge will be funding of the USDA Market Access Program (MAP). “This program encourages the development and expansion of commercial export markets for agricultural commodities and is vital to the wheat industry. Since half of the wheat produced in the United States is exported, the importance of demonstrating the quality of our wheat and opening new markets cannot be overstated.”

Recently the FAS Office of Trade Programs, “Export Programs at Work” featured three examples of successful wheat export promotions. The first example detailed the results of an econometric study showing a profitable return of $23 in net revenue to wheat producers, and $115 in gross revenue to the U.S. economy, for every $1 invested in wheat export promotion between 2000 and 2007. The other examples focus on building and maintaining a large U.S. wheat market in Nigeria and an effort to work with new flour mills in Indonesia to increase U.S. wheat sales in a market dominated by Australian wheat exports.

“I expect that this year’s funding for MAP will be questioned as the government looks for ways to cut spending,” says Vanneman. “But we need to be realistic and look at the benefits of agricultural exports. Despite the global recession U.S. agricultural exports increased by 78 percent in the past five years; this increase is valued at an estimated $31.4 billion.”

Vanneman points to the versatility of wheat as one of its strongest points. Wheat is the primary grain used in U.S. grain products—approximately three-quarters of all U.S. grain products are made from wheat flour. Wheat flour is an ingredient in tens of thousands of food products. Breads, pizza crust, pretzels, cereals, muffins, crackers, tortillas, cakes, cookies, pasta and rolls are just a few examples. Wheat is America’s most-consumed grain, and plays a prominent role in many international cuisines.

Vanneman, a third generation family farmer, runs a cow/calf and a hog finishing operation in addition to raising wheat, milo, corn and soybeans. He and his wife, Kim, have three grown children.

Reid Christopherson, Executive Director |

Carolyn Theobald, Accountant |

Box 549 | 116 North Euclid | Pierre, SD 57501 | 605.773.4645 |