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Features

Keeping Sd’s Pork Moving

SDPPC President Ferlyn Hofer predicts continued growth for industry

Life As First-Generation Ranchers

Amid High Interest Rates, Farmers Still Cutting Costs

South Dakota couple builds Angus business from scratch

Market conditions are making it tough on South Dakota growers

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KEEPING SD’S PORK MOVING

SDPPC President Ferlyn Hofer predicts continued growth for industry BY SHEILA SLATER The Daily Republic

CANISTOTA — Ferlyn Hofer, recently confirmed in his second term as the president of the South Dakota Pork Producers Council (SDPPC), is confident there is growth potential for the hog farming industry. “The pork industry in South Dakota is very healthy. We have a growing industry,” Hofer said. “In the last year we have probably grown 12 percent. I think that is sustainable and we are doing a good job.” Hofer, a veteran hog farmer, manages the Hofer Fairview Farms in Canistota with his wife Karen and their three sons, Ryan, Tyler and Nolan. “My wife Karen felt the farm in Canistota, where we live on, was the best place to be farrowing our pigs, so we put up a farrowing and gestation barn,” Hofer said. “The nursery and finish is done on a second farm.” The gestation barn on the Fairview Farms has room for about 300 hogs and has been in operation since the late 1970s. “When I started, I had my sows outside so I do know what that’s like,” Hofer said in a recent interview. “But on a day like today with wind chills below zero, I would have given anything for a barn like the one I have now. There is no suffering, even when it’s hot. There is air moving in the barn all the time.” Hofer’s love for pork lead him to Sturgis during the rally, where he served pork sandwiches to motorcycle enthusiasts from all over the country.

“They had an event at the Sturgis Rally eight years ago and invited people to come out and help serve pork,” Hofer said. “My wife Karen and I knew a few people on the board and were invited to spend three days there to help serve sandwiches and promote pork.” A year later, Hofer was asked if he would be interested in running for a board position at the SDPPC. “My first reaction was no,” Hofer said. “But over the long run, the executive director Glenn Muller came out here to my farm and encouraged me to do it. Lots of persuading. He convinced me to try it out for a term, which is three years, and see how I’d like it. One thing led to the other and here I am in my second term as the president,” Hofer said. While serving on the board of the SDPPC, Hofer joined members of the Pork Leadership Institute and traveled to a conference in Washington D.C. two years ago, focused on becoming a better leader in the hog industry. The group attended workshops on how to better communicate with consumers and visited with legislators, senators and politicians to present hog industry needs and wants. “We don’t ask for much,” Hofer said. “But we are very concerned about the African Swine Flu and needed to push to put this on the farm bill. We felt that a foreign disease outbreak could really hurt the industry.” The African Swine Fever (ASF) virus causes a hemorrhagic fever with high mortality rates in pigs, but persistently infects its natural hosts, warthogs, bushpigs, and soft ticks.

Ferlyn Hofer, President of the South Dakota Pork Producers Council, holding a piglet raised on his farm in Canistota last summer. (Courtesy)

Despite efforts to control ASF in China, the disease has reportedly killed as many as 1 million pigs there. Supplies of pork to China’s biggest cities have been disrupted while prices are collapsing in areas with an oversupply of pigs from farmers who are now barred from shipping to other provinces. Should the virus spread into the U.S. the entire export market would immediately be shut off, pushing

more pork to the domestic market, effectively decimating prices. “We are forming districts in South Dakota that could help with protocol and procedures during an outbreak of diseases like ASF or foot-and-mouth disease (FMD),” Hofer said. “For instance, if there is a herd in Ethan suspected of having the FMD, samples are sent up to Brookings for testing right away PORK: Page 7

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PORK From Page 5

and our state veterinarian Dustin Oedekoven would shut down the state’s borders. That also means shutting down feed trucks going to the farms for 48 hours. We are trying to get everything patrolled in the state and get everybody on the same page.” The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection manages a vaccine bank at Plum Island, New York, where vaccine antigen concentrate for a limited number of FMD strains is stored. “We wanted to get more funding for the vaccine bank, so there are vaccines in the United States and we do not have to wait six months until they are made in Europe,” Hofer said. “By that time the disease has spread all over the place.” The reconciled farm bill or Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018 was passed by the Senate on Dec. 11 and by the House on Dec. 12. It is United States legislation that

reauthorized many expenditures in the prior United States farm bill, including an annual funding of $150 million for research at the vaccine bank at Plum Island, New York, $30 million for the National Animal Health Laboratory Network and $70 million in block grants for state animal health agencies to prepare for a foreign animal disease emergency.

Tariff wars The tariff headwinds with China are still weighing in on pork exports, which fell to their lowest level nationally in 28 months in November, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. China’s retaliatory tariffs on imports of U.S. farm products in the tit-for-tat trade row include duties of 62 percent on U.S. pork. However, the ASF disease sweeping through Chinese hog herds helped negate some of the effects of the trade war for American farmers. Fast moving programs designed by the federal government last summer assisting hog producers facing losses also softened the blow.

“When the hog prices dropped to a low, President Trump put a special program together after the tariffs were placed on exports,” Hofer said. “These programs helped pay for some of our losses. We received two payments of $4 per hog, based on the head of hogs people had on their farms at a certain day during the month of August. It didn’t pay all the bills but it helped.” Expanding the export market to South Korea after President Trump signed a revised version of the United States-Korea Free Trade Agreement, known as KORUS, with South Korean President Moon Jaein in New York in September, was a welcome opportunity for hog producers. South Korea is now the second largest market for U.S. beef, third for corn, fifth for pork and third for fresh fruit. “For us, South Korea is a brand new market that we didn’t have two years ago. We picked that market up after losing China,” Hofer said. “Nothing is going to China right now and we hope that ends soon. At one

time, a third of all our exports went to China.” Mexico is still the No. 1 market for pork exports from the U.S. and has been very patient said Hofer. “They are paying higher tariffs, but they do like their fresh pork,” Hofer said. “We have lost some volume, but Mexico doesn’t really have an alternative when it comes to fresh pork.” Hofer supports the efforts of the federal administration to finalize the new U.S.-Mexico-Canada agreement, or USMCA, a trade deal negotiated as a replacement for the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). “Something needed to be done and I am glad President Trump had the courage to do it. You can’t go with an agreement for 25 years and never change anything,” said Hofer. “That’s what happened to NAFTA. Nothing ever got changed, but there comes a time to renegotiate. If we come to an agreement with China, it might bring in the best times ever for us pork producers, you never know. It’s worth the risk.” 

