Dean and Paula Swenson will be honored by the North Dakota State University Saddle and Sirloin club as Agriculturalists of the Year at this year’s Little International Showmanship contest.
The 97th Little I will be held Feb. 10-11. The Swensons will be honored at the Agriculturist of the Year banquet Friday, Feb. 10, at the Sanctuary Events Center in Fargo.
The Swensons graduated in 1973 from NDSU, where they were both active in the Saddle and Sirloin club, as well as many other campus organizations. They married after graduation and later bought a farm in Walcott, North Dakota, where they still live. They raised crops, sheep and Angora goats, as well as club lambs and goats that they leased to 4-H and FFA youth, which allowed them the opportunity to show. They later transitioned from Angora goats to meat goats and expanded to include cattle in their operation.
The couple started The Sandburs 4-H club and have worked with the local livestock judging teams. They are active in their local church and were instrumental in developing the meat goat shows at the Red River Valley Fair and North Dakota State Fair. Dean also worked on the Cass County Livestock Achievement Day Committee and was a member of the Red River Valley Fair Board. They are both active in the North Dakota Lamb and Wool Producers Association, where they have held various executive positions and helped with the starter flock program. They are also members of the American Sheep Industry Animal Health Committee and American Farm Bureau Federation.
The Swensons have three sons and eight grandchildren. They continue to farm with their oldest son and his family.
“The crop we are most proud of is our three sons and their families,” says Dean Swenson.
“The theme for the 97th Little I is Leaving a Legacy, and Dean and Paula are tremendous examples of this, as well as exceptional role models for both the members of the Saddle and Sirloin club and agriculturists across the state,” says Lydia Lyons, 97th Little I publicity chair.
Tickets for the Agriculturist of the Year banquet are $20. To purchase banquet tickets, contact Tyler Goplen at email@example.com or 507-829-1992.
The Little I livestock showmanship contest begins at 8 a.m. Saturday, Feb. 11, at Shepperd Arena on the NDSU campus with Saddle and Sirloin club members and other students showing beef, dairy, swine, sheep and goats. The showmanship finals begin at 5p.m.