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December 19, 2013 | Vol. 4 Issue 12 | Pierre, South Dakota ECRWSS CARRIER ROUTE PRE-SORT



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INSIDE: Conserving memories of the CCC camps

Pheasant summit started conversation, but action, cooperation still required SD leads region in wetland determination backlog

December 19, 2013 | Land & Livestock | 1

Study shows conversion of grassland to crops relatively small






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2 | Land & Livestock | December 19, 2013

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Conserving memories of the CCC camps (Dakota Life)..................................................20


Land & Livestock News

Julie Furchner 605-224-7301 ext. 142 Angie Fillaus 605-224-7301 ext. 126

Researcher: ‘Land ethic continuum’ affects decisions on grassland conversion..........4

Pork quality assurance class in Sioux Falls......................................................................5

Classified sales Wanda Doren 605-224-7301 ext. 109 Elizabeth Schulz 605-224-7301 ext. 110

Will cattle herds expand due to better prices?...................................................................6

Farm Bureau study: Conversion of grassland to crops relatively small........................10

Designer Alyssa Small

On the cover: Nebraska hunter Frank Beck hunts a game area north of Pierre on opening day of the 2013 pheasant season. (Lance Nixon/Land & Livestock)

Snow hampering harvest of some Dakotas row crops.....................................................12

Pheasant summit started conversation, but action, cooperation still required............13

SDSU students lift spirits for rancher relief fund............................................................26 Land & Livestock is a publication of the Capital Journal and is published monthly at 333 W. Dakota Ave., P.O. Box 878, Pierre, SD 57501 Content of Land & Livestock is protected under the Federal Copyright Act. Reproduction of any portion of any issue will not be permitted without the express permission of the Capital Journal.

Kansas farm family uses social media to advocate for agriculture.................................28

Land & Livestock Classifieds

December 19, 2013 | Land & Livestock | 3

SD leads region in wetland determination backlog..........................................................16

Researcher: ‘Land ethic continuum’ affects decisions on grassland conversion By Joel Ebert

Cultivated land behind a sign marking the 100th meridian reflects ongoing grassland conversion practices in South Dakota.

4 | Land & Livestock | December 19, 2013

Courtesy of Benjamin Turner

A wide range of attitudes about the land and the role of the producer is driving farmers’ and ranchers’ decisions on whether to convert grassland to crops, a South Dakota State University graduate assistant told a group of ranchers in Pierre. Ben Turner, a Ph.D. candidate working toward his degree in biological sciences, presented his findings on grassland conversion to the South Dakota Cattlemen’s Association at the Ramkota on Wednesday. The conference gave Turner an opportunity to discuss an issue that has received significant attention lately. An earlier study by SDSU scientists and a subsequent study commissioned by the Farm Bureau have devoted a lot of effort to trying to determine the number of acres being converted

to cropland in South Dakota and area states. Trying to finetune the numbers to understand better how much land is being converted to crops is also a focus of another study from SDSU. But a key aspect of Turner’s research focuses on the reasons for such changes in land use. “The landscape of any farm is the owner’s portrait of himself,” Turner said, harkening a concept developed by ecologist Aldo Leopold. Seeking to understand the current land ethic in South Dakota, Turner said he interviewed farmers, ranchers and what he referred to as influencers. “Influencers,” he explained, “are people invested in the success of agriculture but not necessarily managing land as their direct occupation.” Throughout the interviews he discovered several commonalities. Of the farmers and


ranchers interviewed, all were interested in expanding their operations and transitioning their operations to the next generation, Turner said. Some farmers and ranchers, as well as influencers, were also concerned about diminishing rural communities. These views are additional factors to consider when examining a change in land use, Turner concluded. Turner said there is a difference in perspective on land ethics that exists today. To explain such differences, he created a “land ethic continuum.” On one side of the spectrum are proponents of maintaining the integrity of the ecosystem, Turner said. These types of people believe they are tenants of the land, he noted. At the opposite end of the spectrum, there are people mostly interested in maintaining their production, according to Turner. These people believe “there is a lot of value in success and a lot of personal gain in feeding people,” he added. Turner concluded that

“The landscape of any farm is the owner’s portrait of himself,”

Ben Turner, Ph.D. candidate

most of the people he interviewed are somewhere in the middle. They have “a mixed-use landscape with the intent to meet a variety of goals,” he said. After laying out the variety of land ethics that exist, Turner focused on additional factors contributing to land-use change. Previous studies have suggested crop insurance subsidies, grain demand and advancing technology as significant factors behind grassland conversion. But Turner suggested other factors including current conservation policies and safety net policies, such as crop insurance, leave farmers and ranchers unclear on what to do with their land, he said. In addition, Turner pointed to the decreasing number of

operators as another factor to consider. Tur ner concluded his presentation to the South Dakota Cattlemen’s Association by reminding them of the importance of building a public ecological conscience. Turner compared current land use practices by looking at two photographs. One photo featured land converted that left bare ground with little residue. He said he saw a lot of this type of conversion in West River, driving eastward across the state. The second photo showed land with high residue and cultivation with grass and cattle on the same enterprise. This was an ecologically friendly form of grassland conversion, he explained. In the end, Turner said it was important to consider such ecologically friendly forms of grassland conversion. He pointed to works by Henry David Thoreau, Aldo Leopold and John Muir as guides to help develop ecological principles in the future.

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Will cattle herds expand due to better prices? BROOKINGS, S.D. — On the equivalent). In 2015, beef conproduction side of the beef indus- sumption could drop to 52 pounds try, the focus has become whether per person. the nation’s beef cow The reason beef herd will begin to grow consumption is The demand for all and eventually result declining, Mark fresh beef for the in more beef producsaid, is because first three quarters tion, said Darrell R. beef production of 2013 was about 3 Mark, adjunct profeshas decreased as percent higher than sor of Economics at cattle feed costs the same time peSouth Dakota State have increased draUniversity. matically in recent riod in 2012. That’s “On the demand years. As a result, based on a demand side of the industry, the reduced quantiindex that considers such growth could ties of beef available both quantities eventually mean an have translated into demanded and increase in beef conrecord beef prices prices. In Econ 101 sumption. However, this year. From terms, it represents even if beef cow numJanuary through bers are modestly October, the price of an outward shift in higher at the beginall fresh retail beef the demand curve ning of 2014, it will averaged $4.93 per for beef. likely be 2016 before pound. beef production, and “That’s up 5.3 pertherefore beef concent compared to sumption, begins to increase,” the same time period in 2012. In Mark explained. October, the price of all fresh In fact, Mark said beef con- beef set a new record high at $4.98 sumption is forecasted to decline per pound. Such higher prices, about 5 percent in 2014 to about 53 driven by smaller quantities, pounds per person (retail weight have many wondering whether

consumers will be willing and able to continuously pay more for beef,” he said. Mark said consumer demand a valid concern – one that is difficult to project for future years because it involves forecasting changing consumer tastes and preferences. However, available information about beef demand thus far in 2013 – while beef prices were continuously setting new record highs – Mark said would suggest that beef demand has been better than would have been expected. Consider these facts: • The demand for all fresh beef for the first three quarters of 2013 was about 3 percent higher than the same time period in 2012. That’s based on a demand index that considers both quantities demanded and prices. In Econ 101 terms, it represents an outward shift in the demand curve for beef. • The National Restaurant Association reports that its Restaurant Performance Index (RPI) rose to a four-month high in

