The older I get the more difficult it is for me to find the time to connect with friends. Most weeks I’m lucky if I find a healthy balance between work and family.  

This weekend I made the time. Shon and I spent the weekend catching up with a group of my college friends. We all gathered together for a reunion hosted at a hunting lodge in Seneca, S.D. – R&R Pheasant Hunting. 

Most of us jackrabbits met 14 years ago in the halls of Hansen Hall, a popular dorm for aggies.

Growing up in the small town of Newell, S.D., a ranch community about 60 miles north of Rapid City, leaving home for the big town of Brookings was an adventure I was eager to embark on.

As an active member of the FFA  (formally Future Farmers of America) long before high school graduation, I had decided to unite my two loves – writing and agriculture – and become an agriculture journalist. SDSU was the only university I even considered attending. 

Looking back, I consider this decision as one of the three best decisions I’ve made. And, the friendships I established during those transitional years, as priceless treasures. 

This weekend, visiting was the only item on our agenda. We spent hours sitting around exchanging stories and memories. Recanting tales that had us laughing till our sides hurt. 

Most of this group has built their career in South Dakota’s No. 1 industry – agriculture. They are third or fourth generation farmers or ranchers. As an agriculture journalist, I’ve had the opportunity to learn about many of my friends’ agriculture operations when interviewing them for various articles. Even though the current drought is a very real part of their daily lives, it didn’t cast a shadow on this time together. 

We all set off for home refreshed and thankful for the fact that along with degrees we also discovered lifelong friends at SDSU.