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LIFE AS FIRST-GENERATION RANCHERS South Dakota couple builds Angus business from scratch

Tate Williams, left, walks with his wife Calli, right, and their son Jack on Feb. 20 on the family’s ranch near Letcher. Together, the Williamses have been building their cattle ranch and operation TW Angus since getting married in 2016. (Sam Fosness / Republic)

BY SAM FOSNESS The Daily Republic

LETCHER — From the first moment Tate Williams worked on a friend’s family farm, he knew it was a life worth living. The decision was made before he even graduated high school, starting with just three cows. It became his focus — bypassing a chance to play college football to make it happen — and it led the eventual firstgeneration rancher to meeting the love of his life. “When I got introduced to cattle, ranching was so intriguing to me,” he said. “Deciding not to play football wasn’t easy, but I wanted to keep moving forward in the cattle industry.” First-generation cattle ranchers are a rare breed today, but Tate and his wife Calli are bucking the trend

while chasing their dreams in the process of building their Letcher ranch. According to the United States Department of Agriculture’s National Statistics Service’s recent census, the average age of a U.S. farmer and rancher is 58 years old. Of that figure, roughly less than onequarter of the nation’s farms and ranches are owned and operated by millennials ages 18-34. Given the steep overhead costs of starting a cattle operation without any inherited land or cows, Tate, 28, took a risk when he bought his first head of cattle. A dozen years later, Tate has watched his ranch grow to 50 bulls. Together, Tate and Calli have built the cattle company he started in 2008, TW Angus. Growing up in a house near Lake Mitchell, Tate was unfamiliar with

ranch life until he formed a close friendship with the Bussmus family. “Hanging out with the Bussmuses is where I started learning the basics and grew my knowledge in the cattle industry,” Tate said. “They were and are some of the top people in the registered black Angus business, and it was really intriguing to me.” Tate was gradually getting exposed to the cattle world by spending countless hours at the Bussmus ranch a few miles south of Lake Mitchell; little did he know it would be the beginning of his journey as a cattle rancher. And in 2007, at age 16, he bought his first set of cows from the Bussmus family. “I was helping Gary (Bussmus) out in the summers, and I bought three cows of my own,” Tate said. Bussmus allowed Tate to keep his initial cows on the farm.

The Williams produce seedstock cattle, which are breeding cattle typically used to produce purebred bulls and improve genetics for commercial herds. “It’s been fun learning the pedigrees and genetics of cows,” Tate said, noting his cattle are 100 percent purebred black Angus bulls. Tate grew his cattle business credentials by spending a summer in Dallas, South Dakota, as a farmhand for the Graesser family, who were friends of Tate’s family. In 2010, Tate expanded his herd, purchasing 15 cows from a dispersal sale, prompting him to move his herd to the Graesser ranch, where he lived for four months. “At the Graessers, there was no cell phone reception, so I was seeing RANCHERS: Page 11

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A group of cows lay in the snow of Tate and Calli Williams’ cattle ranch on February 20 in Letcher. The couple has been growing their ranch, along with their cattle operation called TW Angus. (Sam Fosness / Republic)

RANCHERS From Page 9

the day-to-day work that goes into ranching,” Tate said of his time in Dallas. “It was a good way of life, and I loved it.”

Finding love through ranching The current cattle business came together in 2014, when Tate Williams met his wife, Calli. At that time, she was making a name for herself in the 4-H community, winning a stack of awards showing cows during high school competitions. And in the middle of fulfilling a summer internship in Ohio, Calli traveled roughly 1,000 miles to show cattle at the South Dakota State Fair in Huron and do what she loves best. Little did she know it would be the first time meeting her future husband. Both were showing cattle and they hit it off. “I loved showing cattle, and I always knew I wanted to stay in the industry somehow, some way,” Calli said. “To find someone that was willing to put in the hard work and finances to make all this happen was huge.” Although Calli was raised on a ranch in the small town of Aurora, near Brookings, she’s learned something new from her husband in their livestock journey.

“I never had maintained bulls, so that’s something I learned from him, but marketing the operation is where I stepped in,” said Calli, who attended South Dakota State University for agriculture communications. In 2015, Tate and Calli got engaged, and married a year later. With the TW Angus cattle operation sitting in Dallas, Tate and Callie were pleased for the breakthrough that led them to purchasing their ranch near Letcher. Charlie and Darlene Bailey, family friends of the Williamses who previously owned a Letcher farm, were selling their property. “It was so exciting to finally have the opportunity to own our ranch,” Calli said. While also tending the family’s Letcher ranch, Tate is busy helping his father, Joe, run the family business, Williams Masonry. Tasked with the challenge of juggling two careers, the rancher and brick mason said he’s adapting well. With a new house and land to call their own, the Williams family ranch has grown grown with the addition of their son Jack in 2018. In between raising Jack and feeding cattle, Calli has been busy carving her own professional journey as an insurance sales agent at Fischer Rounds and Associates in Mitchell.

