South Dakota State University's Independent Student-Run Newspaper Since 1885

The Collegian

South Dakota State University's Independent Student-Run Newspaper Since 1885

The Collegian

South Dakota State University's Independent Student-Run Newspaper Since 1885

The Collegian

State students travel to Commodity Classic in Houston

Jesse Enstad

Twenty-one SDSU students recently attended the Commodity Classic in Huston, Texas where students engaged in agricultural discussions and events including “everything from politics to down on the farm.”

Commodity Classic is America’s largest farmer-led, farmer-focused agricultural and educational experience according to the website for the event. This year, SDSU students joined more than 11,000 other farmers from across the country.

Luke Gordon, a junior agricultural systems technology major, came up with the idea to take a group of SDSU students to the event and helped lead the efforts to make it possible.

“I grew up going to the conference with my dad and I always thought it was cool, so I wanted to try and figure something out to bring some students down there,” Gordon said.

Using his connection with the Minnesota Soybean Growers Association, Gordon and instructor Nicholas Ulk wrote a proposal to receive funding for a possible trip. The proposal earned them a donation, which shortly after was matched by the South Dakota Soybean Association. With a total of $15,000, Gordon began recruiting students to join him and instructors Nicholas Ulk and Jesse Enstad on their trip to Houston.

Once at Commodity Classic, students had the opportunity to attend sessions, listen to speakers and walk through the trade show.

The students began their time in Houston by meeting with the soybean board who had “generously sponsored” the trip and learned about how some of their policies are formed. A regional caucus took place where bylaws and policies were being changed.

Kade Wassman, a junior agricultural business major, was on the trip and spoke about how this meeting applied directly to the agricultural policy class he is taking.

“I realized how powerful the commodity boards are in influencing policy across the nation,” Wassman said. “Experiencing it outside the classroom made it so much more real for me.”

Another highlight of the trip was walking through the trade show and seeing all the new technologies and equipment that are or soon will be released. 443 equipment, chemical, seed, manufacturing and biological companies all came together to present the future of agriculture to the attendees.

Courtesy of Luke Gordon

Kyle Hamilton, a sophomore agricultural science major, thought it was a great way to get out and see more of the industry and new technologies.

“If you want to talk to industry leaders at the top of the game (the Commodity Classic) is the place to be and has the people to talk to,” Hamilton said.

Hamilton believes that the new technologies they saw may become the norm in 10-15 years, so this allowed the students to know what could be coming.

Lilly Green, a sophomore agronomy major, agrees with Hamilton.

“When we get out of school, some of this stuff will be on the market,” Green said. “We will need to understand and know what we will be facing out in the field.”
All of the students also appreciated all of the different sessions and speakers they had the opportunity to attend.

“Not everyone is going to want to go to the same thing, so it was nice to be able to go to what we were interested in,” Gordon said.

Green said that she attended some events that she didn’t think would grab her attention, but she ultimately went and found it all very interesting.

“I even started listening to their podcast because I went to their session,” Green said.

Students who attended the trip to Commodity Classic saw the application the convention had on their education, made new connections and gained a better understanding of the new farming techniques and equipment coming to the market.

They are also very thankful for the funds they received from the Minnesota Soybean Growers Association and the South Dakota Soybean Association.

“They were very generous to sponsor all of our travel,” Wassman said.

SDSU was the only university that had taken a group of students to the event and they were noticed. During one of the sessions, the group got a shoutout and was noticed by people from Florida, California and Wyoming.

“I’ve heard that we exceed expectations as a university,” Gordon said.

Gordon’s goal is to make this an annual trip for students. He already has heard from multiple organizations who are willing to provide funds for the coming year.

The 2025 Commodity Classic will be held in Denver, CO March 2-4.

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