Walt Bones is headed back to his family farming operation in rural Parker, and a familiar face and name in South Dakota Republican Party politics will replace him at the helm of the state Agriculture Department.
Lucas Lentsch will be the new head of the Ag Department, Gov. Dennis Daugaard announced Tuesday morning.
“Lucas Lentsch will be a great secretary of Agriculture,” Daugaard said in a press release. “He is well-known across the state and well-respected in the ag community. Lucas will be an effective advocate for South Dakota’s farmers and ranchers.”
Since last year, Lentsch has been with Reinke Gray Wealth Management of Pierre as a financial adviser for farm and ranch families. Prior to that, he worked for two years as director of Agricultural Development for the South Dakota Department of Agriculture.
“It is a tremendous honor to be asked to serve as secretary of Agriculture,” Lentsch said. “I look forward to partnering with Governor Daugaard, industry leadership, and our state’s farmers and ranchers to support South Dakota’s leading industry.”
In addition to his work in the ag industry, Lentsch served for two years as executive director of the South Dakota Republican Party. Before coming to Pierre, Lentsch spent 10 years in business development. He was also a founding member and chairman of Glacial Lakes Area Development, a community development nonprofit organization in northeastern South Dakota.
“It has truly been an honor to serve as Secretary of Agriculture,” Bones said in another release. “I’ve served with a group of dedicated public servants – from the governor, who really understands the role of agriculture, to his staff and Cabinet members, our Legislature, and especially Department of Agriculture employees, everyone has worked hard to promote and protect the best interests of our industry.”
Daugaard offered praise for Bones for his service.
“Walt Bones is a great leader in the ag community, and I have appreciated his hard work for South Dakota’s No. 1 industry,” the governor said. “I thank him for his service to South Dakota and wish him well.”