agriculture

Oil Seed Crops May Increase With New EPA Standards

Jun 9, 2016

The ethanol industry might need to make way for a new biofuel crop.  The EPA just increased its requirements for the amount of renewable fuel in gasoline.  Researchers working on bio fuel production say South Dakota could become a center for new oil seed crops.

The Environmental Protection Agency just released new federal standards for renewable fuel. These standards increase demands for all biofuels. EPA officials hope the change boosts production in the global market and lowers carbon emissions.

Dakota Midday: Fighting To Keep The Hives Alive

Jun 9, 2016

  Dr. Jon Lundgren from the Blue Dasher Farm Initiative joins Dakota Midday to talk about regenerative agriculture as a solution to problems in the bee population. Farmers, rancher and beekeepers will gather on Monday, June 13 at Blue Dasher Farm as part of the national Keep the Hives Alive tour. 

Growing Season Gets Wet Start In Parts of SD

Jun 2, 2016

Defining a normal growing season in South Dakota is no easy task. This spring farmers in parts of the state are facing some very wet weather.

South Dakota’s corn and soybean yields are taking a hit with heavy spring moisture in the southeast. Rainfall amounts are almost twice the average in some areas.  And farmers say this has slowed spring fieldwork.

Honeybee Population Continues To Decline

May 18, 2016
USDA

Honeybees are in decline.   The numbers in the first months of 2016 show the national honeybee population has hit new lows. SDPB’s Allie Knofczynski reports on the research and efforts across South Dakota to protect its state insect.

The number of honeybee colonies in South Dakota is down 40 percent from last year. Colonies lost during the first three months of this year totaled 1 percent of the statewide population. According to the US Department of Agriculture, the honeybee decline began in 2006.

Kealey Bultena / SDPB

South Dakotans list agriculture as the number one driver of economic development. That’s according to a recent survey that polled people nationally and gathered data in three separate states. Some people’s perceptions of the economy don’t jibe directly with information from businesses. 

A Wells Fargo and USA Today survey polled South Dakotans to find out which sectors they think contribute to a healthy economy. The top responses in order were agriculture, health care, education, construction, and retail.

Bison Could Become National Mammal

May 3, 2016
Courtesy Wind Cave National Park

Bison could soon become the country’s National Mammal. The US House and Senate passed the National Bison Legacy Act. It’s awaiting President Obama’s signature.

Kealey Bultena / SDPB

Survey crews are training for a time when the emerald ash borer finds its way to South Dakota trees. The exotic insect feeds on black, green or white ash. The trees have no defense against the beetle. State, local, and federal agencies are collaborating on a practice exercise in Sioux Falls.

State forester Gregory Josten says to claim South Dakota has escaped the emerald ash borer so far isn’t necessarily true.

"We don’t know for sure that it’s not here, but we have not found it here yet," Josten says.

Study Forecasts Consequences Of Changing Landscape

Apr 5, 2016
Kealey Bultena

SDSU researchers predict that over the next two decades, the amount of land used for growing crops in the northern Great Plains will increase. They say that means the amount of grassland will decrease, creating some potential risks.

SDPB

Lawmakers finished their final day of work for the 2016 legislative session. They discussed five measures on veto day, ultimately agreeing with the Governor in all but one style and form veto.   Senate Bill 136, which incentivizes grassland buffer strips along waterways, failed to make it through both houses of the legislature.

Legislature Considers Bills On Veto Day

Mar 28, 2016
Jenifer Jones

Tuesday state legislators consider overriding five vetoes issued by Governor Dennis Daugaard.

Gov. Names Interim Agriculture Secretary

Mar 25, 2016

State Veterinarian Doctor Dustin Oedekoven is now the interim South Dakota Secretary of Agriculture. He says he’s looking forward to gaining a better perspective of the department.

Oedekoven says he’s honored to serve as interim Agriculture Secretary. He says one of the biggest challenges facing agriculture in South Dakota today is getting young people involved.

2015-2016 Winter 11th Warmest On Record In SD

Mar 17, 2016

The Equinox on Sunday the 20th marks the start of spring.   But many South Dakotan’s have already been enjoying some spring like weather.

Officials who track the climate in the state say the past winter was the 11th warmest out of the last 122 years of record.  That includes the timeframe from December 1, 2015 through February 29, 2016.  

Governor Dennis Daugaard is waiting to hear from the South Dakota Supreme Court before deciding how to act on two bills passed by the legislature.

Hemp Bill Falls On Legislative Hurdle

Feb 18, 2016

A panel of state legislators has turned down a bill to legalize industrial hemp.  The bill passed the house by a large majority, but hit a wall in its first hearing before the Senate Ag and Natural Resources Committee.

Proponents say hemp doesn’t contain THC, the component in marijuana that produces a high.  They say hemp can be a good source of income for farmers, and add that surrounding states are out competing South Dakota.   

Committee Passes Bill Allowing Industrial Hemp

Feb 2, 2016

Members of a state House committee voted in favor of a bill allowing the production and sale of industrial hemp. Farmers have to go through a permitting process before growing the crop.

