SDSU names Chicoine '98 Eminent Farmer A Union County resident who has worked all his life to improve South Dakota will be recognized as one of two 1998 Eminent Farmer honorees Sept. 23-24 by South Dakota State University.
Roland A. Chicoine has been a lifelong supporter of education as a means to achieve self-improvement and community betterment. His eight children must have listened to his theory. Among them, they have seven master's degrees and two doctorates.
Roland and his late wife, Evelyn's children are Jeff, David, Marcia Quinn, Dan, Tim, Brian, Ellen Little and Nicole Klein.
Chicoine has been active in state politics. He was first elected to the State House of Representatives in 1980, then to the State Senate in 1988. He ran successfully for the House in 1992. He currently represents all of Union County and most of Lincoln County in the House of Representatives.
While in the legislature, Chicoine has served on the Agriculture and Natural Resources, Education, Judiciary, Health and Welfare, and Appropriations committees.
As a legislator, Chicoine has introduced and supported many bills that have benefited agriculture. He was instrumental in establishing the Tri-State Legislators Conference as a forum for legislators from South Dakota, Iowa and Nebraska to solve Siouxland problems.
Chicoine was active in the Livestock Improvement Association, the Crop Improvement Association and the combined Agriculture Improvement Association. He led the movement to bring specialty crops to the state, including sugar beets and truck gardening. He served as president of the Union County Sugar Beet Association.
He also worked with the SDSU Cooperative Extension Service by opening his farm to test plots operated by the Extension Service and private companies. During the 1950s, he did extensive experimentation with minimum tillage and ridge planting.
Chicoine helped organize the South Dakota Irrigators Association, eventually serving as county and state president of the organization and lobbying for it at the state capitol. He was also active in organizing the Lower Big Sioux Conservancy District to mitigate the flooding and economic loss to the farmers and area towns.
On the local level, he served on the Union County School Board and helped with the reorganization of country schools. He also served on the Elk Point School Board.
In his spare time, Chicoine was a 4-H leader for 35 years. He served as the 4-H Volunteer Leaders resident at both county and state levels.
He belongs to St. Peter's Catholic Church in Jefferson, where he is a member of the Knights of Columbus. He is a member of the Jefferson Chamber of Commerce.