Reps. Sauder, Mortenson, Lesmeister and Sens. Crabtree, Davis, Hunhoff honored by South Dakota Ethanol

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (May 29, 2024) – Six South Dakota lawmakers were honored today with the South Dakota Hero of Agriculture Award for their support of the state’s farming communities and the growth of value-added agriculture through bioprocessing.

“Agriculture has already changed the energy landscape of this country, and new opportunities exist to do even more. We must act quickly to grasp those opportunities,” said Doug Berven, Executive Director of South Dakota Ethanol. “These lawmakers understand how our state can invest in agriculture and bioprocessing today to create a strong economy for the next generations of South Dakota farmers.”

The legislators honored with today’s award are:

Representative Stephanie Sauder (District 4)

State Representative Stephanie Sauder represents South Dakota’s 4th District, including Clark, Codington, Deuel, Grant, Hamlin, and Roberts counties. She is an ag producer and retired K-12 educator.

Representative Will Mortenson (District 24)

State Representative Will Mortenson represents South Dakota’s 24th District, including Hughes, Hyde, Stanley, and Sully counties. He is an attorney and cow hand.

Representative Oren Lesmeister (District 28A)

State Representative Oren Lesmeister represents South Dakota’s 28th District, including Corson, Dewey, Perkins, and Ziebach counties. He is a farmer, rancher and Ag business owner.

Senator Casey Crabtree (District 8)

State Senator Casey Crabtree represents South Dakota’s 8th District, including Brookings, Kingsbury, Lake, and Miner counties. He is a Director of Economic Development.

Senator Sydney Davis (District 17)

State Senator Sydney Davis represents South Dakota’s 17th District, including Clay and Union County. She is a cattle producer and CRNA.

Senator Jean Hunhoff (District 18)

State Senator Jean Hunhoff represents South Dakota’s 18th District, including Clay and Yankton counties. She is a registered nurse and small business owner.

During the 2024 state legislative session, these legislators championed and passed laws to protect the rights of family farmers, improve South Dakota’s competitiveness in bioprocessing and strengthen the state’s economy for the future. Among those laws were SB 52 – General Appropriations Act, which includes $1 million for the Bioproducts Center at South Dakota State University and South Dakota Mines to develop the next generation of bioproducts, SB 78 – E15 Fuel Tax Refund, which creates an incentive for gas stations to expand E15 offerings, delivering more savings at the pump and boosting demand for South Dakota ethanol and SB 201 – Landowner Bill of Rights, which ensures protections for landowners, payments for property owners and counties, and certainty for CO2 businesses investing in South Dakota.

“We appreciate the hard work and foresight from these legislators in building a better future for South Dakota,” Berven said. “They are true heroes for agriculture.”

About South Dakota Ethanol
The South Dakota Ethanol Producers Association serves as a strong, unified voice of advocacy for the expansion of ethanol production, greater access to the marketplace, and increased use and acceptance in South Dakota and the United States. Members include Dakota Ethanol, Gevo, Glacial Lakes Energy, NuGen Energy, Poet Bioprocessing, Redfield Energy, Red River Energy and Ringneck Ethanol. Learn more at