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

The South Dakota Stockgrowers are growing increasingly frustrated at the direction the USDA is taking animal trace ability.

After James Halverson, Executive Director for The South Dakota Stockgrowers, attended a meeting of The Cattle Traceability Working Group (CTWG), the South Dakota Stockgrowers are growing increasingly concerned that the direction the group and the USDA is heading is not the direction that will work best for producers.

The CTWG, was conceived as a group of interested organizations and companies wanting give input on animal identification and how that system will work and function in the future.  The South Dakota Stockgrowers have been involved with the CTWG since its inception and continues to take part in multiple conference calls of the group weekly. The South Dakota Stockgrowers Animal ID Committee Vice Chairman, Les Shaw, has been a regular on these calls, and has expressed his disappointment, “My frustration has grown with the CTWG.  I hate to think there was a predetermined agenda, but many times when we have voiced concerns about, liability, retention, privacy, cost, or speed of commerce, we seem to get pushed aside and reminded that we have to move forward!”

This became even more evident at a recent face-to-face meeting of the group in Des Moines, IA. “At this meeting some members of the group declared their intention to create a hand-picked “Producers Council” that will only welcome those who are in favor of advancing an electronic ID mandate to take part in the discussion going forward, as well as have a plan in place by June 1, of this year.  This “Producers Council” will only be comprised of compliant producers, USDA officials, and Agri-business professionals.”  Described James Halverson.

While insisting that they will stay “technology neutral”, the USDA has already established a timeline to implement mandated electronic ID on all breeding age cattle. Even after studies have shown that disease prevention and eradication can be achieved without a 100% compliance to electronic identification from producers, many within the CTWG and USDA claim it will be necessary to protect the industry against disease outbreaks.   “It is perplexing to us how the USDA thinks a tag, tracking interstate movement of cattle, will be the biggest line of defense to disease outbreaks such as foot and mouth disease (FMD) yet at same time is negotiating deals to import beef from Brazil who has had recent problems with FMD as well as many other disease, sanitation, and inspection issues that have kept them out of the United States for good reason” Says Stockgrowers President Gary Deering.

USDA’s timeline includes ending the free metal tags that are currently being used for ADT at the end of this federal fiscal year which would be Sept. 30, 2019.  They would then still accept these tags as official ID through 2020 and starting in 2021 would require electronic tagging.  Notably there has been little discussion on who will bear the cost of these new tags.

There’s a laundry list of unanswered questions that would go along with such a system.  Perhaps that is why recently the USDA announced the availability of $1 million to fund projects that will advance Electronic ID in cattle traceability.  Those studies, as well as others that are currently taking place in Kansas and Texas, obviously will not conclude in time to better help answer these questions before the USDA timeline is implemented.  However, they USDA seems to be racing ahead regardless of little consensus or supporting data.

“We are very concerned that this push is putting the cart before the horse.” Said Halverson Keeping up with the speed of commerce, ensuring security of private data, costs, liability, and feasibility are just a few of the many concerns we have. We aren’t against Electronic ID, in fact that can be a useful tool that many producers, including several on our board of directors have decided to use, but we are against a top-down approach mandated to producers with little regard to whether that system will even work!” He exclaimed.

The Stockgrowers encourage everybody to call their representatives and call the Stockgrowers office for more information.  “We will do what we can to see that the needs of the cattle producer will get heard.” Says Halverson.

SB 68 Signed Into Law!

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: The South Dakota Stockgrowers Association is excited to announce that Governor Kristi Noem has signed Senate Bill 68, the “Fake Meat” bill.    SB 68 relies on existing statutory definitions of meat food products and meat by-products and makes it clear that a food product may not be labeled in a false, deceptive, or misleading manner that intentionally misrepresents the product as a meat food product as defined in § 39-5-6, a meat by-product as defined in § 39-5-6, or as poultry (as defined in the bill).   Lab-grown meats are moving closer to market introduction. The South Dakota Stockgrowers Association believes these alternative products need to be clearly delineated from actual meat and should not be allowed to benefit from the generations of hard work that have gone in to creating the current day market for actual meat food products. Consequently, The SDSGA is grateful to the legislature and to the Governor for stepping up and providing leadership on this issue for producers and consumers in South Dakota.   “The Fake Meat bill was legislation to which we dedicated a great deal of time this legislative session. Not only is this bill good for our agricultural producers, but it is also great for consumers, as it gives them the knowledge they need when making decisions at the grocery store for their families,” said Gary Deering, South Dakota Stockgrowers President.   “This was a fun bill to lobby. Soliciting sponsors for legislation can be a challenging task. SB 68 was that rare bill that was so popular legislators were coming to us and asking to sign on.” exclaimed Jeremiah M. Murphy, Stockgrowers’ lobbyist. “We received great support from legislators and from a broad spectrum of SD agriculture groups.   “My first Legislative session has been a great one for the Stockgrowers. Seeing this bill signed puts the icing on the cake.” said James Halverson, Stockgrowers’ Executive Director. “It has been fun and rewarding working on an idea like this. It started at the grass roots level, at a meeting of ours, and drew increasing support as it went through all of the legislative steps up to and including the governor’s signature. This truly goes to show what a difference organizations like the Stockgrowers can make,” added Halverson.   “We are grateful to the legislature and especially the bill’s prime sponsors, Sen. Art Rusch and Rep. Oren Lesmeister, for their leadership and hard work on this bill,” said Deering. “We are also grateful to Governor Noem. At the beginning of session she asked Jeremiah and I for the Stockgrowers’ priorities, and we told her the fake meat bill was at the top of our list. We appreciate her support in signing SB 68. She deserves a lot of credit for standing up for South Dakota producers.” added Deering.