Farm Management Minute: Opportunities and challenges

Farm Forum

I travelled to Pierre, SD on Wednesday, June 26th to attend the 2013 Governor’s Ag Development Summit. The entire trip was very worthwhile, including the scenic three-hour crop tour I enjoyed during my drive. I thought the corn crop looked a little better as I ventured west from our place in the northeast part of South Dakota and the abundance of moisture was very evident along the entire route.

I was not sure what to expect from the seminar as I was a first-time attendee, but the most valuable lesson I learned was that there is a strong effort among many groups to continually seek new ways to promote South Dakota’s number one industry. The first Ag Development Summit hosted by the governor’s office was in 2010: “Ag – The Common Thread.” This was followed by another summit in 2011: “Ag – The Economic Driver.” Last year’s theme for the gathering was: “SD Ag Means Business.”

This year’s program was “Agriculture – A Call to Action.” The keynote speaker was former congressman Charlie Stenholm of Texas, who served as a member of the House Ag Committee during his 26-year career in Congress. He shared with us his thoughts on the many issues facing agriculture at the national level and was particularly concerned with the lack of progress in passing a new farm bill. The rest of the conference was devoted to presentations from the five Key Leader Roundtable committees. The groups were formed after identifying priorities from past conferences and include these areas: Youth and Education; Livestock Development; Water, Natural Resources, & Energy; Infrastructure; and Value Added Processing. Each sub-group reported on their stated objectives and action items which are needed to meet those goals.

I was impressed with the variety of groups represented in each roundtable committee and I have no doubt that these key leaders will fulfill their call to action. During my drive home, I thought about the many opportunities which were discussed along with the need to overcome challenges that are associated with each area. Very few industries can survive, much less thrive, without exploring new ideas and this is especially true in the field of agriculture which is competing in a global marketplace.

I would encourage producers who would like to explore new ways of analyzing the financial condition of their farm to contact the nearest instructor with the S.D. Center Farm/Ranch Management. Call our toll-free number: 1-800-684-1969 or check out our website: You can reach me directly at 605-299-6760.