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SDSU Extension Booth at 2023 Dakotafest to Feature Livestock, Soil and Range Experts

BROOKINGS, S.D. – South Dakota State University Extension experts will be at the 2023 Dakotafest to provide information on a range of agricultural and economic issues, from the use of prescribed fire to livestock to weed and soil management.

Dakotafest is Aug. 15-17 on the outskirts of Mitchell, South Dakota. The annual agricultural trade show brings together farmers, ranchers and agricultural industry professionals. It lasts from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. CDT each day.

This year’s SDSU Extension booth will not have scheduled presentations as in prior years but will provide more direct chances for attendees to meet directly with SDSU Extension experts in various subject areas.

Heather Gessner, SDSU Extension Livestock Business Management Field Specialist, said people typically do not want to stop for a 30-minute presentation during Dakotafest, and the change in format allows for more interaction among attendees and SDSU Extension experts.

Stop by booth 216 to visit with SDSU Extension experts, including Sean Kelly, SDSU Extension Range Management Field Specialist, and Pete Bauman, SDSU Extension Natural Resources and Wildlife Field Specialist, about using prescribed burning to control the spread of cedar trees.

“SDSU Extension is showcasing our efforts with producers and communities like the prescribed fire program to control eastern redcedar. Our experts will be on hand to discuss control methods and can set up future farm visits to address this growing problem in South Dakota,” said SDSU Extension Agriculture and Natural Resources Senior Program Leader and Professor Sandy Smart. “In addition, our weeds, crop disease, beef nutrition, soil fertility and economic specialists will be on hand to discuss outlooks, issues, and production opportunities unfolding this year. Dakotafest is a great place to reconnect with old friends and build new relationships with our experts.”

The rotation of experts will include:

  • Eric Jones, SDSU Extension Weed Management Specialist, with information about South Dakota weeds in crops, pastures and lawns;
  • SDSU Extension Swine Specialist Ryan Samuel on swine housing and feeding;
  • SDSU Extension community vitality field specialists on agritourism;
  • Heather Gessner, SDSU Extension Livestock Business Management Field Specialist, and Jack Davis, SDSU Extension Crops Business Management Field Specialist, on 2023 land values and rental rates;
  • John McMaine, SDSU Extension Water Management Engineer, on conservation drainage options for cropland;
  • Warren Rusche, assistant professor and SDSU Extension Feedlot Specialist, and Pete Sexton, associate professor and SDSU Extension Alternative Agricultural Systems Specialist, on the uses of rye; and
  • Ali Nafchi, assistant professor and SDSU Extension Precision Agriculture Specialist, on precision agriculture and enhancing nitrogen efficiency.

One of the largest trade shows in the area, Dakotafest provides SDSU Extension experts a valuable opportunity to meet with producers and community members and hear how their programming efforts are being applied.

“My favorite part is to see all the people you’ve worked with over the years,” Gessner said. “They see you at Dakotafest and they tell you how they’re doing on their plans. It turns into real-world availability and opportunities for people. That interaction and hearing what they’re doing with our information is really rewarding.”

There will also be free SDSU ice cream starting at 1:30 p.m. each day and served until supplies run out. Dakotafest is located at 2300 Spruce St., Mitchell, S.D. Visit the IDEAg Dakotafest website for a full schedule and sponsor list.

For more information, contact Heather Gessner, SDSU Extension Livestock Business Management Field Specialist, at 605-782-3290 or

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