The South Dakota Cattleman | Summer 2023

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South Dakota Cattleman

The official publication of the South Dakota Cattlemen’s Association

Summer 2023
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Calendar of Events

July 7: T-Bone Classic, Madison, SD

July 11: Region Roundup, Watertown

July 19: Region Roundup, Mitchell

July 20: Feedlot Tour, Baltic

July 24 - 26: NCBA Summer Business Meeting, San Diego, CA

July 26: Region Roundup, Winner

August 3: Leopold Conservation Award Tour, Philip

August 15: Region Roundup, Redfield

August 15 - 17: DakotaFest Beef Booth, Mitchell

August 28: Region Roundup, Mobridge & Faulkton

August 31 - September 4: South Dakota State Fair Beef Booth, Huron

September 3: NCBA and SDCA Panel at the South Dakota State Fair, Huron

September 24: Region Roundup, Spearfish

November 28 - 29: SDCA Convention & Trade Show, Watertown

Advertising Opportunities

The South Dakota Cattleman is published six times a year and sent to SDCA members including beef producers, beef industry supporters, property owners, allied industry partners, as well as state and local government officials with a circulation of 1,000.

Advertising deadline is the 5th of the month prior to publication.

The SDCA newsletter, The Cattle Guard, is emailed to all SDCA members every week. The Cattle Guard contains updates and news from SDCA, Industry Partners, and NCBA.

Follow us on our social media platforms to stay informed of the latest SDCA news, events, and information.

& Industry

South Dakota Cattlemen's Association In Every Issue The Western Perspective ����������������������������������������������������� 4 From the Cattle Pen 9 SDCA Working for You ��������������������������������������������������������� 12 The Cattleman's Outlook 24 Your Beef Checkoff Dollars at Work 28-29 Features Member Spotlight: Hadrick Ranch ��������������������������������������� 6-7 Wall Meats: Premium Beef Beyond the State's Borders 8 Vanguard Hospitality and Producer Relationships ��������������� 10-11 Allen Williams: Improve Grazing by Watching & Adapting 16-17 Supreme Court Delivers WOTUS Victory ���������������������������� 18 How Chat GPT and AI can Impact Livestock Production ����� 31 Association
News Preserving Ag Land For Future Generations 13 Boots on the Hill: 2023 Legislative Conference ������������������� 14-15 South Dakotans Attend Young Cattlemen's Conference 22-23 SDCF Fed Cattle Challenge Engages Youth ����������������������� 25 Collegiate Cattlemen's Club Brings New Opportunities ������� 27 sdcattlemen SDCattlemen
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SDCA Leadership


Eric Jennings, President ejennings@sdcattlemen org

Warren Symens, Vice President wsymens@sdcattlemen org

Vaughn Thorstenson, Secretary/ Treasurer vwthor@venturecomm ne

Craig Bieber, VP of Membership craig@bieberredangus com

Jeff Smeenk, Past President cn_ranch@sdplains com

Regional Representatives

Jay Jones, Northern Region

Troy Hadrick, Northern Region

Drew Edleman, Northeast Region

Nick Wilkinson, Northeast Region

Colby Olson, Southeast Region

Austin Havlik, Southeast Region

Casey Heenan, Southern Region

Kory Bierle, Southern Region

Britton Blair, Western Region

Devin Stephens, Western Region

Council Members

John Reisch, Cattle Feeder Council

Jared Knock, Cow-Calf Council

Emily Peterson, Young Cattlemen Council

SDCA Staff

Taya Runyan Executive Director

Lorrin Naasz Director of Communications & Outreach

For additional information, visit

The South Dakota Cattleman 3
Farm Credit Services of America Front Inside Cover Farmers Business Network 2 First National Bank of Sioux Falls 2 Ward Laboratories 4 Stockguard 19 MLS Tubs ......................................................................................................................................... 20 Axiota Multimin 20-21 Liphatech Back Cover
Ad Index

The Western Perspective

I can’t believe I am writing about this again. I wrote about it a couple of years ago, and I for one would like to move on and focus on the issues of the cattle industry that pose a real threat to our industry. But no, here we are again dredging up an old issue and debating whether we get rid of a program that doesn’t threaten our industry but instead improves it. It is official, we can’t stand success. If we have a program that benefits and promotes beef, has added value to our product over the years, improved the image of our product, created new cuts of beef, and provided research to make us more efficient, by all means, we should get rid of it…right?. At least a small percentage of producers think so, but luckily most producers in the United States see the value in the in the Beef Checkoff and continue to support it.

There are many threats to our industry being pushed down from Washington right now. Waters of the United States (WOTUS) continues to challenge how we manage our private land, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) seeks to open the door to eliminate oil, gas, and grazing leases on public land. This is in the name of conservation, even though the leasee’s have had regulations to follow to protect the land and in most cases have been good stewards of the land. Elevating “conservation” as a use on public land goes against the multiple use concept and confuses the terms of conservation versus preservation.

RAPID FORAGE ANALYSIS BY NIRS Hay, Ensiled, & Pasture Forages


Moisture, Dry Matter, Crude Protein, Acid Detergent Fiber (ADF), amylase-treated Neutral Detergent Fiber (aNDF), Non-Fiber Carbohydrates, Fat, Ash and More

Calculated Forage Quality Indexes: RFV & RFQ

Calculated Beef Cattle Energy Values: TDN, NEm, NEg, NEl Add Minerals or Nitrate to any NIRS analysis

Wet chemistry packages available for all supplemental feeds

Send samples to Ward Laboratories, Inc.

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The Estate Tax, commonly refered to as the “death tax” is another repeating threat to our operations. Businesses such as ours that have large estates owned by a small number of voters are a constant target by congress who need revenue to support their spending habits.

Washington has tried to take a couple runs at us by imposing Green House Gas (GHG) emission regulations on us. Just the other day John Kerry, Presidential Envoy for Climate, said that agriculture contributes 33% of the GHG in the world. As we often see, this is a mis-representation of the true number. What the 33% actually represents is the number assigned to food production, which includes all of the processing, packaging, transportation, and storage of food. The real agriculture number is 10-12%, but there I go again, ruining a good argument with facts.

Outside of Washington DC, animal rights groups promoting legislation in hopes of controlling how we raise our animals. They couldn’t get it done on a national level, so they changed tactics by trying to get it done on the state level. As we are seeing in California, their laws can affect the entire nation by requiring that meat and egg products comply with their state’s animal welfare laws. Make no mistake about it, the goal of these groups is to eliminate animal agriculture. With all of these issues and more that require our attention, what are we wasting our time and resources on? The Beef Checkoff. The Beef Checkoff program has been an overwhelmingly successful program in its 37 years of existence by leveling the playing field in the protein market, and it is only $1 per head. Even if you are selling an old broken mouth cow or skinny cow on a bad market year, it is still a small percentage of the sale price. That $1 is adding almost $12 to the value of each beef animal sold. You don’t believe that number? Fine, cut the difference in half or even a fourth. It would still be a 3:1 return on investment. I often hear the comment that “we don’t know how the Checkoff money is spent” as a reason to not support it. Well, LOOK IT UP. The Cattlemen’s Beef Board produces an annual report which includes the financials, and the state Beef Industry Councils do the same. These are public funds and thereby are required by law to be reported publically. Not investing the personal effort to seek out the information does not constitute a lack of transparency on the Checkoff’s part.

A friend of mine recently reminded me that some people just like to fight, they don’t care about winning, they just like the fight. Unfortunately, some cattle industry associations market themselves by promoting these inflammatory issues fueled with misinformation to stir up and energize their membership. It is a real disservice to our industry and takes the attention away from the real issues that we need to protect ourselves against. It is as simple as that. Let’s quit fighting about MCOOL, EID, and the Checkoff and focus on the real issues that threaten our industry, rather than the ones that fall into our Association’s marketing plan.

