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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

South Dakota Representative Dusty Johnson (R-S.D.) recently introduced the Cattle Contract Library Act of 2021 (H.R.5609) requiring beef packers to provide details and types of forward contracts offered when purchasing fed cattle for slaughter.  South Dakota Stockgrowers Association (SDSGA), South Dakota’s oldest livestock producer association, did not endorse H.R. 5609.  SDSGA Marketing Committee reviewed the proposed bill and was disappointed with the absence of any inclusion for mandatory cash market trade levels.

SDSGA policy provides support for,” Complete reporting of non-reported cattle and beef prices including non-native cattle be required to facilitate true price discovery.”  However, SDSGA policy also urges that livestock forward contracts have a negotiated fixed base price in writing when they are entered into and that those contracts are traded on an open public market.

In 2021 SDSGA members and the South Dakota Legislatures overwhelmingly supported House Concurrent Resolution 6006 supporting the 50/14 mandate whereby packers would procure 50% of their weekly harvest on the cash market and take delivery within 14 days.  This resolution concurs with SDSGA policy and was transmitted to the members of South Dakota’s U.S.  Congressional delegation.  HCR 6006 conveys South Dakota’s overall agreement to increasing market discovery and transparency through greater cash market participation.

 H.R. 5609 fails to include any mandatory negotiated cash market levels which are needed to establish a base price for both live cattle purchases, as well as alternative marketing agreements (AMAs). SDSGA policy calls for a fixed base price in writing which will not transpire under the current escalating trends of AMAs.

SDSGA member driven policy, Marketing policy (2), directs,” contracts entered into should be traded on an open public market” and is synonymous with the 1921 Packers and Stockyards Act section 202 (7 U.S.C. 192) (b) which refers to packers shall not give advantage to any particular person or locality. 

Unanswered questions surrounding H. R. 5609 are, (1) Will the creation of a contract library, devoid of mandatory cash market transparency, become federal justification for non-traded private contract agreements thereby negating the 1921 P&SA?  (2) Will a contract library facilitate further industry regionalization bolstering packer justification for differing contracts and thereby creating further division among producers?

During the recent “Hearing to Review the State of the U.S. Livestock Industry” held by the United States House Committee on Agriculture, several participants including Representative Dusty Johnson related to the creation of a proposed beef contract library as building transparency similar with the 2010 hog industry contract library.  Since 1980 USDA Economic Research Service depicts the swine industry producer loss of 70% with an accompanying breeding herd loss of nearly 3 million head.  This was an industry where cash market discovery resources became annihilated leading to a current vertical integration situation.

South Dakota beef producers have long been disadvantaged by the current escalating use of non-negotiated contracts which have become another packer captive supply tool. These non-negotiated open-ended packer AMAs allow packers to avoid true market price discovery leaving producers with a “take it or leave it” marketing scenario.  SDSGA Director Chance Anderson, a rancher from Isabel S.D. said,” I don’t believe the library is a tool farmers and ranchers can really grab on to as markets are fluctuating widely and decisions have to be spontaneous”. Mr. Anderson further stated,” these are desperate times for rancher operations and normally we just take any peace-meal offering but time is running out and we need transparency with true results.”  

South Dakota Stock growers worked tirelessly in conjunction with South Dakota legislators to pass HCR 6006 and convey the wishes of producers and rural communities while setting direction for our U.S. Legislators to follow when addressing market transparency.  Because of the absence of mandatory cash market discovery levels within H.R. 5609 SDSGA members believe Senate Bill S.949, a bill to amend the Agricultural Marketing Act of 1946 to foster efficient markets and increase competition and transparency among packers that purchase livestock from producers, is more relevant to true cash market discovery.  S.949, introduced by Senator Chuck Grassley (R-IA) and includes (9) cosponsors including S.D. Senator Mike Rounds (R-SD).  S.949 addresses the transparency solutions expressed in South Dakota’s HCR 6006 and SDSGA encourages all cattle producers to seek congressional support for S.949 to maintain true cash market transparency for rebuilding rural America.

Vaughn Meyer

SDSGA President

South Dakota Stockgrowers Wrap up 130th Annual Convention and Trade Show!

