South African delegates tour Valley ranch |

South African delegates tour Valley ranch

by Caryn Haller

The Settelmeyer Ranch hosted 16 delegates from South Africa on Thursday to exchange ideas on agriculture in arid conditions.

The tour was organized by the U.S. Department of State as part of the International Visitor Leadership Program.

“They asked a lot of interesting questions. I was impressed,” Senator James Settelmeyer-R-Minden said. “They asked about cost of planting and harvesting of alfalfa, and how deep we are pumping from. They were thirsty for knowledge.”

They also discussed sustainable farming, small farms, irrigation and water management. Other interests included the use of pesticides in farms, some of the equipment used on the Settelmeyer ranch and production of alfalfa.

Along with Settelmeyer, Jim Gifford of the Natural Resource Conservation Service, Mike Hayes from the conservation district and Eric Rieman spoke.

“If they called and wanted to do it again, our ranch would host it,” Settelmeyer said. “It’s a good opportunity to reach out and learn more about other individuals.”

Following the tour, the delegates were treated to lunch at the JT Basque Bar and restaurant.

“Some Nigerian and South African currencies are up on the ceiling now,” Settelmeyer said referring to the JT’s longtime tradition of tossing dollars at the ceiling.