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Energize! Conference Creates an Economic Impact for Lemmon, S.D.

A chalkboard sign outside a local flower and coffee shop welcoming Energize Conference attendees.

Written collaboratively by Callie Schleusner and Kenneth Sherin, former SDSU Extension Community Vitality Program Director.

In late spring 2019, SDSU Extension hosted the second annual ENERGIZE! Exploring Innovating Rural Communities Conference in Lemmon, South Dakota.

This conference brought an estimated $25,802 to the local Lemmon economy during the two-day event.

The economic impact was distributed through Lemmon in a variety of ways. For example, venues received rent for event space, food vendors were paid for providing meals and chamber members were supported through the “chamber bucks” provided to each attendee. Each attendee received $10 in “chamber bucks” to spend at a local business.

Survey Findings

two women in front of items they are selling at their boutique.

Post-conference survey tabulations found that 39 of 111 Energize! Conference attendees filled out a survey for a response rate of 35%.

In the survey, 39 survey respondents also shared their spending data for the event. Attendees spent an average of $136 on lodging, $36 on food, and $57 on shopping in town, totaling $5,273.32 for survey respondents.

Using average per person expenditures from the survey, we estimate that out-of-town attendees including SDSU Extension staff spent $12,913 on Lodging, $6,461 on food, and $6,428 on shopping for a total $25,802 economic impact.

Table 1. Energize! 2019 Economic Impact
Category Average ($) Respondent
Total ($)
Extension ($)
Est. Conference
Total ($)
Lodging 136 2,581 280 12,913
Food 36 1,200 3,079 6,461
Shopping 57 1,492 1,090 6,428
Total 229 5,273 4,449 25,802

Attendees traveled, on average, 400 miles round trip to attend the conference. Of those in attendance, 93 of the 111 were from out-of-town. The majority of participants were from South Dakota, though others came from North Dakota, Minnesota, and even as far as Kansas and Michigan. The longest drive was 1,700 miles round trip.