SDSU Extension is excited to announce that a second class of the beefSD program will begin soon; beefSD is an educational program for beginning beef producers designed to give participants an opportunity to expand their knowledge of the cattle industry as a whole, evaluate various production systems, and develop goals and management plans for their beef business. The original beefSD class was a three-year program initiated in 2011, with participants from 30 operations across the state. Class I will be complete in August, and a new group of participants will begin Class II of beefSD, which will be held over the next two years.
The following are several quotes from current beefSD Class I participants indicating their view of the value of the program:
- “The most important thing I have gained from beefSD is learning to be open minded, listen to other people’s points of view and realize there is a whole big world out there outside of South Dakota. I really have come to believe that beefSD or a similar program should be encouraged to all producers to help them see the big picture.”
- “I believe that being part of this program has opened my eyes to all kinds of possibilities, opportunities, and solutions for my future in the beef cattle industry.”
- “Being able to connect with someone who has more experience in this industry, ask them questions, and learn from their experiences is invaluable. There are many ways to be profitable in this industry if you are willing to take a few risks and try something new.”
beefSD is designed to give participants a highly interactive and hands-on learning experience that will help them be successful. Workshops will provide in-depth knowledge of the beef industry in South Dakota. Tours of case-study ranches will be held to help participants understand alternative production and management practices associated with backgrounding, retained ownership, grass-fed, and seedstock production. Beyond the four case-study tours, multiple production and risk management topics will be discussed. Class II participants will be given the opportunity to enroll some of their own cattle in a post-weaning calf performance evaluation. This will be offered to provide participants with feedlot performance and carcass data on their cattle to use in making management and marketing decisions. A key component of Class II is the development of mentoring relationships with successful ranchers and industry professionals. These mentors will be resources in forming individual management teams that will assist participants in identifying goals and opportunities for their operation and making progress on their goals. Participants will interact throughout the program with various types of web-based technology, including a social networking site, webinars, and podcasts.