Because drought is affecting a large area of the U.S., there is an extreme shortage of hay in the area. A lot of farmers and ranchers with livestock are struggling to find enough feed to maintain their herds and the high cost of hay has taken away the hope of having a profit this year. This is not a good time to try to get more cows into the state to compete for the already depleted feed supplies in South Dakota.
Out-of-state dairies not only will put the small family farm dairies out of business, they also will put a lot of cow-calf producers out of business.
The rise in land and feed costs has put a lot of South Dakota’s dairies out of business because they could not make a profit. How is having more cooperate dairies going to make any of them profitable? Will someone ask the governor how many farmers and ranchers he plans on putting out of business to make room for corporate dairies? [Dick Meyer, letter to the editor, Pierre Capital Journal, 2013.03.08].
Meyer praises District 19 Rep. Stace Nelson and his Hanson County neighbors for protecting small family farms and the environment from a 7000-head mega-dairy that big dairy man and Ag Secretary Walt Bones really wanted to see built.
Meanwhile, the state Department of Agriculture and SDSU Extension continue their dog-and-pony show around the state, talking about the need to get more young producers into agriculture (average age of cattle producers in South Dakota: 55.7) while supporting the "get big or get out" policies that make it harder for young entrepreneurs to enter the business.