SDCA Leadership 

The South Dakota Cattlemen's Association is a grassroots organization that relies on participation of the members through their local affiliates and by electing representatives to serve on the state Board of Directors.

Last year the SDCA Leadership Taskforce reviewed the board structure and made recommendations to improve engagement leading to more robust discussion of issues and ultimately better policy reflective of the membership. At the 2021 Annual meeting of the South Dakota Cattlemen's Association, members voted to amend the bylaws to change the composition of the Board of Directors. The bylaws as amended state that the board shall be comprised of the immediate past president, the president, vice president, the vice president of membership, one representative from each council and two regional representatives from each of the five regions (western, northern, southern, northeastern, southeastern).  The regional representatives replace positions formerly held by affiliate representatives and regional vice presidents. 

The regional representatives shall be elected for a term of two years, with one representative from each region elected each year on a rotating basis. To establish this structure, the initial election from each region shall be for one term of one year and one term of two years. Members may be elected to serve as regional representatives for up to three consecutive terms. The initial election is being held electronically to allow all SDCA members the opportunity to vote for a regional representative prior to the next regular board meeting. The SDCA bylaws provide for future elections to take place at annual regional meetings. 

SDCA Officer Team 

 The South Dakota Cattlemen’s Association officer team is made up of four individuals, the President, Vice President, Secretary/Treasurer and Past President. 

Eric Jennings


Eric Jennings owns and operates a beef cattle ranch with his wife Michelle in Spearfish, SD, living in the house he grew up in. After graduating from SDSU with a degree in Agricultural Education he taught vocational agriculture in Lennox, SD for two years before returning to his family’s ranch in 1988.  Because the ranch included land in the Black Hills National Forest and land along Spearfish Creek, Eric has been active in protecting the private property and public grazing rights, and educating the public on how responsible management of these lands can contribute to the ecological health of the land.  As a life time learner, Eric has attended many seminars and workshops along with graduating from South Dakota Agriculture and Rural Leadership (SDARL) and receiving training as Conflict Resolution facilitator.  Eric has had leadership roles in many organizations over the past years.  He currently serves on the Board of Directors of SDARL, Northern Hills Sources of Support, Spearfish Rural Fire Protection District, South Dakota Cattlemen Association, Black Hills Regional Multiple Use Coalition, and Society of Black Hills Pioneers.  Eric is also involved with United Methodist Church and the Masonic Lodge.      

 Warren Symens


Warren Symens is a  4th generation farmer/rancher/cattle feeder in Amherst SD, where he lives with his wife, Stephanie, and 3 kids; Owen, Erika, and Emmett. Symens Brothers  Limousin is a family operation that includes Warren, a cousin, Brad, and uncle, John, as well as  Warren's dad, Paul and uncle Irwin, who are retired. The operation raises registered Limousin cattle, run a cattle finishing confinement lot, and grows crops for market and for feed. Warren graduated from Britton High School in 1996. Upon graduation Warren attended  South Dakota State University, obtaining a  degree in General Agriculture. Warren has served on the SDSU Ag & Bio advisory board, and has continued to stay involved with the board through volunteer work. He has also served on both the state and national Limousin board of directors. Warren was a Class VIII graduate of South Dakota Ag & Rural Leadership. Within his community, Warren has served on various church boards at the First Presbyterian Church of Britton, SD and sits on the Board of directors for the Full Circle Ag Co-Op. He also acts as  the secretary for the South Dakota Cattle Feeders Council.

Carl  Sanders 


My wife, Kari and I own and operate a ranch in north-eastern Fall River County.  Our three kids are sixth generation in the county.  Megan 16, Kyle 14 and Ray 11 are a HUGE part of the operation.  We are mainly a cow-calf operation, with a handful of yearlings.  We also grow irrigated alfalfa and corn, where we get water through the Angostura Irrigation District. A little over half the cows summer on deeded ground and the rest summer on a Forest Service Grasslands permit.  The mature cows winter until calving on native creek bottoms, the young cows winter on crop residue.  I am a past president of the Black Hills Affiliate for SDCA and past Western Region VP.  I have served as a board member and past president of Angostura Irrigation District and currently appointed as treasurer.  I am also a director through SDCA on the South Dakota Beef Industry Council.  We are members of Prairie View UMC and have served as chairman for the board of trustees.

Steve Ollerich


Steve Ollerich was 12 years old when he started helping his father, Robert Ollerich, milk cows and feed 350 head of cattle.  Steve married at 23, and started working at the Sioux Falls Stock Yards. After working there for 25 years, he decided it was time for his own operation. He bought a feed yard just south of Elkton in 2000 and is currently feeding 2,500 head of cattle, with the help of two of his three daughters, and his oldest granddaughter, who also own cattle in his cattle lot. For the first three years, they custom fed cattle, and after walking pens in near -30 degrees Steve thought “If someone else can do this. I can do this on my own.” So, with the help of a good banker, they started filling up each pen themselves. It hasn’t been easy, but having his daughters and grandchildren help clean and fix the lot up has made it enjoyable. Steve has been a member of the Sioux Basin Cattlemen since 1980, serving recently as President of this local SDCA affiliate.  

Regional Board Representatives 

Northern Region    

Jay Jones, 605-845-3082, [email protected] 
Sal Roseland, 605-216-0883, [email protected] 

Northeast Region 

Drew Edleman, 605-81-2419, [email protected] 
Nick Wilkinson, 605-847-5080, [email protected] 

Southeast Region 

Cory Eich, 605-523-2577, [email protected] 
Austin Havlik, 605-999-9245, [email protected] 

Southern Region

Casey Heenan, 605-842-3100, [email protected] 
Kory Bierle, 605-843-2275, [email protected]

Western Region               

Britton Blair, 605-347-0426, [email protected] 
Devin Stephens, 605-642-9769, [email protected]

Council Leadership

Cow-Calf Council Chair: Jared [email protected] - 605-881-2375

The SDCA Cow-Calf Council focuses on issues directly impacting cow-calf operators.  

Feeder Council Chair: John Reisch-  [email protected]   605-772-4396         

The SDCA Feeder Council focuses on the special interests of feeders, particularly environmental regulations.


Young Cattlemen of South Dakota Council Chair: Emily Peterson [email protected] 

The SDCA Young Cattlemen of South Dakota Council helps young producers connect through education and networking as well as leadership experience.  

The  Councils are made up of members with an interest in those segments of beef production. Council leaders serve on the SDCA Board of Directors and the Councils also host meetings and events pertaining to their area of specialty. Communications that are specific to these operations are also provided to council members when necessary.

SDCA Staff

Taya Runyan 

SDCA Executive Director 

Taya attended the University of South Dakota earning a bachelor’s degree in 2003 and law degree in 2007. She returned to her home town of Pierre, SD and began her career as an administrative law judge with the South Dakota Department of Labor and Regulation. In 2014, Taya joined the South Dakota Department of Agriculture as General Counsel, and later the Director of Agricultural Services.  With more than ten years of experience in public service, Taya has worked with numerous ag industry leaders across the state to work through complex regulatory issues, and been actively involved in the legislative process. Taya and her husband Jeff are parents to three active young boys, Jack, Henry, and Gus. Her spare time is spent on the sidelines or in the bleachers watching them play soccer, baseball, or a variety of other activities.