“Being the first Fischer Rounds bull mortality insurance sales agent has been such a great opportunity that has added another way for me to follow my passion,” Calli said. As millennial ranchers, the couple grasps the importance of marketing their business through social media, which they’ve been utilizing since the founding of TW Angus. With 300-plus followers and counting, the Williamses said their Facebook page has made a difference in the competitive seedstock industry.

Looking toward the future, the Williamses hope to add 30 more head of cattle, rounding out the total number to 80 purebred cows. In the meantime, they are busy selling purebred Angus bulls under the TW Angus name. “Our biggest focus is to produce high quality, registered Angus cattle,” Calli said. “We feel it’s important to share our story as millennial ranchers, but also to promote the beef industry as a whole.” 

Tate Williams, owner of TW Angus, checks on one of his 50 bulls February 20 at his cattle ranch in Letcher. (Sam Fosness /Republic)

March 2019 SOUTH DAKOTA FARM & RANCH 11


AG OLYMPICS Photographer Matt Gade traveled to Platte-Geddes and Sanborn Central schools for Ag Olympics during National FFA week in late February. Pictured are scenes from the events.

Platte-Geddes senior Kylie Burket pulls up the overalls while competing in the dress like a farmer and wheelbarrow move portion of the Ag Olympics on Tuesday, Feb. 19 at Platte-Geddes School. (Matt Gade / Republic)

Platte-Geddes junior Aaron Gerlach chugs milk during the Ag Olympics on Tuesday, Feb. 19 at Platte-Geddes School. (Matt Gade / Republic)

Platte-Geddes Music Director Susan Porter checks to see how the other students are doing while competing in the pie eating competition portion of the Ag Olympics on Tuesday, Feb. 19 at Platte-Geddes School. (Matt Gade / Republic)

Sanborn-Central’s Cassidy Slykhuis carries the pingpong ball on a spoon during the egg carry portion of the Ag Olympics on Friday, Feb. 22 in Sanborn-Central’s gym. (Matt Gade / Republic)

Platte-Geddes junior Miles Hubers does the boot flip to get them to both land upright while competing in the boot toss portion of the Ag Olympics on Tuesday, Feb. 19 at PlatteGeddes School. The juniors won the Ag Olympics in a time of 2:02. defeating the sophomores who finished in 2:04. (Matt Gade / Republic)

Sanborn-Central freshmen Noah Wormstadt loses as Mason Moody and Brighten Hitchcock win the partner challenge of forming an “M” as part a revamped version of musical chairs during the Ag Olympics on Friday, Feb. 22 in Sanborn-Central’s gym. (Matt Gade / Republic)

Sanborn-Central senior Eric Ruml pulls Abby Vermeulen on a mat as part of the tractor pull portion of the Ag Olympics on Friday, Feb. 22 in Sanborn-Central’s gym. (Matt Gade / Republic)

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AMID HIGH INTEREST RATES, FARMERS STILL CUTTING COSTS Market conditions are making it tough on South Dakota growers

A farmer harvests their winter wheat crop in Aurora County. (Matt Gade / Republic)

BY JAKE SHAMA

For South Dakota Farm and Ranch

WHITE LAKE — It’s shaping up to be another year of cost cutting for one local farmer, who expects late planting to hinder farm operations in an already weak economic climate. Steven Mohnen, 63, of White Lake, has a diversified operation. He runs a successful bull business and grows corn and soybeans on approximately 2,200 acres. But with the amount of snowfall his land’s received this winter, he predicts a rough year for his crops. “It’s going to be a late spring,” Mohnen said. “I think it’s going to be a tough start. I really do.” Late planting would do no favors for South Dakota farmers, many of whom have cut costs for years in order to combat dropping crop prices. But while prices fall, Mohnen said expenses haven’t followed suit. He said corn seed has risen to about

$300 per bag, and farmers may be paying around $420 per acre of land in expense costs. “It’s hard to cut costs because you’ve got to maintain what you’re doing,” Mohnen said. But while diversification has helped Mohnen’s operation, he said other producers are getting out of the cattle business altogether. “The cattle market isn’t nearly good enough for what it should be, either,” Mohnen said. “I see a lot of farmers selling their cows just because they say it’s not profitable. There are a lot of cows going to market nowadays.” Will Walter, department head for the Farm/Ranch Business Management program at Mitchell Technical Institute, said as of Jan. 1, corn prices were actually about $0.25 higher than one year earlier, but soybean prices were nearly $1 lower, depending on the location.

14 SOUTH DAKOTA FARM & RANCH March 2019

“It seems most have cut costs as much as possible already without losing profitability,” Walter said. Walter also said he isn’t aware of any common expenses that have risen dramatically in price, but there is one factor that could cause pain for producers this year: interest rates. The Wall Street Journal Prime Rate — the base rate on corporate loans posted by at least 75 percent of the nation’s 30 largest banks — rose from 4.5 to 5.5 percent over the past year. Walter said the average operation in his program maintained about $400,000 in liabilities as on Jan. 1, 2018. If liabilities remain steady this year, those producers could face an extra $4,000 in interest alone. “Even though rates are still historically low, many farming and ranching operations are carrying higher debt loads than in past times,” Walter said.

