I’m always looking for ideas on how to make money on the farm. At the recent South Dakota Ag Summit, I heard about four:
- Feeding beef cattle. South Dakota produced about 1.69 million beef calves last year, but only had 310,000 head on feed. There is clearly an opportunity to use more of the grain that grown in the state to feed cattle, said Lucas Lentsch, South Dakota secretary of agriculture. Don’t have enough cash to buy cattle? Custom feed.
- Milking dairy cows. In the past nine months, permits were issued to put 20,000 more dairy cows on existing and new farms in South Dakota. Export demand is surging and South Dakota is a prime location for dairy expansion. The state has the feed, water and processing that dairies need, Lentsch said. The I-29 Corridor is especially well suited for dairy production.
- Growing and exporting livestock feed. China and other Asian countries are hot markets. They’re trying to increase meat supplies for their growing middle class. Exports of feedstuffs ranging from alfalfa to soybean meal are expected to grow significantly.
- Producing pork. Again, China and Asian are behind the increased demand. The South Dakota Department of Agriculture has been working with counties to identify suitable sites for modern swine facilities. Check with your county or SDDA to find out if there are any sites and willing landowners in your area.