Mike Jaspers South Dakota Secretary of Agriculture
Farm Forum

Technology is changing the way farmers manage their operations. This is particularly apparent to anyone who’s stuck their head inside a tractor lately. Cabs are now filled with wires, monitors, and buttons. This equipment gives us the ability to evaluate the soil, pick the precise place a seed should be planted, gauge exactly how much fertilizer the plant needs and so much more. As farmers today, we have tons of information and data that helps us look proactively at what we are doing on each and every acre we plant.

This winter, the South Dakota Department of Agriculture began a campaign, known as #EveryFieldEveryTime, to encourage farmers to look at every field on their operation individually, every time they make decisions that are relevant to that field, using that technology and other tools at their disposal.

As a producer, I ask myself tough questions every time I make a decision for my operation. Are there areas of a particular field that are under-performing, and therefore, actually costing me money? Would those acres be better off managed differently? Would cover crops be a soil health benefit to my operation? Is this crop the right one for this field at this time? Should I spray a specific pesticide or herbicide product on this field? The #EveryFieldEveryTime campaign encourages producers to do the same and shares information to help producers who are working through those questions.

Despite having all this data at our fingertips, it’s easy to put decisions like this on autopilot; to treat every field the same, every year. As crop producers, we need to change our mentality. Each acre offers us something different. It is up to us to find ways to capitalize on those differences. We need to use the land to the best of our abilities for our bottom line and the longevity of the land, in order to ensure we are able to pass along a legacy for the next generation and the one after that.

At the South Dakota Department of Agriculture, we are committed to protecting and preserving agriculture for future generations. The choices we make today, whether the crop we plant, the fertilizer we use, or the conservation practice we implement, will affect tomorrow. The way we care for and handle every field, every time, will impact the future of agriculture in South Dakota.

I invite you to join the conversation on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram by using the hashtag #EveryFieldEveryTime and share with us what you are doing, the decisions you are making, to make the most out of every acre this planting season.