Noreen | Owner
South East South Dakota Tourism Board of Directors
PEO President of Elk Point Chapter
Elk Point Meals On Wheels Coordinator/President
Blue Tin Ranch
Luxury Hunting Lodge
Certified Women-Owned Business
Kelley | Owner
VCDC Young Entrepreneur
Volunteer Social Media Coordinator Sharing The Dream in Guatemala
Blue Tin Ranch Co Owner
Social Media Coordinator
I am the proud mom of 2 beautiful daughters, the 5th generation of Jorgensen’s living in South Dakota. I recently graduated from an SDSU Extension program focusing on Agri-Tourism. I sit on the board of directors of SE SD Tourism Association, am the President of the local PEO Chapter,I coordinate the Meals on Wheels program in Elk Point and will soon be a charter member and board representative for a South Dakota Agri-Tourism Association. I have enjoyed welcoming families to the farm for the last 3 years. Seeing kids and dogs pile out of the car after a long day of travel and being able to just flat out run across the yard is a joy! I look forward to welcoming more guests in the future!
I've been all around the world and have yet to find a place with better sunsets than right here in South Dakota. As an avid world traveler, I am an unofficial ambassador for South Dakota, the midwest as well as agriculture. I love educating people from all over the world on ag practices, and our way of life here in the midwest. One question I get asked the most is "what is the best part about living where you live?" The answer is simple, we are genuinely kind and caring people with great outdoor spaces to enjoy! Out of 42+ countries, all 50 states and more than half of Mexico, there hasn't been a single place untouched by this South Dakota ambassador! I love hosting for the same reason I love traveling. Meeting new people and getting the chance to tell them about how great our region is!
Mom and I love being unofficial ambassadors!
A niche market of the South Dakota Tourism Department is Agri-Tourism. The SDSU extension definition of Agri-Tourism is that it is at the crossroads of tourism and agriculture. It links agricultural production and processing with tourism in order to attract visitors to a farm or ranch for the purpose of entertaining and educating the visitors and generating income.
Some examples of Agri-Tourism include:
On-Farm Direct Sales: U-picks and farm stands
Accommodations: Farm Stays, much like the property Blue Tin Ranch, guest ranches, Bed & Breakfasts, camping. All of which happen on the farm place
Entertainment/Events: Corn mazes, farm dinners, weddings, campfires, stargazing Outdoor Recreation: Hunting, fishing, photography, horseback riding, hiking Educational Activities: Farm/ranch work experiences, tours, demonstration.
The state of South Dakota has a codified law that defines Agri-Tourism as any activity carried out on a farm, ranch or forest that allows members of the public for recreation, entertainment or education purposes to view or participate in agricultural activities.
So, why would we be interested in Agri-Tourism? It all has to do with saving the small family farm. The Jorgensen legacy begins in the 1880’s when Emil Jorgensen immigrated with his wife from Denmark. They settled in the Wakonda area, built a farm and a family. Together they had 7 children, the oldest being Andrew who is generation number 2. When Andrew was just 20 years old his dad passed away suddenly forcing Andrew to take over the farm and take care of his mom and 6 siblings. Eventually Andrew married and started a family of his own. He continued to farm until one day in late October 1929 Andrew took his cattle crop to market and deposited the check in the bank, only to wake up just days later to the news of the stock market crash. The bank took his money and called his loan. Andrew, Francis and their 7 kids suddenly found themselves penniless and homeless.
The family moved around SE SD finding work wherever they could for the next 15 or so years until they finally had saved enough money to purchase a farm north of Yankton. While they were establishing this new home they were dealt another blow, their second born son, Warren who is Jorgensen generation 3, was called up to serve in the Pacific during WW2. While Warren was serving his country he was sending his pay back home hoping to have a nice nest egg for himself when he returned so he could strike out on his own and buy his own farm. But Warren returned to find his youngest 2 brothers had taken his pay and squandered it. So Warren was forced to again farm with his dad. In 1952 Warren met and married his wife Mary and the very next year the Army Corp of Engineers decided to build the Gavins Point Dam and the farm land would be part of the new Lewis and Clark Lake.
Again Andrew was forced to upend the family and move. This time he bought 640 acres just west of Elk Point. Not long after the move Andrew passed away leaving this new farm to the 7 kids. Over the years Warren managed to buy out all of his siblings.
I can’t imagine the pain it was to write a check to those 2 brothers who stole his military pay. Warren and Mary settled into farm and married life and raised the next generation of Jorgensens, the 4th generation. Fast forward to today and the 5th and 6th generations are now part of the family. The problem is, both generations are all girls who don't want to continue farming! While the ag production ground can be rented out it is imperative that these upcoming generations find a way to generate enough income to sustain the farm buildings and keep them alive. We have turned to Agri-Tourism to achieve this goal.