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US state looks to future of livestock production

By Nicholas Robinson , 07-Jan-2013

South Dakota looks to future of livestock production

US South Dakota Secretary of Agriculture Walt Bones has made plans for the next generation of livestock production in the state.

The plans are part of a major economic development plan for South Dakota, which aims to build on the state’s “competitive advantage” in the agriculture and livestock sectors.

Bones said: “Knowing that agriculture is the primary industry investing in our rural communities, we have an opportunity to set the stage for the next generation of livestock production in South Dakota. In human terms, it’s also a dialogue about the next generation of farmers and ranchers in our state.”

Long-term planning

Over the last 18 months, both the Governor of South Dakota and the South Dakota Department of Agriculture (SDDA) have engaged with the agriculture community and developed a Livestock Development Initiative. The initiative’s overall aim is to build communication and develop the state’s livestock sector. Bones explained that South Dakota can use its “progressive, forward-thinking” entrepreneurs to build the agri-business marketplace in the state.

“We’re continuing the conversation about the challenges and advantages South Dakota has to increase the number of livestock in our state,” he added.

Sites have already been gathered and developed within the state for the production of livestock, which the SDDA praised.

Meanwhile, the SDDA will also seek to provide training and resources for present and new livestock producers in the state as part of the initiative.

There will also be a focus on ways which the SDDA can “embrace” the local control of livestock development. Bones said: “We have listened to the concerns expressed by townships and counties. Their issues have been heard.

“Our livestock producers are held to a high standard. With abundant feed, water, affordable land, processing capabilities and a favourable business climate, we think there is no better place to be in livestock production. We look forward to helping our current and new livestock producers, and we appreciate the demand they create for our grains and forages.”

Currently agriculture is South Dakota’s main industry and generates around US$21bn annually and employs more than 80,000 locals. The SDDA has said that is hopes to further promote the industry as well as protect, preserve and improve it for the future.

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