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Lewis and Clark Water Part of South Dakota Megadairy Plans?

Rep. Kristi Noem has long touted big government in the form of the Lewis and Clark Regional Water System. Her latest press release on the long-delayed project celebrates spending almost three times more on Lewis and Clark than socialist redistributionist President Obama proposed.

Why would Rep. Noem and the rest of South Dakota's Congressional delegation work so hard to spend more money than President Obama and pump more water up the I-29 corridor? Perhaps Lewis and Clark is one more prop in South Dakota's push for more megadairies:

At the World Ag Expo in Tulare, California, more than a half dozen states—Nebraska, Iowa, Kansas, North Dakota, South Dakota, Texas, and Nevada—have booths to recruit milk producers.

"Increasingly every year, there are more states showing up at the World Ag Expo to entice California dairies to move to their states, and they're finding a receptive audience," said Joel Karlin, a commodity manager and market analyst for Western Milling, a large agricultural livestock feed manufacturer exhibiting at the show. "California has been losing cows to other states such as Idaho, Texas and New Mexico—and now a lot of operators are looking at the Midwest more favorably since feed is cheaper, labor is cheaper and water is more plentiful" ["States Dangle Water to Tempt California Dairy Farmers," NBC News, 2015.02.10].

One dairy Holstein may drink 25 to 30 gallons of water per day.


  1. larry kurtz 2015.02.12

    Noem: Midwest, Idaho, Labor, Feed

  2. Roger Elgersma 2015.02.12

    The population is by the coast so the dairies should be there. Milk is more expensive by the coast so those dairymen get paid more for the same milk. Cheese plants pay less than bottling plants. South Dakota was by its climate a beef state so do what you are best at and you will do better.

  3. Paul Seamans 2015.02.12

    The I29 corridor is getting hit hard. Mega dairies, chicken CAFO's, hog CAFO's, Bakken pipeline. All they need now is for the oil refinery proposal to be resurrected.

  4. Bob KLein 2015.02.12

    What is the daily water consumption of a nondairy Holstein? Or a dairy Hereford?

  5. Lynn 2015.02.12

    Tonight's program on SDPB Focus is on Agriculture and bringing new jobs to small towns. Sounds like a program on Mega Dairies/CAFOs & 6 million chicken farms will be the push tonight. It's on 8:00 pm CST on SDPB1

    You can call or e-mail their show live.

  6. jerry 2015.02.12

    Exactly Lynn, nothing says progress and jobs like the smell of a 1,000 head dairy operation on a beautiful spring morning. Ah yes, its whats for dinner.

  7. mike from iowa 2015.02.12

    Bob K-Herefords aren't dairy cattle. They are beef cattle. Dairy cows need an average of 115 liters of water per day and beef cattle need an average of 25 liters of water per day.

  8. Lynn 2015.02.12

    Jerry they were talking 3 to 5 thousand on the show.

  9. jerry 2015.02.12

    Lovely, 3 to 5 thousand crapping bawling cows, just lovely. I really do not think they know what they have here in South Dakota as far as land use goes. This place can tolerate a lot, but that kind of use destroys the place with pollution of the water and of the rest of the environment. Water is a big deal for sure for humans and it will be even more important in the next few years as it is running out.

  10. David Losure 2015.02.12

    If a region had 10-15 family run dairies of about 100 cows each, that would be plenty to keep a small town going. Mega-dairies bring nothing but problems. When you concentrate too many dairy cows on one farm, you have a huge manure management problem. The feds will step in and pay for a bunch of concrete to try and deal with it, but the real solution is to farm at a scale where the manure can be managed as a resource.
    A small dairy can be run with mainly family labor. A mega -dairy relies on poorly paid, usually imported labor. A generation ago we had many family dairies in NE SD. The reasons they are gone are many, but govt. policy has been skewed for a long time to favor dairy on the coasts over dairy here and large scale over family. If some actual local farmer wants to step up and build a large dairy without government handouts, and could actually control the pollution issues and get the work done without exploiting cheap migrant labor, I wouldn't have anything against it. Why our elected officials feel the need to hand our money to out of state corporations in order to encourage them to make a mess here is beyond me...

  11. Deb Geelsdottir 2015.02.12

    This does not make sense. I know, so what else is new.

    The majority of consumers are in cities. Big ag businesses keep very close tabs on food trends. 2 important trends are a decrease in red meat consumption and a flattening of dairy milk consumption.

    Thursday is the day the Strib reports on food trends. Remember that Cargill and General Mills are located in MN. Both businesses are working on how to make up for the decline in red meat consumption. The amount of milk consumed is steady. The problem is that an increasing number of people are switching from mammal milk (cows, goats, yak, etc.) to soy, almond, rice, and other types.

    So. SD's oligarchs are focusing on cow dairies and beef? Duh. I wonder if they do -any- research before embarking on these kinds of boondoggles. I guess not. Kochs said, Do this! So it's being done.

  12. jerry 2015.02.12

    If you go to the market, you can buy soy milk that you can put on your shelf in the pantry until you need it. Then after you open it, you drink it in a week to 10 days and it is all good. Try doing that with moo milk here. Now in Europe, you can. Dairy is getting kind of yesterday for the big dairy's. They are relics because they just don't make sense.

  13. jerry 2015.02.14

    Of course NOem is like most tea party darlings, they are clueless and empty headed on facts regarding livestock and most everything else. Animals are sensitive to climate change, I guess that is why they are dying out at such an incredible speed. Mega dairies are relics. The only way to sustain any kind of milk production is to downsize dairies and to pasteurize the milk produced.

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