SDSU publication addresses livestock expansion

SDSU publication addresses livestock expansion A new publication from South Dakota State University provides science-based answers to questions about livestock expansion.

The eight-page tabloid, "Livestock Development in South Dakota," is free at county Extension offices. Or find it online at

Chuck McMullen, interim dean of SDSU's College of Agriculture and Biological Sciences, said it's part of SDSU's land-grant mission to bring science to bear on agricultural topics crucial to the state.

"We are the source of objective, science-based information on these issues, whether we're talking about water and air quality, nutrient management, or the economics of livestock expansion," McMullen said. "It's part of our task to equip citizens and local leaders with the objective information they need to make informed decisions."

Kevin Kephart, director of the South Dakota Agricultural Experiment Station, said the Experiment Station and the SDSU Cooperative Extension Service worked together to produce the publication because of the complicated livestock issues facing South Dakota. Community leaders and decision makers need answers based on sound science as they wrestle with the complexities of animal agriculture.

"Livestock production, using livestock as a means of adding value to the crops that we produce, represents the heart of our economy," Kephart said. "Right now many feel that the opportunities that are there include expansion of that livestock industry so that we're no longer exporting the feedstuffs that we produce in the form of corn and soybean meal and alfalfa hay. We produce all of those in excellent quality. This is about opportunity, and it's about utilization of the state's resources."

Feeding those products to animals in South Dakota gives producers the chance to add value to converting those feedstuffs to milk products, beef, pork, and lamb.

But Kephart added that as livestock industries expand, local decision makers and the public will have legitimate questions about issues such as water quality, odor, nutrient management, and economic impact. "Livestock Development in South Dakota" will try to provide science-based answers to questions in those areas. "We may well be coming out with other tabloids in the future as the public discussions ensue," Kephart said.

Jerry Warmann, director for the South Dakota Cooperative Extension Service, added that SDSU Extension already has publications addressing livestock issues and will publish others as needs arise.

"All citizens need access to objective information as important issues are discussed in informal settings or as they read about the many viewpoints surrounding a particular public issue," Warmann said. "Information enriches the public and personal discussion of any issue. SDSU should be involved in developing and distributing objective information which people can use as they analyze issues."

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