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Carpers named honorary captains for 2022 Ag Bowl

August 23, 2022

It’s all about reputation.

In addition to growing row crops and raising some cattle, the Carper family of Rutland branched out into sweet corn years ago. Cody Carper remembers this well.

“We started in the late 1980s, when I could barely see over the steering wheel,” he said. “I remember selling corn in Madison.”

A few years later, they thought they would branch out into larger cities, like Mitchell and Sioux Falls.

They positioned themselves on busy streets in both cities, with no other sellers nearby, but only sold a few dozen after a couple of days. When they tried in De Smet, a much smaller city, they had very different results. “It’s the opposite of what you’d think, but we had a reputation in De Smet.”

It’s the same with DSU. Carper, a DSU alumnus himself, knows that Dakota State is good for a town the size of Madison, but, just like farming, “times change, and if you don’t go along with it, you get left in the dust.”

So, he keeps up with news of his alma mater, and the impact the institution has on a world-wide scale, and knows “it’s something a guy should be proud of.”

The Carpers use some technology in their farming operation, but with the small stuff, “you still get your hands dirty,” he said, because “this specialty stuff is crawling on your hands and knees.”

Carper does use his degree in marketing with the vegetable portion of the business, promoting the business through its Facebook page, and doing interviews with area publications. They sell their produce from Sioux Falls to Watertown and Madison to DeSmet, adding new vegetables every year.

“This specialty farming, what we do this time of year, is just evolving, and we learn by trial and error. When we get it all figured out it’ll be time to retire!” Carper quipped.

For their contributions to agriculture in the region, the Carpers have been named Honorary Ag Bowl Captains for the 2022 Dakota State Ag Bowl, which will be held on Thursday, August 25 in Madison. The Trojans will face off against Dakota Wesleyan at 7:05 p.m.

Jeff Dittman, Athletics Director at Dakota State, said, “the contributions that farming families like the Carpers have made to Madison, and Dakota State, are the foundation that we can all be proud of.”

This game is also the Chamber Cup game, sponsored by the chambers of Madison and Mitchell. The winner takes home the traveling trophy for the year.

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