The average age of agriculture producers in the U.S. is 58 and has been steadily rising over the last several decades. As the large cohort of older producers retires, ensuring that beginning producers are successful as their replacements is paramount. The goal of the beefSD program has been to provide a curriculum to beginning producers that equips them with the tools and capacity to make wise management decisions that lead to economic, ecological, and sociological sustainability and contribute to ongoing agricultural production, land stewardship, and rural community viability. The objective of this curriculum is to provide them with knowledge of the entire beef industry and the skills to assess change factors that will influence their economic sustainability. beefSD is a learning community experience that takes beef producers in South Dakota through an intensive look at their business. By developing management skills, becoming aware of enterprise development, and networking, producers have made major shifts in their business that in turn supports their rural communities. The program was initiated in the fall of 2010. Three cohorts have completed the program which include 111 people from 69 operations from across the state. Currently, Class 4 has completed over half of the two-year program with 26 participants from 16 operations from across the state. Each class has had the same key foundational building blocks: educational workshops, case study mentors, ranch-to-rail carcass evaluation, travel study trips and network development.
South Dakota State University
Copyright © 2020 the Authors
Animal Science, Department of, "beefSD: Creating Learning Communities to Improve Management Capacity of Beginning Beef Producers" (2020). SDSU Beef Day 2020 Summary Publication. 10.