DANR: Trade the next big opportunity for South Dakota agriculture

With the creation of South Dakota Trade, a public-private partnership aimed at creating new international trade, there’s plenty of hopeful thoughts.
Published: Jul. 18, 2023 at 6:39 PM CDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

WATERTOWN, S.D. (Dakota News Now) - While the challenges for South Dakota’s agricultural industry are some of the biggest talking points at the Governor’s Agriculture Summit in Watertown, it’s biggest opportunities are also creating some buzz.

The ongoing drought and discussions over the federal farm bill are on the minds of many at Lake Area Tech Tuesday afternoon. While the state got off to a rough start coming out of the winter, Department of Agriculture and Natural Resources Secretary Hunter Roberts said western South Dakota is green as it can get, and the rest of the state is hanging on.

“And they needed the reprieve. It’s been a few years without any hay, and crops. It’s been tough moving cattle around. So It’s great that they go that reprieve. The rest of the state, we were dry early. We had a terrible winter, they were dry early. A lot of people are fascinated with how well the crops are hanging on,” Roberts said.

But the exciting opportunity coming up is international trade. With the creation of South Dakota Trade, a public-private partnership aimed at creating new international trade opportunities for South Dakota farmers and producers, there’s plenty of hopeful thoughts.

“It’s a new opportunity for our producers to engage, a new opportunity to sell our products. Looking at trade missions going forward is a neat thing to talk about. Like we talked about earlier, certainly the farm bull discussion is very timely, very important. Very happy with the questions that we’ve had in those discussions. I think it’s been great dialogue,” Roberts said.

“When they’re producing their crops, they need markets to sell those crops into. It’s important for them to have that access. They can’t always be the ones driving that. They’re not the ones necessarily going over there and creating those opportunities. That’s where we step in,” South Dakota Trade President & CEO Luke Lindberg said.

Roberts hopes trade will be a major point for South Dakota’s producers in the future, and the Governor’s Ag Summit as a starting ground for those discussions.

“You know, how do we continue to support international trade. We don’t have that many mouths to feed in South Dakota, so we’ve got to look at other markets. So that’s always a good discussion to have that is a part of our conference today. So I’m hoping that will spark future discussions,” Roberts said.