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Climate change presents the next major challenge to bison

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‘GREEN RUSH’

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June is Dairy Month

Since the late 1800s our Nation’s farmers have farmed Dairy. Multi-Generational farms that have served and provided not just their own families but the communities they reach. June is the month we choose to honor their hard work and sacrifice for the products we use everyday.

Tony & Jodi Wolf, Owners 1004 South Ben Street PO Box 89 Parkston, SD 57366

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During June Dairy Month, we salute these dedicated family farms for their contribution to our economy and our health. The long hours in the field, the early morning and late evening milking in both blistering cold and scorching heat. Rain or shine you saw to your herd as you battled elements, time, and unstable markets.

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The Golden Age of Rodeo:

5 Decades of the Corn Palace Stampede

On the cover

Climate change presents challenge to bison

Features

Grilling Tips Beneficial Insects Green Rush

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► Cook ground beef, pork, lamb and veal to 160 F. ► Cook egg dishes to 160 F. ► Cook fish to 145 F. Don’t have a food thermometer? Call the USDA Meat and Poultry Hotline at 1-888-MPHotline (1-888-674-6854). Although frozen products may appear to be pre-cooked or browned, they should be handled and prepared no differently than raw products and must be grilled to appropriate temperatures. Frozen products may be labeled with phrases such as “Cook and Serve,” “Ready to Cook” and “Oven Ready” to indicate they must be cooked.

Thoroughly cook mechanically tenderized meat

Many grill masters enjoy using already tenderized meats that have marinades added to get the most flavor out of their meal. However, mechanically tenderized beef, including cuts that are prepackaged in marinades, must be cooked thoroughly to ensure food safety. If the outside of the meat contains bacteria, it will be transferred to the inside of the meat during mechanical tenderization, requiring it to be cooked to kill the germs. The best way to ensure a worryfree barbecue is to thoroughly cook mechanically tenderized meat. Use your food thermometer and follow USDA’s recommendations for safe internal temperatures mentioned above.

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payment of C$13,063.68 and finances the balance of C$52,252.32 at 0% per annum for 48 months. There will be 48 equal monthly payments of C$1,088.59. The total amount payable will be C$65,316, which includes finance charges of C$0.00. Taxes, freight, setup, delivery, additional options or attachments not included in suggested retail price. Offer subject to change or cancellation without notice. . ©2021 CNH Industrial America LLC. All rights reserved. Case IH and CNH Industrial Capital are trademarks registered in the United States and many other countries, owned by or licensed to CNH Industrial N.V., its subsidiaries or affiliates.

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Follow the one-hour rule on hot days

When the temperature outside rises above 90 F, perishable food such as meat and poultry, dips and cold salads, or cut fruits and vegetables are only safe to sit out on the table for one hour. After one hour, harmful bacteria, which can cause foodborne illness, may start to grow. To prevent this, keep cold foods cold and hot foods hot. According to a recent USDA survey, nearly 85 percent of participants said they don’t keep cold foods on ice when they serve them. Keep cold foods at an internal temperature of 40 F or below by keeping food on ice or refrigerated until ready to serve. In the same survey, 66 percent of participants indicated they did not keep their cooked foods, like burgers and hot dogs, warm after cooking. Hot perishable foods should be kept warm (above 140 F) until they’re eaten or refrigerate leftovers within one hour.

Know your outdoor environment At your outside barbecue, make sure to have hand sanitizer or moist towelettes available to keep your hands clean before, during and after food preparation. Here are some suggestions: ► Use warm, soapy water to wash hands for at least 20 seconds before and after handling food. ► Use hand sanitizer that contains at least 60 percent alcohol. ► Use alcohol-based moist towelettes to sanitize cutting boards or utensils. For any summer food safety questions, call the USDA Meat and Poultry Hotline at 1-888-MPHotline (1-888-674-6854) or chat live at ask.usda.gov from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Eastern Time, Monday through Friday. Source: USDA

