Maynard Klingbeil

Upon his death, lifelong Sully County resident Maynard Klingbeil left 2683 acres of land to the SDSU Foundation. The land was sold at auction last Tuesday, December 7, and garnered an average of $6,573/acre – nearly $17 million for South Dakota State University.

“We didn’t get to know him very well personally, but we have learned a lot about him through shared stories,” said John Killefer, Dean of the College of Agriculture, Food & Environmental Sciences at SDSU. “He had a tremendous impact on many lives in many ways.”

Maynard Klingbeil was impacted by a number of SDSU programs, particularly extension programs.

“He saw the value that the education and the science generated at SDSU had for him personally and for the ag industry,” said Killefer. “What was very evident during the auction was true community that exists in the Onida area and that Maynard was a part of the fabric of community and represented that fabric very well.”

A number of endowments are planned for the $17 million windfall.

“We have had a number of conversations with his personal representatives,” said Killefer. “It is our intention to endow at least two leadership positions that align with precision ag, plant science and agronomy.”

Additional endowments will be used to “generate significant scholarships to support education of future leaders in agriculture.”

Endowed funds will also be used to share information acquired through teaching and research programs more broadly. “We’re endowing them in order to allow programs to go on in perpetuity,” said Killefer. “Mr. Klingbeil’s generous gift will live on for many generations and continue to impact ag in the Onida region and throughout the state.”

Maynard Klingbeil was undoubtedly a great steward of the land, through his farming practices and advocacy on the Agriculture Stabilization and Conservation Service. Through his gift, he will be an architect by supporting the work of faculty, researchers, and students committed to innovations in agriculture.

The land that was his home for the entirety of his 85 years of life will now support agronomic education, research, and outreach in perpetuity at the state’s land grant university whose work he respected. It will also align him with the precision agriculture major, the first of its kind in the nation and established at SDSU.