News from the Secretary by Larry Gabriel S.D. Secretary of Agriculture This column isn't about the business of agriculture – it is about the Department of Agriculture – a group of dedicated men and women working together to promote and protect the agriculture industry in South Dakota. And because of the current war in Iraq, things are fixing to change.
Every one of the staff here at the department is important – an integral part of the team. And one of the staff that I work most closely with will be leaving soon to serve our country as a member of the South Dakota
National Guard. His unit has been activated, and he is proud to go and do his part. He stands tall, and duty and honor are written all over him. Some of the traits that make him such a superb employee also make him a great soldier.
For him and for his family, this will mean many months apart. It will mean missing holidays and special occasions. It will mean putting his life in danger to keep the rest of the world safe.
For me, this will change things. It will mean that I'll be watching the newscasts just a little more closely, because now it is more personal � I will have a good friend over there. And there will be one less voice to join the discussions around here for a while � a voice I have grown to rely on and respect. It will also mean one less person to do the state's work.
The rest of the staff will step up and take on extra duties until he is back in the office. That is the least we can do.
I know this scenario has been playing out around the state and the nation for the past year. Thousands of families and communities and businesses are affected. And now it hits home at the Department of Agriculture.
So we say to our co-worker and all the other brave men and women serving our country "Good luck and God speed". We'll be very glad when you are back among us.