October 2013. While this considers more than beef sales, dining out accounts for 40-50 percent of consumer beef purchases in the U.S. The RPI was 100.9 in October, which indicates slight expansion in the industry. Overall, the restaurant industry appears to be cautiously optimistic about future sales. • Beef and veal exports were 5.4 percent higher in October 2013 compared to a year ago. In fact, for the first ten months of 2013, beef exports totaled 2.14 billion pounds, an increase of 4 percent compared to January-October 2012. Beef exports to Japan continue higher, with October 2013 posting a 42% increase over a year ago. Year-to-date, beef exports to Japan are 47 percent higher than a year ago. Beef exports to Hong Kong and China (Taiwan) continue strong as well. For the year-todate, beef exports to Taiwan have doubled relative to a year ago, while Hong Kong’s imports of U.S. beef are up 67 percent. Beef exports to Canada and Mexico, historically among the U.S.’s larg-

est beef export destinations, are 5-6 percent higher so far in 2013. While many of the U.S.’s beef customers have increased beef purchases this year, exports to South Korea, Vietnam, and other countries have declined this year. Russia continues to import no U.S. beef. “A number of factors will determine the demand for beef in the year to come, including consumer tastes and preferences, consumer disposable income, prices of competing meats, general economic conditions in the U.S. and around the globe, and foreign exchange rates,” Mark said. While these are not an inclusive list, Mark said most of these factors have created a bit of a headwind for beef demand in the last year. “So, given the strength of domestic beef demand at retail and good export market sales in this last year’s challenging market environment, there is reason to be optimistic about beef demand in the year to come,” he said.

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Water projects bill will authorize Fargo diversion WASHINGTON (AP) — Congress is poised to finally allow a Red River diversion project to go ahead. Now all it will have to do is pay for it. House and Senate negotiators are spending the last weeks before Cong ress’ Christmas break trying to thrash out a compromise on dueling water projects bills, both of which authorize about $800 million in federal funding for the diversion. Supporters have sought the diversion to relieve flooding in the Fargo and Moorhead, Minn., area, which has endured flood threats in four out of the last five years. But authorization is only half the equation. After it passes a unified water projects bill, Congress will have

to pass separate legislation that funds the diversion. “It’s very important that it’s been included in both versions,” said Sen. John Hoeven, R-N.D. “We’ll have to work on funding it.” Hoeven and Sen. Heidi Heitkamp, D-N.D., said they were optimistic the diversion would eventually receive funding. “I think (the water projects bill) will come and then we’ll be unified and try and get the funding,” Heitkamp said. For now, congressional authorization is not quite a done deal. Because the House, which passed its bill in October, approved a different bill than the Senate, which passed its version in May, the water projects legisla-

tion is the subject of a House-Senate negotiating committee. Unlike another key piece of legislation for North Dakota being negotiated between the House and the Senate – the farm bill – the water projects bill is much less contentious and less political. The committee dealing with the water projects bill met for the first time just before Congress’ Thanksgiving break. The panel will try and blend a House bill that costs about $8 billion overall with a Senate bill that comes in at $12 billion, according to estimates from the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office. Lawmakers say they expect a smooth process. Congress could act this year if negotiations

Because the House, which passed its bill in October, approved a different bill than the Senate, which passed its version in May, the water projects legislation is the subject of a House-Senate negotiating committee. Unlike another key piece of legislation for North Dakota being negotiated between the House and the Senate – the farm bill – the water projects bill is much less contentious and less political. move quickly enough, but authorization by early 2014 seems more likely. “The impor tant thing is that we all care about reform,” said Rep. Bill Shuster, R-Pa., chairman of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee. S c h u s t e r ’ s Democratic counterpart, Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., said she thought they could produce a strong, bipartisan bill. The effects of a water

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projects bill would not be as widespread for North Dakota as the farm bill. But the potential injection of federal dollars for the diversion would be significant. The federal government has already paid for about $33 million in engineering and design studies for the diversion. Authorization will allow actual construction of the overall $2 billion diversion to begin. Supporters, including each member of North Dakota’s congressional delegation, have

pushed for the 36-mile diversion to protect the Fargo-Moorhead area. Last year, Fargo spent nearly $3 million on flood protections. A group of mostly rural residents, including farmers and homeowners who live upstream, have opposed the diversion because they fear disruption to their communities. Other elements of the larger water bill could affect North Dakota in the future. Both the House and Senate versions of the bill include language that would quicken the environmental review process for projects being considered by the Army Corps of Engineers. That could speed the pace of future water projects in the state.

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Farm Bureau study: Conversion of grassland to crops relatively small By Joel Ebert

A study commissioned by a farm group says conversion of grassland to crops such as corn is “relatively small” in states such as South Dakota, not the alarming trend that some scientists and environmental groups see. That was one of the topics when the South Dakota Farm Bureau held its 96th annual meeting at the Ramkota Convention Center in Pierre on Nov. 22-23. Among the speakers was David Miller, the research and commodity services director for the Iowa Farm Bureau. Miller presented results from a recent report that challenge the assertion that South Dakota has experienced alarming levels of grassland conversion in recent years.

The Farm Bureau’s findings confirm the results of previous studies including one by professors at South Dakota State University, which showed grassland conversion has increased since 2006. But the Farm Bureau report suggests the increase is relatively small, Miller said. The study comes from Iowabased research company Decision Innovation Solutions. It focused on converted grassland from 2007 and 2012 across the Dakotas, Iowa, Minnesota, Michigan, Illinois and Indiana. Of the approximately 8.5 million acres, 3 percent of the area studied experienced conversion. In South Dakota, 2.1 million acres or 4 percent of the total area in the state shifted from grassy habitat to non-grassy habitat during the period studied.

Grassy habitat Grassy habitat Grassy habitat Grassy habitat Grassy habitat Grassy habitat Grassy habitat Grassy habitat to other ag to alfalfa to corn to non ag to other to small grains to soybeans to woody oilseeds habitat

Corn was the largest category of use for grassland that was converted to cropland, according to a recent Farm Bureau report.


10 | Land & Livestock | December 19, 2013

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2007-2013 Net change (Grassy habitat to non-grassy habitat)




Fall River

McPherson, Tripp, Butte and Fall River counties saw more than 75,000 acres of grassland converted to non-grassy habitat from 2007 to 2012.

Courtesy of Decision Innovation Solutions

“For a land conversion that is under 1 percent, I don’t know if I would use the word ‘rampant,’”

David Miller, the research and commodity services director for the Iowa Farm Bureau

in pheasants is more likely due to an environmental shift. “A less than 1 percent shift in grassland caused this?” he asked. “I don’t think so.” In any one-year change, weather such as flooding or blizzards was more likely to impact this year’s decrease in pheasant

population, Miller suggested. He added that the conversion of more than 324,000 acres in South Dakota into wooded habitat further indicates that not all grassland conversion goes towards production. “If the concern is wildlife habitat, then this is clearly not a negative,” said Miller. A study performed by SDSU assistant research professor Christopher Wright suggested the conversion of land from livestock production to corn and soybean cultivation has reached a “tipping point” due to such factors as increased commodity prices, subsidized crop insurance and technological advancements. The Farm Bureau report noted that although increased crop prices certainly were a factor in grassland conversion,

there were a number of other factors including the environment. The fact that the western part of South Dakota has seen the most movement in grassland conversion correlates to recent environmental changes, according to Miller. “As it gets wetter and warmer you will get more cropping,” he concluded. But beyond the various factors behind grassland conversion, Miller explained the Farm Bureau report sought to address reporting flaws in previous studies. Previous reports relied exclusively on data from the Cropland Data Layer prepared by the National Agricultural Statistics Service or NASS. But one problem with CDL data, Miller argued, was that prior to 2010, different satel-

lites were used than those today. The old satellites misidentified certain classifications of grasslands, which led to the results being skewed, he said. To ensure their study had a relatively small error rate, the Farm Bureau report included farm and rancher land surveys. Despite the differences in methodology, the Farm Bureau report suggests that grassland conversion is finally being accepted as an important issue, according to Wright. Although it remains to be seen what happens in the future for agricultural and conservation groups regarding grassland conversion, Wright remains hopeful. “I’m optimistic that we can find a balance between all the different interests.”

