South Dakota becomes attractive to foreign dairymen

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Foreign dairymen – especially those from Europe – face multiple obstacles when they want to expand their dairy herds. Instead of attempting to finance the high costs of this expansion, many are opting to move their farms over the Atlantic to a state more known for its crop production than livestock operations: South Dakota.

Though South Dakota’s dairy industry does not rank among the nation’s top 23 milk-producing states, many qualities are driving these ambitious dairymen to the state. According to a report by the Associated Press, the state offers a vast quantity of land, an abundant supply of grains and crops, and northern European-esque weather perfect for dairy farming.

In addition to the financial draws to moving to South Dakota, foreign dairymen are also looking into sustain or improve their family’s quality of life. As a result, many dairy families are choosing the I-29 corridor.

State officials are also promoting the advantages to move even more dairy farms to the area. David Skaggs, a dairy development with the state’s Department of Agriculture (SDDA), told the AP that there are currently 23 herds with 20,350 cows belonging to such “transplanted” foreign farms. A total of 35 dairies have relocated to South Dakota from other parts of the U.S. as well as Canada and Europe.

In addition to a plea for more dairy cows on the SDDA website, state dairy and agriculture officials travel to events such as the World Dairy Expo. Read, “Foreign dairies eye SD as ideal place to relocate.”

Last year, South Dakota Governor Dennis Daugaard spoke at the World Ag Expo to promote this “cattle roundup.” Daugaard wants dairymen from around the country – and globe – to know the state is an attractive place to dairy. Click here to read more and view the interview.



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