South Dakota Agriculture Secretary Lucas Lentsch is joining his counterpart in North Dakota in calling for more animal agriculture in the state.
Putting livestock back into cropland farming will diversify farm operations and preserve traditions "before we lose the skills of animal husbandry," Lentsch said this week in an address to an agricultural conference in Pierre, the Capital Journal reports.
The emergence of a global grain trade about 40 years ago made it possible for farmers to quit raising animals and make their living solely by raising crops. But livestock can still be an important part of crop production in today's technological farming world, by doing such things as putting nutrients back in the soil naturally, officials said at the Ag Horizons Conference.
North Dakota's Agriculture Department recently launched a $15,000 marketing campaign aimed at strengthening animal agriculture in that state by urging producers to diversify their operations with livestock and encouraging consumers and industry to support farmers and ranchers.
North Dakota Agriculture Commissioner Doug Goehring said livestock can help support producers when crop prices are depressed.
"Through challenge comes opportunity," he said.