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

Supporting Documentation:

USDA NASS January 2016

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