South Dakota Agriculture Secretary Mike Jaspers will leave his role July 1. Jaspers is transitioning to the private sector and will work as a business development director at the East River Electric Power Cooperative. Jaspers reflects on his time in the public sector and looks ahead to his new role.
Q: You’ve served two years in the public sector as South Dakota Agriculture Secretary and will transition to the private sector in this new role. Do you have plans to return to the public sector in the future?
A: You never know what opportunities might come up. In this area of the country, South Dakota, agriculture and economic development have always been great passions of mine. I’ve been very fortunate to have that form into a lot of time in public service and some different roles that I’ve been very blessed to have been able to serve in. And if another opportunity would come up, I would certainly consider it. You never say never. I will definitely continue to also be involved in production agriculture.
Q: What is the biggest lesson you’ve learned serving as the South Dakota Agriculture Secretary?
A: I’ve learned things are not always as easy as they seem. We’ve had some challenging issues come up such as the dicamba soybean issue last year and obviously, we’re in year two of that technology being available. There are lots of thoughts on how to solve this, but when one really takes a good look at it, there are a lot more issues than just meet the eye.
Q: Where do you see the future of South Dakota agriculture?
A: There’s continual change in any industry. Agriculture is definitely seeing the technology boom. Sometimes that technology is good and we have to embrace change when appropriate. Then, we have to look at broader picture on things and not just from a narrowed focus. We have to look at what’s best for the industry, for the world and for our environment.