4 Summer 2023

Prime Members

Corporate Members

Choice Members

Select Members

Standard Members

Supporting Members

The South Dakota Cattleman 5 Allied Industry Members
Aaladin Cleaning-Revier Pressure Washers Creative Ag Production Solutions, LLC Diesel Machinery, Inc First Fidelity Bank For-Most Inc. Millborn Seeds OLS Tubs, Inc. Renner Corner Locker Ritchie Industries Rock Veterinary Clinic SD Trucking Association Steele Financial Services, LLC The Nature Conservancy Walsh Trading White Insurance P&C Inc.
3D Security, Inc. Animal Clinic, Ltd. - Winner Bankwest, Inc. - Pierre Blindert Insurance Bryant State Bank C-Lock, Inc. Cattlecents Consulting, Inc. Chase Consulting Deer Equipment De Smet Veterinary Service De-Tye Vet Supply, Inc. Ed's Produce Farmers & Merchants State Bank First Interstate Bank-Hot Springs First National Bank - Ft. Pierre Huron Veterinary Hospital Kingbrook Rural Water System, Inc. Lilac Lane Media Liphatech (Rozol) Lyle Signs Inc Moly Manufacturing LLC / SILENCER Montrose Veterinary Clinic NDEco Rivers Edge Bank Sioux International Sioux Nation, LLC Statewide Ag Insurance - Winner Summit Carbon Solutions Top Dollar Angus Twin Lakes Animal Clinic US Premium Beef Y-Tex Corporation
Allied Industry Membership information available online at
Agtegra Cooperative Central Farmers Cooperative Custom Genetic Solutions Dakota Ethanol, LLC Elanco Nutrient Advisors Rush-Co

Since 1910, Hadrick Enterprises has operated as a diversified crop and livestock operation in north central South Dakota. Troy and Stacy Hadrick, 5th generation producers took over the operation from Troy’s dad and uncle, and along with Troy’s cousins have continued to grow and evolve the operation. From an early age, Troy enjoyed working cattle and strived to learn more about them -- how they were raised and how that impacts the consumer’s eating experience.

Today, Hadrick’s run a cow/calf operation, in addition to operating a backgrounding feed yard where they

retain ownership and then finish their cattle in Kansas and market them on the grid through packing plants there. For several years, they’ve retained ownership and when it became more challenging to harvest their beef through larger packers, the Hadrick’s grew their direct to consumer beef sales. Since then, they have marketed a portion of the finished cattle directly to restaurants. The Hadrick’s had the foresight to understand that once they grew their market there would be a much better system in place for them.

and Grill 26 in Sioux Falls, and they value buying delicious and nutritious beef from local producers. The chefs at the restaurants have been creative in using all parts of the animal and they are proud to do so. Most importantly, Vanguard Hospitality knows the importance of relationships and the benefits of working together.

The Hadrick’s are most proud of the fact that they continue to expand and adapt in their business, to identify the best markets and produce the best beef for consumers. The Hadrick’s realize that there will always be challenges, such as the lack of beef processing in South Dakota. “In our state, we grow quality cattle and have a great demand for beef,” said Troy. “However, bridging the supply and demand is a major challenge right now.”

The Hadrick’s recently embarked on a new business opportunity that will positively impact processing challenges. Construction at North Prairie Butchery in Faulkton is expected to begin in Spring of 2024, with operations anticipated to start in Spring of 2025. North Prairie Butchery will be a 25 head per day federally inspected plant. The combination beef, pork, and bison plant will offer custom harvesting, custom labeling for producers, and purchasing cattle directly from producers. The plant will have capacity for further processing and development of products such as jerky, summer sausage, hams, and bacon.

Troy and Stacy continue to keep their long-term goals at top of mind when it comes to their business rather than what’s being done by their counterparts. “It’s important when starting out to not worry about what your neighbors are doing,” said Stacy. “Ask why about everything you do and don’t stop asking. Keep your goals in check and do what needs to be done while keeping the end goal in mind.”

Wall Meats: Premium Beef Beyond The State's Borders

Earlier this spring, Wall Meats of Wall, South Dakota, became the first meat processing facility to be Cooperative Interstate Shipment (CIS) certified in South Dakota by the United States Department of Agriculture Food Safety and Inspection Service

The CIS program allows meat processing plants to expand and create new business opportunities for state-inspected meat and poultry establishments. When a plant is approved to implement the CIS program, this means that state-inspected plants can operate as a federally inspected facilities and ship their product across state lines.

In June 2021, the state of South Dakota signed an

their facility approved to implement the CIS program. “From then until spring of 2023, it took us two years to get here,” said Ken Charfauros, co-owner of Wall Meats, along with Janet Niehaus. “Our plant in Wall is 56 years old, so we worked hard – tirelessly – to get our plant up to standards to meet CIS inspection, but it’s a good thing that we’re doing, and we believe in it.”

To celebrate Wall Meat being the first plant to be CIS certified in the state, Ken and his team had SDCA’s very own, Mary and Myron William’s steer be the first to receive the CIS stamp. “We are grateful for the Williams, especially Mayor Mary Williams, for their encouragement and partnership to work with us on our mission to serve South Dakota protein as far and as wide as possible to consumers at a fair market price,” said Charfaruos.

8 Summer 2023
1st offical CIS stamp in South Dakota. The first beef carcass to be stamped CIS approved was from Myron and Mary Williams. L to R: Ken Charfaruos, Eric Jennings, Janet Niehaus, Myron and Mary Williams, and Lieutenant Governor Larry Rhoden.

From the Cattle Pen Warren Symens, SDCA Vice President

I bought my first cow in 1991, when I was 13 years old. More accurately, dad bought her for me. I’d had plenty of orphaned bottle calves and singles that came through the sale barn cheaper that dad had picked up, so I’d have bucket chores to do, but this was my first bred, registered cow. I’d been asking dad for quite a while about getting into “the business.” I skipped school to attend our 11th annual production sale at our own sale barn. After the bulls and open yearling heifers had gone through, the bred heifers and bred cows were next. I was only half paying attention when I heard Colonel Sonny Booth say my name and the price $1400 from the block. I looked up and saw a big, red, seven-year-old cow leaving the ring, and my dad winking at me from behind the gate. Once I settled with the clerk, I was in the business.

A year later, when it was time to sell the first bull calf from that cow, he brought $1200. How on earth could anyone expect to make it in this business!!! I had a year’s worth of feed to pay on the cow, the $1400 I owed for the cow, on top of that, add the feed bill for the bull after she weaned him. The “old timers” had plenty of grins and advice for me. -- “if you can pay for a cow and her feed in 2 years, you’re doing awfully well!” or “if I could sell every calf for $1200, I’d be rich!” Stuff like that.

Now, not only was I hooked on the cow business, but I was figuring out how much marketing mattered. One of the recurring themes I’ve heard over and over from people around the cattle business in the last 32 years, is that when you’re buying stock, you’re buying an operation as much as you’re buying the animal. Even if you raised the best bull the world has ever seen, if you’re not backing it up with data, customer service, honesty, and integrity, it’s a lot harder to make a sale worthy of his potential. It also helps if you’re raising cattle using the same methods and in the same environment as the buyers you want to attract. Relatability is important, as I’ve said in the past, we’re in the people business as much as the cattle business. Selling yourself to potential buyers can have as big of an impact as selling your cattle.

This is the approach I’ve tried to take with the work I do on behalf of South Dakota Cattlemen’s Association

(SDCA) and our members. It’s important that we sell ourselves to anyone we want to buy our message. That message is vital to what we do, so we must collectively make sure that message is one that resonates with others in the cattle business, with lawmakers, and with the public in general. Even if we have the best message the world has ever heard, it needs to be backed up with data, customer service, honesty, and integrity. We’re selling our organization AND our message.

The challenge with this approach is relatability. How we relate to fellow cattle producers in South Dakota differs from how we find ways to relate to lawmakers in Washington, D.C. As the saying goes, people don’t care how much you know, until they know how much you care. One major motivator for all of us is that we care deeply about the environment, the land, future generations, and have a continued drive to produce safe, healthy beef for the world to eat. That selling point should win over whomever we’re selling to, or at the very least get them in the auction barn.

I still refer to that first cow as “old 620.” She had a calf at 16 years old, and I figured it was probably time for her to go to the big creep feeder in the sky. She more than made up for that $1400 in those years. Many of my future successes in the cattle business came through her daughters. Longevity is at the top of the list when it comes to marketable traits. That cow started at the ground like all cows should. Structure, along with the ability to breed back on time every year, calve unassisted, and get the calve up and nursing, all led to her staying in the herd for a long time.

I’m still hooked on cattle. From bucket calves to feeders to the cows with calves at side, I’ll never be without one. The way we market cattle changes, but we still need to sell ourselves to people to be successful. I’m also hooked on SDCA, a solid organization that also starts at the ground. Like all good grassroots organizations should, membership is the foundation. When we add our grassroots message on things like the Farm Bill and all the details in it, we create sustainable communication up and down the policy chain.

