Michelle Rook, Special to Agweek
SIOUX FALLS, S.D. — The livestock industry is the backbone of South Dakota's economy, and that was evident at this year's Sioux Empire Farm Show held January 24-27 in Sioux Falls. Numbers were once again strong for the livestock shows and sales, including market hogs, sheep, goats and six breeds of purebred beef cattle. Plus, the caliber of livestock at the shows and sales reflects the strength of the livestock industry in the state and region.
MADISON, Wis. — For many years, states like South Dakota used the World Dairy Expo as a venue to recruit new dairy operations from places like California and countries overseas. Those efforts have been so successful in growing the dairy industry that they and surrounding states have a new problem: a milk surplus. As a result, state officials and dairy producers used this year's World Dairy Expo to assist in expanding the dairy processing infrastructure. South Dakota, like many Midwestern dairy states, is facing a milk processing deficit.
WASHINGTON D.C. — U.S. Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue hit the ground running from day one. In his first week on the job, he held a Farmers Roundtable with President Donald Trump and a national cross section of farmers and farm leaders, helped head off the withdrawal of the U.S. from the North American Free Trade Agreement, and announced flexibility for the school lunch program. The former Georgia governor was one of the last cabinet positions to be filled, but he says that gave him the opportunity to find out what senators want him to accomplish as secretary.
BROOKINGS, S.D. —— The next generation of leaders in agriculture, agribusiness and agriscience converged at the 89th annual South Dakota State FFA Convention in Brookings on April 23-25. It was another year of record attendance at the convention with the official tally at 2,210 FFA members and guests.
SIOUX FALLS, S.D. — In agriculture, every day is Earth Day. The official observation of Earth Day is April 22, which gives farmers a chance to highlight what they're doing on the farm to be more environmental and sustainable. Farmers are truly protecting valuable natural resources by caring for the water, land and air.
DATELINE — The U.S. Department of Agriculture is predicting another challenging year for farmers in the United States, with farm income declining an additional 8.7 percent in 2017 to $62.3 billion dollars. This would be the fourth consecutive year of declines and represents a 46 percent drop from the record high in 2013. The lower income reflects three years of record crops, and grain prices which are in most cases below break evens. Farmers are feeling a little better about the future with good yields last fall, a pickup in demand and improvements in the general economy.
Sioux Falls, S.D. — The dairy business has been challenging the last few years. Producers were tested with milk prices that fell below break-even levels and a safety net in the farm bill that did not catch many producers. That is why getting an adequate risk management program in place is a top priority for the industry as discussions start on the new farm bill.
BROOKINGS, S.D. — Research shows most consumers want to know more about where their food comes from. Farmers and agribusiness professionals learned what that means for them as advocates for the industry at the Developing Consumer Trust Workshop in Brookings. The workshop was put on by the South Dakota Soybean Research and Promotion Council as part of their Hungry for Truth Initiative designed to bridge the gap between farmers and consumers as they get farther away from the farm and food production.
SIOUX FALLS, S.D. — More than 2,000 young consumers and their families took part in this year's Ag Day at the Pavilion to learn more about where their food comes from. The 14th annual event was held at the Washington Pavilion in Sioux Falls, S.D., on March 18. It attracts families from Sioux Falls and the surrounding communities and featured more than 50 agricultural vendors with hands-on activities to teach the kids about farming. Rebecca Christman with Ag United for South Dakota says they were making total mixed ration snack bags at their booth.
HOUGHTON, S.D. — With the current low commodity price environment, farmers are relying more on farm program payments to help them stay afloat financially. This will make the farm safety net even more important as lawmakers write the next farm bill. As a member of the Senate Agriculture Committee, U.S. Sen. John Thune, R-S.D., is working on various programs to be included in different titles of the legislation. The first to be rolled out is a new short term conservation and income protection program for farmers called the Soil Health Income and Protection Program, or SHIPP.