Kealey Bultena / SDPB

Cattle producers in South Dakota are raising money to feed the hungry by hosting a Toby Keith concert. The famous country artist is slated to perform in the Denny Sanford Premier Center in Sioux Falls in June. Tickets go on sale on Friday, and proceeds from the concert go to Feeding South Dakota. 

Members of a statewide cattle organization started a Prime Time Gala three years ago. The concert component of the event benefits the hungry. Todd Wilkinson is president of the South Dakota Cattlemen’s Association.

www.sdfbf.org

Krystil Smit, Executive Director of the South Dakota Farm Bureau joined Dakota Midday.  Smit began her new position in October and she discussed her vision for SDFB as well as short-term and long-term projects.

habitat.sd.gov

A new initiative aims to help South Dakota landowners maintain wildlife habitat on their property. Habitat Pays is a joint venture between the state departments of Agriculture and Game Fish and Parks.

Spearfish Local Aims To Grow Business

Oct 14, 2015
BHSU

A program through Black Hills State University has landed $100 thousand dollar USDA grant to put more local food on the menu in Spearfish.  

The grant helps build a new business that can move fresh local fruits and vegetables from farmers to cafeterias at nearby schools, hospitals, and other facilities.

John Thune

United States Senator John Thune says he generally supports trade deals, but some parts of the latest international agreement raise his concern. Eleven countries and the United States have struck a deal called TPP. That stands for Trans-Pacific Partnership. It has economic and political implications.

Thune says he’s heard pieces of the deal since Monday’s agreement, and he’s concerned about some of the elements.

The South Dakota Farm Bureau has a new executive director. Krystil Smit is starting as the head of the state’s largest agriculture association later this month. 

Krysti Smit has a long history of working with agriculture in the state. From growing up on a farm to becoming an advocate for Ag, she says she wants to make the organization an open door for consumers and producers.

Permitting Poop: Groups Want More Say In Feedlot Regulations

Sep 15, 2015
DENR

Feedlots and chicken farms can create tons of manure, literally.
 
Now some environmental and industry groups are crying foul over a state government permitting process that governs how large animal confinement operations deal with all that waste.
 
The South Dakota Department of Environment and Natural Resources is reviewing its regulations for hog farms, dairies, feedlots, and chicken farms where thousands of animals can be grown in a single location.
 

Kealey Bultena / SDPB

Area leaders say technology is rapidly changing the way they do business. People from different industries met in Sioux Falls Thursday to discuss technology and South Dakota’s economy. The US Chamber of Commerce Foundation and the Sioux Falls Area Chamber of Commerce worked together for the free event.

Mega Dairy Planned Near Watertown Faces Opposition

Aug 23, 2015
JENIFER JONES

A proposed 49-hundred head dairy near Watertown is facing opposition. There are multiple issues surrounding the proposed Concentrated Animal Feeding Operation. 
 

Temperatures Help Crop Immersion And Growth

Jun 16, 2015

South Dakota saw below normal temperatures and above normal temperatures last week prompting crop immersion and growth across the state. 

Temperatures were two to eight degrees higher than normal and rainfall was scattered across the state. Erik Gerlach is a state statistician with the Agricultural Statistics Office.  He says some areas received ample moisture last week.

Kealey Bultena / SDPB

Farmers and ranchers in South Dakota must decide whether to save the money they make from crops and livestock or reinvest it. The growing season is well underway for South Dakota farmers, and ranchers are watching markets as they raise their animals. 

Record commodity prices for corn and soybeans are gone, and that has some farmers keeping their money in the bank instead of spending it on upgrades and new equipment. South Dakota Secretary of Agriculture Lucas Lentsch says growers remain cautious.

State of South Dakota

Summer is a time of furious work in South Dakota. Farming and ranching ramp up as the weather warms, and 2015 is no exception. But growing crops and raising livestock comes with risk. Kealey Bultena spoke with South Dakota Secretary of Agriculture Lucas Lentsch for an update on the latest concerns of the state's farmers and ranchers. Lentsch began the conversation by discussing the latest round of heavy rains after a spring that started with fears of a season hindered by drought.

Farmers Face Possible Drought And Market Drop

Apr 27, 2015
Charles Michael Ray

Officials in the agriculture industry are eyeing a drop in the price of corn and other crops grown in South Dakota, on top of that the state as seen a record dry spell in the start of 2015.

The drought and lower commodity prices are making many farmers cautious about spending.   Ag is the number one industry in South Dakota and the slowdown is already having ripple effects on some sectors of the state economy.

Kealey Bultena / SDPB

Advocates for renewable energy say the industry brings economic benefits to the Dakotas. A new report from a coalition supporting renewable fuels shows the industry is responsible for jobs, wages and output in the billions of dollars.

An advocate for sustainable agriculture is bringer her perspective on feeding the world to a South Dakota college campus. Vandana Shiva is set to discuss her challenges with industrial agriculture and genetically modified crops. Shiva says people need to prioritize their health and the planet.

Genetically modified organisms (GMOs) are common in modern agriculture. India-based scientist and advocate Vandana Shiva says companies claim to want to produce more to feed people, but that doesn’t happen.

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