South Dakota Grassland Coalition hosted school for young adults in July

South Dakota Grassland Coalition
Young producers learn about ranch management at a South Dakota Grassland Coalition event.

On the scenic view of Edgemont, South Dakota overlooking the Cheyenne River valley, young and seasoned producers learned together and experienced four days of interacting with pastures, plants, nature, classroom and outdoor assignments.

The Ranching for Profit Young Adult School was held on July 13-16.

Mornings at Sunrise Ranch with classroom information was presented by Dallas Mount of Ranching for Profit.  In addition to the 42 young producers, a handful of group leaders supported delivering the school content.

Group leaders included members of the South Dakota Grassland Coalition board and experienced producers and educators. SDGC board member Riley Kammerer referred to the school as a “slam dunk success,” and went on to add that it was the highlight of his year.  He shared when he first learned of a young adult program, he knew the SDGC had to do it.

With support from the SDGC board, Nature Conservancy and Sunrise Ranch, the school is the first young adult-focused effort by the SDGC and aligns with its mission “to promote good stewardship of grasslands through sustainable and profitable management.”

The school covered topics like simplifying ranch financials, working with nature for a regenerative ranch, making people a priority in ranching and the benefits of having a network in ranch management.

To further teach these concepts and mission, the school afternoon sessions included tours and students visited Sunrise Ranch, the Kurt Barker Ranch and the 43 Ranch to  observe ranch life techniques, some of which included checking water, fixing fence, stocking cattle and day-to-day chores that are important.

Youth also learned the difference between ranch work and ranch management.  This proved to be taught to one student, when the feedback about the school included: “The biggest waste of time is doing something efficiently that should not have been done at all.”

Additional feedback from those participating was incredibly positive, some of the comments include:

“Young people should go to this school because there are opportunities and learning skills that every rancher needs to have to be successful. What I got out of this was knowledge organizing profit, production and learning of human resources.”

Another student shared “I got a whole new understanding of profit and how I can calculate my overheads, direct costs, gross margins and profit. I think as I move on in my business this school will stay with me and help me make good decisions in life. I recommend this school to all who have a ranching farming business or who want to be successful in life. I enjoyed all the people who taught me, and I would like to come back again.”

The South Dakota Grassland Coalition plans to hold this school again in 2022, the second week in July. 

More information is available on the SDGC website or by contacting Dan Rasmussen, the SDGC Educator at (605)685-3315.