Stockyard Ag Experience’s Abby Bischoff on Keloland Living

Many non-profits have had to adjust to a different world in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. For the Stockyard Ag Experience in Sioux Falls, that meant temporarily closing the doors to the museum and exhibit.

Our Executive Director Abby Bischoff sat down with Keloland Living to discuss both the challenges and positives in leading a non-profit during the past year.

You can watch the full interview right here, or read through the highlights below.

Taking Agriculture Education Outside the Barn Doors

“We took this opportunity to consider how to bring our work outside of the museum walls,” Abby explained.

This includes bringing more online education components to the museum’s work, like working with local restaurants to highlight their recipes and ingredients, and how they tie back to farmers.

“These are specific ways to keep that outreach and ag education going,” Abby said.

In addition, the Stockyard Ag Experience offers private rental times for small groups and families to learn and play in our exhibits. As a bonus, kiddos get craft kits as part of the experience!

Where Does My Food Come From?

That’s the question that we exist to answer here at Stockyard Ag Experience, as Abby explained in this interview.

In South Dakota, we have so many hardworking farmers and ranchers, and this past year we’ve begun to launch a new exhibit in the Farm to Table space showcasing various people along our food chain. This includes frontline workers at packing plans like Smithfield in Sioux Falls, employees at grocery stores, and servers at restaurants.

“Those people are all involved in our food chain and they all have an important part in keeping things going and keeping families fed,” Abby said.

Our goal is to educate South Dakota families even more about the food we eat and where it comes from — that’s why we exist!

Through Our Executive Director’s Eyes

Another new challenge that has emerged for almost everyone throughout 2020 is the work-life balance since many are working from home, including Abby.

Abby shares a bit about what that’s been like in her personal life and what things she is most looking forward to post-pandemic.

“I can’t wait to hug my mom again without a mask on!” she said.

Like many, Abby also had to experience exciting events virtually. Right before the pandemic began, she was set to graduate from the Leadership South Dakota program on March 27, 2020. Instead, that event was held online.

“That program is fantastic and I got to meet so many people across the state that I wouldn’t have and in industries that I wouldn’t have,” she said. “This gave me a broader viewpoint and different appreciation for our state.”

She ties this experience back to the work happening at the Stockyards, relating it to the importance of bridging gaps and bringing people together to talk about shared values.

Get Involved with the Stockyard Ag Experience

Does this interview have you hungry for more ag-related knowledge? Learn more about the history of the Sioux Falls Stockyards, or plan a visit with your family to our Farm to Table exhibit.

We’d love to see you!

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