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

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

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

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.

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.

SDPB File Photo

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.