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Taking stock of bison sustainability Researchers: Facing similar issues to cattle, changes pose a threat on the Plains By South Dakota Farm and Ranch BROOKINGS — Accelerating climate change throughout the Great Plains may present the next major challenge to bison sustainability. That is the main point the director of research for the Center of Excellence for Bison Studies at South Dakota State University, Jeff Martin, made in his article recently published in the People and Nature journal, titled “Vulnerability assessment of the multi-sector North American bison management system to climate change.” The article, published in April, was a collaboration with researchers from Texas A&M University and Colorado State University. “Climate change directly affects bison by increasing thermal stress and decreasing forage and water availability, issues that also challenge range beef cattle,” Martin said. “Indirect consequences of climate change include increasing distribution and intensity of parasites and several diseases that are known to reduce reproductive success. These stresses have been estimated to collectively reduce

bison body size by 50% if global temperature warms by 4° Celsius near the end of the 21st century.” Furthermore, warming and drought may also result in declining productivity of the remaining grasslands of the Great Plains, which are the preferred habitat for both bison and cattle. “Currently, 90% of grasslands and 85% of bison are privately owned, which justifies the need for robust private land conservation strategies to maintain this iconic species and its grassland habitats,” Martin said. The current bison population of North America is approximately 400,000 animals and is maintained by a self-assembled bison management system (BMS). Publicly owned bison populations have remained static around 30,000 bison since the 1930s because the extent of public lands has not expanded, especially not in the Great Plains. Martin and his team coined the term ‘bison management system’ as a way to describe the whole system of bison managers that represent a multi-sector interest in the conservation and production of bison across private, public, Tribal

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People enjoying bison at Theodore Roosevelt National Park, North Dakota.


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A map of historic bison range in North America since 1868 is outlined in black. Most bison herds are located in northern and central regions on shortgrass and mixed grass, with a higher percentage of private herds on those grasses, rather than public or non-governmental organization-owned lands. and non-governmental organization (NGO) sectors. It is a unique animal management system in the world. Martin conducted a vulnerability assessment of the bison management system to increasing climate variability and change to further clarify the challenges that bison conservation and production may face in future climates. He surveyed 132 bison managers within the private, public and NGO sectors located in North America, who mostly reside in the northern and central mixed-grass prairies and manage bison herds averaging 51-100 animals. He collected data on the exposure, sensitivity and adaptive capacity of the managers to climate change. “Results from the survey revealed that the bison management system is vulnerable to climate change and is susceptible to losing sustainability without preparing adaptation strategies for impending climate change issues such as warming, increasing drought and a resulting decline in productivity of grasslands,” Martin said. The study showed that access to grazing leases, varied external income, use of management plans and information exchange are variables that present stumbling blocks for bison managers across the private, public and NGO sectors to advance their adaptation to climate change and sustainability. The complementary, shared environmental values and attitudes of the private and public/NGO sectors shape the foundation for enhanced collaboration among the multi-sector bison management, Martin wrote. But it is the sharing of diverse practices and respective consequences that will lead the BMS to discover credible, scalable adaptive solutions to climate change. This may lead to the bison community to decide whether to form a ‘bison coalition’ to seek solutions to adapt to climate change, he said. “The experiences and shared environmental values and attitudes of bison managers across the bison management system are foundational to enhanced collaboration across sectors,” Martin said. “We believe it would be beneficial for the bison management system to form a bison coalition to instigate enhanced coordination of knowledge sharing.” Source: South Dakota State University

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USDA-NRCS South Dakota

Bryan Jorgensen, of Ideal, uses the five principles of soil health to promote balanced insect communities on his land at Jorgensen Land and Cattle.

IMPROVE SOIL HEALTH WITH THE HELP OF BENEFICIAL INSECTS By Stan Wise South Dakota Soil Health Coalition PIERRE – Fifty-seven billion dollars. That’s the annual monetary value a 2006 economic study published in BioScience attributed to just four services performed by wild insects in the United States – pest control, pollination, dung burial and wildlife nutrition. How can agricultural producers increase their share of the value provided by insects and protect them as an economically important natural resource? The answer lies in regenerative agricultural practices.

Types of beneficials

“There’s certainly a lot of beneficial insects,”

Agricultural Research Service Research Entomologist Louis Hesler said. “There’re predators out there, so they provide natural biological control of pest insects. There are pollinators. There are what we call the recyclers or the detritivores.” Hesler said recyclers also include micro-insects that live in the soil and other invertebrates like earthworms and beneficial nematodes. They help to break down and recycle material in the soil. All of these insects – the predators, the pollinators, and the recyclers – provide crucial services on farms and ranches. Some of the most important insects on the farm, however, might be considered pests, but they also provide the basis of the food pyramid for the entire insect community.

