A series of forums which began in mid-January across the state hosted by the South Dakota Department of Agriculture (SDDA) and SDSU Extension will continue thru March 21. The remaining 18 sessions will be held at area livestock markets statewide to discuss South Dakota's vision for livestock production.

"Agriculture is South Dakota's No. 1 industry, with the total economic impact of the ag sector of $21 Billion in 2010. Livestock is a major contributor to the agricultural economy with the total value of livestock alone being $3 billion. Revenue generated from livestock and jobs that are created in processing and manufacturing of the livestock industry impact the overall infrastructure and the economic health of the state," said B. Lynn Gordon, Cow/Calf Extension Field Specialist.

Gordon adds that South Dakota is fortunate to have access to the resources needed for livestock production, such as access to land, water and feed resources as well as progressive, entrepreneurial people interested in raising and developing livestock.

"By combining these resources along with relevant research from the land grant University of SDSU, South Dakota has the ability to produce food for demands of the domestic and international markets," Gordon said.

Agricultural producers are invited to attend these forums to join SDDA and SDSU Extension in a conversation about the opportunities and challenges in livestock production and the impact of agriculture to rural communities and statewide revenues and infrastructure. These meetings will allow a dialogue about the next generation of farmers and ranchers.

Remaining Sessions

Feb. 4 Hub City Livestock, Aberdeen
Feb. 6 Bales Continental, Huron
Feb. 8 Glacial Lakes Livestock, Watertown
Feb. 25 Platte Livestock
Feb. 26 Magness Livestock, Huron
Feb. 28 Kimball Livestock
Mar. 5 MItchell Livestock
Mar. 6 Yankton Livestock
Mar. 7 Sioux Falls Regional Livestock
Mar. 11 Belle Fourche Livestock
Mar. 12 St. Onge Livestock
Mar. 13 Faith Livestock
Mar. 14 Lemmon Livestock
Mar. 18 Miller Livestock
Mar. 19 Presho Livestock
Mar. 20 Winner Livestock
Mar. 21 Chamberlain Livestock

All sessions will take place at 6:30 p.m. local time except for the Feb. 8 Watertown forum which will be held in conjunction with the Watertown Winter Show at 10:30 a.m.
For more information contact Sarah Caslin, SDDA Livestock Development Specialist at 605-773-3549; or B. Lynn Gordon, Cow/Calf Extension Field Specialist at 605-782-3290.