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It is appropriate that the annual agri-business day program address itself to the current status and future potential of South Dakota's largest industry, the meat animal business. The 1965 program is the fourth in a series designed to probe opportunities for increased economic development of human and physical resources in our state. If maximum development is to take place, we must study every resource, discuss it, and then determine how we might harness it to fit man's social, cultural, and economic goals. South Dakota State University is proud of its long tradition of helping individuals and groups solve problems. But we feel that our first responsibility as educators, both on and off campus, is to kindle ideas and spark imagination. This is a basic resource of leadership. If we can provide South Dakotans with some basic information, stimulate some thinking, and encourage individuals and groups to set up realistic goals or make plans to reach a realistic goal, we have provided a worthwhile service. The livestock industry is now the major source of cash farm income in South Dakota. We know this figure fluctuates around 70% of the total. We also know that the growing of feed required for meat animal production has an influence on land use patterns and on cropping practices throughout the state. The staff participants from South Dakota State University have their work cut out for them today. As economists and specialists, they have a number of alternatives for conducting this session. Some analysts deal only with what has already happened, then take a cautious look at some short-term predictions about price and demand trends. Others talk only of long-term predictions, which allow more flexibility on the part of the "predictor". It is easier to talk about things in the distant future than to answer a specific question as the expected September price of fed cattle. On the other hand, our analysts deserve consideration. They are asked to predict the future on the basis of tangible factors of supply, demand, and alternate investment opportunities. But there is one big tangible factor that shapes economic trends and that is the public itself. Despite this formidable obstacle, your discussion panelists have addressed themselves to worthwhile questions. I hope they will be willing to make some predictions that will help you make decisions about the future of South Dakota’s livestock industry.

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South Dakota State University


Agricultural Economics