North Dakota's Agriculture Department is launching a $15,000 marketing campaign aimed at strengthening animal agriculture in the state.
The campaign will urge producers to diversify their operations with livestock and will encourage consumers and industry to support farmers and ranchers, the Bismarck Tribune reports. The effort will include website material, social media, education activities, videos and others forms of advertisement.
The number of beef cows in North Dakota has remained stable, but the number of dairy cows and hogs has declined dramatically in recent years. Dairy cows have gone from about 49,000 in 2000 to 16,000 today, according to Agriculture Department data, and pigs have declined from 18,500 in 2000 to about 13,900.
"We used to have a lot of livestock on the farm," Agriculture Commissioner Doug Goehring said.
Goehring said that with prices for many crops being depressed, now is a good time for farmers to consider adding animal agriculture back into their operations. Department staffers hope that with many crops delivering losses, farmers will see animal agriculture as a way to make money.
It will likely take at least a year and a half for crop prices to begin going back up slowly, Goehring said, and that producers likely won't enjoy the same high prices as a couple years ago. Adding animal agriculture, he said, will "stop the bleeding."
"When crop prices are down, this is the time when we see more value added with animal agriculture," he said. "Through challenge comes opportunity."