The SDSU Extension Service is going to be putting more emphasis on helping beginning farmers and ranchers, and those who may have inherited land and want to learn how it should be managed.
That's one of the SDSU Extension Service's new signature programs
"Each program area within SDSU Extension has identified Signature Programs that they will prioritize in 2012 to address the current needs of the people and communities they serve throughout South Dakota," says Barry Dunn, SDSU Extension Service director.
Identifying the critical needs of the South Dakotans and the role SDSU Extension plays in meeting those needs was part of the recent Extension reorganization.
"These Signature Programs allow the specialists within Extension's capstone areas to concentrate their time, energy and resources on significant efforts that have the greatest impact on the producers and communities we serve. They allow for our professionals to do their best work and reach out to communities of learners who can use the knowledge and research provided to them through the Signature Programs to become more competitive in today's economy and marketplace.
Signature Programs in agriculture and natural resources will target beginning farmers and ranchers, small acreages, backgrounding cattle, and pesticide applicator certification.
As the average age of South Dakota's farmer and rancher population continues to increase, the SDSU Extension Agriculture & Natural Resources Program hopes to encourage the next generation of South Dakotans to embrace career opportunities found within production agriculture through the Beginning Farmer/Rancher Program.
Aimed at providing mentorship, networking, resources and education to address the many challenges young farmers and ranchers face when they are just starting out, the Beginning Farmer/Rancher Program connects participants with successful producers as well as their peers.
"We're looking at the bigger picture and providing resources and assistance to South Dakota's next generation of agriculture producers in a systems approach," says Rosie Nold, the Agriculture & Natural Resources program director.
A large percentage of South Dakota's cattle leave the state as calves. Backgrounding is another option cattle producers can consider to add value to their livestock operation and the state's livestock industry," Nold says.
The Agriculture & Natural Resources program has also developed educational programming for the increasing number of South Dakotans living on small acreages.
"Census data shows an increase in small farms within the state. The owners of these small acreages have expressed a need for best management practices within the areas of livestock and natural resources," Nold says.
There are also signature programs for 4-H and youth, food and families, community development, and the Native American community.Source: SDSU Extension Service