Earl Acheson, Chester, South Dakota, a man recognized as an outstanding conservation farmer, was honored as 1980 Eminent Farmer by the Board of Regents and South Dakota State University.
Acheson has employed farmstead windbreaks, contour farming, contour strip cropping, grass-legume rotation, terraces, grassed waterways, dugouts, open ditch and tile drainage, grain manure crop fertilization and a balanced livestock program.
He is a native of the Montrose area, where his devotion to agriculture began on his father’s farm. He showed swine, sheep and beef cattle in 4-H competition as a young man.
Acheson and his son, Lyle, went into partnership in 1974. At that time the Achesons included hog production in their operation. They farrow sows four times a year, marketing 750 to 800 hogs.
They farm 880 acres of cropland, feed out 250 head of cattle a year and run a farrow-to-finish hog operation.
Of his many activities, Acheson has found church and 4-H involvement the most gratifying. He is a lifelong member of St. Jacob’s Lutheran Church of Colton. He served as congregational president and Trustee and has served as Sunday School Superintendent. He was also a Lutheran Brotherhood member.
Acheson was a 4-H leader for 24 years. He served on various county committees and is a past president of the county 4-H Leader’s Association. He served on the county Ag Board (Fair Board) for 14 years and was instrumental in securing the necessary funds and volunteers for construction of many of the facilities at the 4-H grounds.
He retired from 4-H in 1976 in order to devote more time to his work with the Association for Retarded Citizens. Because his youngest daughter, Dian, is mentally retarded, he was concerned with ensuring adequate special education within local school systems. He is past president of the county organization and is serving on the state board.
Acheson is a member of the South Dakota Farm Bureau, the Lake County and South Dakota Pork Producer Councils, the local ASCS committee, the Lake County Crop and Livestock Improvement Association, the South Dakota Water Congress, the Farmer’s Elevator Board and the American Legion.
Acheson and his wife, Mildred, have four children. They also raised Mrs. Acheson’s brother, Gale Sundberg, after the deaths of his parents in 1953.