South Dakota's cattle population down in fed's latest inventory report
'It’s a bad deal for South Dakota’s economy'
Years of drought in South Dakota are dragging down the state’s cattle populations.
Cows, bulls and calves continue to outnumber people living in South Dakota. But the amount of beef grazing pastures, and in stockyards across the state, is dwindling, a trend producers say is being driven by dry weather conditions over the last few years.
“It’s a bad deal for South Dakota’s economy — total,” South Dakota Cattlemen’s Association President Eric Jennings said this week in reference to the USDA’s latest cattle inventory report. “It takes some of our income-producing ability away.
“You’re shutting down part of the factory,” the Spearfish-area cattle producer added.
According to the report, there were 3.55 million of cattle in South Dakota on Jan. 1 — a 3 percent drop from the year prior. Of those, 1.53 million were beef cows, also down by 4 percent from Jan. 1, 2022.
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