South Dakota Secretary of Agriculture Lucas Lentsch notes that his states has bumped Missouri from the United States Department of Agriculture’s "23 major dairy state" list. USDA made the announcement last month in its February milk production report.
The 23 major dairy states account for the vast majority of milk production in the United States. In 2013, for example, they produced more than 93% of the country 201 billion lb. of milk.
South Dakota produced 2 billion lb. of milk in 2013 compared to Missouri’s 1.3 billion pounds. While Missouri continues to lose milk and cows, South Dakota continues to add both.
In 2013, it was home to 93,000 cows. And in the last six months, says Lentsch, South Dakota counties have issued permits for 20,750 more cows.
The state has instituted a unique County Site Analysis Program in 2013. The tool assists counties in identifying sites for potential development where dairies would be welcomed. The effort is leading to a friendlier permitting process statewide for dairy producers. The program analyzes local zoning ordinances, permitting requirements, infrastructure resources, water availability, access to the county and state road network, and proximity to other facilities.
Since its launch, 26 of South Dakota’s 66 counties have signed up for the program. Four "pilot" counties have completed the process, resulting in identifying more than 400 potential CAFO sites. Outreach to landowners has begun, and plans are underway to have 11 more counties completed by July 2014.
The benefit is that when interested dairy producers visit South Dakota, they don’t have to wander around, looking for potential sites or trying to figure out where to start.