Ranchers share issues at the forefront of their industry during an R-CALF discussion at the Black Hills Stock Show

RAPID CITY, S.D.– In a lecture and town hall-style discussion on Tuesday, ranchers listened as representatives from the cattle industry spoke out about issues their community faces, as well as the importance of ranchers coming together to get state and federal attention.

Why is unity important in improving the cattle and agriculture industry?

According to South Dakota Stockgrowers Association Executive Director Doris Lauing, the more people speaking out brings attention to the problems ranchers face. And with the reintroduction of the Mandatory Country Of Origin Labeling (MCOOL) Bill in the Senate, along with the Farm Bill in the works for the Senate, Lauing is determined that there will be changes in the industries.

“This is a very important year because we want the government to hear us loud and clear,” Lauing said. “We need to help and we need to get those markets straightened out.”

Cattle Industry Markets

According to Regional Director for the South Dakota Stockgrowers Association Glen King, the cattle industry is one of the only industries where prices are not set for products being sold. People have to take what they get. “You work, and at the end of the year you hope you break even,” he added.

King stresses the importance of creating fair markets on cattle for ranchers to help ranchers make their living.

Maintaining Interest

According to King, money is the biggest factor in keeping and maintaining interest in the cattle and agriculture industries among Americans, and is also one of the biggest things keeping future ranchers from getting their start.

The ability for a young man to come home and work on his parent’s place, and the ability for a young man that can’t go to his parent’s place put to buy other ranches, that is the big concern,” he explained. “It is really hard for a young man to get started on his own without help.”

Younger Generations

On top of keeping and maintaining industry interest, getting younger generations interested in agriculture also proves to be a challenge, one that events like the stock show are taking on. The organizations represented explained to the crowd about the many programs they offer in schools, such as the Future Farmers of America (FFA) or 4-H clubs.

“I hope we can turn this into profitability and making a real life-changing thing for them,” one guest speaker said. “So they can do the things they love and still be profitable doing it.”

Categories: Local News, South Dakota News, Stock Show and Rodeo