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Alec Vedvei

Eminent Farmer

County: Kingsbury

Alec Vedvei has enjoyed two successful careers, one in farming and the other in public service. He was one of the leaders in his community in the effort to first bring electricity, then water to rural Kingsbury County.Alec started farming in the 1950s and became a successful and profit-making farmer.He adopted improved crop varieties and livestock systems as they were developed and recommended by the Kingsbury County Office of the South Dakota State University Cooperative Extension Service. He planted trees to establish windbreaks and practiced rotational cropping systems to break disease problems and control weeds.He has left a mark on Kingsbury County for years to come through public service that spans four decades. As a child of Norwegian emigrants, he grew up without electricity or running water. He helped bring these two revolutionary utilities to his neighbors on farms and in small towns in eastern South Dakota.Alec served on the Kingsbury Electric Cooperative Board of Directors for 18 years, eventually serving as treasurer and president. He also represented the cooperative as a member of the East River Power Electric Board of Directors. Bringing rural water to Kingsbury County was a cause which began in 1973 when the concept of delivering water, like electricity, to rural residents was quite new in South Dakota. He chaired a 30-member steering committee and formed the Kingbrook Rural Water System. In 1974 when water started flowing to 2000 rural residents in Kingsbury and Brookings counties, it was one of the first and largest rural water systems in the state. Alec attended many state and national meetings and helped develop policies for rural electric and water cooperatives. He credits his family for assuming the extra farm work which allowed him to be so heavily involved in rural development issues.Beyond electricity and water development, Alec was actively involved in other forms of community service. He was the Badger Township Assessor, served as the clerk and superintendent for the Badger Township Election Board, and was a member of the Badger District 14 School Board and the Kingsbury County Fair Board. After moving to town, he served as a member of the Lake Preston City Council. He has received the Honorary FFA Degree from the Lake Preston FFA Chapter and the State FFA Association, the Lusk Award for volunteer work in agriculture from the Huron Plainsman, and the Carroll Anderson Memorial Award which is the highest award given by Rural Water Systems.Alec and his wife Helen have four children: Jean of Pierre, South Dakota; Alan of Lake Preston, South Dakota; Charles of Hetland, South Dakota; and Jon of Huron, South Dakota.