Lessons from lenders

While margins are tight, farmers have not looked to greater farm loans as an answer, according to local lenders. “We typically finance crop inputs, which have remained static in price,” said Jayson Plamp, vice president of agribusiness lending at First Dakota National Bank in Mitchell. “In general, many producers’ debt loads have increased due to carryover debt remaining after all of the production from the year has been sold.” As far as expenses, Plamp said crop and livestock production costs increased between 2010 and 2013. But since 2013, commodity prices have fallen faster than expenses, and health care has become especially costly for many producers. Plamp works primarily with farms from the eastern half of South Dakota, and farms in the COSTS: Page 15


COSTS From Page 14

southeastern part of the state have especially struggled with weather problems over the past year. According to Plamp, late snow and excessive and persistent rainfall caused problems with planting and livestock health last year, and cold weather during fall and winter hurt the harvest. Meanwhile, farmers in other parts of the state generated a profit through ideal weather conditions, good yields and federal Market Facilitation Program payments, Plamp said. Plamp also said many younger producers struggled last year, as many are highly leveraged, or taking on a large amount of debt compared to their equity. “Highly leveraged operations have generally struggled more in comparison to those with lighter debt loads,” Plamp said. To avoid cutting too far into productive expenses like fertilizer, seed or chemicals, Plamp said producers should know their costs and cash flow needs and develop a written marketing plan. And while many producers are cutting back

on capital expenditures, Plamp had a few other pieces of advice for farmers looking to save money: ► Sell underutilized assets; ► Pay down debt to reduce cash flow requirements; ► Look for additional revenue streams that don’t require big capital investments, like custom farming, feeding or calving for neighbors. Finally, Plamp said producers must be open about their challenges as soon as they arise. “Communicate challenges as soon as they are recognized,” Plamp said. “Typically, challenges are more easily dealt with early.” For his operation near White Lake, Mohnen said he’ll save money by buying used equipment when needed, and he’ll probably prioritize corn over soybeans this year. Along with a better price, he said corn can also be cut for silage to feed his cattle if needed. But for long-term success, Mohnen said the U.S. needs to sign new international trade deals, and farmers need earnings to catch up with expenses. “We’ve got two sons who want to take this operation over,” Mohnen said. “It isn’t going to be good for a young farmer if things don’t get better than what they are today.”

A farmer harvests their winter wheat crop in Aurora County. (Matt Gade / Republic)

Corn on the stalk. (Republic file photo)

A farmer combines his corn field north of Mitchell. (Republic file photo)

Soy bean field east of Mitchell. (Republic file photo)

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USDA, FDA TAKE STEPS ON HEMP CBD. FOR FDA, THIS COULD BE A LONG ROAD.

BY SEBASTIAN KRAWIEC Following the passage of the Agricultural Improvement Act of 2018 (2018 Farm Bill), which removed hemp from Schedule I of the Controlled Substances Act, suppliers and manufacturers of hemp and hemp-derived products celebrated, but many questions remained. Regulatory agencies are hard at work updating regulations and guidance on hemp. On February 27, 2019, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) released an update on its timeline for establishing regulations and announced a Farm Bill listening session on industrial hemp production to take place on March 13, 2019. In its statement, USDA explained that the agency’s intention is to issue regulations in the fall of 2019 to accommodate the 2020 planting season. In the meantime, the 2018 Farm Bill allows states, tribes, and institutions of higher education to continue operating under the authority of the 2014 Farm Bill. USDA also explained that states and tribes did not need to submit plans for hemp cultivation until after USDA has issued its regulations, and that USDA would hold onto submissions until regulations have been promulgated. The statement was short on details for the listening

session, but it will be in the form of a webinar and open to the public. The biggest question mark regarding hemp has been the use of hemp-derived constituents, most notably cannabidiol (CBD), in dietary supplements and food. Currently, CBD is not authorized to be a dietary supplement or used in food because CBD was an Investigational New Drug (IND) and has since been approved as a treatment for epilepsy (via the FDAapproved drug Epidiolex). However, hemp extracts and functional foods with hemp-derived CBD have become a thriving industry, skirting regulation. With the passage of the 2018 Farm Bill, FDA has to come up with a solution to this disparity, and FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb acknowledged this much in his recent testimony on February 27 at a hearing of the House Appropriations Committee’s Subcommittee on Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, and Related Agencies. In response to a question from Rep. Mark Pocan (D-WI) regarding FDA’s intention to pursue pathways for the inclusion of CBD in food, Gottlieb stated, “We heard Congress loud and clear with respect to that legislation. I understand Congress

wants there to be a pathway for CBD to be available.” In addition to the passage of the 2018 Farm Bill, on January 15, 2019, Senators Ron Wyden (D-OR) and Jeff Merkley (D-OR) sent a letter to Commissioner Gottlieb urging him to update federal regulations governing the use of hemp-derived CBD in foods, beverages, and dietary supplements. Therefore, the pressure on FDA is substantial. In his February 27 testimony, Gottlieb acknowledged, however, that FDA’s path forward on CBD is not straightforward. “Congress specifically preserved our authorities with respect to CBD — our drug authorities — and CBD as you know exists in a higher formulation as a pharmaceutical products and can’t be legally put in the food supply at this time, not only because it’s a drug product, but it’s also subject to substantial clinical investigation; we have active INDs [Investigational New Drug applications],” he explained. “Now, the law does allow us to go through a regulatory process, go through notice and comment rulemaking, to establish a framework to allow it to be put in the food supply.” To discuss potentially establishing a new regulatory framework for CBD, Gottlieb announced a public meeting to take place in

April, and the solicitation of public comment. However, the comments FDA receives may only verify the complexity of the issue, requiring a potential legislative solution. “There is not a good proxy for us to do this through regulation, and if we get comments back and find this is sufficiently complicated for the Agency, we will come back and have a discussion with Congress about how we might be able to work together on this,” Gottlieb said. A Long Road for FDA on CBD? When asked by Rep. Chellie Pingree (D-ME) about the potential timeline for a new regulatory framework for CBD, Gottlieb said, “I will tell you that if we make a determination [based on public input] that the pathway here is going to be a multi-year regulatory process that could take two, three, four years, I will come back to Congress, and have a discussion about whether or not there are other frameworks that could help address this.” He added, “I want to preserve the pharmaceutical opportunity here, while recognizing that Congress intended for there to be a pathway for this product to be available in other forms. I think that there are things we can contemplate CBD: Page 18

