SDSU Extension is now accepting applications for beefSD Class 4.

BeefSD is an intensive two-year educational program designed to take participants to the next level in beef production. Class 4 is scheduled to start in the fall of 2018.  To date, 110 people from 62 South Dakota cattle operations have completed the program.

“Participation in beefSD is an excellent opportunity for beginning producers to increase knowledge and understanding of all aspects of the beef industry and develop the skills needed to be successful,” said Adele Harty, SDSU Extension Cow/Calf Field Specialist.

All are welcome to apply, but preference will be given to applicants who have been making farming and ranching management decisions for 10 years or less of their adult life.

“Many people have been in the beef industry from a young age, but for this program, consider how long it has been since formal education (i.e. high school/post secondary) and when you began making management decisions,” Harty explained.

If an applicant is not currently involved in beef production, the applicant must clearly define a plan for future involvement.

SDSU Extension will be accepting up to 20 operations into the program. It is strongly encouraged that husbands and wives, siblings or direct family members apply as one operation. 

The beefSD program consists of six main components spread over the two-year period:

1.    Interactive workshops

2.    Case studies of successful beef cattle enterprises

3.    Web-based interaction

4.    Mentoring

5.    Travel study trips

6.    Post-weaning calf performance evaluation

Past participants in the class have found great value in beefSD and encourage others to take advantage of the opportunity to learn more about the industry and the value of networking. 

“I’m not afraid to reach out to someone if I have a question about something. I really think that networking is one of the most important tools you can have and it costs you nothing to make new friends and acquaintances.  Sometimes, it really is “who you know, not what you know,” said Brianna Jones, a cattle producer from Midland, and a member of class 2. “Because the “who” that you know may have the answers you need. And knowing where to look and who to ask is a huge first step in finding what you want to know.’” 

Registration deadline is July 20, 2018

When asked to value the program one participant said, “$60,000 - the amount I made changing marketing plans. $0 - the amount we lost in an estate transfer. Priceless - the value of knowledge gained.”

SDSU Extension received support from various partners to provide this educational opportunity to beginning beef producers across South Dakota, including: U.S. Department of Agriculture National Institute of Food and Agriculture, North Central Risk Management Education Center, Pioneer Bank and Trust and South Dakota  Farm Bureau Federation.

Detailed information and the application forms are available on the South Dakota Farm Bureau website at and must be completed and submitted by July 20, 2018.  

Applications can be submitted by mail or email to Ken Olson, Professor & SDSU Extension Beef Specialist at: SDSU West River Ag Center, 1905 Plaza Blvd, Rapid City, SD 57702 or

For questions or more information about the program, contact Ken Olson at 605-394-2236 or or Stacy Hadrick, beefSD Coordinator at 605-374-1195 or

SDSU Extension Contact:

Adele Harty, SDSU Extension Cow/Calf Field Specialist