43rd Annual Ranchers Workshop
"Back In the Saddle: Let's Start New for 2022" is the theme for the 43rd Ranchers Workshop. This year the workshop will be held on Tuesday, January 11, 2022 at the Community Events Center in White River, SD. Registration will begin at 9:00 a.m. (CST) and the speakers will start at 10:00 a.m. (CST). Vendor and informational booths will be available to visit from 9:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m.
“Defending South Dakota’s Grasslands – Will the State be the First to Win the War On Woody Encroachment?” is the topic of our first speaker of the day. Dirac Twidwell is an Associate Professor at the University of Nebraska, a Science Advisor for the USDA NRCS in the Great Plains, and a National Science Team member for a new Great Plains Grasslands Biome Framework under NRCS, Working Lands for Wildlife. His program focuses on how relatively simple changes in rangeland vegetation affect societal well-being. His research has shown how natural disasters, collapses in rural livelihoods on working rangelands, the depletion of grassland diversity, social programs like school funding, and the loss of unique cultural heritage are all threatened by the erosion of resilience in rangelands due to woody plant encroachment. Dr. Twidwell has produced a unique series of large-scale experiments with private landowner groups across the Great Plains to create novel solutions to address rangeland threats, improve grassland conservation outcomes, and support agency decision-making at regional and national scales. He is well-published, with over 85 peer-reviewed publications in outlets like Science, Nature journals, and PNAS, and he has been an investigator on nearly $25 million in funding since joining the University of Nebraska in 2013.
The second speaker in the morning, Dr. Jessica Ulrich-Schad, will be presenting on the topic “Ranchers Use of Livestock Pest Products”. Dr. Jessica Ulrich-Schad is an Associate Professor of Environmental & Community Sociology at Utah State University. She also spent four years as an Assistant Professor at South Dakota State University in Brookings and grew up in a ranching and college town in rural western Montana. Much of her research focuses on understanding how agricultural producers make decisions about adopting and maintaining various soil and water conservation practices. Her projects have spanned the Midwest, including numerous studies in Indiana and South Dakota. She seeks to understand producers’ lived experiences through doing interviews and seeks to get a better sense of widespread attitudes and behaviors by doing mail and online surveys. Dr. Ulrich-Schad will be presenting on a USDA-funded project that sought to understand South Dakota producers’ usage of chemical dewormers and the impacts of usage of various types of dewormers on ecosystem functions.
Dr. Karl Oehlke, our third speaker, will begin the afternoon session with his presentation “You Are Not Alone, Managing Mental Health”. Dr. Oehlke is an adult Psychiatric Physician Associate who originated the Farm and Rural Stress Hotline in 2018 as well as a 5th generation agricultural producer (3rd generation on their current homestead) from the Hartford SD area. He currently produces row crops and hay, but previously was also a cow/calf producer in addition to his duties at Behavioral Health including the Farm and Rural Stress Hotline. He attended high school at West Central in Hartford, SD, completed undergraduate studies as well as the Physician Associate program at the University of South Dakota and completed additional training in psychiatry through the University of Nebraska. He has been a physician associate at Avera McKennan Hospital and Avera Medical Group Psychiatry for 18+ years as well as an associate professor with the Sanford School of Medicine during that time. His farming operation is based out of his grandparent’s original homestead where he grew up and his parents still reside. With the help of his family, especially his father, they produce no-till corn and soybeans as well as grass hay.
The fourth and final speaker of the day will be Matthew Diersen, his presentation is titled “Managing Calf Price Risk in 2022”. Matthew (Matt) Diersen earned a B.A. degree in Economics at the University of Minnesota – Morris, an M.S. degree in agricultural economics at North Dakota State University and a Ph.D. in agricultural economics at the University of Illinois. He teaches a course on trading commodity futures and options, complementing his scholarly work focused on pricing mechanisms. His SDSU Extension programming focuses on the interaction of commodity marketing and insurance tools and on changes in the agricultural economy. He actively shares commodity market and agricultural sector analysis with producers, lenders, and the agribusiness community in the northern plains. He enjoys applying portfolio theory and economics principals to everyday life. Originally from Minnesota, Matt lives in Brookings, South Dakota with his family.
The Ranchers Workshop is coordinated by SDSU Extension, the Rosebud Sioux Tribal Ranch, Mellette and Todd County Conservation Districts, Natural Resource Conservation Service, Mellette-Todd County Farm Service Agency, and South Central Resource Conservation and Development Council. If you have any questions call Lealand Schoon-(605) 448-9762, Laurie Chauncey- (605) 828-2456 or Jewell Bork (605) 530-3713.