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CBD From Page 17

scientifically. I don’t want to get too ahead of myself, but you could think about concentration and formulation at other thresholds: that might or might not be something we can do in regulation. We need [a] statute that either addresses this as a whole framework or addresses CBD specifically; if that’s the case, we will work through a process to have a discussion around that.” The fact that FDA is making a serious effort to find a pathway for CBD to be used as a dietary supplement or in food is very positive for the industry, but the potential for a long, drawnout process is less than ideal for industry. Michael McGuffin, president, American Herbal Products Association (AHPA; Silver Springs, MD), commented on this in a recent press release. “AHPA appreciates the FDA’s commitment to promptly explore all regulatory options to properly regulate CBD in dietary

supplement and food products, and we will participate actively in the public meeting in April,” he said. “The suggestion that this could be a multi-year process, however, should be of concern to consumers, industry, and the Agency, and we encourage FDA to consider interim options in the form of guidance or a statement of enforcement discretion. But if FDA ultimately determines that a Congressional action is necessary, we hope the legislature will move quickly to resolve this issue in a manner consistent with the prior Congress’s obvious intent to ensure Americans access to hemp and all its constituents, including CBD.” Complicating matters further, Commissioner Gottlieb has resigned from the Agency, effective in a month. It’s unknown whether his successor will follow through with Gottlieb’s intended plans for hemp and CBD, considering that the commissioner has been short on details, and no official announcements have been made.  — Source: USDA

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MITCHELL FFA COMPLETES HEIFER INTERNATIONAL PROJECT Helping others in need is one of the learning objectives of the National FFA Organization. The Mitchell FFA chapter has always conducted and contributed to activities on a local and state level. But how about abroad? Is there a fitting way to help a group in need, and is there a way one can help in which the aid goes 100 percent to the group in need? Some time ago, former MHS student and FFA member Shelby Riggs had an idea: to raise $500 to buy a heifer for a needy family in Africa. A heifer will be able to reproduce future animals for meat and provide milk to a family in need. Riggs came in contact with a

group called Heifer International, an organization which does just that. Heifer International is a global nonprofit organization whose goal is to end poverty and hunger. Started in 1944, this program helps families grow and progress through agriculture in less fortunate places in the world. But how does it work? This group donates not just cows, but goats, farming resources, bees, and information along with many other helpful ideas to boost success. According to the Heifer International website, www.heifer. org, they have “worked in 25 different countries and provided more than 32 million families the

tools and training to life themselves from poverty!” Given this information, charity fundraisers and donations can help in purchasing livestock and resources to help families in allowing them to start their own herd and thrive in their community. With the goal of raising $500 directly from MHS students and the public, Mitchell FFA installed donation jars at each Student Responsibility Block at Mitchell High School, and jars in many businesses around the Mitchell community, encouraging people to just “put your change” in the jar. The idea was for everyone to share in the objective of helping a family

in need abroad, rather than just to donate directly. The collected change, plus a generous donation from Charles Goldammer, and the rest from the Mitchell FFA chapter, was enough to send to the Heifer International Organization, which will in turn purchase a quality heifer adapted to the region of the family in need, and bring it to that family, with advice on using it to grow a quality herd for food and family income. The Mitchell FFA would like to thank Shelby, Charles, and everyone involved who donated to this important project. The smiling faces of a family abroad will be our reward.  — Source: Mitchell FFA

March 2019 SOUTH DAKOTA FARM & RANCH 19


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MITCHELL FFA HAS A BUSY YEAR The students of the Mitchell FFA chapter have been busy behind the scenes of the school and community, being involved with many facets of student development. The FFA’s main objectives as an organization are to provide three main experiences for the high school student: premier leadership, personal growth, and career success. The many projects and events that were developed at the beginning FFA meeting last September then formed the chapter’s Program of Activities, which are used to provide the students ways to achieve the FFA’s objectives. The chapter officers this year are Haylee Constant, president; Olivia Husmann, secretary; Jocelyn Vogel, treasurer; Emma Christopherson, reporter; and Madisyn Sheesley, sentinel. These students also serve as committee chair people, and have done an excellent job in organizing the chapter’s Program of Activities, a list of committees and events the chapter will do. The chapter strives to conduct activities in areas such as leadership, community service, cooperation, public relations, finance, scholarship, and education. The following events have been planned and conducted by the Mitchell FFA members this year: Leadership: The officers attended the State FFA Leadership camp and held an officer retreat last summer to plan this year’s events. Besides gaining leadership skills

through meetings and committee participation, several members competed at the District IV and State FFA Leadership contests: The Agricultural Issues team of Jocelyn Vogel, Olivia Husmann, Emma Christopherson, Madisyn Sheesley, Becca Long, and Allie Tuttle placed first at the District contest, and competed at state. Their issue was about the pros and cons of requiring landowners to have buffer zones around water areas. Logan Tlam of Mount Vernon also placed second at the district contest in Agricultural Broadcasting, and competed at state. Other district participants were Emily Maltsberger in Agricultural Broadcasting and Katherine Belau in Prepared Public Speaking, both students from Mount Vernon. Conventions: Four students attended the National FFA Convention in Indianapolis last October. Haylee Constant, Andrew Herrlein, Taylor Henkel, and Jeremy Long raised funds and attended the annual convention, along with 60,000 other FFA students from across the nation. They were able to listen to great speakers, attend leadership and career workshops and the career show, tour ag businesses, and meet students from across the nation. Students will attend the State FFA Convention at Brookings in April of this year. Community Service: The Mitchell FFA students participated in activities such as conducting an