“In terms of abundance, springtails, mites, thrips, and aphids are probably some of the most important invertebrates. They are like plankton in the sea,” said Jonathan Lundgren, agroecologist, producer, Ecdysis Foundation director, and owner of Blue Dasher Farm near Estelline. “These things – mites and (springtails) in the soil – are foundational to everything else. It’s like the base of the pyramid.” That abundance and diversity of insect life is what will lead to better outcomes for producers, Lundgren said. “It’s about the number of species and the life on your farm,” he explained. “It’s diversity. Predators, pollinators, granivores that eat weed seed, herbivores that help to regulate weeds – all of these things are really important.”

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Why are they important?

“The number of insect species on your farm correlates directly with how much profit you generate. We’ve got the data,” Lundgren said. “The more bugs, the more water infiltration, the more soil carbon and organic matter, the more plant diversity – that’s at the base of the whole thing – but it scales with just about every positive regenerative outcome that you can think of. Soil genesis happens because of bugs. Most soil is insect poop or invertebrate poop. If you want to raise organic carbon, the organic matter in your soil, thank a bug.” This idea of increasing insect life to benefit agricultural operations is paying off for producer Bryan Jorgensen, partner and chief agronomy operations officer at Jorgensen Land and Cattle near Ideal, South Dakota. His operation has about 900 Angus cows and markets 4,000 Angus bulls every year through a multiplication system. He also farms 12,000 acres, growing corn, milo, soybeans, spring wheat, winter wheat, oats, alfalfa, forage sorghum, and cover crops. For the most part, he relies on Mother Nature and regenerative ag practices to handle his insect problems. “In nature there tends to be a balance of predators and prey,” Jorgensen said. “We try and promote a balanced system throughout by the use of cover crops, diverse rotations, livestock integration. All the five principles of soil health are going to promote a much more balanced insect community.” It seems to be working because his operation seldomly applies insecticides. “The only instance that we may now use

insecticide – and it happens maybe once out of four or five years – is a little bit of insecticide on our alfalfa crop. If we acquire an infestation of alfalfa weevils, we’re kind of at the mercy of having to spray for those,” Jorgensen said. “In any other crop we grow, we do not use any soil-applied or surfaceapplied insecticide.” Jorgensen credits his six-year crop rotation for this reduction in insect pest problems. “The corn rootworm, of course, is a pretty a devastating critter across the Corn Belt,” he said. “We don’t see that here primarily because our rotation is so long. We don’t have a monoculture type system where you have just corn and beans. Some of those insects have learned that pattern, learned how to lay eggs in the season before so that they’re there when the corn germinates. So, we avoid a lot of those types of infestations of insects purely because of the long rotation that we have.” In addition to reducing pest insects, Jorgensen’s rotation promotes pollinator health with flowering plants in his diverse cover crop mixes. “We happen to have several bee companies around this part of the world that raise bees for honey. We have a pretty rich environment for them, and they tend to like to place a lot their hives in pretty close proximity or on our property because of the numerous flowering plants that we have in the cover crops,” he said. “It’s not just bees. We’re getting all kinds. We’re getting some butterflies, getting some moths, some beneficial ones, in fact.”

eetles

Dung b

Lady B

eete

e

Mud Be

Photos courtesy of Bryan Jorgensen, Mike Catangui & Scott Bauer

Continued on page 11

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Continued from page 9

Protecting diversity One way to help ensure a diverse and balanced insect community on your operation is to limit tillage. “Tillage is a disturbance,” Hesler said. “It disrupts where insects overwinter, or a disk or plow can directly kill insects. It’s a disturbance that has direct and indirect impacts on those beneficial insect populations in the soil.” Hesler also said producers wishing to increase their beneficial insect populations should avoid fencerow-to-fencerow planting. “You’re leaving these islands or pockets out there of undisturbed land along the fencerows,” he said. “Leaving that is a refuge habitat for these insects to overwinter, to have a place where they can go to avoid some of the disturbance.” Hesler agreed with Jorgensen that avoiding unwarranted pesticide applications is the best approach. He said producers should limit “calendar sprays” or prophylactic use of pesticides, whether they be seed treatments or foliar sprays. “In the overwhelming majority of cases, they really need to rely on their scouting or their crop consultants to come out and scout their fields to know whether they have a particular pest and whether it’s there at economically damaging levels,” he said. Producers should consider avoiding insecticide seed coatings, especially if they have no history of problems with early season pests, Hesler said.

