The mission of dairy extension at SDSU is to help dairy producers improve their lives through an educational process that uses science-based knowledge focused on issues and needs
The rapidly changing technologies and information overload during the last decade have made it difficult for producers to keep up-to-date and find unbiased, reliable sources of information. Dairy Extension through its programs, publications, news releases, as well as one-on-one visits conducted by Educators and Dairy Specialists, expands the scope of research, by spreading the word and acting as a liaison between SDSU and the dairy producer. The timeliness, relevance, and quality of the information presented are key for the success of these programs. South Dakota dairy producers in turn provide Dairy Extension relevant feedback as to research topics based on their current as well as future needs. This ensures that future programming will meet the needs of the clientele by providing planned, focused, impact/output driven programs. The State of South Dakota has unique advantages from a dairy production perspective. An ample supply of high quality forages and industry co-products insures very competitive feed costs at the regional and National levels. It is no wonder then that most of the inquiries and thus programs conducted relate to how to optimize the use of these invaluable resources. Other high priority areas addressed are increased cow comfort and its positive impact on longevity and the production of wholesome milk.
Sustainability of the South Dakota dairy industry is highly dependent on profitability. Increased profitability has to be accomplished in production systems that are competitive not only at the state, but also at the national, and international levels. Extension programs are aimed to address topics that will directly or indirectly result in increased net returns. This has to be accomplished while taking special consideration of the quality of life issue as well as environmental stewardship. Attempting to increase dairy profitability at the expense of either one will be short-lived. It is obvious that all this could not happen without the cooperative efforts and collaborative partnerships with producers, industry, and the federal, state, and local governments.
One unique feature of the SDSU Dairy and Food Science Department is its Dairy Manufacturing plant. The effects of modifying the diet of dairy cows on milk products properties and acceptability by the consumer can be thus critically evaluated. The beneficial health effects of modified dairy products will give them added value in the future. Increased demand for these “functional foods” in the future will result in higher milk prices, and a positive impact in dairy farm net returns. Dairy Extension will have a catalytic role helping dairy farmers produce milk with these characteristics.
The goals of South Dakota State University Dairy Extension are to revitalize the rural communities by enhancing the quality of life of local dairy producers. In Dairy Extension we do not work with livestock or crops, but with the people who raise them. Understanding this difference is vital for Extension Programs to be successful.
The Dairy Farm Safety program is a new multi-state effort by Extension of South Dakota, Minnesota, Iowa, and Nebraska aimed at providing safety training programs on human risk management for dairy producers using a labor force including hispanic workers.