educational petting zoo at Tractor Supply Company; making 10 tie blankets for needy families in the community; making greeting cards for all residents of the Firesteel Healthcare Center; conducting a food drive at MHS; playing board games with the residents of Lifequest, and, they will participate in the Harvest for Hunger food drive later this spring. Finance: Students raised funds for the National FFA Convention through seeking donations and pumping gas at County Fair Food and Fuel. Everyone sold the fruit and meat items the FFA is known for, with John Riggs awarded the top fruit salesperson; and the chapter finalized completion of the Heifer International fundraiser. Everyone also keeps records of personal finances through their Supervised Agricultural Experience (SAE) projects. Public Relations: The chapter constructed and participated in a float for the Mitchell Parade of Lights, plus many activities for National FFA Week. Students will be visiting Firesteel Healthcare Center and James Valley Community Center, spreading goodwill and appreciating each other’s company. SAE, CDE and awards: All FFA members conduct a Supervised Agricultural Experience project, learning and documenting experiences from activities in the real world. Since much of agriculture

takes place in the summer, students receive grade credit for their experiential learning, and one can advance in degree achievement, awards, and scholarships through the program. Haylee Constant and Clay Jorgensen will receive their State FFA Degrees at this spring’s State FFA Convention. Next month members will begin competing in their challenging Career Development Events, or judging contests, which help teach and prepare students for many agricultural careers through rigorous competitions. Education: Besides the petting zoo held last August, students taught educational classes at LB Williams as part of the Leadership and Personal Development class last fall and will do the same during FFA Week. The chapter will be part of Ag in the Classroom program at the Davison County Fairgrounds next month, with a booth on food science, and a large animal petting zoo. Recreation: High school students want to have fun, so the chapter usually has recreational activities, cookouts, and outings planned throughout the school year. The Mitchell FFA is proud to be part of MHS and the Mitchell agricultural community, and thanks everyone for their past support.  — Source: Mitchell FFA

March 2019 SOUTH DAKOTA FARM & RANCH 21


National FFA Week celebrated by Mitchell FFA chapter The Mitchell FFA Chapter, Mitchell, celebrated National FFA Week, Feb. 16-23. This FFA Week embraced more than 91 years of FFA traditions while looking forward to the organization’s future. Nearly 670,000 members participated in National FFA Week activities at local, state and national levels. These members have a passion for agriculture. Designated a national week in 1947, the week of George Washington’s birthday, National

FFA Week runs from Saturday to Saturday and gives FFA members an opportunity to educate the public about agriculture. During the week, chapters conduct a variety of activities to help others in their school and community learn about FFA and agricultural education. Mitchell FFA celebrated National FFA Week by participating in the following activities: FFA Night at Culver’s; conducting a Food for America program at LB Williams Elementary School; administering a

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food drive at MHS; serving SDSU ice cream to MHS students; goodwill tours at Firesteel Healthcare Center and James Valley Community Center, class field trips, and a recreational fun night. Today’s FFA members are the innovators and leaders of tomorrow. Through agricultural and handson learning, they are preparing for more than 250 unique career opportunities in the food, fiber and natural resources industries.

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herbs and produce grown right on the property. As the demand for local foods has evolved, so has the term “local foods.” “Local” can be a wide-ranging term that refers to foods produced in a particular town, state or even region. The 2008 Farm Act defines a “locally or regionally produced agricultural food product” as one that is marketed less than 400 miles from its origin. However, a few states have established more stringent rules that indicate “local” constitutes food produced within the borders of a state or within a small perimeter of the state. The growing preference for locally produced foods is great news for the farmers and small food producers that have long fought for footing among the mega-importers. According to the trade publication Produce Business, even though “local” does not place limits on the size of the farm, the growing desire among consumers to go local is benefitting many small and mid-sized farms, as consumers are increasingly buying foods grown closer to where they live. In addition to meats, fruits and vegetables, consumers can find many locally made items that expand the potential for farm-totable. These include, but are not limited to, artisanal cheeses, wines, beer, baked goods, milk and other dairy, and honey. Local, sustainable foods are in demand, helping not only local restaurants and merchants, but also the small and medium farms that service these establishments. 

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Consumers’ appetites for local foods are growing, and restaurants have taken notice. Today, many local businesses, including farms and restaurants, have mutually exclusive relationships that make it possible for local residents to enjoy nutritious, locally produced meals. According to the market research firm Packaged Facts, local foods generated $11.7 billion in sales in 2014 and will climb to $20.2 billion by 2019. Farm-to-table remains a growing trend that benefits farmers, restaurateurs and consumers. This is evidenced by the rising number of farmers markets cropping up in neighborhoods all across the country, as well as the niche offerings by regional food purveyors. The U.S. Department of Agriculture says that, in the last 20 years, the number of farmers markets has grown by more than 350 percent. Many consumers are now choosing “local” for dining at home and when dining out, and this is making a major impact on the nation’s food systems. Foodies, as well as industry experts, predict that the local foods movement is a permanent and mainstream trend. In 2014, the National Restaurant Association found the desire for local foods dominated its Top Food Trends. The most in-demands foods include locally sourced meats and seafood. as well as locally sourced produce. Consumers also are interested in farm/estate-branded foods. Some restaurants are even producing “hyper-local” food, or

301 North Truck Street PO Box 20 Kimball, SD 57355

605-778-6211

“ For All Your Insurance Needs”

