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Steever inducted into NAFB Hall of Fame

Lennox native Tom Steever was inducted into the National Association of Farm Broadcasting Hall of Fame in November.

After graduating from Lennox High School in 1971, Steever headed to South Dakota State University where he graduated with a degree in broadcasting in 1976. While he initially went to SDSU for photography, he decided broadcasting was the way to go after taking an introductory course.

“I was smitten by broadcast. I just loved it. I wanted to get as much as I could,” he said.

At SDSU, he spent his first two years photographing for the campus newspaper. Once he discovered broadcasting though, he took on as many hours as he could at the campus radio station. He also spent some time on the air with KBRK in Brookings and interned at KSOO in Sioux Falls.

His professional career started at KSOO after graduation and he spent years there before going to the Sioux Falls Stockyards. He spent four years giving radio reports for stations all over the Upper Midwest and twice a day reports on KELO TV.

His TV gig got the attention of ag broadcasters Max Armstrong, whom was also inducted into the NAFB Hall of Fame this year, and Orion Samuelson. They were starting a cable ag news show called Channel Earth, and they wanted Steever to join them in Chicago.

“They invited me to be part of Channel Earth. I went literally from being in cattle alleys to downtown Chicago. It was quite exciting,” he said.

Steever spent five and a half hours a day broadcasting on Channel Earth. However, that project only aired for 10 months.

After Channel Earth, Steever went to work for the American Farm Bureau Federation in broadcast public relations. He spent five years with them in Park Ridge, Ill., before the federation moved their headquarters to Washington, D.C.

He and his family moved to Jefferson City, Mo., instead, where he started working for Brownfield Ag News. That is where Steever has spent the last 16 years and where he currently lives.

While he has semi-retired at Brownfield, he continues to anchor the South Dakota newscasts the company puts out, as well as some special projects.

Steever, who gets back to South Dakota about four times a year, was in Sioux Falls last week for South Dakota Soybean’s annual Ag Outlook event, where he spoke to producers.

“It feels really good when I get here. The farm is shared among my siblings so we still have the farm. I like to get back. I have gracious hosts at the B&B,” he said.

At the NAFB annual convention, held every year since 1974 in Kansas City, Steever said it was an exciting time. Steever became a member of NAFB in 1976 and has attended every convention since.

The Hall of Fame induction was not a surprise since he had been notified months in advance, but it was an honor.

“It was an honor to be inducted with Max (Armstrong). Plus, it was fun because my sister, Nancy, and brother-in-law, Gene, and my niece, Mary, were all up from Houston and John and Sara were there from here. My son and daughter-in-law and my first boss Joe Henkin and his wife, Ann, came down,” Steever said.

He noted that Henkin played a big part in Steever becoming a member of the NAFB. It was an honor to have him at the Hall of Fame induction.

In his career, Steever said he likes both TV and radio broadcasting. While they may be different, he enjoys reporting. One of his favorite parts of his career has been reporting from farms.

“When I was with the American Farm Bureau Federation, I did stories in a lot of the United States because there’s Farm Bureau affiliates in each of the states. I got to a lot of states and a lot of members’ farms. That is definitely the most fun. My favorite thing to cover is to talk to a farmer on his place,” Steever said.

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