December 19, 2013 | Land & Livestock | 11

Four counties including Tripp and McPherson have experienced what Miller referred to as high movement, with more than 75,000 acres being converted. The report further indicated 11 counties have seen 50,000 to 75,000 acres converted, 23 counties have seen 25,000 to 50,000 acres converted, and 27 counties have seen fewer than 25,000. Lincoln was the only county that experienced a net gain in grassland acreage. Focusing specifically on South Dakota grassland, Miller said, less than 1 percent of the state’s 28 million acres were converted each year from native prairie to cropland during the period studied. The majority of grassland converted to cropland was towards corn with 682,000 acres. 451,000 acres were converted to small grains and 414,000 to soybeans, according to the report. Although Miller acknowledged that South Dakota is losing approximately 200,000 acres of grassland a year, he contends it is quite negligible when considering the 48 million acres of land in the entire state. “For a land conversion that is under 1 percent, I don’t know if I would use the word ‘rampant,’” he said. But those who are monitoring grassland conversion for environmental groups disagree about the impact. The yearly loss is alarming, according to Craig Cox, Environmental Working Group senior vice president for agriculture and natural resources. “It depends on your perspective,” he said. “The grasslands and wetlands that are being lost in South Dakota are some of the most important in North America.” Cox pointed toward the decreased pheasant population this year as reason for concern. “It shows a substantial loss of habitat in South Dakota,” he concluded. The South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks reported statewide averages of 1.52 pheasants per mile in its 2013 pheasant brood survey, while in 2012 there were 4.19. Game officials say habitat loss is a factor that but they also cite effects of the 2012 drought and a wet, cold spring in 2013 as reasons for the decline in pheasant numbers. Miller believes the decrease

Snow hampering harvest of some Dakotas row crops

In this Nov., 2013 photo is a snow covered North Dakota field. U.S. Department of Agriculture says snow in early October and early December is pushing the fall harvest of row crops in the Dakotas into the winter months, and farmers might be forced to leave some corn in the field until spring.

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BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) are some acres that are — Snow in early October still out there,” Jantzi and early December is said. pushing the fall harvest Farmers have been of some row crops in the hampered by a late Dakotas into the win- spring, a late harvest, ter months, and farm- two snowstorms includers might be ing the one that forced to leave hit the state some corn in this week, and a Farmers have the field until regional shortage been hamspring. of propane fuel, pered by a late That hasn’t which they need spring, a late h a p p e n e d to dry wet corn harvest, two since 2009, so it doesn’t spoil. snowstorms when a delayed Mike Clemens, including the harvest forced wh o farms some North near the southone that hit Dakota farmeastern North the state this ers to harvest Dakota town of week, and the following Wimbledon, said a regional year as they the shor tage shortage of prepared for delayed him only propane fuel, spring plantone day but that which they ing. The federfor others the wait need to dry al government was much longer. also took the “Right in our wet corn so unusual step local area, there’s it doesn’t of revising its still a handful of spoil. Mike official corn producers with Clemens, who production some corn out in farms near estimate for the field,” he said. the southNorth Dakota. “With the weather eastern North That’s a poschange dramatisibility with cally to the lousy Dakota town the 2013 crop, side, (spring harof Wimbledon, though it is vesting) could be a said the shortmore remote reality.” age delayed because most However, if him only one of the corn is there is some nice day but that already in the weather and the for others bin, said Darin snow isn’t deep the wait was Jantzi, North enough to cover Dakota direcup the corn ears, much longer. tor for the U.S. some of the farmDepartment of ers with crops in Ag riculture’s the field can still National Agricultural get them in, Clemens Statistics Service. The said. latest reports show the “In the past I’ve harNorth Dakota corn har- vested corn all the way vest at more than 90 up to Christmas,” he percent complete. In said. 2009, only 68 percent of Jantzi said he also the crop was combined has received reports just five days before that some sunflower Christmas. fields might be left until “This year we’re a lot spring. The harvests in farther along, but there both North Dakota and

South Dakota – the top sunflower-producing states – both are about 90 percent complete. However, sunflower industry leaders say they expect the harvests to finish before spring. The sunflower seeds are in the heads at the top of the plant and are far less likely than corn to be covered by snow, so sunflowers can be harvested all winter long if the weather permits, said John Sandbakken, executive director of the National Sunflower Association. Tom Young, who has grown sunflowers near the central South Dakota town of Onida for decades, said he also expects the rest of the Dakotas crop to get brought in. “It’s just a matter of how much snow is on the heads of the sunflowers,” he said. “Corn will shed it, usually, but sunflowers will hold it. So sometimes you have to wait until that snow is off the heads.” USDA’s final corn and sunflower production report is due out Jan. 10, and the official estimates will include some corn and sunflower farmers’ best guesses as to what their actual production will be. “This year, given the percentage that’s been harvested, it may not be as big of an issue,” Jantzi said. Even if USDA ends up revising its estimate next spring, the difference in numbers is not likely to be big enough to influence commodity markets, based on history, he said.


ACTION Pheasant summit started conversation, but action, cooperation still required By DaViD rooKHUyZen

Nebraska hunter Frank Beck hunts a game area north of Pierre on opening day of the 2013 pheasant season. lanCe nixon/lanD & livestoCK

December 19, 2013 | Land & Livestock | 13

Participants in Gov. Dennis Daugaard’s Pheasant Habitat Summit declared it to be a success, at least in terms of getting interested parties together to discuss important issues. But the challenge now lies in transforming that talk into action and coming up with solutions that are favorable toward the state’s largest industry while preserving one of its most cherished traditions. Hundreds of farmers, ranchers, hunters and conservationists showed up for the seven-hour meeting in Huron on Dec. 6 to listen to and discuss what could be done to foster healthy pheasant numbers. Daugaard called for the summit after a preseason report showed a drastic population decline of 64 percent between 2012 and 2013. Barry Dunn, dean of the College of Agriculture and Biological Sciences at South Dakota State University, said the main message to come out of the summit was the need for a collaborative spirit between farmers and outdoorsmen when it comes

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to bolstering pheasant numbers. Of course, financially one side has a larger stake in any discussions than the other. There is a big economic difference between agriculture, which brings in $21 billion annually, and hunting, which brings in $250 million, he said. But on the other hand, you can’t monetize everything about this issue, Dunn said. “I honestly think that the biggest concern for me is quality of life, not only for current South Dakotans, but for future generations,” he said. During his presentation, Dunn cited three studies, including one currently being done by SDSU, that showed an acceleration of conversion of grassland to cropland. However, Dunn said he tried to demonstrate how complex the driving forces behind the conversion are. At its heart lie the conflicting ideas held since colonial days that land is private, but wildlife belongs to the public. Any actions taken to encourage pheasant nesting and cover need to keep those competing interests in mind, Dunn said. “That’s the goal, to ease the tension between the two,” he said. Jeff Vonk, secretary of the state Department of Game, Fish and Parks, said certain groups in South Dakota tend to get defensive when discussing the issue of land conversion. But the messages from Dunn and others was to get past that defensiveness and find a way to provide habitat while still letting farmers make money, he said. But from what he’s seen there is strong commitment from all stakeholders and general interest across the state to find a solution. In addition to those attending the summit, more than 1,000 people