431 Main Street • P.O. Box 7 Alexandria So. Dak 57311

"Cattlemen working for Cattlemen" WADE CHRISTENSEN (605) 730-1801

Phone: 605-239-4335 Fax: 605-239-9335 Email: HOFFMANNINSURANCE@TRIOTEL.NET

DAVID VIERECK (605) 680-0386 STEVE CHAVEZ (605) 860-0016 001571899r1

LEE NESS (605) 680-2778

Marty & Julie Hoffmann

EMAIL: COWTRACKS@MIDSTATESD.NET WEBSITE: KIMBALLLIVESTOCKEXCHANGE.COM FAX: (605) 778-6209

KIMBALL LIVESTOCK EXCHANGE, LLC

DICK DEFFENBAUGH (605) 680-1324

CHRISTI CHRISTENSEN - OFFICE MANAGER

PAUL MUNSEN (605) 680-1450

(605) 680-1536

Tuesday Sales - Sales Broadcast On Cattleusa.com

001825949r1

CHAD HEEZEN (605) 870-0697

March 2019 SOUTH DAKOTA FARM & RANCH 23


REPRODUCTIVE LOSSES IN BEEF CATTLE: DIAGNOSING THE CAUSE

BY TAYLOR GRUSSING SDSU Extension Cow/Calf Field Specialist

Reproductive losses account for $1 billion dollars in lost revenue to the beef industry each year. All the way from conception to birth, we depend on a lot of things to go right, whether we are talking about natural or artificial breeding programs. Nevertheless, reproductive failure whether presented as early or late term abortions (miscarriages) result in those animals never being born and having a stark effect on the operation’s bottom line. Utilizing proper health and nutrition programs are ways we can try to reduce reproductive failure from occurring. Yet, if failures occur, diagnosing the cause can be helpful in preventing the issue in the future.

POSSIBLE CAUSES It is often difficult to pinpoint exactly what went wrong when abortions occur. All livestock producers expect a certain degree of late-term abortions or stillbirths. It is generally accepted that any cattle operation will have 1-2 percent of “normal” pregnancy loss after a month or two of gestation. With spring calving herds, January and February are when many abortion cases are submitted to the SDSU veterinary diagnostic

laboratory. In about half of the cases submitted to the SDSU diagnostic lab, no abnormalities are detected. There are many reasons for this, such as that the infectious agents are often not detectable anymore by the time the fetus is expelled, or stillborn calves were aborted due to abnormal presentation or twin pregnancies. In the rest of the cases, something abnormal is found. A frequent finding is inflammation in the placenta that may or may not be traced to a specific germ. The placenta in a pregnant animal is the gateway from the mother’s blood supply (carrying nutrients and oxygen, but possibly bacteria and viruses) to the fetus. If something affects that critical tissue, then the fetus may become starved from oxygen and die. When germs are found, they are often more environmental than contagious in nature, and very few cows experience problems. Lastly, sometimes infectious agents such as IBR, BVD, or leptospirosis are identified, for which effective vaccines are available.

ABORTION DIAGNOSIS So what should a cattle producer do when a late-term abortion is encountered? Start with your local veterinarian to discuss the

24 SOUTH DAKOTA FARM & RANCH March 2019

details of your issue and whether ► Number of animals in the there are similar problems in other herd, including recent purchases or neighboring herds. When the movements number of abortions in a group ► Number of abortions and exceeds one or two, it’s generally previous diagnoses, if any time to get a diagnosis. ► Age and breed of dams ► Gestational age of abortions SAMPLE SUBMISSION ► Pertinent treatment or Diagnostic success can be vaccinations improved by promptly submitting the proper samples. While the USING RESULTS following recommendations are Depending on the results, your likely sufficient for most veterinary veterinarian will follow up and advise diagnostic laboratories, your you on potential herd management veterinarian should confirm these changes. If an environmental cause with their particular lab. When such as mold is identified, examining possible, the entire fetus and feed sources is a necessary placenta — chilled but not frozen — intervention to determine what is the most desirable specimen. The feeds are contaminated. In addition, placenta is of particular importance if infectious agents are found, and should be included whenever implementing a sound pre-breeding possible. Significant microscopic vaccination program for next year’s changes and germ identification heifers is a must. Cow vaccine often stem from examining the boosters to prevent early and late placenta. Other samples to submit term abortions should also be if you do not want to send in the considered. whole fetus include, heart, lung, liver, kidney, spleen, brain, skeletal THE BOTTOM LINE With reproduction, focusing on muscle (tongue or diaphragm), fetal stomach fluid and fetal thoracic what we can control and diagnose fluid or heart blood. A veterinarian is the key to helping avoid these will likely collect and send these losses within our herd. For more samples off for you; however, the information contact your local Extension field herd history information should veterinarian, be given to them to assist with specialist, or Russ Daly, SDSU Extension Veterinarian.  choosing diagnostic tests. — Source: SDSU Extension Information to include:


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March 2019 SOUTH DAKOTA FARM & RANCH 25


National Ag Day is observed annually. This is a day to recognize and celebrate the abundance provided by agriculture across the United States. American agriculture plays a very critical economic and food security role in our country.

MARCH 14, 2019

Farm co-ops, universities, 4-H clubs, agricultural associations, FFA clubs, businesses and other organizations at the city, county and state levels celebrate with a variety of events that give the general public an opportunity to see how their food, clothing and other products get from the farm to you. These events also demonstrate the economic impact agriculture has on a society.

These businesses proudly support the area’s farmers and ranchers for the abundance of food and products they provide with their participation in this special National Ag Day tribute.

A Good Bank in a Good Community! Checking Services • Savings CD’S • IRA’S Mortgages • Vehicle & Personal Loans

COMMUNITY BANK OF AVON 001690045r1

118 N Main St. • Avon, SD

605-286-3213

Coop Service 831 Main Ave • Alpena, SD

605-849-3341

We offer propane, gas & diesel products

001717271r1

001717239r1

001690049r1

001690054r1

Complete Diesel Repair

WE OFFER GREAT PRICES!

123 E. Spruce

• FOOD • FUEL • CLEAN STORE • FRIENDLY SERVICE

I-90 & US Hwy 281 Plankinton, SD 605-942-7138

I-90 & Hwy 37

1140 Spruce Street · PO Box 128 Alexandria, SD 57311 605.239.4513

26 SOUTH DAKOTA FARM & RANCH March 2019

996-3536

001689932r1

720 N. Main, Mitchell 996-7709 • 1-800-529-0061 www.grahamtire.com 001819289r1

“FROM WHEELS TO FIELDS”

CLAYTON’S REPAIR SHOP

001717261r1

605-946-5606

996-4137

A&G II, SERVICE & TIRE REPAIR

605-236-5755

Rocky Niewenhuis

Scott & Mary Tilberg, Agents

Brian Dodd, Owner 24699 395th Ave., Mt. Vernon

Farming is your livelihood, and it’s our business to help protect that.

