SDSU Extension

The total number of farms and ranches in South Dakota decreased last year by about 300 from 2013. That’s according to numbers recently released by U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Agricultural Statistics Service.

There were 31,700 farms and ranches in the state last year. Numbers of farms and ranches with less than $100,000 in agricultural sales declined by 400 compared to 2013 while operations with more than $100,000 were up by 100.

The United States Secretary of Agriculture says a federal grant should increase efficiency for shipping grain in part of South Dakota. More than $12.6 million is going to rehabilitate a stretch of railroad the state owns in south-central South Dakota. The overall cost of the reconstruction is nearly $30 million. The project is one of 72 efforts across the country aimed at improving infrastructure and creating jobs.

Through Saturday, 13.39 inches of rain soaked Sioux Falls. That's more than half the yearly average precipitation of 26.38 inches, and far above the previous wettest month on record (9.42 inches in May 1898). The rains have left some fields in southeastern South Dakota submerged.

Anthony Bly is soils field specialist with South Dakota State University Extension's Sioux Falls Regional Center. He says how long crops survive depends on how long the water sticks around.

Sioux Falls-Based Company Wins NASA Award

Jun 20, 2014
Raven Industries

Raven Industries is based in Sioux Falls and highly successful, but many don’t know what the industry produces. In addition to making all large-scale Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade balloons since the early 1980s, Raven Industries creates high altitude balloons that have been used by NASA as well as innovative technologies to aid the agriculture industry. Raven Industries Communications Manager Kristen Tilus joined the program to discuss in detail the company’s success, including a recent award from NASA.

Agriculture Leads South Dakota's Economic Growth

Jun 17, 2014
South Dakota State Government

On Wednesday, Governor Dennis Daugaard's office released a statement that said, "South Dakota's economy continues to grow at a faster rate than the national economy, according to the most recent gross domestic product (GDP) numbers released by the Bureau of Economic Analysis, U.S. Department of Commerce." The statement said South Dakota's GDP grew 6.8 percent from 2012-2013, compared to a national increase of 3.47 percent. This economic growth was led by South Dakota's agricultural sector, which rebounded from a drought year in 2012 to post a 34 percent increase this year.

SDSU Extension At 100 Years

May 27, 2014

South Dakota State University Extension is 100 years old this month and a recent Benchmark Survey shows SDSU Extension remains South Dakotans' trusted source for unbiased, research-based information.  The survey, conducted by a third-party source, includes information gleaned from extensive interviews with 400 South Dakota crop and livestock producers as well as users of one or more of SDSU Extension's five additional key program areas which include community development, food and families, urban/rural initiatives, Native American programs and 4-H Youth development.  A product of the Smith

The Surface Transportation Board is taking public testimony about Rail Service resources in the United States. Many Ag-producers are complaining that there's a rail car shortage and they worry last year's crop is not making it to market.  South Dakota US Senator John Thune is among those testifying.  He says rail service in rural states must remain a high priority.

Train Shortage Creates Ag Crisis

Apr 8, 2014
Kealey Bultena / SDPB

As the weather warms up and farmers prepare to get into the fields, some of the harvest from last season is still in storage and in piles. Bath, South Dakota farmer Dennis Jones says the situation has reached a crisis level because railroad equipment and crews aren’t available to haul grain to market because of the demands in the Bakken Oil Fields.

Nate Wek / SDPB

US Senator John Thune says the future in agriculture is bright for South Dakota. Thune is meeting with farmers and ranchers Wednesday in Sioux Falls to see examples of progress in technology used in agriculture. Thune claims this gives him valid information to bring back to Washington DC.

Bee Care Tour Comes To Brookings

Mar 10, 2014

The Bayer CropScience 2nd Annual Bee Care Tour stops in Brookings on Wednesday at 10:00 a.m. at the McCrory Gardens Education and Visitor Center.  Honey bees and other pollinators play a vital role in the food supply with more than 25% of the nation's agricultural crops dependent upon pollination.  Bayer CropScience bee expert Sarah Meyers talked about this year's tour which engages attendees on the important role pollinators and seed treatment technology plays in creating a sustainable agriculture.

