Director Spotlight: Heather Beaner

Apr 23, 2021


Heather Beaner operates Wal-Di Inc., a family farm growing corn and soybeans south of Mellette in Spink County. The operation practices no-till and precision planting across all acres. 

A 1998 graduate of the University of South Dakota School of Law, Heather spent 12 years on active duty in the U.S. Air Force as a JAG officer attorney where she specialized as a trial attorney.  She also worked at the Air Force Drug Testing Laboratory specializing in urinalysis drug testing, before coming home to farm with her father, Wayne Larson, in 2011.

She retired in 2019 as a Lieutenant Colonel in the Air Force Reserves. The farm has transitioned to Heather’s management and Wayne is semi-retired. Heather’s husband Matt also works on the farm, the couple has one son, Gabriel, who attends Northwestern School in Mellette, and is an active wrestler and Lego enthusiast. 

          Heather was appointed to the South Dakota Soybean Research and Promotion Council in July 2019. The SD Soybean Research and Promotion Council allocates the soybean checkoff funds. She serves in leadership positions as the adjutant of the Mellette American Legion post and the president of the Legion Auxiliary unit. She also finds time to serve on several leadership positions at her church and is on the planning team that puts on the annual Women in Business Conference in Aberdeen each year.

          Heather has been on the board of directors for the past year. Prior to being a director, she served 3 years as a delegate. “Cooperatives rely on member-owners taking part in governance, everyone must do their part,” states Heather. She also enjoys the chance to learn more about the cooperative, rather than just her local area. Heather also has enjoyed her time serving on the board committees, they give her the opportunity to get into the details within a certain part of the operation.

          “What I love most about agriculture, is that every year is new, a chance to do something incredible with the land God has entrusted us to manage. After my first career working in an office and not really producing anything, it is neat to look out over the green fields in summer and know my job now creates all these bountiful crops.” Some advice that Heather shares is to take any opportunity to learn about the cooperative and agriculture. Education is the key to service. The more you know, the more effective you will be in governance. 
 

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