HURON — When you raise cattle, it’s tough to get a weekend away. But Roscoe farmer Lane Forkel and his wife, Lindsey, said the South Dakota Farmers Union Young Producers Event was worth it.

“There’s so many things that you think you know, but nothing beats bouncing ideas off other farm families to hear what has worked for them,” explains Lindsey, who works off the farm as a Loan Specialist for BankNorth in Warner.

Lane agrees, adding that the speakers covered timely topics.

“All the presenters were very helpful,” Lane says. “In fact, I just called the soil health presenter, Austin Carlson, today to bounce a few more ideas off of him.”

Innerseeding cover crops into corn and soybean acres was among the topics covered during the Soil Health Coalition technician’s talk. Lane is hoping to try innerseeding forage cover crops.

“If I could get another week or two of grazing from cover crops and save my pastures — or save on some hay in the winter, that would be helpful,” Lane says. “I have been thinking about it for a long time, but I just haven’t had time to do more research, so Austin’s talk helped a lot.”

Providing family farmers and ranchers with relevant information and resources is a purpose of the two-day Young Producers Event, explains Karla Hofhenke, of the event that is free to South Dakota Farmers Union (SDFU) members and $50 to non-members.

“Educating family farmers and ranchers is one of several ways Farmers Union supports our state’s agriculture producers,” says Hofhenke, SDFU Executive Director. “Ag is a challenging business, so the more resources and information producers can have, hopefully the better able they are to make their farm or ranch sustainable.”

Along with Carlson’s presentation on soil health, the event featured experts on commodity marketing with Janelle Guericke; estate planning/farm transitioning with Jayna Voss; transitioning from weaning to background or finishing with Warren Rusche, SDSU Extension Beef Feedlot Management Associate; and policy with Mike Stranz, National Farmers Union.

“This event was a good chance to pick up ideas to help out our operation and gave me a good chance to visit with other young producers,” says Brett Stevens, a Miller rancher who raises Gelbvieh/Balancer cattle.

Stevens found value in the commodity marketing presentation given by Guericke.

“The speaker explained how grain basis, calls and puts all worked. As a rancher or farmer, marketing knowledge is so important to protecting our bottom line,” Stevens explains.

Stevens and his wife, Roxanne, raise cattle. Although Roxanne wanted to attend with him, she is a second-grade teacher and needed the time to prepare for the 2021 school year. Stevens said he brought home quite a bit of information to visit with her about, including policy information Farmers Union shared with attendees. “There is so much going on right now in D.C. that impacts our farming and ranching industry. It was nice to talk with the people who are going out there to address our concerns,” Stevens says.

And like the Forkels, Stevens found value in conversations with other South Dakota producers.

To learn more about how South Dakota Farmers Union works to support family farmers and ranchers, visit www.sdfu.org.

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