Highlights from the Dec. 6 Pheasant Summit BY BOB MERCER


State Wildlife Division director Tony Leif said weather and habitat are the two most important factors for pheasants. He said the Soil Bank years of the 1950s and ’60s led to very high populations and the same pattern was seen when CRP use intensified in eastern South Dakota and peaked at 1.74 million acres in 2007. CRP was down to 707,000 acres by 2011, according to Barry Dunn, dean of agriculture and biological sciences at South Dakota State University. He said farmers have added 1.5 million acres of croplands since 1959, when farm acres totaled 44.5 million. “In the driest years,” he noted, “we plant the most acres.” An ongoing SDSU research project so far has found that, for three of the nine agricultural-statistics regions in South Dakota, the conversion of grass to crop totaled 875,000 acres between 2006 and 2011, Dunn said. He estimated the nine-region total will be 2 million. Meanwhile gross farm income in South Dakota rose from $6.5 billion in 2007 to $10 billion in 2012. Bruce Knight, a former top U.S. Department of Agriculture official and a Buffalo County farmer and rancher, said the interplay of global food demand and pheasant hunting is “a daunting challenge” for South Dakota. He called for “sustainable intensification” of farming practices on the best lands and noted that overseas markets are shifting from starch to dairy and meat. “It’s not a one-year issue,” Knight said. U.S. Sen. John Thune arrived for the mid-day part of the meeting. Thune, who was hunting pheasants last weekend in Faulk County with Daugaard, said he supports the linkage in the current Farm Bill negotiations regarding conservation compliance and eligibility for crop insurance premium subsidies. “Production agriculture drives the state’s economy. It has always been that way. It probably will always be that way,” Thune said. viewed the proceedings online, with an average watching time of more than an hour, he said. The various breakout groups produced a long list of suggestions about how to address the issue, but Vonk said he’s waiting to do a deeper review before endorsing any options. “I’m not ready to say I’m ready to latch onto an idea or two,” he said. Bruce Knight, founder of Strategic Conservation Solutions LLC and a Buffalo County farmer and rancher, said what was most evident from the summit is that there is no silver bullet that’s

going to solve the issue. It’s going to take myriad little decisions and definite action from all groups to produce the desired result. “Everything is in the follow-through,” he said. Knight, who is also a former employee of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, said he was struck by how important it was to have these conversations between agricultural and conservation groups to find the right solution. The summit was a “bold, outstanding” move and, in his experience, having a large public meeting to discuss one particular species is

“I honestly think that the biggest concern for me is quality of life, not only for current South Dakotans, but for future generations,”

Barry Dunn, dean of the College of Agriculture and Biological Sciences at South Dakota State University long in producing suggestions. They could have presentable ideas by next February, he said. When it comes to the agricultural producers, Daugaard said they recognize the importance of providing pheasant habitat as much as the hunting and conservationist groups. He related the experience of hunting during the Thanksgiving holiday with some friends on a good-sized farm that had intentionally left good land for habitat. That decision by a farm is not unique for the state, he said. “I believe most land owners want to see wildlife on their property, because it’s one of the advantages of living in the country,” Daugaard said. Reno Brueggeman, who farms near Miller and attended the summit, said in his opinion the main message was trying to preserve or grow habitat while coping with dwindling finances. A suggestion that stood out to him was decreasing regulations on CRP land, such as allowing the planting of food plots. There were lots of other good ideas raised, but without a Farm Bill, it’s hard to plan because no one knows how much money will be available, he said. Brueggeman said he wasn’t sure too much was actually decided at the summit, but it served the purpose of getting people talking. “I think that’s what the governor was after, new ideas and innovative ideas,” he said.



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unprecedented, he said. Daugaard said he was pleased with the presentations given during the summit which gave everyone a basic grounding in the facts. That perspective is necessary when coming up with solutions to any issue, he said. One of the notions from the summit that he said “turned on a light bulb” in his head was what can be done if and when a Farm Bill is passed. It’s too late to insert language into the bill, but once it’s passed, the state Department of Agriculture can move into rule making based on what’s in that law. That’s an opportunity to craft state policy that meets the needs of farmers and hunters, Daugaard said. There was also the suggestion of changing how agricultural land is taxed. Currently, such land is evaluated on the quality of the soil, so any land left as habitat or pasture is still taxed at the highest rate. There has been some discussion in the legislature at a committee level about changing that policy, and a bill addressing that topic could be seen as early as this upcoming legislative session, he said. At the summit, he also announced the formation of a work group to come up with both shortand long-term solutions. Decisions about the size and makeup of the group should be done by next week, followed by selecting and inviting individuals to join, Daugaard said. Once it’s formed, the group shouldn’t be too


SD leads region in wetland determination backlog By Joel eBert

The Natural Resources Conservation Service currently has more backlogged wetland determination requests in South Dakota than in any other state in the Midwest, the Capital Journal has discovered. A wetland determination helps producers know where wetlands are located so they can make plans to tile, or drain, an area without losing eligibility to participate in federal farm programs. With more than 2,400 requests for certified wetland determinations this year alone,

in addition to previously filed requests, the current backlog is 3,388, according to NRCS data. Some requests date as far back as 2011. The NRCS is a part of the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Wetland drainage, or tiling, is the process of removing excess water from soil. The number of wetland determination requests has increased in recent years, records indicate. Since 2007, when the NRCS began tracking requests in South Dakota, the number has steadily climbed. The number peaked in South Dakota in 2012, when farmers filed 3,597. As of mid-Octo-

With more than 2,400 requests for certified wetland determinations this year alone, in addition to previously filed requests, the current backlog is 3,388, according to NRCS data. Some requests date as far back as 2011. The NRCS is a part of the U.S. Department of Agriculture. ber this year, determinations requests had fallen to 2,440. The NRCS has been able to complete 2,242. The increase in requests goes beyond South Dakota. A record number were filed in 2012 throughout the Midwest, when Minnesota received 11,926, more than those made in North Dakota, South Dakota, Wisconsin and Illinois combined. Despite the high

volume of requests that year, Minnesota was able to complete 8,662. But South Dakota now leads the region in unprocessed or backlogged requests. As of Sept. 1, South Dakota had more unfulfilled wetland determination requests than any other state in the Midwest. Minnesota had 2,834 and North Dakota had 1,203 unprocessed requests.

“It would take us a year to a year and a half to work through the backlog, with no new requests coming in,” according to Gerald Jasmer, state resource conservationist for NRCS. Due to staff reductions and ongoing budgetary restrictions, the NRCS has struggled to address the backlog. Although Jasmer’s office was given additional federal funding in 2012, they did not receive the same funding for 2013. In addition, Jasmer said wetland determinations are not the top priority for his office. “The core mission of the NRCS is to help people do volun-

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frustration among land- tillable acres,” Norton owners. “Farmers want explained. to follow the rules,” said Other factors for the Lisa Richardson, execu- increased number of tive director of the South requests include eroding Dakota Corn Growers. federal wetland protec“They just need to know tions and an extended what the rules wet period, are.” according to The rules to “Although gover nment which Richardson their affairs reprerefers are the con- involvement sentative Eric servation comLindstrom pliance require- has helped, of Ducks ments farmers we don’t Unlimited. “It must meet in just rubber has been wet order to continue in the last to participate in stamp few years,” USDA farm pro- what the Lindstrom grams. In order consultant said. to participate in Lindstrom such programs, provides,” expressed Gerald Jasmer, concern over farmers need updated wetland state resource the increased d e t e r m i n a t i o n conservationist r e q u e s t s . maps, Richardson “Some of for NRCS this seems a explained. With advances little shortin technology sighted,” he and agriculture said, noting commodity prices hit- the cycles of drought ting record levels over and deluge the Dakotas the past five years, the have historically gone number of determina- through. tion requests isn’t that According to the surprising, said Mark U S DA’ s Natural Norton, the hunting Resources Conservation access and Farm Bill Service, 54 percent of all coordinator for the wetlands in the United South Dakota Game, Fish States had been drained and Parks Department. or filled for developmen“Farmers are trying to tal or agricultural purmake the most of their poses by 1984.



