CBW photo --
South Dakota Governor Dennis Daugaard hosted his last Ag Summit July  11-12. Daugaard served as a panel moderator (shown) at the event along with giving remarks on South Dakota agriculture before awarding Roger Scheibe with the Governor’s Ag Ambassador Award.
CBW photo -- South Dakota Governor Dennis Daugaard hosted his last Ag Summit July 11-12. Daugaard served as a panel moderator (shown) at the event along with giving remarks on South Dakota agriculture before awarding Roger Scheibe with the Governor’s Ag Ambassador Award.

By Codi Vallery-Mills

Agricultural producers and agri-business individuals met in Rapid City, S.D. July 11-12 for the South Dakota Governor’s Ag Summit. It was two days of educational speakers and at the end of the Summit the Ag Ambassador Award was given to Roger Scheibe of Brookings, S.D. who has been instrumental in growing the state’s dairy industry.
Interim Ag Director Dusty Oedekoven and Governor Dennis Daugaard both updated attendees on happenings in South Dakota agriculture. Oedekoven says the state’s Department of Ag has seen an increase in their agency’s mediation services for producers that have been financially impacted. In the last fiscal year, the department had 245 requests for mediation services and 95 mediations were actually held.
Another area the department is very concerned with is the potential spread of Emerald Ash Borer in the state. The bug is detrimental to ash trees – a tree type that composes one-third of the trees planted along community streets and in parks. Ash trees also make up 40 percent of South Dakota’s windbreaks.
With an update, county site analysis continue to be ongoing in the state, according to Oedekoven who says 57 of the states 66 counties have requested the program which helps counties pinpoints locations that would be good for agricultural development. “It helps counties and communities make decisions and has been very successful,” Oedekoven says.
This marks Gov. Daugaard’s final Ag Summit. He has spent much of his eight-year term courting agribusinesses and ag production to the state, which he told Ag Summit attendees has helped make every one in five workers have a direct or related job in agriculture.
New dairy farms and dairy processors have made South Dakota their home under Daugaard’s administration. Tax revenue upwards of 28 million has been a result.
Daugaard says dairy processing in the state continues to expand, “We need to keep growing our dairy herd to keep up with processing.”
In a broad view of agriculture in the state, Daugaard acknowledges that 2017 was a difficult year. Ninety-seven percent of the state was in some stage of drought and trade conditions exacerbated price conditions which resulted in one of the state’s lowest years for farm income.
“I know it hasn’t been easy but we are hopeful that 2018 will be better,” Daugaard says.