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20 results for "agriculture"
  1. Lawmakers have passed and sent to Gov. Kristi Noem a bill to allow the South Dakota Farm Bureau Federation to develop a new type of health benefits plan that would provide affordable coverage to farmers and ranchers but which would operate outside the purview and regulatory oversight of the state Division of Insurance. Backers say it will provide health coverage for thousands of uninsured people in the agriculture industry; opponents say it removes consumer protections and would provide only limited benefits that could put policyholders at risk.
  2. While most South Dakotans will dine on mass-produced, big-breasted white turkeys this Thanksgiving, some families will take advantage of the efforts of a handful of niche farmers in the state who are breeding, raising and selling "heritage turkeys" that were on the verge of extinction but are being revived as part of a growing farm-to-table consumer market.
  3. Producers of lamb meat and wool in South Dakota have seen demand and market prices plummet during the COVID-19 pandemic, yet the industry made up mostly of small producers is weathering the storm by adapting and changing processes.
  4. Some environmentalists and farm groups are concerned about Gov. Kristi Noem's proposed merger of the state Department of Agriculture and the Department of Environment and Natural Resources, in part because almost no substantive details about the new agency have been released, but also because the move will combine the agency that promotes agriculture and agricultural development with the agency tasked with regulating agriculture.
  5. Demand for locally grown and raised food has risen in South Dakota as the COVID-19 pandemic caused problems in the processing and supply chains for large producers of meats and vegetables. Small-scale producers are celebrating the heightened interest in their foods, but so far, expansion by existing farmers and the launch of new producers has been difficult in South Dakota.
  6. The death of a 27-year-old Brookings County farmer in February and the entrapment of a man in Hughes County in March have highlighted the dangers of handling grain in bins on farms in South Dakota and across the country. Grain bin accidents have plagued farmers for generations, but after a bad year for incidents last year, conditions this year may be even more dangerous due to wet weather in 2019 that led to a late harvest of damp, clumpy grain.
  7. With working conditions ripe for the spread of airborne illnesses, the meatpacking industry and federal regulators did not fully prioritize worker safety despite warnings and suggestions from oversight agencies. Now, as many meat plants, including the Smithfield Foods plant in Sioux Falls, prepare to reopen soon due to a presidential order, experts worry that workers may be subjected to conditions that will continue to put them at risk.
  8. Hog farmers in South Dakota are selling animals at a loss, and may face the prospect of euthanizing pigs, if they cannot find places soon to process their finished animals. The closure of the Smithfield plant in Sioux Falls and other pork processors across the Midwest due to the COVID-19 pandemic has dramatically reduced options for having hogs butchered and has led to a backlog of hogs that are fully grown and must be processed.
  9. As the COVID-19 pandemic lowers the global demand for ethanol-infused gasoline, South Dakota ethanol producers and the farmers who provide them with corn are facing a potential financial crisis. The ethanol market collapse caused by the pandemic comes on the heels of a bad year for the ethanol industry, owing to the trade war with China, a price war among oil-producing nations, and waivers given by the Trump administration that reduced ethanol use by American refineries. In early April, at least two South Dakota ethanol plants had gone idle.
  10. South Dakota cattle ranchers are in a financial crisis caused by unfairness in the pricing system for beef products and by market woes created by the worldwide COVID-19 pandemic that has led to upheaval of eating habits by consumers. Some see government assistance as the only way to stabilize the market and save South Dakota ranchers from bankruptcy.
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