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tary conservation work on their lands,” Jasmer said. Such work includes providing assistance to producers interested in improving crop rotation or determining proper locations for water development on their land. Jasmer remains optimistic his office can work through the backlog. He cited technological advances such as aerial photography, which allow the NRCS to continue to process requests during the winter, although the job becomes more difficult as snow covers landbased signatures. Along with aerial technology, the South Dakota office has begun using outside consultants to help expedite the process, Jasmer added. Private consultants processed 500 requests last year alone, he explained, helping reduce the number of pending requests. “Although their involvement has helped,” Jasmer said, “we don’t just rubber stamp what the consultant provides.” Even with the addition of outside consultants, as the number of backlogged requests continues to climb, so too has


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Lack of farm bill prolongs angst for ranchers WASHINGTON (AP) — South Dakota rancher Alan Rislov didn’t inherit a farm or any livestock of his own, but he grew up wanting to be a rancher. For nearly 20 years, beginning in high school, he scraped and saved to build his own herd of cattle and calves. Then, in October, a devastating early blizzard killed about 30 percent of his cows and 20 percent of his calves – a loss of about $100,000. Rislov had hoped Washington would approve emergency payments for livestock producers, as it has in the past. But now that the U.S. House has left for its winter break without passing a new farm bill it’s clear that he and other ranchers who have taken an enormous hit won’t be getting relief until at least the new year. “This is probably the worst disaster ever as far as the cattle industry - this is one of the worst hits it’s ever taken,” said Rislov, of Philip. “And there’s absolutely nothing out there for people.” House and Senate negotiators insist they are close to an agreement in principle that would lead to the passage of a comprehensive, five-year farm bill early next year. That agreement

would include provisions offering disaster relief to ranchers like Rislov; both the House and Senate versions of the roughly $500 billion bill include them. South Dakota ranchers lost as many as 15,000 to 30,000 cattle during the blizzard that pounded the state and parts of North Dakota. This week the House passed an extension of the farm bill that would have continued some provisions into early 2013. But it did not contain livestock provisions and the Democratically controlled Senate has said it will not take up the bill, hoping to press forward for a longer term agreement. Members of South Dakota’s congressional delegation said they believe an agreement is close. “We are on track to pass a full, five-year Farm Bill that gives both consumers and producers the certainty they need,” said Rep. Kristi Noem, R-S.D. and a member of the committee trying to merge the two bills. Said Sen. John Thune, R-S.D., “I believe conferees are very close to settling even the most contentious issues.” But for South Dakota’s ranchers the protracted farm bill negotiations – as close to

In this Oct. 7, 2013 file photo, a dead cow lies in the snow along Highway 34 east of Sturgis, S.D., another casualty of the early October blizzard. The North Dakota Stockmen’s Association has begun accepting applications from ranchers seeking relief aid to help offset losses incurred during an early October blizzard. There is no official count of the number of dead cattle, but the Stockmen’s Association believes the number is more than 1,000.

AP Photo/Rapid City Journal, Kristina Barker, File

a conclusion as they may now be – are a source of immense frustration.

“Congress has frustrated me, period, whether the farm bill or whatever it is. I don’t have a lot

of respect for Congress whatever it is,” said Chuck O’Connor, a rancher in Philip.

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Conserving memories The photo at right shows the Civilian Conservation Corps camp on Farm Island. At top, Art Baumberger is seen in the foreground of a group of CCC boys. May 18, 1933, was the day that the first Civilian Conservation Corps camp was established in South Dakota. The camp at Farm Island started in June 1933. Art was there from April 18, 1935, to July 14, 1937. Courtesy of hazel BaumBerger

of the CCC camps

Pierre woman shares her link to Civilian Conservation Corps By JUStin Joiner

It’s dance night. Up at Okobojo, north of Pierre, men and women are clumping and swishing their way across the boards when two men enter the hall, right in front of a girl named Hazel.

She looks one of them in the face and sees a part of her life story waiting to be written – with a young man from the Farm Island Civilian Conservation Corps regiment from down the river by Pierre. “My cousin and I were sitting on a bench and I just thought I would never see anybody I would want to live with and I



said to Eva, ‘I see the guy I’m going to marry,’” she said. “I knew right then. I didn’t know his name. I didn’t know where in the devil he was from. I didn’t know nothing.” Except maybe the future. But after that encounter she didn’t see him again for months. “I even forgot his name,” she said. Then after moving to Pierre, she saw him across the street one day – a tall man with dark hair and a strong face. That was Art Baumberger from McIntosh. That was the start of a long good chapter together. That was how it all began 78 years ago with a young man from the CCC camp. “He didn’t get away from me,” she said.

History of the Corps America was facing a crisis on multiple fronts

in the 1930s. George Rawick, an academic of the time, figured that in 1932, about 25 percent of people between the ages of 15 and 24 were unemployed and an additional 29 percent worked part-time only. “Bewildered, sometimes angry, but more often hopeless and apathetic, they were a generation already deeply scarred,” a history of the CCC on the National Park Service website says. “The government could no longer afford to ignore their plight.” But employment wasn’t the nation’s only challenge. The country struggled with issues such as dwindling forests that pushed conservation to the forefront. “Moreover, wanton forest destruction had compounded the crucial problem of soil erosion. Each year water washed three billion tons of the best soil away from American fields and pastures, and

Hazel Baumberger points out her husband, Art, on a historical marker on Farm Island.

Courtesy of Hazel Baumberger


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Art Baumberger poses between two other CCC boys on Farm Island in 1937. At center, Hazel stand with Alice and Larry Venner at a sign on Farm Island. At top right, the CCC camp at Farm Island is shown.

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wind accounted for a like amount,” the NPS history says. “Indeed, by 1934, more than 300,000,000 acres – a sixth of the continent – had gone, or was going. Deserts of dust were replacing the grasslands of the Great Plains, the once verdant Texas hills had become stunted tufts, as erosion galloped through the land.” In 1933, Franklin Delano Roosevelt made his move for a nationwide work relief program. That’s not to say FDR was the first one to have the idea for a work-relief program. Relief work in forests had already started on a small scale in various parts of the United States before

Roosevelt was elected. “In both California and Washington, for example, the Forest Service cooperated with state and county officials in running subsistence camps for the unemployed in forest areas,” the NPS history says. “The local authorities clothed and fed the men, while the Forest Service sheltered them and directed the work. Similar schemes were being operated or at least planned in other parts of the country, and Roosevelt was aware of most of them.” And there were similar programs operated overseas. After a battle in Congress, the president signed the measure into

law on March 31. The plan called for creation of a work relief program that would put hundreds of thousands of men ages 18-25 to work across America planting trees, building roadways and working on soil conservation. The men would be paid $30 a month with $25 sent home to their families. The enrollees were single men with no jobs and no opportunities for work. In the CCC camps they received food, clothing, medical and dental care. Typical camps included a mess hall, recreation center, library, infirmary, repair shop, bakery, church and more. “Art said they had plenty to eat and a good

place to sleep,” Hazel said. Peggy Sanders, a South Dakota author who has focused heavily on the CCC’s involvement in the state, said the average CCC member gained 10 to 15 pounds during his tenure due to gains in muscle mass because of the work and food. The workers were taught trades such as welding, wood working or auto mechanics. They stayed at the CCC camps for six months, with chances to re-enlist. There was also an opportunity for the men to take educational classes in the evenings. “The educational advisor’s job was to ascertain the enrollee’s inter-

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24 | Land & Livestock | December 19, 2013

ests then try to match them with challenges to improve,” Sanders said. Depending on the camp, classes included typing, auto mechanics, first aid, agriculture and chorus. The camps also offered a variety of recreational activities, such as basketball, boxing, volleyball and baseball, with some camps even challenging town teams or individuals to a match. The Farm Island CCC camp was one of 70-80 in the state, according to the Go Dakota map of the CCC sites in the state. The first camp in South Dakota, F-3, Este, near Nemo, started on May 18, 1933. “It is the only South Dakota camp that was open during the entire nine-year period,” Sanders said in an email. Many camps were established in the Black Hills, but as drought continued, more camps sprang up in the eastern part of the state. “The majority of men were from South Dakota,” Sanders said. “Generally when men came from other states they filled a camp (200 men) and came as a group. States that sent men to South Dakota included North Dakota, Nebraska and Arkansas.” At the start of the program, people in South Dakota were skeptical of the CCC men, but after they got to know the men, or “boys” as they were called, relationships formed, Sanders said. “As with any group there were outsiders who never did fit in but most were welcomed into the communities,” she said. The camp at Farm Island opened in June 1933. Robert Hipple, a former publisher of the Capital Journal, said in 1990 in a Capital Journal article that it was his suggestion that prompted the CCC to develop the island into a park. The first company of men to arrive at

Hazel Baumberger stands behind another historical sign on Farm Island that shows the crew and some of the barracks at the CCC camp.