“Various studies have shown that it’s hard to realize a consistent benefit to these seed treatments in terms of economics in corn and soybeans in the Upper Midwest,” he said. “In a lot of instances, the seed treatments don’t provide enough benefit to justify their cost, and we know they’re having some type of negative aspects off-site that’s very difficult to quantify economically.” The negative effects of insecticidal seed coatings can include harm to pollinators and other beneficial insects, harm to aquatic life, and harm to wildlife. “Studies have shown there can be sublethal effects sometimes on beneficial insects, especially pollinators – sublethal meaning it doesn’t kill them outright but causes some disfunction or disorientation,” Hesler said. Those insecticides are also ending up in streams and waterways where they affect aquatic insects and perhaps animals like fish and birds that feed on those insects, he said. “We did a study recently – two studies, one on pheasants and one on white-tailed deer – and we ended up seeing very similar results where neonicotinoids were adversely affecting even these vertebrate animals that they were supposed to have no adverse effects on whatsoever,” Lundgren said. It may be difficult for producers to source untreated seeds that have the latest genetics, but Hesler said they should speak to their seed dealers to request uncoated seeds. Lundgren said that while uncoated seeds may not

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be at the local co-op, there are a growing number of South Dakota seed companies that are selling untreated seeds. “Sometimes you have to order them a little bit early, especially for corn, but that isn’t even true anymore,” he said.

Transition slowly For producers who want to try a regenerative approach to pest control, Jorgensen has some important advice. “I would recommend that they move out of (their system) slowly because, most likely, unless they have adopted the principles of soil health – if they haven’t yet – then it’s going to be a little bit risky to move out of the insecticide or fungicide realm quickly,” he said. “We have to rebuild what we destroyed. We have to allow nature to rebalance itself by way of the five principles of soil health. If it were somebody pretty heavily dependent on nutrients and insecticides and fungicides in order to grow a crop, then I would recommend they slowly implement some of those principles before they get too gung-ho about dropping out those components because they’d probably set themselves up for pretty much a disaster. It’s not something they can do or implement overnight unless they have at least four of those soil health principles in place.” “Just through the five principles of soil health,” Jorgensen said, “you’re going to create a better environment for the insect communities.” n

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‘Green rush’ Cannabis boom squeezing farmland in North America By Carey L. Biron Thomson Reuters Foundation WASHINGTON — While the coronavirus pandemic has caused the collapse of retail businesses across the globe, there is one thing people have been buying more of during months of lockdown: marijuana. The legal cannabis industry set sales records across the United States and Canada over the past 12 months, according to cannabis analytics firm New Frontier Data, which partially attributed the market’s growth to the COVID-19 outbreak. That lucrative revenue stream has caught the

Forum News Service file photo

eye of cash-strapped local and state officials, but the surge in interest in cannabis has farmers and land experts worried about competition for the land needed to grow the plant. In recent years, leasable farmland has been harder to come by “because cannabis farmers could pay so much more,” said Maud Powell, an associate professor in the Small Farms Program at Oregon State University. “It’s like a land grab ... the green rush, they call it,” she told the Thomson Reuters Foundation. Top officials in at least three U.S. states have discussed the potential for the legalization of

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cannabis to create new revenue streams, said Erik Altieri, executive director of advocacy group NORML. Although the drug remains outlawed at the federal level, nearly two-thirds of U.S. states have legalized its use for medical or recreational purposes in recent years, while Canada took similar steps in 2018. Globally the legal cannabis industry was valued at more than $9 billion last year by consultancy Grand View Research, with about 90% of that business in North America. In California, more than two dozen jurisdictions

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had cannabis-related initiatives on the 2020 November ballot, said Jacqueline McGowan, founder of Green Street Consulting, which focuses on the cannabis industry. McGowan links those initiatives to budget issues brought on by the pandemic, and sees more jurisdictions making similar moves in the near future. “In the next year to two years, you’ll see a lot of ... cities and counties regulate (cannabis) due to the economic insecurities everyone is facing,” she said.