The South Dakota Cattleman 9

Ken Bashore, Michael Gjernes, and Timothy Meagher are the owners of Vanguard Hospitality, that operates three Sioux Falls restaurants. Their mission is to lead their business through hospitality centered decision-making to be the best experience in their market. Prior to creating Vanguard Hospitality, Ken and Timothy worked for the original owners of Minervas in downtown Sioux Falls for nearly 30 years between them. Ken and Timothy approached the owners about a succession plan and expressed their interest in purchasing the original Minervas and Grille 26. During that time, they had similar discussions with the owner of Foley’s Chop House. As a result, in 2016 Ken and Timothy purchased all three restaurants, Minervas, Grille 26, and Foley’s Chop house, which is now known as Morrie’s Steakhouse, creating Vanguard Hospitality. Vanguard means “to be at the forefront of action, movement, or change.” The name was inspired by the lyrics of a song called “Vanguard” which was about taking a chance in life together and making the leap into the unknown to full embrace life. Now, Vanguard Hospitality’s business model includes rigorously finding the best practices, quality of product, and best relationships through bringing their guests a meaningful and warn experience – not just serving a meal.

In 2020, the Stacy Hadrick and the South Dakota

Building Relationships with

State University Extension team had dinner Morries. Timothy along with the chef discussed the value of buying directly from local producers. This is when the Hadrick’s relationship with Vanguard Hospitality began. When Timothy saw their product, he remarked, “the beef marbling from Hadrick’s was better than any Prime Grade Beef that they’d received from Certified Angus Beef (CAB).” While the Hadricks strive to produce CAB qualifying cattle and knew that CAB is premium beef, the local restaurants sourcing product through large suppliers still weren’t getting the quality they were looking for. As they continued to work together, the Hadrick’s and Vanguard realized the similarity in their business and family values and identified opportunities to grow their businesses and their communities by working together.


Hospitality with

South Dakota Producers

Vanguard Hospitality’s customers care about flavor first and foremost. After flavor, they like to know how the producer raise their animals. “To serve local, high-quality beef in our restaurants, it means health, and knowing the way the animal was raised and fed. It means knowing your producer, recognizing that they are stewards of the land, and appreciating the interconnectedness from soil to plate,” said Timothy. “It means family –but also means change, security, and ending our reliance on a broken system that barely takes care of you and doesn’t value community, partnership, and the health of businesses and people.”

To source that high-quality beef their customer’s demand, the first factor that Vanguard looks for is consistency to ensure they have a quality product to serve day after day. Vanguard’s chefs look at consistency in beef from loin to loin. They also consider the ranch management and care for the cattle and how consistent practices result in a consistent product. Last, but certainly not least, would be flavor, texture, and price are the final considerations for the Vanguard team.

Timothy acknowledges that the cost of doing business continues to be a challenge, one way they deal with that is by keeping prices static for long periods of time by having longer term agreement in place between Vanguard and producers. The Hadrick’s had what Vanguard was looking for and entered into such an agreement to provide beef to Vanguard, “this is really where things took off for the both of us,” said Timothy.

“When it comes to the traditional way of sourcing food through suppliers, there are many layers between us and the producer. They often can’t answer questions on the spot or know details about the products. “By the time they get the answer, the market softens up which lowers the sense of urgency from the restaurant side,” said Timothy. “As a restaurant business, it is hard to adapt to a market fluctuation of $3-$5 a pound or more in a single week. I’ve completely detached from these conversations with vendors – that’s a different level of freedom.” Working with local South Dakota producers like the Hadrick’s to source beef, Cherry Rock Farms in Brandon, and Tilford Rye Farm in Garretson for produce and a variety of other local producers, Vanguard’s goal is continuing to maximize independence from corporate farming and ranching and commit to regenerative farming and ranching where they can further deepen the relationships with producers in their communities to be independent, but together, collectively.

In the picture from L to R: Ken Bashore, Stacy, Troy, Joshua Jackson, and Tim Meagher picking up Hadrick beef from their ranch in Faulkton.

SDCA Working for You

Taya Runyan, SDCA Executive Director

June Board of Directors Meeting

The SDCA Board of Directors met on June 24th for their quarterly meeting. Several students from the newly created SDSU Collegiate Cattlemen’s Club presented to the group. NCBA CEO Colin Woodall shared an update too. The Board approved the budget for FY24 and discussed several new initiatives that they hope to roll out to members at the annual meeting in Watertown.

SDCA Merch

As new license plates were rolled out in 2023, we have seen tremendous support for the SDCA license plate decals! In June we added the South Dakota Cattlemen lapel pin to the merch store. The pins are available at any of our events or online. Our creative staff has been working on a few extra items that we hope to launch throughout the rest of the year.

Summer Business Meeting

As SDCA leaders head to San Diego for the NCBA Summer Business Meeting, it’s not too late to submit policy resolutions or directives for consideration by NCBA’s Policy Committees. Please reach out to any of the Board Directors or contact the office if you have an idea for a policy resolution.

Beef Booth Volunteers & Ticket Sales

These events are not only one of the largest fundraisers for SDCA, it’s our greatest opportunity for beef promotion, reaching thousands of producers and fair goers over the summer. The success of these events relies on volunteers who work one or two shifts. Coordinate with your local affiliate to bring a group of volunteers or come on your own any day! This year we are hiring 2-3 paid positions to manage and oversee the daily operations at the State Fair Booth. Looking for a way to support the beef industry, serve delicious beef sandwiches and make a little extra cash, contact office@ with your resume today!

Beef Booth tickets are also on sale in our online store. Please consider purchasing beef booth tickets for your employees, customers, or friends.

State Fair Event

From the Ranch to Capitol Hill: Cattlemen's Associations working for You.

Join the SDCA and the NCBA at the South Dakota State Fair on Sunday, September 3, at 2:00 PM for a discussion on how grassroots organizations benefit members on the ranch, at the local legislature, and in Washington, D.C. Walt Bones will moderate a converstation with leaders from both organizations about some of the biggest issues facing the industry .

12 Summer 2023

Preserving Ag Land for Future Generations

The South Dakota Agricultural Land Trust (SDALT) was incorporated as a non-profit entity in South Dakota on August 15, 2019, by four founding member organizations including the South Dakota Farm Bureau, South Dakota Grassland Coalition, South Dakota Association of Conservation Districts, and the South Dakota Cattlemen’s Association. I was one of a handful of farmers and ranchers from the state who saw the need for an entity like SDALT to help producers who are facing the pressure of converting their land into residential areas to keep their land in agricultural production. Conservation easements are occasionally viewed in a negative light, despite the essential role that they can play in situations where landowners face development pressure. South Dakota needed an agricultural-based conservation organization founded and governed by farmers and ranchers in our state, to assist producers to keep their operation in agriculture. SDALT is that organization!

With the dedicated service of our Board of Directors, we hired an Executive Director in April of 2020 and have made remarkable progress in the past three years. I have had the good fortune to have served as President of SDALT after being elected to the position in September 2019. I am proud of the fact that eleven of the original twelve SDALT Directors, from when we incorporated SDALT, continue to serve on the Board. Each founding member organization has three representatives on the board. SDCA is represented by Charlie Hoffman (Charlie also serves as SDALT secretary), Todd Mortenson, and Scott Jones. I serve as a representative of the Grassland Coalition but view my leadership role as one of service to all four founding member organizations.

The Board has directed the development the policies and procedures that allowed us to accept our first conservation easement early in 2022. The Black Hills are experiencing an accelerated rate of exurban growth that threatens the continuity of forest and grassland ecosystems and the essential foraging areas of mountain meadows. If remained unchecked, this development will

impair the agronomic and economic vitality of this region and will irreparably damage the ability of this region to support viable fish and wildlife populations. However, in the last year, SDALT has secured $4.25 million in funding from the Natural Resource Conservation Service for additional easements. With this funding, SDALT will be able to protect private ranchland in the heart of the Black Hills and keep that land in private ownership. As well as protect soil, water quality, and wildlife habitat on the protected acres of working lands that will remain under the management of ranchers. Retention of conserved properties in private ownership will sustain the Black Hills regional economic vitality in production agriculture and place a footing on the wholesome social fabric of South Dakota’s agricultural heritage.

While all four founding member organizations played a role in the genesis of SDALT, it was SDCA that led this effort – something that should be a source of pride for every SDCA member. The SDALT Board of Directors meets every month – most often virtually –to received updates on the Trust progress and to review and prioritize potential new easement projects. Most importantly, the Board takes a keen interest in ensuring a proper balance of agriculture and conservation in everything we do.

I encourage you to consider joining the SDALT Board on behalf of SDCA. To learn more about the SDALT, visit or by contacting SDALT’s Executive Director, Tony Leif, at (605) 280-2378 or myself, Lyle Perman, at (605) 649-7629.

Members - interested in serving on South Dakota Ag Land Trust's Board of Directors?

The South Dakota Cattleman 13 11
out SDCA's form by scanning the QR code!