Courtesy of Hazel Baumberger

Farm Island included more than 200 African Americans. Workers began by clearing brush and dead trees. Then they turned to creation of the causeway, which was completed in October 1934. As companies came and went from Farm Island, Art’s turn at the area arrived on April 18, 1935. He served as a truck driver during a time when the CCC worked on improving the road east of Pierre and building the American Legion Cabin at the base of Pierre Street, according to notes provided by Hazel.

Pierre was one of the stops Roosevelt made during his tour of the Midwest CCC camps. A 20-car motorcade drove through streets packed with cheering people to visit the Governor’s Mansion and the CCC camp at Farm Island. More than 31,000 South Dakotans served in the state’s CCC camps.

Life after the Corps Hazel was right. Art never did get away from her again. After dating for about two years, the couple was married on New Year’s Eve of 1938.

The need for the Corps indicated how tough times were then. The two lived in a one-room home, but they managed to piece together a living. Family helped. Hazel’s father gave them a sow and Art’s mother gave them a cow. Art initially worked for a neighbor farmer for $1 a day for some years. With a little trucking on the side, they eventually started buying the land that Hazel still owns today. Thanks to the kindness of a judge Art was able to farm some land with equipment given to him.

Life was good in Sully County. Hazel said she always had enough to eat, was able to travel and had friends. But their life together wasn’t to last. In 1967, Art had a heart attack. Hazel never remarried. “I never got over him,” she said. But that wasn’t the end of her happy life, she said. She still had a tight-knit family and even into her 90s is still traveling. A year ago, she was given a motorcycle ride by her nephew Thad Smith up and down Main Street during the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally. Hazel will be 98 on

Jan. 29 and is still very active. She now lives in Pierre and has for the past 27 years.

More on the CCC The C iv i l i a n Conservation Corps Museum of South Dakota is located inside the Hill City Visitors Center which is open the same hours as the Hill City Chamber of Commerce. “The Civilian Conservation Corps In and Around the Black Hills,” a vintage photo history book was written by South Dakota author Peggy Sanders who can be reached through

Colo. county’s small dairies struggle to survive Because of the unique challenges of the dairy business, the landscape of the industry as a whole has changed dramatically over the years, with fewer and fewer operations handling more and more of the milk production. And many of the smaller players – like Ellzey and others – have lost their place along the way. When the most recent comprehensive U.S. Census of Agriculture was released in 2007, it showed that from 1987 to 2007 the number of farms and beef-cattle operations in Weld County had actually increased, and the average size of the operations had shrunk. But dairies in Weld County – a top-20 milk producer nationally, and the state’s leader – had fallen in numbers from 278 to 97,

while the average size of the dairy during that time increased more than fourfold, going from 136.9 cows per operation to 719.4. Up-to-date numbers are limited. The 2013 Colorado Agricultural Statistics publication doesn’t include a breakdown by county of the number of dairies or average herd size, and the next U.S. Census of Agriculture – based on 2012 figures – won’t be released until next year. But local milk producers aren’t expecting new numbers to reflect any reversal of dairy consolidation. Locally, an exacerbation of the trend is more likely, many say, with population growth in northern Colorado straining resources – increasing the demand and price for land and water.


GREELEY, Colo. (AP) — The cattle at Gege Ellzey’s family dairy are said to be part of a bloodline that can be traced back to the livestock that hauled her ancestors West in covered wagons. Those are things she tries not to think about as she sees the animals leave the property to go to other milking operations, which she’s had to do in recent weeks after the family decided to stop fighting the many challenges of running a small dairy and closed it. The general claim that there’s limited opportunity for small producers in agriculture has been proved wrong in many ways in Weld County, but it certainly holds water – or milk – when it comes to one of the largest contributors to the local ag economy.


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December 19, 2013 | Land & Livestock | 25

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SDSU students lift spirits for rancher relief fund grew up on a hog farm near Dundee, Minn., Bartosh was one of a small group of students who, in the midst of exams, made time to organize a benefit banquet Nov. 22 that raised more than $12,000 for the Rancher Relief Fund. “For many of us, the storm hit close to home. I can just imagine how difficult it would be to go through something like this. You’re out there working everyday for what you have, and then one


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day a storm comes along and you lose it,” said Ben Stout, SDSU Students Association President. “Even if we weren’t directly impacted, most students knew someone who was. We just wanted to help out.” A few days after the storm Stout and Bartosh met to work on a class project. Their focus was quickly redirected to the storm and discussing what they could do to help. As they visited, Drew Kraft, a friend of Bartosh’s joined the conversation. Within days, the three students had administration’s approval to organize a benefit banquet. “It’s the type of thing that is done in the rural communities when hard times hit. You get together and have a benefit dinner to show your support for a common cause,” Stout said. The fact that her peers cared enough to organize an event of this size meant a lot to Kammerer. “I am so grateful. They didn’t know the extent of it, but they were willing to step up and do what they could to help,” Kammerer said. With only six weeks to plan, the students recruited friends to help and together they canvassed campus, visiting classes and clubs to promote the

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Three SDSU students organized a benefit banquet that raised more than $12,000 for the Rancher Relief Fund. Pictured from left are: Ben Stout, SDSU students association president; Loretta Bartosh, agriculture education major, and Drew Kraft, agriculture economics and mathematics major. Courtesy of SDSU Extension

event. They sold more than 450 tickets, secured speakers and student volunteers. “In the days leading up to the banquet, I thought it would be a success if we raised $1,000,” said Kraft, an Agriculture Economics and Mathematics senior who plans to return to his family’s Wessington Springs ranch when he graduates. Like many of his peers, Kraft was eager to help organize the banquet because on his own he could barely afford to donate $100, but knew that if the banquet was successful, he would be a part of contributing more than money to those in need.

“We were just a couple of ag kids who decided to get together and do something positive for our friends who lost so much,” Kraft said. Entirely studentorganized, the banquet was a success, raising more than $12,000 for the Rancher Relief Fund. Banquet speakers included; University President, David Chicoine; Dean of the College of Agriculture and Biological Sciences and Director of SDSU Extension, Barry Dunn; Jim Woster and rancher, Jimmie Kammerer who operates a cow/calf operation along the Belle Fourche River with her husband, Riley.

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Each time she took a call from home the reports got worse. The emotional impact the storm had on Kammerer didn’t escape her roommate, Loretta Bartosh. “It was really tough for me to see what she was going through because we’ve been roommates and friends since our freshman year. I wanted to do something to help her,” said Bartosh. An Agriculture Education major who

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Brookings, S.D. — When Winter Storm Atlas hit her family’s north Rapid City ranch killing cattle and the 5-year-old mare she had trained since she was a colt, Amanda Kammerer wasn’t home to help. The Animal Science major and South Dakota State University student was on campus in Brookings feeling quite helpless. “I was devastated. I’ve always been really involved in my family’s ranch,” Kammerer explained.