9/21/2021
Spearfish, SD

The South Dakota Stockgrowers (SDSGA) have officially wrapped up their 130th Annual
Convention and Trade Show which took place in Spearfish, SD. The convention included many
highlights such as an address by Senator John Thune (R-SD), electing new leadership, many
industry-leading speakers, and the biggest trade show on record.
“Even thought we’ve been a little short-handed, we pulled off a great convention.” Said SDSGA
Executive Director James Halverson. “We’ve had great feedback, and I believe everyone had a
great time, learned a bunch, and got to spend time with friends. I want to thank all of our
sponsors which make this event possible.”
After Bill Bullard and Brant Beckman started the convention off on Thursday morning, Sen.
Thune addressed the crowd at lunch. Thune was on hand after releasing an announcement the
previous day that he is leading a bipartisan effort along with Sens. Rounds (R-SD), Tester (DMT), and Booker (D-NJ) to restore mandatory COOL for beef. “South Dakota cattle producers
work tirelessly to produce some of the highest quality beef in the world. The pandemic has only
highlighted their important role in our domestic food supply and the urgent need to strengthen it.
To ensure the viability of cattle ranching in this country, the system in which producers operate
must be fair and transparent. As a long-time supporter of MCOOL, I am proud to introduce this
legislation (S.2716 – American Beef Labeling Act), which will move us one step closer to
making that a reality.” Said Thune.
Additionally on Thursday afternoon, convention attendees got the chance to have an in-depth
question and answer session with Sen. Rounds’ Chief of Staff Rob Skjonsberg, Ryan Donnelly
for Sen. Thune, and John Weber for Rep. Dusty Johnson. The D.C. delegation answered
questions on topics ranging from MCOOL to property rights and everything in between.
After the day’s business, SDSGA hosted a social and dinner & music show at the High Plains
Western Heritage Center. “I didn’t realize the amount of history, especially on brands and the
livestock industry this museum offers.” Said newly elected SDSGA Vice President Les Shaw.
After many folks were able to enjoy the museum, guests were treated to a great chuckwagon
supper and cowboy music show, “The Spirit of the American Cowboy” by Dalyce Sellers and
Gordy Pratt.
Conservation grazing practices took center stage throughout the two-day event. SDSGA was
honored to host Glenn Elzinga from the Alderspring Ranch in Idaho. Glenn and his family are
first generation ranchers practicing regenerative grazing techniques producing and direct
marketing grass-fed beef. Glenn shared an inspirational story of their journey and spent much
time with convention goers on a personal level. Additionally, Tanse Herrmann with the Natural
Resources Conservation Service presented a rainfall simulator with pastureland managed with
different techniques. He and David Ollila, with the SD Soil Health Coalition, answered many
questions on grazing.
Friday’s luncheon featured leading agriculture advocate and syndicated personality Trent Loos
sponsored by News radio 1380 KOTA. Trent gave a passionate address and spent much time at
the convention interacting with all attendees. “Trent has a way to articulate our issues that is
hard to argue with.” Said Halverson “I truly appreciate how he can present our industry in such
simple terms that so many of the general public need to hear.” Also on Friday afternoon, Baxter
Anders owner of Belle Fourche Livestock and Philip Livestock, and Kevin Larson with
Aberdeen Livestock had a question and answer session directly preceding the ever-popular
SDSU Ice Cream Social.
Property taxes, a core SDSGA issue leading into the 2022 SD Legislative Session, was front and
center as well. SD State Reps. Kirk Chaffee and Trish Ladner, along with Susie Hayes from Fall
River County led a discussion on property taxes. Much conversation and ideas were explored at
the event.
During the annual member meeting new leadership was elected. Vaugh Meyer of Reva, SD was
elected to take the reins from retiring President Scott Edoff. “I want to focus on membership
development, active committees, 50/14, and MCOOL.” Said Meyer “It is truly an honor to serve
this organization.” He added. Les Shaw of White Owl, SD was elected as Vice President. Other
changes in leadership included Billy Clanton of Buffalo as Region 1 Vice President, Zeb Husted
of Harold as Region 2 Vice President, Trent Turbiville Dist. 1 Director, Eric Sumption Dist. 15
Director, Travis Olson Dist. 16 Director, and Tate Glaus Dist. 17 Director.
The entire two-day event came to a fitting climax on Friday evening at the annual awards and
recognition banquet when retiring brand inspector Jim Holloway was honored for more than 50
years of service along with retiring SDSGA President Scott Edoff. Jim Reed and Shane Kolb
each gave moving memories of Holloway who was presented a lifetime member commemorative
belt buckle. “I will wear this with pride” uttered Holloway through many tears of appreciation to
a standing ovation. Halverson and Frank Bloom each added a humorous story about President
Edoff before he addressed the crowd. “I’ve made so many friends through this organization.”
Said Edoff. “It’s been an honor of a lifetime to serve as your President” he added before being
presented with his past president SDSGA belt buckle.
The SDSGA Board of Directors met Saturday morning as well. Next year’s event is being
planned for November 2022.