East River Electric Cooperative

Re-Energizing Livestock Development Summit

To help South Dakota and southwest Minnesota farm families realize the full potential of livestock development in their communities, East River Electric Cooperative hosted the first-ever Re-Energizing Livestock Development Summit. The goal of the summit was to address key issues related to livestock development, discuss the most effective and responsible ways to move forward and connect with other farmers, leaders and businesses in the industry.


Regional Farmers:

Small to mid-size producers who want to grow their operations.

Community Leaders:

Mayors, council members and key agribusinesses and manufacturers.

Regulatory Partners:

State legislators, county commissioners, zoning commissioners and rural water districts.

The daylong event took place on November 15, 2018, at the South Dakota State University (SDSU) Performing Arts Center in Brookings. Over 300 producers, agri-business leaders, ag lenders, state legislators, county commissioners and ag students attended. South Dakota Governor Dennis Daugaard and SDSU President Barry Dunn served as keynote speakers to kick off the event, followed by six expert panel discussions and a networking session.

Economic Impact Panel

An economic impact panel, featuring subject matter experts from SDSU Extension and South Dakota Department of Agriculture (SDDA), discussed the potential economic impact of livestock development on local communities.

Farmer Panel

A next-generation farmer and agribusiness panel shared their personal experiences and vision for the next generation of farming in South Dakota and southwestern Minnesota.

Regulatory Panel

A panel on siting, zoning and permitting offered a realistic view of what it takes to get a new livestock operation permitted.

Financial Panel

A panel of ag lenders discussed how to access the right capital to help ensure long-term viability and profitability.


The event concluded with an opportunity to network through one-on-one and small group discussions with the panelists and other industry experts.

Follow Up

East River Electric is working with local cooperatives throughout the region to host mini Livestock Development Summits. These smaller events include the following elements:

  • Video highlights from the Re-Energizing Livestock Development Summit.
  • Onsite visit to a local swine or dairy operation.
  • One panel featuring a SDDA representative, a SDSU Extension Specialist, one or two county commissioners, one or two local young livestock producers and a local ag lender.

"We appreciate the assistance that Paulsen provided in ensuring the success of our Livestock Development Summit. Paulsen helped with everything from sourcing panelists and featured speakers to designing the event’s materials. We were pleased with the event’s outcome and exceeded our original attendance goal. We’ve also already received interest in future local summits."

--Mike Jaspers, Business Development Director, East River Electric Power Cooperative

More Work

American Rambouillet Sheep Breeders Association

South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks

Kubota Turf