Cattlemen and women from across the country gathered in Washington DC for the 2023 National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA) Legislative Conference. During the pandemic, many agencies and offices were closed to the public, so this was the first time in four years this conference has been held. The South Dakota Cattlemen’s Association delegation to this year’s conference was President Eric Jennings, Vice President Warren Symens, and Executive Director Taya Runyan. Also in attendance from South Dakota was SDCA members Mary and Myron Williams. Myron serves as the NCBA Live Cattle Marketing Chair.

It’s hard to get away in April, with so much to do at the ranch. It’s difficult to think about taking several days off to fly to Washington DC to engage in policy discussions. It may seem more productive to stay home and tend to chores when all we hear and read about is the ineffectiveness of politicians in Washington. However, it proved to be an educational trip with plenty of networking and relationship building to make us and SDCA more effective in advocating on our membership’s behalf.

The event kicked off with a roof top reception at the DC offices of NCBA. Located on Pennsylvania Avenue, just steps from the White House and the United States Capitol, its undeniable that NCBA is an influential force in Washington advocating full time for producers.

On the first full day of the conference, the United States Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (USDA-APHIS) and United States Customs and Border patrol officials provided updates. After, the NCBA policy staff briefed attendees on industry happenings, critical legislation, and Farm Bill priorities. We heard updates on Packers and Stockyards Act issues, Natural Resource issues, such as the newly proposed Bureau of Land Management regulations. As you may have guessed, most of what is being proposed by the current administration is not compatible with the policy crafted by membership of SDCA and could have harmful implications to producers and their operations.

We learned about import and export regulations from John Sagle, National Director of Live Animal Imports and Exports. USDA Under Secretary Robert Bonnie talked to us about what is happening with the farm programs at USDA and what we can expect to see in the coming months.

Armed with these updates and our own state specific talking points, conference attendees headed to Capitol Hill for agency meetings and tours and to meet with their respective congressional delegates. While we only have three representatives, they wield a lot of power on Capitol Hill. The SDCA leadership met with ag policy staffers from the offices of Senator Thune, Senator Rounds, and Representative Johnson. Fellow South Dakotan and NCBA President Todd Wilkinson joined the meetings as well. Wilkinson has been a frequent visitor to DC in recent months testifying on a variety of issues impacting cattle producers. Senator Rounds was able to meet with members of the group the following day. Even though the SDCA is in regular contact with our delegation and their staff, and they know our position on the issues, being in Washington to meet with them in person goes a long way to continue to foster the relationships SDCA has built.

Much of our discussion revolved around the upcoming Farm Bill and other legislation we wanted to see that would benefit producers. “I really enjoyed the opportunity to bring our message about the Farm Bill and other important issues we face to our elected officials from South Dakota. Forming relationships with them and with their staff will lead to the kind of communication channels that keep us at the forefront of that decision making process,” said Vice President Symens.

As you may recall, last year SDCA successfully passed new policy in support of enhanced coverage for the Noninsured Crop Disaster Assistance Program (NAP). After the policy was in place, SDCA began conversations with our congressional delegation about next steps to accomplish this goal. In Washington DC, SDCA continued those conversations and are pleased that Senator Rounds has brought the “Noninsured Crop Disaster Assistance Program Enhancement Act of 2023,” which extends coverage for crops and grasses used for grazing.

14 Summer 2023
on 2023 NCBA Legislative

Legislative Conference

This bill will be particularly significant in states like South Dakota, where many areas find the Pasture, Rangeland, Forage Insurance Program (PRF) coverage ineffective due to the scarcity of official rainfall reporting stations. With ranches often situated miles away from reporting stations, the proposed NAP enhancement would offer an alternative insurance option for those who receive precipitation differently than the nearest reporting stations. After meeting with the South Dakota delegation, SDCA joined some of our fellow cattlemen from other states on their congressional visits. The Michigan Cattlemen’s Association invited us to visit with Representative John James, who representing the Detroit area, taking the opportunity to share the story of the cattle industry to someone from an urban area. “Not everyone in DC has the depth of understanding about agriculture and the cattle industry that South Dakota’s Senators and Representative have. We want to make sure our message is heard up and down the hallways -- between both the agency officials, the senators, and representatives.

Your SDCA delegation put efforts into furthering conversations with some of those congressmen and women from urban areas of the country, and we’ll continue to take steps in that area. We don’t just want to preach to the choir,” said Symens.

The conference concluded with a reception and remarks from Representative Glenn “GT” Thompson, Chair of the House Ag Committee. At the reception the national winner of the Environmental Stewardship Awards Program (ESAP), was named. Jorgenson Land and Cattle from Ideal, South Dakota, was named the Region 7 winners for 2023, and even though they were not chosen as the national winner, they were recognized with their operation highlighted for the conservation practices they have implemented.

It was a privilege to represent our members and advocate for the policy that was adopted by our members. Seeing hundreds of other cattlemen and women representing their state associations was proof of the collective power and influence that Cattlemen and women have -- to bring change for our industry while preserving our way of life. Even though spring is a difficult time to get away from the ranch, all those in attendance considered it a time well spent!

The South Dakota Cattleman 15 on the
"We want to make sure our message is heard up and down the hallways -- between both the agency officials, the senators, and representatives."
L to R: NCBA President and South Dakota producer, Todd Wilkinson, Warren Symens, Mary Williams, Eric Jennings, and Myron Williams. L to R: Jennings, Rep. John James, and Symens. L to R: Symnens, Myron and Mary Williams, Senator Mike Rounds, and Jennings.

Allen Williams: Improve Grazing

Allen Williams, one of the most respected modern adaptive grazing practitioners, holds a PhD from Louisiana State University in animal genetics and physiology. That background contributed to what he’s learned over time about successful grazing, but it was his down to earth, daily observations of grazing animals and the land that convinced him the best grazing systems are those that are adaptive, rather than prescriptive. “The moment you try to implement some kind of grazing prescription or recipe, you begin imposing yourself on the land, rather than allowing the land to indicate to you what it needs,” he says. “You need to watch the land, listen to the land, and be adaptive to its needs if you want to be successful long term.”

In an episode of the Soil Health Labs podcast, Allen spoke with Buz Kloot and Joe Dickie on his process and discovery of adaptive practices that have brought him closer to understanding the land.

Allen grew up on a South Carolina farm that had been in his family since 1840. He entered the world of academia first as an undergraduate at Clemson University, and then completing his doctorate at LSU. But after a decade and a half in academia at LSU, Louisiana Tech, and Mississippi State University, he found himself feeling like something was missing. He missed the versed intimacy with the land that came from his upbringing, and he needed his life work to be in tandem with the real world of agriculture. So, in 2000, Allen left his comfortable life as a tenured professor at Mississippi State to enter into the world of regenerative farming, ranching & consulting.

He began to listen to the land, dedicating time every day to what he regards as the art of daily observation.“Daily observation is crucial to what we do now under most adaptive grazing systems,” Allen says. We do like to move livestock at least once every day or as much as we can, and make sure we spend plenty of time each day practicing the art of observation. What is the grazing impact we see as a result of that day's grazing events? And based on that, how do I need to adjust what I do tomorrow? So, it's a day by day observation; adjust, observe, adjust. Now, the beautiful thing about it is that

if we do that, everything works far better. We have far less issues and problems and challenges.”

Looking at the soil

With beginnings as a geneticist and physiologist, he leaned into the soil. Every day he went out to move livestock, he took a sharpshooter or a spade with him to monitor the soil’s health. He looked at the soil aggregates– what he refers to as a ‘cottage cheese’ or ‘chocolate cake’ appearance in the soil– monitoring the size of the aggregates and depth of the aggregate layer, aiming for soil that is porous. He looked at the color profile of the soil: the darker and deeper, the more carbon and organic matter in the soil.

He looked at the compaction and smell of the soil, monitoring the microbial activity. He also monitored the grazing impact–– emphasizing that he only wants livestock to consume 40%–– at most 50% - of total leaf volume of a plant in a single grazing event. This is for many reasons, among them: 1) major degradation of plant leaf volume leaves both the soil and the plant life vulnerable and prone to malnourishment; 2) leaf volume is needed to protect the soil surface from sunlight so that it doesn’t overheat and lose moisture; and 3) some leaf material must be left on the plants so the plants may continue to capture sunlight and produce photosynthetic activity to regrow, repair, and continue to feed the microbes beneath the soil.

Importantly, limiting livestock grazing to at-most 50% of leaf volume is imperative to minimize root growth stoppage. As Allen explains, “We can graze up to 50% leaf volume and experience less than 5% root growth stoppage. But 60% leads to up to 50% root growth stoppage. Above 60% leads to 80-100% root growth stoppage.” This matters enormously, particularly in areas prone to heat and drought stress.