‘Through the roof’

While indoor cannabis production tends to take place in warehouses in semi-urban areas, outdoor production is more popular in rural areas with favorable growing conditions, particularly California and the Pacific Northwest, say industry experts. According to a 2018 survey of cannabis growers by University of California researchers, more than three-quarters of respondents said their operations were outdoor or in greenhouses. In Oregon, some farmers say their income has been hit by rising land use competition driven by marijuana and its non-psychotropic relative hemp, which was legalized at the federal level in 2018. Farmland throughout the area has faced new pressure as catastrophic wildfires have torn through the region, threatening this year’s harvests and soil health. Southern Oregon livestock producer Angela Boudro said in recent years competition from

hemp farmers has lost her leases on pasture ground for her lamb and poultry operation and also made it difficult to find replacements. “The competition here is marijuana, hemp and wine,” she said. “You can get drunk, high and pain relief, but don’t plan on eating.” It would take some livestock growers decades to make enough to compete with the new land prices, Boudro explained. “Competition for land, especially last year, went through the roof,” she said. “We had looked at purchasing a piece of ground, and the price that the hemp growers were willing to pay was phenomenally higher than we could ever pay with livestock.” Erica Stark, executive director of the National Hemp Association, said that she is not aware of such concerns and that her members have not raised the issue. A spokeswoman for the National Cannabis Industry Association said that land use issues have become more common in the cannabis and hemp space. This is “partially because of increased interest in such properties but also because of heavy restrictions in many states and localities on where cannabis cultivation operations may be located,” she said in emailed comments. Agricultural experts express similar concerns in Canada, where the province of British Columbia has emerged as a major cannabis producer. “Here in southwest British Columbia, many of the foodproducing greenhouses have been Continued on page 15

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Continued from page 13 bought by the cannabis sector,” said Kent Mullinix, director of the Institute for Sustainable Food Systems at Kwantlen Polytechnic University. Land prices have likely also been affected, he said. Prime farmland in the province was already under pressure from urban and industrial expansion, transportation corridors, and rural residences, Mullinix noted. British Columbia is home to a massive, 11.4 million-acre reserve created in the 1970s to safeguard agricultural land. “There’s a conundrum in this: cannabis, like flax or grapes for wine, is considered agriculture,” which means its production is allowed in the reserve, Mullinix explained. The industry’s growth has been so fast, there is no clear estimate on how much land in the province has been converted to cannabis production, he said. The Canadian Cannabis Association did not respond to a request for comment.

Craft farming

Amid the rapid legalization efforts underway across the United States, legislators are grappling with the question of whether cannabis should be covered by the country’s extensive rules and subsidies pertaining to agriculture. “For farmland that hasn’t been as viable, marijuana has turned into a cash crop ... as a way to make up for loss of revenue in other parts of the agricultural industry,” said Patricia E. Salkin, a land use expert at Touro College. That has forced states to study whether marijuana actually fits within their legal definitions of

agricultural activity, she said. “Most view it as a crop, but it raises a question: Do you still get agricultural land tax benefits if you’re growing marijuana versus corn or something else?” The question is also roiling smaller-scale areas that have been legally conserved for agriculture. “Land trusts have been coming out on both sides of the issue, and communities are, as well,” said University of Miami law professor Jessica Owley. “Some towns see revenue, while others say, ‘We used to be known for peaches and now we’re known for pot, and we don’t think that’s good.’” So far, most policymakers have overlooked cannabis’s agricultural roots, focusing on it instead as a manufacturing product, said Ryan Stoa, visiting professor at Southern University Law Center and author of the book “Craft Weed”. That misses a major opportunity with implications for land use, rural development and more, said Stoa, who proposes a regulatory system that, as with wine, defines a cannabis product by where it is grown — the “appellation” model. The appellation strategy builds on the fact that because federal law prohibits the transport of cannabis across state lines, every state that legalizes the drug has to grow its own, said Stoa. In 2019, California started moving toward an appellation model, which Stoa said would be a significant shift. “It’s a way for those microagricultural regions to protect their farmers and their products,” he said. n

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