Senate Approves Change to Wheat Fee

Mar 3, 2014

Wheat growers will likely see a change in how promotional fees are assessed. Under current statute, the promotional fee is a flat one and one half cents per bushel of wheat sold. House Bill 1081 proposes changing it to an equation based on the value of the net market price per bushel. Senator Larry Tidemann speaks in favor of the measure on the Senate floor.

Uranium Mining Water Protection Bill Fails in Committee

Feb 13, 2014

A measure that sought to create water restoration processes for uranium mining projects failed in the House Ag committee Thursday morning. House Bill 1193 requires anyone applying for a mining permit to also demonstrate how the water used in the process would be returned back to baseline levels.

The fallout from a vicious October blizzard is rippling through the ranching industry. Feet of snow and cold temperatures in western South Dakota killed tens of thousands of cattle several months ago. Bob Mack with the South Dakota Stockgrowers Association says he suspects the actual number of livestock dead following the blizzard is considerably higher than the current official estimates.

Agriculture advocates in South Dakota are pushing for a farm bill to pass the United States Congress – but not at the expense of certain elements. US Senator Tim Johnson says stability in the form of a farm bill impacts all other industries, but ag leaders aren’t willing to sacrifice at least one part of the program.

Farming and ranching organizations say the United States should have passed a long-term farm bill years ago. An extension of the legislation is working through a conference committee, and Members of Congress say they’re getting closer to compromise.

Nate Wek / SDPB

Officials with the Northern Crop Institute want lawmakers to know what's happening in agriculture. The mission of NCI is to inform people of the possibilities and changes in agriculture.

The Northern Crop Institute  focuses its attention on crops in the four state region of Montanta, North Dakota, Minnesota and South Dakota. NCI's studies show a premium style of wheat in the region in and around South Dakota. NCI Director Mark Weber says he's in Pierre to educate lawmakers.

USDA's Weekly Crop Report

Sep 10, 2013

The USDA’s weekly crop report for South Dakota shows that corn silage harvest has started in some areas of the state.

Carter Anderson is State Director for the USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Survey.

"Still seeing above normal temperatures persisted across the state last week," says Anderson. "Corn development seems to be about close to average at 98 percent of the corn in the dough stage and that’s just slightly ahead of last year which was at 97 percent and then a five year average at 94 percent."

Ag Producers Describe SD Farm Status

Aug 21, 2013

An annual farm show attracts thousands of people to Mitchell each August. Despite typical hot, muggy weather, farmers and ranchers from around the region gather to connect with manufacturers and developers. Producers also collaborate on issues from the status of their crops to federal funding, and they meet at DakotaFest.

Buffalo Market Holds Its Own.

Jul 31, 2013

South Dakota continues to be the nation’s biggest producer of buffalo meat.   The market for bison has softened in recent months, but only slightly.  

The demand for buffalo has maintained somewhat continued growth over the past several years.  The trend may buck conventional critics who’ve called the buffalo market volatile.

SDPB’s Charles Michael Ray has this update on the growth in demand for buffalo.

"Changing Lands, Changing Hands"

Jul 23, 2013

As older farmers retire, their land will change hands, but who takes over and how that happens will reshape the agriculture industry. NET News and Harvest Public Media examine changing trends in land ownership and what they mean to farm families and rural communities in "Changing Lands, Changing Hands," airing Friday at 9:00 pm Central on SDPB-TV.

The parent company of a large meatpacking operation in Sioux Falls is selling to a Chinese business. The CEO of Smithfield Foods says people who are with John Morrell in Sioux Falls and other plants should embrace the opportunity.

Chinese pork producer Shuanghi is investing billions of dollars to purchase America’s Smithfield foods. Smithfield employs 46,000 people. Smithfield’s President and CEO Larry Pope says workers and farmers should not worry about downsizing, because Shuanghi is not moving operations to China.

State of South Dakota

Tuesday South Dakota’s governor is in China. Governor Dennis Daugaard says the trip helps the state’s businesses establish relationships with Chinese companies. In a call from China, Daugaard says those organizations can foster partnerships with South Dakota industries. 