When Allen was observing his forage and land, and adapting his grazing patterns from the observations, adaptive grazing was not in the modern agricultural canon. He could feel the doubt of his colleagues in academia. In the University setting, his research had been funded, and Allen began to feel the burden of individuating his research without the backing of a University body. But he felt strongly about the need

16 Summer 2023

Grazing by Watching and Adapting

to manage grazing to fit the conditions that nature presented to the rancher, rather than using a formula or following a stiff prescription.

Allen notes that there is now an increasing number of peer-reviewed studies being published that back up the effectiveness of the adaptive grazing model, Phytonutrient aspects of this research are only in the earliest stages of emerging, slowly gathering a strong and wide data set to support adaptive approaches.

Consulting with other farmers and ranchers

More recently, in 2017, Allen became one of 4 original founding partners of a company called Understanding Ag. He set off to understand agriculture more clearly himself, by consulting with farmers across the U.S. and the world.

He talked in depth about adaptive grazing, on such things as labor requirements. “A lot of people initially think, ‘well, this is going to require a lot more labor’. But the truth of the matter is I’ve actually reduced my total annual labor burden,” Allen says. “That’s because I’m no longer feeding hay all winter long and doing a lot of the other things I used to do. Instead, I'm spending that time observing my livestock, observing my landscape, and managing what we do across that landscape.

Three central principles of adaptive grazing

Allen points to three central principles for successful adaptive grazing:

1) the rule of compounding,

2) the role of diversity, and

3) planned, purposeful disruptions.

In the rule of compounding, Allen explains that in nature and biology, no action is neutral. Everything creates a series of compounding, cascading effects that are either positive or negative. For example, if he limits a single

grazing event to consumption of no more than 50% leaf volume, he is creating positive compounding effects. He still has living, functional root systems in the soil. He is still protecting the soil from sunlight and moisture loss. He still has plenty of photosynthetic solar panels on that plant feeding microbes in the soil. But the moment grazing impact extends past 50% leaf volume, there is incrementally dramatic root growth stoppage, which sets off a series of compounding and cascading negative effects.

Allen explains that the role of diversity is to be consistently increasing diversity in everything––microbes in the soil, plant species, insects, birds, wildlife, and more. Diversity is a major indication of successful adaptive practices, the diversity itself allows nature to create redundant backup systems that can change with seasons and wet/dry cycles, for example.

The third rule is planned, purposeful disruption. “Disruption is imperative to keep the practice from becoming routine and prescriptive,” Allen says, likening various disruptions of the land to physical exercise. “If you think of a human athlete, to be superior in your sport, you cannot do the same exercise routine, at the same duration and intensity, day in and day out, year in and year out. Because what’s going to happen is you’re going to hit a wall, and your progress is going to stop, and then you are going to digress– there is no such thing as stasis,” Allen says. “It is important to stress the body, but also to vary that stress regularly– by doing so, you are expanding your body’s ability to meet those stressors.”

“Intentionally disrupting grazing practices offers an opportunity for creative thinking within this industry and offers more personal involvement and intimacy with the land,” Allen says. “The practice encourages ranchers to heighten their natural intuition and competency to make decisions in tandem with the land.”

The South Dakota Cattleman 17

Supreme Court Delivers WOTUS Victory for Cattle Industry

The cattle industry can breathe a collective sigh of relief now that the Supreme Court has delivered a major “Waters of the U.S.” (WOTUS) victory for cattle producers through their ruling in the case Sackett v. EPA.

In 2007, Chantell and Michael Sackett started building their dream home in Idaho only to have the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) halt the project by claiming that their property contained wetlands that were regulated as a WOTUS. The Sacketts filed a lawsuit in federal court and after 14 years the Supreme Court heard their argument that the EPA had overstepped its authority on regulating water. Even though the Sacketts were far removed from the cattle industry, producers everywhere had an important reason to be involved in the case. Since the 2015 Obama-era WOTUS rule, each successive presidential administration has attempted to craft new WOTUS definitions, creating whiplash as different water features suddenly fell in and out of federal jurisdiction. NCBA had sued over the original 2015 WOTUS rule before the Trump administration instituted the Navigable Waters Protection Rule (NWPR)—a massive improvement for cattle producers. When President Biden took office, the new administration repealed the NWPR and started the process of crafting their new WOTUS rule. Unfortunately, the Biden WOTUS rule would have removed several longstanding agricultural exemptions and forced cattle producers to ask the EPA to determine if there was a regulated water feature on their land.

As soon as the Biden WOTUS rule took effect, NCBA jumped into action. We filed lawsuits in federal court seeking to delay the rule from taking effect and secured injunctions to temporarily halt the rule in 26 states. NCBA also encouraged Congress to act and led to both the House and Senate passing a bipartisan resolution to repeal the Biden WOTUS rule. While this resolution was ultimately vetoed by the President, we sent a strong message to the administration about where America’s farming and ranching families stand on WOTUS.

At its core, we want a WOTUS definition that is easy to understand and apply, will last for the long term without changes after each election, and prevents agricultural land from being overregulated. An easy to understand definition means that any cattle producer could look at their land and know what features are regulated and which ones are not.

For the past several years, producers have seen the rules change during each presidential administration and we need the whiplash to end. Finally, we need the WOTUS rules to avoid overregulating small, isolated bodies of water on farms and ranches like stock ponds, prairie potholes, playa lakes, and ephemeral streams that only flow when it rains.

NCBA made these same arguments to the Supreme Court when we filed an amicus brief in the Sackett case. Drafted by NCBA’s in-house attorneys, the brief was reviewed by the Supreme Court justices ahead of hearing the case. We were especially pleased to see our own arguments mentioned in the court’s final brief, which indicated that the court seriously considered how these issues would impact agriculture.

One key aspect of the Sackett decision was the rejection of the “significant nexus” test for determining if a water feature should be regulated by the EPA. Earlier WOTUS cases had led to the creation of two legal tests: the significant nexus test and the relatively permanent test. The relatively permanent test creates more certainty for cattle producers and limits the types of features that can be regulated because a body of water must be relatively permanent, standing, or continuously flowing to meet the definition of a “water of the U.S.” The significant nexus test is much broader and allows the EPA to expand authority over small, isolated water features since a body of water only needs to “significantly affect” a larger body like a major river, lake, or ocean. As a result of this case, the confusion of the significant nexus test is over, and the EPA will need to apply a more practical standard in the future.

Now that the Supreme Court has ruled, the Biden WOTUS rule will be withdrawn, and the EPA will start crafting a new limited rule. WOTUS overregulation has plagued the cattle industry for years, and thanks to NCBA’s tireless advocacy, the long nightmare is over. This issue is a prime example of how NCBA will keep the fight up for years, from the first time a bad idea is proposed to the day it finally ends. We are proud to represent you in Congress and the court room and I hope you will continue to support our efforts by becoming a member of NCBA.

Wins like WOTUS are only possible through the strong support of NCBA members. If you are not already a member, please join today by calling 1-866-BEEF-USA (1-866-233-3872) or by visiting ncba. org/join.

The South Dakota Cattleman 19 Save the Date 2023 Feedlot Tour hosted by SDCA Feeder Council SDCA Feeder Council to sponsor a tour of Eastern South Dakota feedlot facilities. July 20th Itinerary 2:00 PM - Boadwine Dairy 4:00 PM - Questad Farms 5:30 PM - Dinner at Questad Farms Questions? Contact Warren Rusche at 605.350.6633. View the full itinerary register today! > > > &


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20 Summer 2023
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The South Dakota Cattleman 21
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South Dakotans Attend Young

We have all been there, working or branding cattle -- there’s a lot of moving parts to the day. It can be rather chaotic and stressful. NCBA put just over 70 cattlemen and women on a plane 3 times and now we know exactly how it felt to be those group of cows being worked or branded. Going into this experience, you’ve heard stories of how amazing it is and how close the class gets, but at the beginning you are skeptical at just how close the group gets.

The first day was filled with information and trying to get to know everyone. We got a full debriefing of how the Beef Checkoff works and toured the office in Denver. One of the highlights for majority of the group was to see the digital command center in the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA) office. The digital command center is a room with a lot of TV screens that are constantly tracking trends of what people Google and say about beef. It looks overwhelming to the cattle folks, but we have confidence

that NCBA is on top of anything negative or positive that may be said about the cattle industry.

