Texan finds new home perfect fit for livestock background

July 24, 2018

This week’s Up-and-Comer is Holly Rader, the agribusiness division manager for the Sioux Falls Area Chamber of Commerce.

Name: Holly Rader

Age: 25

Hometown: Olivia, Texas

What brought you to Sioux Falls?

In April 2017, I was happily working as auctions manager for the Houston Livestock Show & Rodeo. My boyfriend of four years was training in Schuyler, Neb., for his new Cargill Inc. cattle-buyer position. Evan Rader, my boyfriend at the time, and I had spoken about the future – getting married when the time was right and how we did not want to raise a family in a huge metropolis like Houston. So during the months leading up to me applying for my current position, Evan had sent several eastern South Dakota job descriptions and applications my way because he was informed that South Dakota was his new territory starting in April. I guess you could call me stubborn, but I just was not interested in leaving my position at the Houston Livestock Show & Rodeo until the perfect career move presented itself. And it did! I took a leap of faith and applied for the agribusiness division manager position at the Sioux Falls Area Chamber of Commerce. Three days after Evan asked me to marry him, I received a call from Jason Ball, Sioux Falls Area Chamber of Commerce president/CEO, wondering if I would be interested in an interview.

When people ask me why I moved to the Sioux Falls area, I quickly say “love.” Yes, love for my now husband, but, furthermore, love for the agriculture industry. Love is what encouraged me to apply for my dream job in South Dakota, love is why I left Texas, and love is what I have for my role as agribusiness division manager for the Sioux Falls Area Chamber of Commerce. I would have most likely moved up to South Dakota after Evan and I got married, but I’m glad I didn’t have to find out what was going to happen!

What keeps you in Sioux Falls?

I have heard the term “South Dakota nice” a few times since I have been a resident, and I believe they are such fitting words. Everyone is so kind and welcoming. I did not realize how fast I would fall in love with this region. Being a proud Texan, I thought I might find it difficult in the beginning to adapt to the area. It is extremely easy to feel at home because of the generosity and support the people of South Dakota show. Although I haven’t been here a full year, I do know I am home. I look forward to many years in this area.

What’s your favorite thing about your job?

The people I have the opportunity of working with is my favorite piece of my position. I am very blessed by such genuine people in my role. The Sioux Falls Area Chamber team is great, but I also have over 200 willing and ready volunteers that assist with main events and functions throughout the year.

Being that I come from a livestock show background, I would be lying if I didn’t say the annual Sioux Empire Livestock Show is also my favorite thing about my job!

How did you get connected to your industry?

Born and raised on a small cattle operation in South Texas, being heavily involved with 4-H and FFA events growing up and obtaining an obsession with livestock at a very early age, I guess you could say that the passion and fire for the ag industry has always been with me. I graduated with a Bachelor of Science in animal science degree from Texas A&M University in College Station, Texas, in 2014, where I was also a member of the 2013 national champion TAMU livestock judging team. In December 2015, I graduated from Oklahoma State University with a Master of Agriculture in international agriculture degree. This industry is where my time, energy and drive will always be. I am blessed to do what I love every day.

Describe the Sioux Falls Area Chamber of Commerce in three words.

Getting things done!

You recently rebranded the annual ag celebration to the Sioux Empire Livestock Show. What do you think people might be surprised to learn about that event, and what’s your vision for growing it?

January 2018 was my first time attending — and managing — the show. Going into the week with fresh eyes and seeing the opportunity for growth everywhere made a big impression on me. I couldn’t wait to share my ideas and vision. The show, which began in 1954, is organized by the chamber and is held every January in Sioux Falls. It attracts livestock producers, buyers and exhibitors from across the country. The goals of the Sioux Empire Livestock Show remain much the same as when the event first debuted. The show seeks to strengthen the ties between the urban and agricultural communities, support livestock producers and exhibitors, provide educational programs and exhibits, and promote the importance of agriculture in our region.

The event is fun for the whole family. Many people might be surprised to learn that the Sioux Empire Livestock Show not only has commercial exhibits and vendor space for those farmers and ranchers looking to connect with others in the industry, but there is also opportunity for fun, interactive activities for those who don’t consider themselves farmers/ranchers. Young individuals travel to Sioux Falls from all over the nation to show their livestock projects in the hopes to make it to the Mayor’s Round-Up & Sale of Champions evening. Everyone can have a blast and maybe even learn a thing or two while visiting the Sioux Empire Livestock Show on Jan. 22-26 at the W.H. Lyon Fairgrounds.

I believe growth will be identified in several different areas. Growth in customer service and presentation aspects will allow for growth in exhibitor entries and visitors. This is a main area the Sioux Empire Livestock Show team has already started capitalizing on for 2019. We want our visitors, consignors, exhibitors and buyers to know that we care about their experience at the show and in Sioux Falls. The 2019 Sioux Empire Livestock Show is sure to be one for the books!

What’s one business you’d like to see in Sioux Falls that isn’t here now?

Buc-ee’s! This might seem odd if you have never visited the convenience store chain, but let me tell you, Buc-ee’s should be a global business! Buc-ee’s, although categorized as a convenience store, is a combination of a rustic, yet hip, mall, your favorite restaurant and, conveniently, a gas station! Currently, the chain of convenience stores is only located in Texas, but I have high hopes that they will make their way to South Dakota one day.

Where do you see yourself in five years?

In five years, I see myself running a small herd of SimAngus cattle on an acreage on the outskirts of Sioux Falls with my husband and future kids. I get super excited thinking about my personal future as well as my professional future! To think of where my role will take me in five years and where the agribusiness division will be makes me smile with enthusiasm! Agriculture is South Dakota’s No. 1 industry. There is no limit as to where the events and functions of the agribusiness division can go moving forward. I look forward to the next years of celebrating and promoting agriculture in the Sioux Empire with my family.


Texan finds new home perfect fit for livestock background

This week’s Up-and-Comer is Holly Rader, agribusiness division manager for the Sioux Falls Area Chamber of Commerce.

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