Dakota Political Junkies

Apr 3, 2013

Denise Ross of the Mitchell Daily Republic and David Montgomery of the Sioux Falls Argus Leader talked about the appointment of Lucas Lentsch as the new head of the South Dakota Department of Agriculture.  They also discussed sequester cuts affecting South Dakota, the state's transparency rating and "draft Brendan Johnson" and "draft Stephanie Herseth-Sandlin" movements with respect to the 2014 U.S. Senate race.

Kealey Bultena / SDPB

At the end of this month, South Dakota’s Secretary of Agriculture is stepping down. Secretary Walt Bones has steered the department for just more than two years. His service ends on April 29, and Governor Dennis Daugaard has appointed Lucas Lentsch as Bones’ successor.

The South Dakota Secretary of Agriculture says he made the decision to step down from his government position when he accepted the appointment in January of 2011.

Ranchers Worry Over Drought

Mar 5, 2013

Sometimes, in South Dakota it’s OK to hope for a blizzard. 

Parts of the Midwest and Eastern United States are getting pummeled by a series of snow-storms this winter.  But,  the severe drought continues in the western part of the state.

Many ranchers and farmers across South Dakota are hoping for more moisture—however they can get it.     Gary Deering ranches near Sturgis.  He’s a Regional Vice President with the South Dakota Stock Growers Association.   Like many Deering is worried about what this spring and summer could bring.

Senate Ag Proposes Research as Summer Study

Mar 5, 2013

One of the state’s summer studies this year could focus on agriculture research. Members of the Senate Ag committee plan to propose a study on developing ag research opportunities in the state, as a way to improve economic development. Senator Jason Frerichs says the ag industry deserves respect and focus for development, but he says he doesn’t believe that’s happening through appropriations. Other committee members raised concerns about agriculture not being selected for a summer study because it’s not “sexy” enough or on the cutting edge of issues.

The U-S Department of Agriculture continues its College Tour in South Dakota Wednesday.  Deputy secretary Kathleen Merrigan is at South Dakota State University. Merrigan will announce new USDA grants for research education and grants to combat U-S and world hunger. South Dakota Secretary of Agriculture Walt Bones says he’s excited to bring Merrigan to the state.  He says his agency will work with the USDA to create new ag opportunities.

USDA Reports On Climate Change

Feb 11, 2013
Kealey Bultena

The United States Department of Agriculture has published two comprehensive reports on what the changing climate means for the future of the nation’s forests and agriculture.

The reports are peer reviewed and include input from over 40 scientists each. 

They show climate change will pose increasing challenges to farmers, ranchers, and foresters in the coming years. 

30th Annual Dakota Farm Show Declared A Success

Jan 10, 2013
University of South Dakota

The 20-13 Dakota Farm Show wraps up today in Vermillion. The Dakota Dome is full of vendors looking to supply farmers with their needs for the upcoming growing season. Farm Show manager Penny Swank says despite a difficult time for producers last year, things could be looking up.

Swank says, "I don’t know—I think everybody’s pretty upbeat, and looking forward to a better year—I think that, exhibitor-wise, I think people are selling. This is our third show of the season, for us, and all of our shows have been sold out—and all of our exhibitors have been very happy."

Beginning Farmers And Ranchers

Nov 26, 2012

Tuesday the South Dakota Department of Agriculture is teaming up with South Dakota State University to host the first Beginning Farmer and Rancher Symposium.  South Dakota Agriculture Secretary Walt Bones says the symposium will get students thinking past school, while preparing them for the challenges ahead.  According to Bones, 98 percent of South Dakota farms are family owned.

BPI vs. ABC News

Sep 13, 2012

A Dakota Dunes beef processing company is suing ABC News over reports that aired this spring about the company’s Lean, Finely-Textured Beef.  Attorney Dan Webb filed the lawsuit in Union County Circuit Court Thursday morning, on behalf of Beef Products, Incorporated.  Webb says ABC referred to the beef product as “pink slime.”