The next day we had some strengths training and got on a bus to head to Five Rivers. Five Rivers is the world largest feedlot. Even though I have a feedlot background, it was hard to wrap my head around the vast number of head they fed, take care of, and all moving parts associated. They were excited to show us their relatively new steam flaking system for the corn, as well as their 7-way sorting facility. After the tour, the group traveled to Greeley Hat Works and spent the day learning about how they make their cowboy hats. Some of the crew may have left with a new hat, too!

Young Cattlemen's Conference

The next day, the group traveled from the Denver airport to Nebraska where we spent the night in a cute college town. The next morning, we loaded a bus to endure our long drive to Dakota Dunes. After we arrived, we got suited up and toured the Tyson Fresh Meats packing plant. It was nice to be able to see that side of the industry and they answered every question that we could possibly throw at them. We couldn’t stay long though; we had a long drive back to Omaha to catch our plane to Ohio. Was everybody’s luggage going to make it through the connection? Thank goodness all the participants and luggage made it and we made our way to Cleveland for the night.

The next morning, started with a drive to Wooster, Ohio, to the Certified Angus Beef (CAB) headquarters. CAB welcomed us with the full spread of bloody Mary’s, coffee, tea, and iced tea. We got a tour of their meat lab, test kitchen, and offices. We were educated on the 10 requirements for CAB and even got to try some beef sushi. We then headed to Dublin, Ohio, to visit the Wendy’s headquarters. We were welcomed with fresh Frosties and learned about how important their fresh beef claim is to the restaurant. It was very interesting to learn about the distribution chain and Wendy’s future goals. After touring Wendy’s, the group then went back to the airport where we’d board our. Final flight to Washington, DC. Upon landing in DC, most of the group immediately made their way to the green scooters that you can rent to see the landmarks.

We had a full day the next day prepping for our meetings with members of Congress. We spent most of the day in the club for the republicans talking on various issues that we are going to be facing with the coming Farm Bill. It was cool because as we were having a meeting, different members of congress would step in just to say how they appreciated

what we do for a living and reassured us that they would continue to fight for us. We were prepped for any situation that may arise when meeting with the various members of congress. Then they wished us good luck and sent us on our way.

The next morning, the group gathered for a picture in front of the Capital. Then we went on our way to meet various offices of our Senators and Representatives. Drew and I met with to Representative Dusty Johnson’s office first, but unfortunately due to the smoke from the Canadian wildfires impacting visibility, he flew out early that morning so we met with a member of his staff. Drew and I discussed issues like keeping the SNAP program in the Farm Bill and pushing for the Farm Bill to be completed this year. We then went to Senator Mike Rounds office with a little more difficulty than we anticipated -but we made it! We had an open discussion with Senator Rounds about the same issues and we also discussed how important it is to halt the imports of Brazilian cattle and beef – he too was very passionate about the issue. Then it was off on a wild goose chase for Senator John Thune’s visit. He was in a meeting, so we were given access to the Capital, where we had the opportunity to stop and see his Republican Whip office. We tracked him down for a quick meeting before he was called back into the meeting. We ended the night with a banquet and auction for everyone.

Overall, the trip was a once in a lifetime experience that both Drew and I are thankful have experienced. It was great to see all the segments of the industry. Not only that, but the bond formed among the classmates gives you a sense of community. It fills us with so much pride because our classmates are leaders that are going to make a significant different in the industry.

The South Dakota Cattleman 23

The Cattleman's Outlook

The South Dakota Cattlemen's Association's officers and staff will be traveling to each region (western, southern, southeast, northeast, and northern) to meet with fellow Cattlemen's members, nonmembers, industry leaders, and special guests.

Why should you attend a Region Roundup near you?

First and foremost, it's an opportunity for members to discuss SDCA policy and issues affecting your region, the state, and the nation. This often can be an opportunity to suggest any new policy to be considered on behalf of the SDCA, or identify where changes can be made in existing policy.

Second, the Region Roundup events are an opportunity to hear firsthand from the state association staff and leadership about their efforts in Pierre - from the administrative side of the organization monitoring local, state, and national level policy, to the 75th Annual Convention and Trade Show, November 28th and 29th in Watertown.

Last, but certainly not least, members have the opportunity to nominate a fellow cattleman or woman or apply for

leadership opportunities on the SDCA Board of Directors, the Cattleman of the Year award, or the Friend of SDCA award.

Join us for comradery, thoughtful discussions, programming coordinated by regional leadership, and a free meal with fellow cattle folks.

Registration is encouraged, but not required. Feel free to bring a few friends and/or neighbors!

Register to attend a near you!

Northeast Region

• Watertown | TBD Redfield | TBD

Northern Region

• Mobridge | August 28th at 11:30 AM | Rick's Cafe

• Faulkton | August 28th at 5:00 PM | 404 9th Street

Southeast Region

Southern Region

• Winner | July 26th at 5:30 PM | Winner Country Club

• Pierre | TBD

Western Region

• Spearfish | September 24th at 5:30 PM (MT) | Killian's Food & Drink

• Mitchell | July 19th at 5:30 PM | Blarney's Sports Bar & Grill

24 Summer 2023

Fed Cattle Challenge Engages Youth to Learn More about Finishing Cattle

In 2018, the South Dakota Cattlemen's Foundation (SDCF) established the Fed Cattle Challenge to give high school students in South Dakota an in-depth experience in the cattle feeding industry and develop the next generation of feedlot owners and operators in the state. The Fed Cattle Challenge provides an opportunity for youth 14 - 18 years old, to actively participate and learn about the science and economics of finishing cattle by participating in a calf finishing program. Participants of the program gain an understanding of the process to finish cattle through ownership of a percentage of a pen of cattle (roughly equivalent to three head) at a custom feedlot, receive curriculum related to cattle feeding, calculate a closeout, and present what they have learned to a panel of judges.

Dr. Roxanne Knock, staff nutritionist at Dakotaland Feeds, leads the program for the South Dakota Cattlemen’s Foundation. She said, “South Dakota has great quality cattle, a favorable corn basis, abundant ethanol co-products, and farming operations that want to generate revenue to bring in the next generation. The potential for adding value to our cattle and grain is here if we can help develop the knowledge needed to run a feedlot. Other programs exist for students to exhibit pens of cattle or deliver cattle to a certain feedyard, but we wanted to add more to it by providing some information on cattle health, ration development, risk management, feed additives, implant technologies, and overall feedyard management to help bolster the student’s understanding of day-to-day operations. We really wanted them to have exposure to all angles of the business.”

"The Fed Cattle Challenge was a great opportunity for me and many others to learn more about the fed cattle industry," said Olivia Hadrick, 2023 partipant. "I enjoyed the real life experience that it provided and also

appreciated the tour of the feedlot and how it tied all of the videos and quizzes together."

Each participant owns a percentage of a pen of cattle approximately equal to three head a pen at Winner Circle Feedyard. The participant is responsible for a 30% equity down payment and the feedyard finances the remaining value of the cattle and expenses. Students see the bi-monthly bills that detail feed intakes, costs associated with the cattle and any treatments or death loss for the pen of cattle. Students are only responsible for their equity payment and the feedyard carries the rest of the expenses. Following harvest, proceeds from the cattle will be divided among the owners of the cattle, minus the divided costs. Participants are given the information they need to understand a closeout and then present to the panel what they learned in the program.

New in 2022-2023 was the opportunity for classes or groups to participate in the program. Three schools completed the program and gave their students the opportunity to view the information and decide how to present their information as a group.

Upon completion of the program, awards for the top three individual participants are presented at the Prime Time Gala. First place receives $1,500, second place receives $1,000, and third place receives a $500 award.

“The Fed Cattle Challenge was a great experience of the reality of feeding cattle," said Dylan Fuoss, 2023 participant and one of the top three finalists this year. "I would recommend this to anyone who wants to learn more about the beef industry.”

To learn more about the Fed Cattle Challenge or the South Dakota Cattlemen’s Foundation, please visit

The South Dakota Cattleman 25
26 Summer 2023
4 of July Edition th L E T ' S C O U N T ! T H A T S R A S F E R I W K R O S A U G F A L N S U G A L S E S U N S C R A M B L E T H E W O R D S ! Answers from left to right: hat, sunglasses, stars, USA, firework, flag

Collegiate Cattlemen's Club Brings New Opportunities for SDSU Students

In the spring semester of 2023, South Dakota State University (SDSU) animal science student, Isaac Berg. took the initiative to create the Collegiate Cattlemen’s Club.

The Collegiate Cattleman’s Club focuses on various aspects of production beef, from seedstock, cow-calf, feedlot, to packing plants and feed mill operations. It is a club where students and future industry leaders will increase their network and learn more about other operations to take information and ideas back to implement at their home operations.