285 Main Street Corsica, SD 57328

Farm Tire Service

A&G DIESEL TRUCK REPAIR

001690019r1

Excavation & Utility Construction of All Types

HOFFMAN DIGGING & WELL REPAIR

I-90 & Hwy. 37 Mitchell,SD 996-8299

605-248-2344 605-999-4038 001689975r1

LOCATED ON THE WEST END OF MAIN STREET, LETCHER, SD

Certified Septic Tank Installer, Trenching, Septic Tank Cleaning, Backhoe Work, Well & Pump Repair

Helping Farmers Prosper

EDDIE HOFFMAN Home: 248-2235 Cell: 770-0914 P.O. Box 56 • Letcher, S.D. 57359

HOFFMANN INSURANCE AGENCY “For All Your Insurance Needs” Marty & Julie Hoffmann

Emery, SD 605-449-4255 001689980r1

431 Main Street • PO Box 7 • Alexandria, SD

Phone: 605-239-4335 Fax: 605-239-9335

001819272r1

ALPENA

Emery, SD | Carl Nordwald 001819282r1

001689948r1

605-539-1444

Business: 605-770-2957 Home: 605-449-4939

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501 Dakota Ave. South Wessington Springs, SD

Hoffmanninsurance@Triotel.net


National Ag Day is organized by the Agriculture Council of America. ACA is a nonprofit organization composed of leaders in the agricultural, food and fiber community, dedicating its efforts to increasing the public’s awareness of agriculture’s role in modern society. The National Ag Day program encourages every American to: • Understand how food and fiber products are produced.

providing safe, abundant and affordable products. • Value the essential role of agriculture in maintaining a strong economy. • Acknowledge and consider career opportunities in the agriculture, food and fiber industry.

• Appreciate the role agriculture plays in

These businesses proudly support the area’s farmers and ranchers for the abundance of food and products they provide with their participation in this special National Ag Day tribute.

ROLLING HILLS

VETERINARY CLINIC 102 1st Street NE Wessington Springs, SD

605-996-8371

001819274r1

OVERWEG AUTO, GLASS & FUEL, LLC

Thank you to our area Farmers and Ranchers!

See Us For All Your Farm & Ranch Needs Sioux Grain Bins

001690018r1

Sioux Calving Pen

T.K. Electric

Your Sioux Steel Dealer

620 E. 7th St. • Platte, SD

1-877-742-5402

001690009r1

MIDWEST AG CENTER

Meyerink Farm Service www.meyerinkfs.com

1-800-658-2293 • 605-337-2621

001689965r1

605-942-7262

Meyers Oil Precision Company Nutrition J & R Feeds Supplier

INSTALLATION OF DRAIN TILE AND WATERLINE

serving the area with all your livestock needs

419 E Juniper Mitchell

1500 W 5th Ave. Mitchell, SD

605-996-5221

605-995-0595

www.meyersoil.com

• Customized Grower & Finisher Rations • Sell Complete Feed & Concentrates in Bags & Bulk • Bag Mineral for All Classes of Livestock • Werk Weld Dealer • Bextra Round Bale Feeders • What Else Welding Free Standing Panels & Wind Breaks • Forever Plastic Post Dealer 605-928-7954

Jason Weber Manager 102 South Depot • Parkston, SD

Dozer Work - Ditch Cleaning Tree Removal - Demolition Excavation of Any Type

Email us at coryf@santel.net

Email us at coryf@santel.net

CONTACT CORY 605-350-6800

Together we’re not just working to strengthen the community, but to change the world.

Westown

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1153 Spruce St. Alexandria, SD 605-239-4411

Hours: 6:00 am-10:00 pm 7 days a week

001690010r1

& Household 605-999-4683 Auctions 38926 243rd St. - Plankinton, SD 57368 INSTALLATION OF 38926 243rd St Plankinton, SD DRAIN TILE 605-999-4683 AND WATERLINE

001819292r1

Statewide Ag Insurance is an equal opportunity provider/employer

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www.statewideag.com

301 North Truck Street Kimball, SD 605-778-6211 • 888-282-2593

Real Estate • Farm

Keith Overweg 408 S Main • Plankinton

001689957r1

Winner, SD 842-3050

AUCTIONEER AUCTIONEER

Real Estate - Farm Auctions - Household Auctions

001819303r1

Since 1985

OLSEN OLSEN AUCTION AUCTION SERVICE SERVICE

CLYDE OLSEN, CLYDE OLSEN

001823952r1

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OWNERS: Chad Heezen & Wade Christensen

• EXPERIENCED • RELIABLE • SERVICE OF CROP INSURANCE Mitchell, SD Chamberlain, SD 990-2376 234-6086

107 E Main Street Wessington Springs, SD 605-539-9661

001689977r1

001690058r1

605-539-1040

Plankinton 605-942-7636 Wessington Springs 605-539-1871 White Lake 605-249-2274

TO OUR LOCAL FARMERS, 001689982r1

THANK YOU

See the world differently. POET.COM/Mitchell 877-777-4084

March 2019 SOUTH DAKOTA FARM & RANCH 27


28 SOUTH DAKOTA FARM & RANCH March 2019

Profile for The Daily Republic

South Dakota Farm & Ranch March 2019  

Check your mail or look here at this March 2019 edition of your South Dakota Farm & Ranch by The Daily Republic! #MitchellSD #HifromSD #agne...

South Dakota Farm & Ranch March 2019  

Check your mail or look here at this March 2019 edition of your South Dakota Farm & Ranch by The Daily Republic! #MitchellSD #HifromSD #agne...