Danni Beer, and her husband Mike, ranch just outside Lemmon, South Dakota, a small town in the western part of the state snugged up tight against the North Dakota border. “Google it,” she said. “It’s a nice place.”
I learned Lemmon was organized in 1906, “is rich in the history and culture of the taming the plains. Surrounded by sprawling ranches, farms and magnificent prairies teaming with wildlife, Lemmon is an all-season kind of place.”
And one of those sprawling ranches, of course, is a place the Beer’s call home; a diversified cow-calf operation with cattle, wheat, some corn, flax and sunflowers. Altogether, it covers some beautiful Dakota prairie.
“Mike had worked on the place since he was a freshman in high school,” she said, “and we got a chance to work with and buy it when the owner wanted to retire. We began to buy it after he graduated from South Dakota State University in 1992.”
Danni graduated from SDSU in 1992, too, with an agriculture education degree and taught junior high science and high school agriculture education classes for two years. Today, her full-time job is working on the ranch as her husband’s business partner. Like all CBB members, she’s very active in agriculture. She worked on Capitol Hill where she participated in the 2002 Farm Bill debate. She was part of the largest coalition in history to support legislation mandating country of origin labeling. Danni and Mike were inducted into the Outstanding Young Farmers of America fraternity in 2009.
They have four children; Bobbi, Bo, Bailie and Blaze. “Girl, boy, girl, boy; they’re 18, 16, 13 and 18 months,” she said.
“We are a member of the U.S. Cattlemen’s Association, South Dakota Stock Growers Association and the South Dakota Farmers Union (SDFU) for almost twenty years,” she said when I asked her how she earned her appointment to the Cattlemen’s Beef Board. “I was nominated by the SDFU and it was while Blaze was an infant that I got the call that told me I had been appointed.”
That call came in February, 2010 and she attended her first meeting that summer. “It was exciting,” she said referring to the rough and tumble of that first event. She thought the convention in Florida this year, though, was less divisive. “We have a lot more cohesiveness now and we have a lot that needs to be done.”
She’s serving on the CBB’s Operating and Producer Communications committees, places where her organizational skills will be put to good use - watching the balance sheet to make sure every dollar is used well and helping craft the right message to the public.
“The recent influx of dollars brought by all the drought cattle coming to market will help us reach some of those goals short-term. Like ranching, you have to work with what you have,” she said, acknowledging that it might mean trouble later when the herd size is depleted and fewer cattle are available.
With a toddler to feed and a lot of cattle to check on, Danni excused herself and started out on her way-too-busy day. Seems to be a hallmark of CBB members; they’re all extremely busy people who can still make time to help serve the needs of their industry.