Berg, a junior at SDSU, grew up on a “hobby” farm with Red Angus, Suffolk’s, swine and a variety of poultry. While attending the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association Cattle Industry Convention and Trade Show in Houston, Texas in 2022, Berg saw other schools with a collegiate cattlemen’s club and thought, “Why don’t we have one here on campus?”

The first Collegiate Cattlemen’s meeting was held in March at the SDSU Cow-Calf Research and Education Facilities, where students got the opportunity to tour SDSU’s Cow-Calf Research and Education Facilities, led by Dr. Cody Wright, SDSU professor.

“I hope to see this club become a great place for like-minded students to come together to not only expand their network but to learn more about other practices that can be brought back to their farms,” said Berg. “I also hope to see in the future the club helps fund students to travel and attend NCBA Cattle Convention to experience it.”

Warren Rusche, SDSU Extension Feedlot Specialist, serves as the club’s faculty advisor. Through his role, he assists cattle feeders in making management decisions to improve their profitability, sustainability, and pass on their business to the next generation. “I think the most exciting part of this new club is the chance to get students excited about the beef industry, the career, business opportunities available, as well as provide learning experiences beyond what we teach in the classroom,” said Rusche.

During their April meeting, the club hosted Todd Wilkinson, NCBA’s newly elected President from De Smet, South Dakota. Wilkinson spoke to the group about his recent travels

and visit to Capitol Hill to advocate on behalf of NCBA and cattle producers across the nation.

“The fact that you guys took the initiative to create this club impresses me and I have hope,” said Wilkinson. “You don’t have to be an expert to have those important conversations -- you can use your life experiences to educate others,” said Wilkinson as he encouraged students to work hard and dedicated.

The Collegiate Cattlemen’s recently held elections. The new leaders of the club are:

• President: Mitchell VanderWal – Brentford, South Dakota

• Vice President: Ivan Bloom – Redfield, South Dakota

• Secretar y: Cassidy Strommen – Solen, North Dakota

• Treasurer: Bruce Van De Stroet – Fairview, South Dakota

• Media: Lauren Weishaar – Lemmon, South Dakota

Vander Wal grew up on a cow-calf seedstock operation where his family raised Shorthorn, Hereford and Red Angus cattle. While their main goal is to market quality seedstock to both breeds and your showmen, they finish out many of their steers in their feed yard.

“I look forward to working with the members of the Collegiate Cattlemen’s in developing our new organization. It will be an exhilarating experience to bring in industry leaders, share out love for the industry and eat the best beef there is!” President-elect, Mitchell Vander Wal said.

These student are the future of the beef industry in South Dakota.“Extra-curricular activities such as the Collegiate Cattlemen’s Club are an outstanding opportunity to network and learn how to work as part of a group. The beef industry (and all of agriculture for that matter) is part of a relatively small world. The people you meet in clubs like Collegiate Cattlemen’s will be your peers throughout your career,” said Rusche.

The South Dakota Cattleman 27
L to R: Strommen, Weisharr, Blume, Van De Stroet, and VanderWal

South Dakota Beef Checkoff

Your Beef Checkoff Your Beef Checkoff South Dakota Beef Checkoff

South Dakota Beef Welcomes 2023-2024 Jr. Beef Ambassadors

The SDBIC begins year four of the Junior Beef Ambassador program, a program giving area youth, ages 5 to 18, the opportunity to share their beef story. The 2023/2024 program has 42 Junior Beef Ambassadors from across South Dakota. They will be assisting with various SDBIC promotion events and sharing photos and videos highlighting their ranch and what they do as South Dakota beef farmers and ranchers for consumer promotions on social media.

The 2023/2024 Junior Beef Ambassadors are: Kolt Johnson, Elliot Johnson, Jennings Pazour, Baylor Pazour, Hank Pazour, Cambree Holt, Jersey Lucas, Hadley Haneke, Taylor Harriman, Barrett Butzer, Elle Goehring, Reed Scott, Emmalee Scott, Emilia King, Bennett Gordan, Charles Barber, Zoey Barber, Josie Tish, Ladd Pazour, Ned Pazour, Scarlett Radke, Thorne Radke, Karlie Stiefvater, Kaylin Gjernes, Bailey Gjernes, Rett Blume, Jayna Blume, Katelyn Gebhart, Shannon Gebhart, Ashley Gebhart, Kaycee Scheel, Lexi Osterman, Koyle King, Cashley King, Fidelia Rasmussen, Brindle Hostler, Chord Blotsky, Ray Sanders, Kyle Sanders, Weston Grace, Mauer Jones and Mercedes Jones.

The 2023-2024 South Dakota Junior Beef Ambassador program kicked off their year with youth leadership training opportunities on June 5, 2023, at Dakota Butcher in Clark, South Dakota (wood background photo), and June 8, 2023, at Wall Meats Processing in Wall, South Dakota (blue background photo). South Dakota Junior Beef Ambassadors had the chance to learn about the Jr. Beef Ambassador program and tour the locker facilities, as well as watch the lockers break down a half beef carcass. Learn more about the SD Jr Beef Ambassador program at

Beef Checkoff Academy

SDBIC Staff and Board of Directors participated in the Beef Checkoff Academy hosted by Cattleman's Beef Board Staff. This event provided the SDBIC Board and guests with some history and an overview of current national beef checkoff programs. This meeting also provided a valuable opportunity for beef producers to network with their peers and gain a deeper understanding of the beef checkoff.

RASDAK Beef Night Provides Opportunity

Team Beef South Dakota, a program sponsored by the SDBIC, helped host a “Beef Night” for more than 300 RASDAK (Ride Across South Dakota) cyclists on June 8, 2023, in Sturgis, SD. RASDAK is a 6-day cycling event that covered 330 miles throughout the Black Hills.

28 Summer 2023
Jodie Anderson | South Dakota Beef Industry (L to R): Jayna Blume, Chord Blotsky, Bennet Gordan, Reed Scott, Josie Tish, and Emmalee Scott. Back Row (L to R): Barrett Butzer, Jennings Pazour, Ladd Pazour, Kolt Johnson Front Row (L to R): Fidelia Rasmussen, Weston Grace, Elliot Johnson, Baylor Pazour & Ned Pazour South Dakota Junior Beef Ambassadors Training Breaking Down Beef Demonstration at Wall Meats Processing South Dakota Junior Beef Ambassadors Training Breaking Down Beef Demonstration at Dakota Butcher

Dollars at Work

Checkoff Dollars at Work

Dollars at Work Checkoff Dollars at Work

Beef Industry Council Executive Director

This year marked the event's 10th anniversary and 10 years of sponsorship by the SDBIC Team Beef South Dakota. In addition to sponsoring a beef meal for RASDAK participants, the Beef Night gave staff and producers the opportunity to share the beef story with a diverse group of cyclists. Over 30 of the riders donned Team Beef red jerseys indicating they were a member of Team Beef South Dakota. These members serve as beef advocates and share how they utilize beef in their training program. This year, Team Beef South Dakota has roughly 100 members, including cyclists and runners of all levels.

the Indoor Football League (IFL) continues to be a success as Game Time activities, highlighting beef as its premier protein, are being held across the United States. We are looking forward to the culmination which will take place at the IFL’s National Championship Game being held in Las Vegas on Aug. 5. The Build Your Base National Advisory committee met for guidance and growth on a national level. Lastly, Build Your Base signed on another national nutrition consultant, Kim Schwabenbauer, who is also currently the Sports Dietitian for the Pittsburgh Steelers. We are excited to have her as part of our nutrition team!

Build Your Base will be announcing the 2023-24 SD high schools and universities in July. Feel free to ask questions about the program and learn how you can be involved at your local level. Please note that Build Your Base is managed by Beef Logic Inc., a 501c3 nonprofit partner and contractor to the SD Beef Industry Council. Contact Beef Logic Executive Director, Suzy Geppert at sgeppert@beeflogicinc. org or Beef Logic Director of Nutrition, Holly Swee at

Upcoming SDBIC Events

The South Dakota Beef Industry Council is looking forward to many upcoming events this Summer and Fall as BEEF will be highlighted across the state. Beef producers are invited and encouraged to join us to help promote BEEF!

SDBIC is pleased to work with USMEF (United States Meat Export Federation) to host influencers from Japan on South Dakota Beef Farms and Ranches in late July. These influencers will get to experience firsthand South Dakota’s ranching lifestyle and how we care for the land and our animals.

