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New feedlot gets bang for the buck

Gary Dvoracek and his sons, of Lake Andes, S.D., built a new beef feedlot this past summer.

Permitted for 999 head, the feedlot is divided into six equal-sized pens, each holding up to 166 head. A lagoon next to the feedlot catches runoff and serves as a settling pond. Dry manure is stored and used as fertilizer. The collected water is used to irrigate crops.

Six different agencies helped design or provided financing for the feedlot.

They included the Bon Homme County Extension Service and the Bon Homme County Conservation District, Natural Resources Conservation Service, Randall Resource Conservation and Development Association (RC&D), the South Dakota Department of Environment and Natural Resources, and the South Dakota Association of Conservation Districts.

Key Points

New feedlot improves operation and protects environment.

Six agencies were involved in design, construction and financing.

Combining grants and cost sharing leverages project funds.


“Some farmers hesitate to work with government officials because of all the rules involved,” Gary says. “The people who helped us were great. We had good dialogue, and we’re happy with the results. In talking to other farmers it seems there’s always something you’d do differently when you start working with the feedlot, but overall we did a good job of determining our needs.”

The Dvorceks did some of construction work themselves and received two grants and cost-sharing money to build the feedlot.

“By using these grants and programs, we’re able to get more bang for the buck and leverage dollars better for the producer, the community and the region, versus relying only on one funding and technical resource source,” says Jeff Stewart, coordinator of the Randall RC&D office.

Rocky Knippling, resource management specialist with the Lewis & Clark Watershed Implementation Project, says effective design is key to ensuring that water and other natural resources are protected and that the feedlot continues to be an operational asset for the farmer and the community.

“Farmers are true environmentalists,” he says. “It’s just as important to them as anyone else that their operation has the least possible environmental impact.”

Sorensen writes from Yankton, S.D.

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TEAMWORK: A feed bunk and apron are built in a new feedlot that Gary Dvoracek built last summer. Six state and federal agencies collaborated with Dvoracek on the project, which will help protect the environment, improve the farm and aid the community’s economy.

This article published in the February, 2011 edition of DAKOTA FARMER.

All rights reserved. Copyright Farm Progress Cos. 2011.