Farming is a way of life for Richard Daly, 71, of Columbia, South Dakota. He’s one of the first to admit there probably are easier ways to make a living, but he adds, “I wouldn’t have wanted to have done anything else in these last 71 years.” Mr. Daly was honored in 1977 as Eminent Farmer by the Board of Regents and South Dakota State University.
Today, Daly, his wife Marjorie and their son Kenneth operate a 1,500-acre grain and livestock farm.
Marvin DeHoogh, Brown County’s Extension agent, suggests that the most widely used oat variety in South Dakota, Burnett, might well be called “Daly Oats,” because of Daly’s promotional efforts since first taking the SDSU foundation oat seed and planting it on 40 acres.
Daly has done similar foundation work on hulless oats, new wheat and corn varieties. During the early 1950’s he planted a 40-acre corn variety field plot, which was the focus of several annual crop tours.
Daly is probably most remembered for his efforts as a member of the State Legislative committee of the South Dakota Crop Improvement Association to secure new plant breeding facilities at SDSU in 1971, and to raise funds for additional personnel for the plant breeding program.
After graduation from Groton High School in 1925, Daly worked as a carpenter, but went into farming with his father George a few years later. Daly now produces and sells between 3,000 and 5,000 bushels of seed oats each year, buys approximately 600 calves each year to raise to 600 pounds and runs a 125 cow-calf herd.
Daly was instrumental in raising money for and in building the Columbia Auditorium in 1952. A 27-year member of the Brown County Crop Improvement Association, he is also their current president, and president of the South Dakota Crop Improvement Association.
As a member of the South Dakota Wheat Commission, Daly personally examined foundation plots planted in Mexico by Nobel Peace Prize winner Norman Borlaug and his team of scientists.
Daly was a 1947 Brown County Conservation District Soil and Moisture Achievement winner. He was instrumental in getting pasture inter-seeding established in Brown County, where 3,000 acres of tame grass has been planted. Daly was awarded a plaque of “appreciation and recognition in the service of agriculture” by the College of Agriculture and Biological Sciences at SDSU in 1974. He has served as a board member of the Brown-Marshall Conservation District, president of the board of managers of the Lower Crow Creek Watershed, The South Dakota Stock Growers Association, Aberdeen Sportsmen Club, North Central Livestock Feeders Association, Aberdeen Elks Club and has been a member and director of the Columbia Farmers Union and president of the Columbia Commercial Club. In 1972 the Brown County Crop Improvement Association dedicated their annual report to Daly.