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The South Dakota Stockgrowers Association is a grassroots organization whose individual producer members determine issues of importance to the state's livestock industry. With input into the policy development, each member has the opportunity to influence SDSGA's policy and priorities. Individual members of the Association pull together to make powerful decisions - dedicated to promoting the livestock industry and enhancing the opportunity for profitability.

SD Stockgrowers News

SD Stockgrowers Request Flight Information from Ellsworth

SD Stockgrowers Request Flight Information from Ellsworth


The South Dakota Stockgrowers Association sent a request to Ellsworth Airforce Base this week requesting more safety information be provided to private pilots within the Air Force’s Powder River Training Complex (PRTC). The expanded Air Force training area increased military flight traffic over parts of South Dakota, North Dakota, Montana, and Wyoming where hundreds of ranch pilots also operate small aircraft.

“Stockgrowers Association understands the importance of training our military pilots, but we want to ensure that rural, ranch pilots have access to information that protects everyone’s safety in the air,” explained Bill Kluck, President of the SD Stockgrowers Association. “The Air Force committed to making sure that flight information is made available to pilots and rural communities, but we do not believe that they have followed through with that in a very effective way.”

The expanded Powder River Training Complex was approved and became an active training area for the Air Force in mid-2015. The Stockgrowers Association has continued to voice concerns about the safety of those ranch families who use small aircraft to manage their ranching operations, and the potential impact to rural airports. The increased flights of large, fast military planes has increased the risk to those small pilots who share their airspace and live below.

In the final plan approved by the U.S. Air Force and the Federal Aviation Administration, Ellsworth officials committed to communicating with pilots of small aircraft regarding airspace occupancy, and accommodate reasonable requests for large aircraft to avoid flights that could impact ranching operations for things such as calving or other seasonal considerations.

SD Stockgrowers Assoc. requested that Ellsworth officials contact all pilots registered with the FAA within the four state training area with information that can be used to determine real-time flight activity for military aircraft in the airspace, and direct contact information for flight data from Ellsworth Air Force Base including a phone number. Additionally, the Association requested that Ellsworth authorities provide information to the general public regarding temporary avoidance areas.

“Our office was able to find airspace maps of the military flights in the expanded area with help from Senator Thune’s office and have done what we can to distribute the information, but we’re frustrated that the Air Force has not contacted these pilots directly,” said Kluck. “These rural pilots and communities are learning to live with the added flights and training exercises. We’re just asking for additional information and resources to make sure everyone’s safe.”

The South Dakota Stockgrowers Association was established in 1893 as a grassroots organization of independent livestock producers in South Dakota. Today we represent more than 1000 ranch families and our mission has remained unchanged, “to promote and protect the South Dakota livestock industry”. For more information, contact silvia@southdakotastockgrowers.org or call 605-342-0429.


Stockgrowers Bring Gov. Daugaard’s Attention to Cattle Market Swings

Stockgrowers Bring Gov. Daugaard’s Attention to Cattle Market Swings


South Dakota Stockgrowers Association President Bill Kluck sent a letter this week to bring Governor Daugaard’s attention to the impacts of market fluctuations in the cattle market and its potential impact on economic activity in the state.   The letter outlines a swing in the cattle market that started last July and has resulted in substantially lower prices for calves raised on South Dakota’s ranches.

In the letter, Kluck stated, “The main point I am trying to convey is that we have lost a huge amount of income with this drastic drop of cattle prices and in turn this will have a drastic impact on economic activity in the state and in state revenues.”

USDA’s statistics services report that while the number of calves being raised in the state has increased slightly, to nearly 1.7 million head annually, revenue on those calves has fallen by around $500 per animal. That results in approximately $800 million dollars of direct income losses to farmers and ranchers in our state in one year. Kluck explained that money in our rural economies turns over seven times before leaving the state. “… that kind of a direct financial loss would point to a $6billion economic loss to the communities and industries associated with agriculture.”

At the same time, Kluck argues the tax burden on ranches has gone up exponentially on his and other ranching operations. “In 1979 total property taxes that we paid were $1,553 and our calves sold for $100 per hundred weight. In 2015 taxes were $14,400 and calf prices were $200/cwt. The inequity of this is striking and if the current, downward market trends continue, will have a significant impact on the viability of our family ranches.”

“We understand the importance of responsibly funding schools, and state infrastructure.” Kluck concluded his letter to Governor Daugaard by stating, “I thank you for your awareness of the importance of agriculture to the state’s economy and to the livelihood of our many family farms and ranches. We appreciate that your plan for the state’s increased revenue needs have not targeted agriculture.”

The South Dakota Stockgrowers Association is a grassroots organization representing nearly 1,000 independent livestock producers on local, state and national policies that impact the livestock industry. For nearly 125 years the mission of the South Dakota Stockgrowers Association has remained unchanged, “to promote and protect the South Dakota livestock industry.” They can be reached at 605-342-0429 or by emailing office@southdakotastockgrowers.org.

Supporting Documentation:

USDA NASS January 2016

R-CALF Letter to U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee