District 7 of the South Dakota Farmers Union will meet this afternoon at 1 p.m. here in Aberdeen, in the community meeting room in the Brown County Courthouse basement. The Farmers Union website lists this meeting as a quarterly meeting. Members of the Save Farmers Union Coalition, which has been winning support for resolutions calling for resignation of SDFU leadership and a new election at other district meetings, says the meeting is a “surprise,” with District 7 leadership notifying members of the meeting by postcard just last week Friday.
Districts 1, 2, and 3 have voted in support of the resignation and new election resolutions. According to opposition coalition spokesman Michael O’Connor, those three districts represent 60% of SDFU members. District 3 passed the resolutions Saturday at its Watertown meeting (Dana Ferguson reports the vote as 2 20–15; Michelle Rook says it was 20–14). Ironically, SDFU leadership is casting doubt on the validity of that vote for the same reason Save Farmers Union Coalition members are challenging last December’s statewide Farmers Union election:
Union spokeswoman Kecia Beranek said Monday that the union had not yet accepted the votes on the resolution as they hadn’t verified that all those who voted were members in good standing [Dana Ferguson, “SD Farmers Union Schism Widens After Watertown Vote,” that Sioux Falls paper, 2016.04.18].
District 7 is South Dakota Farmers Union president Doug Sombke’s home district. It is also the home district of Garret Bischoff, who challenged Sombke in December’s election and who is backing the drive for new elections.