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Upper Midwest farmers ponder crop rotations

In this Oct. 1, 2013, file photo, corn flows from a combine into a grain wagon as harvest workers move through a cornfield on a farm in Aberdeen, S.D. South Dakota farmers are nearly finished with the corn and soybean harvest.

aP Photo/aBerDeen ameriCan neWs, john Davis, file

Other benefits identified by the study • Synthetic nitrogen use reduced by 80 to 86 percent. • Effective weed control with 88 percent less herbicide. • Herbicide-related freshwater toxicity 200 times lower after nine years. • Improving overall yields. soybean prices, combined with new corn varieties suitable for the Northern Plains, have led some farmers to bump small grains from their rotation

and go with just corn and beans. There aren’t reliable statistics of how many acres are in a corn-soybean rotation, but Joel Ransom, North Dakota State University Extension Service small grains and corn agronomist, estimates the number in North Dakota may have doubled in the past five years. Advocates of the cornsoybean rotation say they can make more money with just two crops without sacrificing soil health. Others, including some experts familiar with corn-soybean rotations in the Corn Belt, say rotating three or more crops makes a lot of sense.

“There’s nothing wrong with corn and soybeans. It works. But any time you can keep diversity, it’s a good thing,” says Joe Lauer, University of Wisconsin-Madison agronomist who has worked with a number of producers who raise only corn and soybeans. Matt Leibman, an agronomy professor at Iowa State University and its Wallace Chair for Sustainable Agriculture, says a growing amount of research identifies benefits of rotating three or more crops. The advantages include: • Spreading out the work load. Small grains are planted and harvest-

ed at different times than corn and soybeans. • Improving risk management. Having a variety of crops can reduce the overall damage from a stretch of bad weather. • Potentially reducing input costs. • Managing herbicide resistance in weed management. “Long rotations can give you an outstanding means of addressing weed management,” Leibman says. • Enhancing soil health and reducing danger from crop disease and insects. “The more you can keep different crops in a rotation, the better off you are. When you get to a monoculture, which is continuous corn or

even corn and soybeans, there’s more and more pressure on the cropping systems. Bugs and critters will evolve to deal with that,” Lauer says. Continuous corn is planting corn on the same field year after year. “A corn-soybean rotation certainly works. But our data shows, whenever you have three or more crops in a rotation, it benefits all the crops in that rotation,” Lauer says. Adding a third crop such as wheat can raise yields of corn and soybeans in the years the latter two are grown. The question is, however, whether those additional yields produce enough income to offset lower income in the year in which the third, lessprofitable crop is raised. For instance, a cornsoybean rotation is increasingly popular in southeast North Dakota, where Schott farms. That reflects the relative price and profitability of corn, wheat and soybeans. Going into the 2013 growing season, NDSU projected that farmers in southeast North Dakota would achieve a return of $196.69 per acre with corn, with soybeans returning $143.98 per acre and wheat returning $108.75. The numbers were only projections and, in any case, will change substantially in the 2014 growing season. But they indicate why a rotation of corn and soybeans can be more attractive financially than one with wheat, corn and soybeans. Corn prices have slumped, which, on the surface, would seem to limit interest in a cornsoybean rotation. But other commodity prices have dropped, too. That increases the difficulty of turning a profit in 2014, creating more incentive to plant the most-profitable crops, experts say.

December 19, 2013 | Land & Livestock | 27

GRAND FORKS, N.D. (AP) — In 2012, for the first time, Kulm farmer Bart Schott grew only corn and soybeans on his family farm. He had raised spring wheat, too, but he and his son, Andy, decided to focus on moreprofitable corn and beans. “We jumped into it with the thought of staying in, and we haven’t looked back,” Bart Schott, a former president of the National Corn Growers Association, says of the corn-soybean rotation. While there are advantages to rotating three crops, Schott tells Agweek, farmers need to ask themselves, “How much of that third crop can we raise and still keep the farm profitable?” In contrast, Mike Faught, an Absaraka farmer who raises wheat, corn and soybeans, says he’s sticking with a threecrop rotation. “There are advantages to the third crop,” he says. “It isn’t just dollars per bushel and bushels per acre. There’s a lot going on behind the surface.” The decision that Schott and Faught already have made is one that many farmers across the Upper Midwest continue to ponder this winter. Go with the obvious financial advantages of a two-crop rotation? Or stick with the sometimessubtle benefits of three or more crops? In a corn-soybean rotation, a farmer rotates the two crops annually over a two-year period. In a three-crop rotation, a farmer rotates three crops annually over a three-year period. Typically, in much of the Upper Midwest, wheat or another small grain is the third crop in a rotation with corn and soybeans. A rotation of only corn and soybeans, a staple of the Corn Belt for decades, is increasingly common in the Upper Midwest, too. Attractive corn and

Advocating for agriculture means using social media ... and making an urban audience smile By Lance Nixon

28 | Land & Livestock | December 19, 2013

A couple of years ago, the word that something had gone viral would probably have meant bad news on the farm near Assaria, Kan., where brothers Greg, Nathan and Kendal Peterson help their parents background just over a thousand head of beef cattle. Now it simply means their latest music video is another hit. And that’s a big win for agriculture. The Peterson Farm Bros – 22-year-old Greg, 20-yearold Nathan and 17-year-old Kendal – have become social media sensations after posting a YouTube video in June 2012 that parodied a hit song, “I’m sexy and I know it,” with lyrics and images more fitting to the middle of Kansas: “I’m farming and I grow it.” Greg Peterson spoke to the Young Producer Council group at this week’s 65th Annual Convention and Trade Show of the South Dakota Cattlemen’s Association in Pierre on Wednesday to explain how that video and a few others – five so far – came to be. He also offered tips about how to act as advocates for agriculture, telling the audience that if farmers don’t tell their story, then someone else will. That was what was behind that first video, which shows the Peterson brothers clowning around, but performing authentic farm activities such as feeding the cattle and combining wheat. “Even in Kansas, a very rural agricultural state like South Dakota, people don’t know what goes on on a farm,” Peterson said. “The intended audience was my friends, a couple hundred people.” But Peterson happened to be an agricultural communications major at Kansas State University so he had been thinking about the possibilities of social media. “We were challenged to find new way to advocate agricul-

Greg Peterson of Peterson Farm Bros spoke to people at the South Dakota Cattlemen’s Association convention in Pierre on Wednesday. The Peterson brothers have become a social media sensation with their playful parodies that nevertheless offer real insights about the kinds of things farmers do to produce food, fiber and fuel.

Lance Nixon/Land & Livestock

At left is a still image of the Peterson Farm Bros YouTube video “Chore.” Courtesy image

ture,” he said. And as he noticed the popularity of YouTube music videos, Peterson – who is also deeply into music – decided to write a music parody of a popular song. Peterson said his method has been to deliberately pick songs that are more likely to be popular with urban audiences because those are the people he wants to reach. Too often people in agriculture end up preaching to the choir, he said. After he had a lyric, he and his brothers recorded the music. Then they put their sister, Laura, then 12, behind a tripod equipped with a smart phone shooting video, and set to work filming. He edited the video on iMovie and used GarageBand for the audio. “It was all done on my MacBook computer in my room,” Peterson said. In his wildest dreams, Peterson said, he imagined that 50,000 people might eventually watch the video. Instead, 20,000

had watched it by the second day after it was posted. And a few days later, Fox News was asking the brothers for a studio interview, the Associated Press and Yahoo News were jumping on it and so were the Kansas media and ag publications. One nice consequence of all that media attention has been that it’s given the Peterson Brothers attention for their subsequent parodies: “Farmer Style,” “Bale,” “A Fresh Breath of Farm Air” and “Chore.” And about those 50,000 viewers he once hoped to reach? The Peterson Farm Bros have had 14.8 million views of “Farmer Style” alone. So far the videos collectively have drawn about 28 million hits – from 302 countries. The nice thing about the attention the videos have received, Peterson said, is that it has put him in touch with farmers around the world and made him realize that the culture of farming – the occupa-

