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New Chamber division manager makes Tea home

The Sioux Falls Area Chamber of Commerce has a new Agri-Business Division manager.

Holly Behrens, a native of Olivia, Texas, made the move to South Dakota a week before her first day on Aug. 14. This summer was a busy one for Behrens.

“It was a crazy summer. He proposed in May. June I accepted the job. July we bought a home. August I moved and started my job,” she said.

Behrens and her fiance, Evan Rader, bought their home in Tea in July after looking at different communities in the Sioux Falls area. Rader could not live in Sioux Falls for his job as a cattle buyer for Cargill, so the couple narrowed their search to Hartford and Tea. They were looking for a small community that was growing.

“We both wanted a small town feel because where we ended up deciding on was where we were going to start a family. We landed on Tea,” Behrens said. “We couldn’t be happier. It’s a great community. I love our home.”

Behrens received her bachelor’s degree in animal science from Texas A&M University in 2014. In 2015 she received her master’s degree in international agriculture with an emphasis in ag communications from Oklahoma State University.

Prior to coming to South Dakota, Behrens worked as the auctions coordinator for the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo in Houston, Texas.

Her job now is similar to what she was doing in Houston. The main differences she notes are the number of livestock was higher in Houston and the length of the show was longer in Houston — 20 days there versus five days of the Sioux Empire Farm Show.

“I love what I do and I feel like this is the perfect fit if I had to move north, and I wanted to move north, to be with my fiance, so it all worked out good,” she said.

As the Sioux Empire Farm Show, Jan. 23-27, gets closer, Behrens gets more excited and a little nervous that something might fall through the cracks. Behrens took over the manager position after Cindy Christensen’s retirement after 16 years in the job.

“Having someone like Cindy be here in the position for 16 years before me, it’s a learning curve. There’s so much knowledge in her head and there’s so many new ideas in my head,” she said. “Getting through 2018 and making sure it’s successful is the plan and we’re right on track.”

Behrens is excited about the exhibitor numbers coming in and the use of social media this year to promote the farm show. This is the first time exhibitors will have the chance to buy farm show apparel. The collegiate livestock judging contest is making a return this year, as well.

She is also excited to note that the Expo Building at the Sioux Empire Fairgrounds will have new vents in the building. Those vents will hopefully improve air quality during the show.

In her new roll, Behrens is excited to work with volunteers, exhibitors and Chamber members.

“Coming from a livestock show background really helps in this position because what I was doing there was obviously raising money for the exhibitors. I’m doing that year-round here as a Chamber staff member, always trying to get more involvement in the Chamber and the community,” Behrens said.

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