Selmer J. Anderson of Clear Lake, South Dakota, began farming with his father after completing the eighth grade and started on his own in 1942, the same year he married Mrs. Anderson--a local school teacher.
By 1945, they purchased their rented farm of 360 acres and later built a new barn and a new home. During the 1960's and early '70's, the family acquired additional land and built numerous buildings.
The Andersons eventually established a highly successful, 1100-acre operation diversified into oats, flax, corn, alfalfa, cattle and hogs.
Anderson was named State Tree Farmer of South Dakota and received a certificate of appreciation for 21 years of service to 4-H on the Deuel County 4-H Board. He was a 4-H leader for 18 years and a member of the 4-H Club Foundation.
He served on the local elevator board, was named to the Pioneer Livestock Shippers Club, and was a member of the N.F.O. and the Deuel County Crop Improvement Association.
He served on the Deuel County Board of Education for seven years during the time of school reorganization.
In the mid-1950's, his farm was a test-plot site for a Tennessee Valley Authority project designed to show the yield benefits of fertilizers.
He also hosted visiting dignitaries from Russia and various parts of the U.S. In 1981, Anderson was appointed as an ambassador of the South Dakota Diplomatic Corps by the Governor.
One of his most challenging public service assignments came when he and others from Deuel County were approached for help in developing a rural water system. Anderson served on the original task force and became Vice President of the rural water board.
"It was night after night of organizational meetings," he said. "Most times we wouldn't get home until 1 or 2 o'clock in the morning. But I really believed in it, and I think it ranks right up there with rural electrification for improving the quality of farm life in this area." Anderson also received a plaque recognizing his service to that project.
Anderson, a life-long Lutheran, still found time to serve on the Council of his church, and he helped to lay the cornerstone for its new building in 1962.
The Andersons have four children. Jan (Mrs. Roger Melius) completed her degree in nursing at South Dakota State University. Judy first became an artist and now has a masters degree in social work. Joan (Mrs. Gerald Ulrich) also became a nurse and graduated from Sioux Valley Hospital School of Nursing. Don, the youngest, graduated in agriculture from SDSU.
The Andersons also have eight grandchildren.