South Dakota is home to a dynamic livestock industry.
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South Dakota ranks fifth nationally in sheep and wool production. And the industry is growing.
Everyone who works with animals tries their best to keep all animals alive. In turn, they also know there will always be normal mortality. Proper carcass disposal is crucial in preventing the spread of disease and protecting the environment.
Market volatility and disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic have left many producers searching for alternative strategies to market their livestock. Many have inquired about selling directly to consumers, which has generated many questions about meat inspection rules and regulations.
As dairymen and livestock caretakers, we are trying to optimize the performance of our livestock, whether it is producing milk or meat. Without knowing the quality of the feedstuff or forage we are feeding, it becomes difficult to balance a ration to ensure the animal is receiving the proper amounts of needed nutrients.
Forages are a very important part of the South Dakota livestock and cropping industries. Often, producers have difficulties finding enough forage for their herd or locating a fellow producer to buy, sell or rent forages and grazing acres too. South Dakota now has two widely-recognized, free resources to aid in these connections.
Given the recent havoc endured by producers in the upper mid-west by the spring blizzard or even prior flooding we are aware that many producers have incurred losses. There are several programs available through the Farm Service Agency (FSA) and the Natural Resources Conservation Service to help provide assistance.
The Livestock Indemnity Program (LIP) is designed to provide a payment to livestock owners or contract growers who experience excess livestock deaths due to adverse weather, including winter storms, floods, extreme cold and blizzards, eligible disease and eligible attacks.
Broadacre spraying of pastures is intended to reduce undesirable plants and increase grasses for livestock. This practice often results in unintended consequences, including damage and reduction of native forbs and reduced profitability. One approach to managing perceived “weedy” plants is incorporating different species of livestock into a grazing operation.