tion that feeds the world – transcends national boundaries. “People send us pictures on our Facebook page and say, ‘This is my farm in Australia,’ or ‘This is my farm in Germany,’” Peterson said. “We’re all on the same team. We’re all trying to accomplish the same thing.” Peterson said the advantage of social media is that it can allow someone to talk to many people at once. But he said producers who aren’t into social media shouldn’t worry, as that doesn’t disqualify them from being advocates for agriculture. “Personal conversations have the deepest impact,” he said. “It doesn’t matter if you’re talking to one person or a thousand.” Peterson added parodies aren’t the only way to advocate for agriculture, and he said that South Dakota families have a great story to tell right now about the devastation and the recovery from winter storm Atlas. “That’s how you can advo-

cate agriculture, just tell your story,” he said. And, Peterson notes, the Peterson Farm Bros video released just this week – “Chore,” a parody of the Katy Perry song “Roar” – has a special tie to South Dakota. The video closes with an image of a cowboy beside his horse kneeling at a cross, on which are superimposed the words, “Prayers for South Dakota.” That part of the video also shows the text from some words from the song, “It can hold me down, but I’ll get up, a true farmer will NEVER give up!” Also on the screen are the words, “Dedicated to the farmers and ranchers of South Dakota who lost entire cattle herds to the unexpected Winter Storm Atlas.” “Chore” was published on Dec. 9 and by Dec. 11, as Land & Livestock was writing this story, the video already had more than 199,000 views.



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From All of Us at Titan Machinery we want to thank our Customers and Friends for a year of prosperity and we look forward to serving you in 2014.

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December 19, 2013 | Land & Livestock | 31

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Special pricing

on Twine & neT wrap

versatile 1-305 MFWD, front and Rear duals, Powershift, front weights 1-485 4wd, 800 metrics, powershift, weights 1-250 MFWD, Ultra steer, 16.9R28/18.4X42 Duals, shuttle shift and loader 1 - 450 Versatile, 4wd, 800 metrics, power shift, PTO, HID lights MccorMick 1-XtX145 MFWD, shuttle shift, 3 remotes 1-MtX135 MFWD, shuttle shift, 3 remotes 2-MtX120 MFWD, shuttle shift, 3 remotes 1-MC130 MFWD, 95PtoHP, shuttle shift 2-MTX150, MFWD, shuttle, 3 remotes 1-XTX165, MFWD, shuttle, 3 remotes used tractors 1-946 Versatile, 4wd, 2300 hrs, 20.8 x 42 duals, one owner tractor $57,500 1-846 Versatile, 4wd, 18.4x42 duals, 90%, 3pt & Pto, 6000 Hrs, very nice $47,500 1-875 Versatile, 4wd, 20.8x42 duals, 65%, Good tractor $19,500 1-NHTV6070 Bi-Di, loaded, 1500 Hrs, $98,800 1-NHTV145, Bi-Di, loaded, 4800 Hrs, $71,000 1-JD8430 4wd, 18.4X34 Duals, PTO, 8800 Hrs, 400 on new engine $16,500 1-NHTM190, MFWD, 3400 Hrs, Loader, excellent $76,500 1-Farm Pro 4020, MFWD 40 PTO HP, Koyker loader, one remote, 110 Hrs, $14,000 new haying 2-Macdon a30d 18’ hydroswing 1-Macdon a30d 16’ hydroswing used haying 1-Macdon A30d 18’ Hydroswing, one Season $21,500 1-Hesston 6600 Swather with 14’ Hay head, Cab & air, very good machine $6000 1- Bf2330 Pushframe with 2300 series 16’ header tV140 hookup, new guards & sickles $9500 1-Macdon a30d 16’ Hydroswing, one season $21,500 1-HB25 Honeybee draper Header with tV145 3pt hookup, has built in trailer, very nice shape $16,500 1-Gehl 1075 with 3 row 30” Head, extra pickup head, nice shape $14,500 6-NH1475 Hydroswings, 16’ & 18’ Heads, 2300 & HS heads 1-NH H7150 Hydroswing, 18’ one season 1-Bf2330 Pushframe with 18’ HS Head, tV145 hookup 1-NH 166 Inverter, duals, Good Shape new and used rakes Sitrex wheel Rakes-all Sizes on Hand 8-Sitrex wheel Rakes, all Sizes available 6-H&Swheel Rakes, all Sizes 1-Sitrex MK16, Hy-Capacity with new rake wheels, $9,750 new and used harrows 1-Summers 70’ Superharrow - new 2-degelman 70’ Harrows, with or withoutHydangle - new 1-Summers 70’ Superharrow Plus, with new teeth $22,500


used Balers 2-NH BR 7090, wide Pickup,endless Belts, 1000pto, 6000 Bales, Super Sharp, Your Choice, $22,750.00 2-NH BR 7090, Net wrap, wide Pickup, Endless belts, 1000pto, 3500-5100 Bales, Starting at $23,500.00 2-NH 688 Starting at $7,500.00 4 NH BR780 Starting at $8,000.00 4-NH BR780a Starting at $9,500.00 3-NH BR7090 Starting at $18,500.00 new and used grain augers and grain vacs Westfield Farm King, Harvest International,brand Grain augers all Sizes, over 30 In Stock New Brandt and Rem Vacs on Hand 2-Brandt 1545 LP Sp Conveyors - New Call for price Westfield, Farmking, Brandt, Harvest International - All Sizes, Brandt and Rem Vacs on Hand 1-Westfield MK13X71 low-pro hopper, excellent $10,500 1-Westfield 8X36 auger with 13HP Honda, like new, $4,650 new and used grain carts and farMing New J&M and Killbros Grain Carts Coming In daily Call for Pricing and options J&M, Killbros and Unverferth - all Sizes available 1-Brent 1080, tarp & scale, excellent, green, $34,500 1-JD 9350 disk drill 30’ with fertilizer and small seed attachments, wrap around hitch $2,950 1-JD 1850, 42’ x 7.5” with TBT 787 cart, many updates, very nice $54,500 1–JD 7200, 12 row, 22” corn planter, row cleaners, liquid fertilizer, field ready, max-emerge 3 row units $23,500 other equipMent Meyers Manure Spreaders - on Hand Landoll Icon 1632 Pull type Graders Landoll disks and tillage Equipment Great Plains drills MdS attachments Koyker Loaders Sioux Grain Bins and Livestock Equipment Sturde Livestock Equipment Besler Bale Beds Load-Max trailers Steel and wood fencing Material on Hand Supersteel windbreak 16’ and 24’ on hand twine and Net wrap

the newest sUnFLOweR hybRid isn’t seed at aLL. The newest hybrid merges SEEDS 2000 and Nuseed to bring you the ‘best of both worlds’ through research, genetics, field level knowledge and service…the Field Forward Thinking you expect for your farm.

hay processors / feed wagons 4-Haybuster 2650 3-Haybuster 2655 1-Haybuster H1130 Hay Grinder 1-Used Haybuster H1100, 2008 Model, Great Shape $36,500 feedwagons, Mixers New Sioux automation Stndard and Verticle Mixers

we carry a coMplete line of parts with a quality service departMent

Let a nuseed territory Manager help you increase results, call 888-786-7333 or contact your authorized nuseed dealer.


32 | Land & Livestock | December 19, 2013

Call Us For All Your New & Used Equipment Isabel 605-466-2119 • Monte Lindskov 605-848-1066 Mobridge 605-845-5400 • Phalan Schilling 605-848-1344

© 2013 Nuseed is a Registered Trademark of Nufarm Australia Ltd.

Land & Livestock December 2013  
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