• Lon Tonneson

    How Chicken Beat Beef And Pork

    Inside Dakota Ag

     by Lon Tonneson
     on March 6, 2014

    I just can’t seem to get the book about Tyson Foods out of my head. “The Meat Racket – the Secret Takeover of America’s Food Business,” is an anecdote-filled book by agribusiness reporter Christopher Leonard about the evils of contract chicken and hog farming. I’m not really buying the premise. There are plenty of local examples of younger farmers enjoying success with the newer, more fair methods of contract growing today. But I’m captivated with…

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  • Lon Tonneson

    Checking Out A New Beef Barn

    Inside Dakota Ag

     by Lon Tonneson
     on October 24, 2013

    Folks were in a good mood as they toured a new beef barn built built by John and Brenda Reisch and Jason Feldhoaus, Howard, S.D. The trio (Jason is John’s cousin) had just completed a 70- x 294-foot three-sided fabric covered hoop barn that they plan to finish cattle in. About 200 people were expected for open house. Some were neighbors -- who had been watching the gravel and cement trucks roll into the farm for weeks and came to see what the finished building looked…

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  • Lon Tonneson

    Stories From the Storm

    Inside Dakota Ag

     by Lon Tonneson
     on October 17, 2013

    The western South Dakota blizzard that killed tens of thousands of head of livestock was truly devastating. But numbers don’t tell the whole story. I was moved most by what ranchers wrote and said about what they found on the Plains when the blizzard broke. They are alive: Jessica Bean, Summerset, S.D., wrote, “My parents found a drift that had covered who knows how many ewes and lambs. ‘You guys need to come here,’ my Mom said when she called, clearly distressed…

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  • Lon Tonneson

    Blizzard Takes Toll On Cattle

    Inside Dakota Ag

     by Lon Tonneson
     on October 8, 2013

    The loss of thousands of cattle in the blizzard that covered western South Dakota last week with as much as 4 feet of snow is a tough deal. I’ve read that some ranchers in the hardest hit area of the Black Hills lost half their animals. Out on the Plains, losses are said to be running 10-20%. The cows and calves that survived the storm aren’t completely out of the woods, either. The risk that they’ll come down with respiratory infections in the next two weeks…

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  • Lon Tonneson

    Beef Is What's For Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

    Inside Dakota Ag

     by Lon Tonneson
     on September 18, 2013

    If you like eating beef, there’s a restaurant in South Dakota that you should make a point of visiting. D&K Outpost, of Highmore, S.D., was recently recognized by the South Dakota Beef Industry Council with its Prime Promoters award. Owned and managed by Karen and Greg Swenson, D&K Outpost is best known for its prime rib entrée. In 2012, the restaurant sold approximately 3,600 pounds of ribeye, which is used for both the prime rib and ribeye steaks. It also…

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  • Lon Tonneson

    Fantastic Feedlot Tour

    Inside Dakota Ag

     by Lon Tonneson
     on June 19, 2013

    I just got back from the 11th annual North Dakota Feedlot Tour, hosted by the North Dakota Stockmen’s Association and the North Dakota Feeder Council. We saw four new beef feedlots in central North Dakota: Kline Simmental Ranch, Hurdsfield, N.D. Dockter Land and Cattle, Denhoff, N.D. Raugust Whitetail Ranch, Harvey, N.D. Heitman Feedlot, Harvey. N.D. Young producers are involved in all of the operations. Building new feedlots or expanding…

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  • Lon Tonneson

    Best Beef In North Dakota? Try Peacock Alley

    Inside Dakota Ag

     by Lon Tonneson
     on May 16, 2013

    How could I have not eaten at Peacock Alley yet? Peacock Alley American Grill and Bar, Bismarck, N.D., was named the Beef Innovator of the Year at the 2013 Cattle Industry Convention. This is a big deal. It’s a national award given to only one restaurant in the nation each year. The award recognizes a restaurant that does the best job innovating its menu and growing its business with beef. “Having a North Dakota restaurant win the Beef Innovator of the Year award is a…

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  • Lon Tonneson

    Forever Young

    Inside Dakota Ag

     by Lon Tonneson
     on November 7, 2011

    A tip of the hat to Lavern and Sue Koch, New Underwood, S.D. Both are in their 70s – but are 70 years young. The couple took a trip to Argentina and Brazil last year hosted by South Dakota State University. The trip was part of their commitment to never stop learning about how to make their ranch better. Over their 50+ years of marriage, they’ve attended as many pasture walks, grazing seminars and conferences as they could squeeze in their schedules, and they have done…

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  • Lon Tonneson

    Not Belly Deep In Mud

    Inside Dakota Ag

     by Lon Tonneson
     on June 22, 2011

    It was a perfect day for the North Dakota Stockmen’s Association Feedlot Tour -- cold, windy and raining heavily. More than 4 inches of rain fell across southeast North Dakota during the tour.   But in a hoop barn we visited, it was warm, calm and dry. The cattle were comfortable. We were comfortable. “This is the way to feed cattle,” said Kevin Schultz, of McLeod, N.D., who hosted a tour of the hoop barn that he and his brothers, Randy and Larry, built. For…

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  • Lon Tonneson

    Calving Season Success

    Inside Dakota Ag

     by Lon Tonneson
     on April 28, 2011

    A couple South Dakota farm families I visited on April 27 were busy finishing up a tough stretch of calving in wet, cool, muddy conditions. Mark and Joel Erickson, Langford, S.D.; Brian, Darren and Kurt Zuehlke, of Z-Co Farms, Britton, S.D., have spent much of April working round the clock. Both families have 350-450 cows to calve out. “It’s gone pretty well,” says Mark Erickson. “We haven’t lost many calves.” The story’s the same at the…

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