Touchstone Energy® Cooperatives Hosting a Livestock Development Summit to Identify Regional Economic Growth Opportunities

The agricultural economy in South Dakota and southwestern Minnesota offers tremendous growth opportunities in the livestock sector. Farm families and community leaders who are interested in learning more about emerging livestock development opportunities are encouraged to attend a Livestock Development Summit being hosted by the region’s Touchstone Energy® Cooperatives on November 15, 2018, at the South Dakota State University (SDSU) Performing Arts Center in Brookings, S.D.

“Attendees should leave the summit with a much better understanding of the opportunities and growth potential offered by livestock development in their own communities along with the tools and information they need to make decisions on their farm or in their communities,” said Mike Jaspers, business development director, East River Electric Power Cooperative. East River Electric is the wholesale power provider for our region’s Touchstone Energy Cooperatives.

The Livestock Development Summit will address key issues related to livestock development, discuss the most effective and responsible ways to move forward and will connect farmers, leaders and businesses in the industry. It will also present attendees with a better understanding of the challenges, opportunities and growth potential offered by livestock development across South Dakota and southwestern Minnesota.

“We want to open the door for South Dakota and Minnesota livestock producers to seriously consider the opportunity to expand their operation,” said Jaspers. “Often, a livestock producer will mull around the idea to expand for quite a while before taking action on it. We want the Livestock Development Summit to be a catalyst for taking the first steps toward that expansion.”

South Dakota Governor Dennis Daugaard and SDSU President Barry Dunn will serve as featured speakers at the free event, which will also include panels and networking opportunities.

An economic impact panel will discuss the potential economic impact of livestock development on local communities, including ancillary businesses, other farmers, utilities, workforce, schools and infrastructure. Panel participants will be able to provide economic data related to the production and processing of agricultural products to support their positions.

A next generation farmer and agribusiness panel including Millennial farmers will discuss opportunities to come back to the farm and how young entrepreneurs face unique challenges as they try to meet capital and site requirements. Panel participants will share their personal experiences and vision for the next generation of farming in South Dakota and southwestern Minnesota.

A panel on siting, zoning and permitting will focus on how local control is a fundamental tenet of agricultural production and processing. Navigating state and county regulations to get a site approved can be daunting for new livestock producers. The experts on this panel will offer a realistic view of what it takes to get a new livestock operation permitted.

Financial capital is a major sticking point for many livestock operations looking to expand. With that in mind, a financial panel will discuss how to access the right capital for a new livestock operation to help ensure long-term viability and profitability. The panel will include lenders from various banking institutions in the region who have worked with livestock producers on expansions from a financial perspective.

Networking and roundtable opportunities will follow the panel discussions. This portion of the event will help facilitate one-on-one and small group discussions with the panelists and other industry experts who will be available to talk through specific scenarios that individual attendees may have.

To view the full agenda and RSVP for the Livestock Development Summit, please visit