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The imaginative and investigative skills of South Dakota's top Future Farmers of America students were on display recently at the state's Agriscience Fair. Those projects ranged from looking at which animal bedding materials were most absorbent, to whether higher-priced rabbit feed could enhance their health, to controlling raccoon populations and the effects of alternative fertilizers on plant growth. If it can be researched and is involved with agriculture, it's fair game.
SALEM — They've held mock interviews, judged livestock and volunteered their time. They've sponsored one of the state's top Future Farmers of America awards since 2002 and driven countless miles to help local students for state and national competitions. And they've held those student accomplishments up for everyone in Salem and the McCook Central School District to know about.
ELK POINT — Robert Walsh is at the heart of South Dakota's corn quandary heading into a new planting season. Walsh, president of the South Dakota Corn Utilization Council and lives in very southeastern corner of the state in Union County, has had his fields filled by the overflowing waters of the Big Sioux River.
Major flooding is forecast for the James River and its tributaries near Mitchell early next week. According to Davison County Emergency Management Director Jeff Bathke, area residents along the river should prepare for major flooding in the coming days. "Come Monday, I think we're going to be in a world of hurt," Bathke said. The National Weather Service gauges near Mitchell measured the James River at 20.58 feet on Monday, and that has climbed to more than 21.25 feet on Tuesday. Minor flooding begins at 17 feet on the river near Mitchell.
The Davison County Planning Commission unaninimously approved a conditional use permit request for the construction of a 2,400-head swine finishing animal feeding operation in Rome Township during its Tuesday meeting.
BURKE — Living in cattle country, the idea made too much sense for Sara Grim. Locally raised beef should be served in the nearby Burke High School cafeteria, the passionate rancher thought. So Grim and her husband felt it was time to make a difference in the community. Grim said she had noticed states like Nebraska and North Dakota were able to get local programs going. In Nebraska, for example, 50 school districts are part of a program to bring local beef into school lunches through the state's department of agriculture.
MITCHELL, S.D.—With a new federal farm bill likely in gridlock until after the midterm elections, South Dakota's lone congressional representative says she is convinced the work will be done before she leaves her U.S. House post. Kristi Noem's fourth term in Congress will be complete in January, regardless of how she fares in her Nov. 6 bid to be South Dakota's next governor. But she left no doubt that a new farm bill will be a top priority in her final few months in Washington.
PARKSTON — Sunterra Farms is no stranger to the South Dakota pork industry. But this week, the company celebrated something new. It is finishing up its new research nursery facility, which will focus on research with small pigs and their various feeding methods before they advance to finishing operations. The 2,400-head facility was celebrated with an open house Tuesday a few miles south of Parkston, an area that has become the heart of Sunterra's South Dakota operations. The barn is the first of its kind for Sunterra in the region.
Facing another set of commercial animal feeding operation decisions, the Davison County Commission voted to approve a separate pair of 2,400-head swine finishing barns in Blendon and Lisbon townships. Both conditional use permit votes Tuesday at the Davison County North Offices in Mitchell were for 960 animal units, with Christ Christopher seeking to build in the northwest corner of the county, while Jarod Klock was seeking approval in Lisbon Township, which is located southwest of Mitchell.
TRIPP — So far, so good for an upgraded area intersection in Bon Homme County, where a pair of state highways meet. The intersection of South Dakota Highways 37 and 46 was the first intersection in the state to receive a Rural Intersection Conflict Warning System, which alerts drivers of vehicles on the intersecting road of oncoming traffic.