YANKTON, S.D. — Farmers across South Dakota have shown resilience and the ability to adapt as they rose to the challenges caused by the pandemic. In 2021, the S.D. Specialty Producers Association and S.D. Dept. of Agriculture and Natural Resources moved to recognize one specialty crop producer for making an outstanding contribution to South Dakota local foods.
Vaughn Reints was voted the 2021 S.D. Specialty Crop Producer of the Year. His business, Better Roots Farm, LLC is near Pierpont, S.D., in the northeastern part of the state.
The public nominated producers with visionary leadership in South Dakota’s agricultural industry. The nominees actively promote growth, innovation, and prosperity for our local food system and specialty crops. They mentor new and beginner farmers, investing in the next generation of producers.
Better Roots Farm strives to provide fresh, healthy produce and plants to the surrounding communities. Products are supplied to local stores, can be picked-up at the farm, are available at farmers markets in Aberdeen, and are delivered directly to customers when time allows.
Reints has made significant contributions to vegetable production in his region. He plans carefully and works hard to grow beautiful produce. He utilizes organic farming methods on his grow beds and produces nutritious food year after year. He excels with a large variety of high-quality seasonal vegetables that are always nicely washed and bagged and offers great customer service.
Through COVID, Reints, together with his family and crew, worked to provide a safe environment for shopping and pick-up. He coordinated efficient drive-up services for its customers, with time slots available on the farm website.
Better Roots Farm has several part-time, seasonal employees, providing a great opportunity for youth and others to gain experience and have employment in an area where there are fewer options.
The farm continues to grow each year by adding high tunnels and most recently a multi-purpose building that will include a wash-and-pack area, seedling germination and propagation area, storage, an office, and a farm store. Reints is also planning to continue work on potential hydroponic and aquaponic setup this winter.
Better Roots Farm, LLC was started to provide fresh produce to the region, as well as, to create an opportunity to spend more time outdoors and teach life skills to their children. Reints is a loving husband, father of three, a great neighbor, an all-around nice person, and one of the best vegetable producers in the area.
Nominations were submitted in Sept., and public votes were cast from Oct. 1-15, for the four finalists. Other nominees included Kyle Cox, Cox’s Farm Stand, Vale S.D.; Heidi & Sam Heikes, Heikes Family Farm, LLC, Vermillion, S.D.; and Kent & Jo Wilsey, Elk Creek Foods, Elm Springs, S.D.