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Tuesday, July 23, 2024

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Gov. Whitmer endorses Kamala Harris for president, says she's not leaving Michigan; Grilled by lawmakers on the Trump assassination attempt, Secret Service director says, 'We failed;' Teachers rally at national convention in Houston; Opioid settlement fund fuels anti-addiction battle in Indiana; Nonprofit agency says corporate donations keep programs going.

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Democrats consolidate support behind Vice President Harris, Republicans threaten legal action over changes to the presidential ticket, and a possible bipartisan consensus forms on the failure of the Secret Service to protect former President Trump.

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It's grass-cutting season and with it, rural lawn mower races, Montana's drive-thru blood project is easing shortages, rural Americans spend more on food when transportation costs are tallied, and a lack of good childcare is thwarting rural business owners.

Support grows for threatened SD grasslands

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Wednesday, June 12, 2024   

About 1.6 million acres of Great Plains grasslands were destroyed in 2021 alone, according to a recent report, an area the size of Delaware.

One program is working to help conserve them. The U.S. Department of Agriculture's Grassland Conservation Reserve Program guides South Dakota producers and landowners in grazing and haying practices to enhance conservation. The South Dakota Farm Service Agency said it has helped protect almost 7 million acres of grasslands in the past three years.

Owen Fagerhaug, conservation program manager for the agency, said participants receive several types of technical recommendations.

"What can the acreage support for animal units? There'll be stocking rates, stubble height that needs to be left after the grazing period," Fagerhaug outlined. "Obviously pest management for weed control and invasives on the landscape would have to be controlled."

Fagerhaug noted the 10-15-year contracts temporarily remove the threat of landscape conversion for producers. Registration for the program is open until June 28.

More than three-quarters of South Dakotans said they're more likely to vote for political candidates who support healthy grasslands management, in a 2023 poll from the South Dakota Grassland Coalition, which helped launch a public service campaign called, "Where Good Things Grow."

Jeff Zimprich, board member of the coalition, said voters understand what's at stake.

"They know that grasslands provide clean water, clean air," Zimprich stressed. "They know grasslands build healthy soils. And they appreciate what's involved in the economy as well."

In addition to the livestock industry, healthy grasslands economically support beekeeping, hunting, tourism and more.


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