Educational program offered for beginning ranchers

Farm Forum

BROOKINGS – SDSU Extension is now accepting applications for the second class of “beefSD,” a two-year educational program designed specifically for beginning beef producers. The first class of beefSD was initiated in 2011. Participants in Class 1 have indicated that it has been a valuable and rewarding learning experience.

Participation is limited to representatives from 20 beef enterprises (individuals, couples or siblings welcome). Beginning ranchers with less than 10 years of experience and a strong desire to begin or further develop beef cattle enterprises are encouraged to apply to the program.

The goals are to provide participants with opportunities to learn more about various segments of the beef cattle industry, evaluate a variety of beef cattle production systems, and further develop knowledge and abilities related to management of individual operations. Participants will complete an intensive two-year curriculum. The program will focus on providing participants with relevant, timely information in the areas of livestock production, natural resource stewardship, marketing, financial management, business, and risk and legal management.

Programming will consist of six major components:

· Interactive educational workshops;

· Case studies and evaluation of alternative beef cattle production systems;

· Mentoring by established ranchers and other agriculture professionals, including the formation of individual management teams;

· Post-weaning calf performance evaluation including feedlot, carcass, and meat characteristics; 5. Interactive, web-based learning, including webinars, podcasts, and other computer applications;

· Study trips focused on various sectors of the U.S. beef cattle industry.

The program is made possible in part by a grant received by SDSU Extension, in partnership with the South Dakota Farm Bureau, from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA).

Application deadline is Jan. 4, 2013. Application forms are available by contacting SDSU Extension Beef Specialist Ken Olson at the West River Ag Center, or 605-394-2236; beefSD Project Coordinator Stacy Hadrick, or 605-347-1195, or SDSU Research/Extension Associate Janna Kincheloe, or 605-394-2236. Applications are also available online at the South Dakota Farm Bureau’s Web site at The program is scheduled to begin in February 2013.