Beef Logic, Inc. and Build Your Base Update

Build Your Base has been on the move this spring visiting participating universities across the state providing educational opportunities that included presentations from Dr. Mike Roussell, nutrition consultant to the Build Your Base program, as well as interactive nutrition round table events with the student athletes. Clete McLeod presented at the South Dakota High School Athletic Directors conference this spring in Pierre, SD and shared some best practices for engaging student athletes and coaches in the program. The Build Your Base program was also showcased and provided education opportunities at the Collegiate Strength and Conditioning Coaches Association conference held in Orlando, FL. Over 60 universities were interested in learning more on how to be part of the program.

Build Your Base’s Game Time community partnership with

Beef will be back at this year's 2023 City of Sturgis Motorcycle Rally in Sturgis, South Dakota August 4 – 13, 2023! The Sturgis Rally is an exciting time to promote BEEF to thousands of people from across the nation.

The Sanford PGA Golf Tournament is set for September 11 – 17, 2023 at the Minnehaha Country Club in Sioux Falls, South Dakota! Beef will be back on the greens and things will be more exciting than ever. If you love golf and BEEF, you will not want to miss this event.

The Cinch Playoffs rodeo will be in Sioux Falls, South Dakota September 28-30, 2023, at the Denny Sanford Premier Center and BEEF will be highlighted throughout this year's event.

Be sure to follow the SDBIC on Facebook (@SDBeef) to learn about all upcoming events and activities throughout the year.

The South Dakota Cattleman 29 Checkoff
SDCA President Eric Jennings visits with Team Beef cyclist. 2023 RASDAK Participants
30 Summer 2023
Tuesday, August 3, 2023 | 9:30 AM - 4:00 PM | Philip, SD
& Penny Slovek and Family Please RSVP for meal count to Judge Jessop at or call/text 605.280.0127. Directions to Slovek Ranch (20901 Slovek Road, Philip, SD) •From Wall, SD: Go 8 miles North on Creighton Road and take the curve East. Continue East for 19 miles (Creighton Road will turn into Kelly Hill Road). Then go 6 miles North on Deadman Creek Road to Slovek Road and take Slovek Road 3 miles West.
Philip, SD: Go 10 miles North
mile North
Hilland Road,
2023 South Dakota Leopold Conservation Award Recipient Tour
and then 9 miles
Then go 1
and 3 miles
•From HWY 34/73
(Billsburg): Go 15 miles South to
then 9
West to Deadman Creek Road. Then go 6 miles South to Slovek Road and then 3 miles West.

How ChatGPT and AI can Impact Livestock Production

Artificial intelligence has taken the news by storm with promises to change every aspect of our lives, from the way we drive our cars, the information we choose to consume, and how our food is grown. Over time, artificial intelligence will become more advanced and better able to create predictive analytics and monitor crop and livestock production using a variety of sensors and data sources. One implementation of artificial intelligence is chatbots, such as ChatGPT, which has been making news for their ability to generate articles and materials from publicly available text data. With large news organizations such as Microsoft, Google, and Buzzfeed working to incorporate the technology into search tools and to draft news stories, there is both excitement and concern about the potential of these tools. Though there is concern from teachers over students using this to do their homework, one question we have as Extension staff is what implications does this have for agriculture.

We used a free online version of ChatGPT, to discover the potential responses given basic agriculturally related questions. In preparing for this article, I had asked to put together a number of articles ranging from riparian restoration and rangeland management to livestock health concerns during drought. Below is an example response to the question ‘write an article on when to harvest hay’.

Hay is an important feed source for livestock, and it's essential to harvest it at the right time to ensure maximum yield, quality, and nutritional value. Harvesting hay involves cutting, drying, and baling grass or legumes to create a stored feed source for livestock during times when fresh pasture is not available. Timing the harvest of hay can have a significant impact on its quality and nutritional value, and farmers must consider several factors when deciding when to cut their hay.

The first factor to consider is the stage of growth of the plants. Hay is typically made from grasses or legumes, and the stage of growth at which they are cut can have a significant impact on the quality of the resulting hay.Young plants have higher protein content and are more digestible, but they also have lower yields. As plants mature, they produce more yield but have lower protein content and are less digestible. Farmers must balance the need for yield with the desire for quality and nutritional value when deciding when to harvest their hay.

Another factor to consider is weather conditions. Hay

must be cut when the weather is dry to ensure that it dries quickly and evenly. If the hay is cut when it's wet, it can mold, and the resulting hay can be of poor quality and even be dangerous to feed to livestock. Farmers must watch the weather forecast closely and take advantage of periods of dry weather to cut their hay.

The time of day when hay is cut can also impact its quality. Hay should be cut in the morning after the dew has dried but before the heat of the day. This ensures that the plants are at their driest and that the cut hay will dry quickly…

The chatbot goes on from there to discuss the impact of stage of maturity on forage quality and considerations for equipment and labor when harvesting hay. In addition, it can add citations, which are drawn from multiple different state Extension articles where the information was obtained.

Farmers and ranchers have to know a lot of information these days. For instance, a producer that raises cattle, hay, and corn needs to know about range management, livestock disease concerns, herbicide and fertilizer applications, pest control for the crop and the animal, impacts of weather and climate, disease impacts for crop and animal, marketing crops and cattle, and the list goes on. It can be a challenge to know a little bit about a lot of things, and the ability to search the web to get key pieces of information can be time consuming. The ability for artificial intelligence to quickly synthesize vast amounts of data is a tremendous time saving benefit scaled across various agriculture sectors, and certainly the biggest potential benefit of the tool.

A primary role of Extension is to communicate information and knowledge to our local stakeholders and aid them in its application to their operation according to their personal values and goals. A major limitation for artificial intelligence is the lack of a human interface, and the inability to provide genuine answers tailored to the very human needs and desires innate to farming and ranching families. So while ChatGPT may spit out information related to drought considerations and water availability or nitrate concerns, it is Extension that can communicate information during drought conditions, offer nitrate and water quality testing, and be the human interface between science and application. Additionally, as Abraham Lincoln once said, “Don’t believe everything you read on the internet”, it is essential that articles generated from this technology be scrutinized for factual accuracy.

The South Dakota Cattleman 31

SDCA Affiliate Contacts

The South Dakota Cattlemen’s Association is the unified voice for cattle producers. SDCA provides a voice for cattlemen on all issues affecting your business and profitability.


To advance the interests of South Dakota Cattlemen through representation and promotion of the beef industry.


To be an organization where members can work together to protect their interests; seek solutions to industry problems; provide a unified voice, and to build the good will, esteem, and recognition the industry deserves.

SDCA advocates for producers in:

• State & National Lobbying

• Policy Development

• Marketing, Trade, and Environmental Issues

• Beef Promotion & Research

Your SDCA membership includes membership in your local affiliate. As a member, you can stay informed about the issues affecting your area and set policy direction on cattle industry issues at the annual convention.

Black Hills: Britton Blair, Vale • 605-347-0426 •

Central: Scott Slepikas, Huron • 605-354-1870 • slepikasfarm@gmail. com.

Clark Hamlin: Chance Popham, Hayti • 605-783-3285 • spopham88@

Dakota Southern: Keith Dvoracek, Tabor • 605-661-4981 •

Davison-Hanson: Calli Williams, Letcher • 605-695-1990 •

East Central: Andy Dupraz, White • 605-629-3859 •

Kingsbury: Nick Wilkinson, Lake Preston• 605-203-0711 •

McCook-Miner-Lake: John Morse, Madison • 605-256-9863 •

Northeast: Nancy Johnson, Milbank • 605-432-5600 •

North Central: Vacant

Northern Oahe: Jay Jones, Trail City • 605-845-3082 •

Sioux Basin: Kelly Lyons, Garretson • 605-366-0791 •

South Central: Kent Geppert, Kimball • 605-778-6227 •

West Central: Matt Jones, Midland • 605-843-2066 •

32 Summer 2023

Beef Month Coloring Contest


South Dakota Cattlemen's Association and the South Dakota Beef Industry Council celebrated hosted a coloring contest in the month of May to celebrate Beef Month. Thank you to all who particpated in the contest - there were many great entries!

Age 4-7 Winners

Mallory Butler

Age: 6 Waubay, SD

Zoey Barber

Age: 6

Garretson, SD

Age 8-12 Winners

Hartley Harms

Age: 5 Leola, SD

Lauren Edleman

Age: 8

Willow Lake, SD

Larissa Butler

Age: 8 Waubay, SD

Larissa Fossum

Age: 12

Canton, SD



As farmers and producers, you know best that a good, quality food product means everything to the consumer. And with Liphatech Ag rodenticide solutions, the security of your output is in good hands. Our team will stop at nothing to help protect the hard work of farmers and producers.


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