Kennebec cattle producer supports hands-on research and learning
September 8, 2014
Learning is a process that cow-calf producer, Miles DeJong said doesn't end with graduation.
"It's lifelong and doesn't matter what level of education you have – my dad only had an eighth-grade education but he never stopped learning," said the Kennebec rancher of the strong foundation his dad, Buddy and uncle, Leo, established with a focus on wise management of herd genetics and the land's resources.
DeJong and his wife, Kim, followed in Buddy's footsteps, always looking for opportunities to improve their operation. They were early adopters of AI technology to improve their registered cow/calf herd's genetics and have become known for the quality Maine-Anjou genetics they offer commercial cattle producers, hosting an annual bull sale each February.
"We all need to use our God-given talents to promote good agriculture and one of the best ways to do that is through education," said DeJong, a 1976 Animal Science graduate of SDSU.
During his time at SDSU, DeJong said he gained an appreciation for hands-on implementation of concepts discussed in the classroom. And, like all Animal Science students, he spent time doing just that at the Cow/Calf Unit.
"The cattle industry needs to be able to implement ideas in a hands-on research situation to learn if what is researched in a lab and discussed in textbooks will be effective on a working cattle operation," said DeJong, who is participating in the Send a Cow to College Campaign.
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Funds generated through this campaign will be utilized to construct a new state-of-the-art Cow-Calf Education and Research Facility at SDSU. The Facility has an estimated cost of $4.1 million. A little over half of that total has been raised at this point, some coming from the generosity of individuals, financial institutions, businesses and organizations that have already made substantial contributions to the Facility. However, the funding effort is far from complete.
Building for the Future
The current SDSU Cow/Calf Unit was constructed in the 1950's and a little over a year ago, about half of it was destroyed by fire. Enrollment of students pursuing degrees in Animal Science has doubled in the past few years – and continues to increase.
By participating in the Send a Cow to College campaign, South Dakotans who support agriculture can assist SDSU in providing Animal Science students with the facilities that will prepare them to be competitive in the ever evolving cattle industry.
How you can participate
South Dakota auction market owners understand the program and are willing to provide the opportunity for cattle producers to participate in the Send a Cow to College campaign.
The process is simple, cattlemen like DeJong who are willing to support this cause can complete a Deed of Gift form that is available at their auction market of choice. This transfers ownership of the cow or cows to the SDSU Foundation and relieves cattlemen of any tax consequences for the value of the animals donated to the campaign.
If cattle producers prefer, they can donate calves instead of cows. For those not involved in the cattle business, but would like to support the construction of this center, monetary donations or tax free gifts of grain are also accepted.
For more information, contact Jim Krantz, SDSU Extension Cow/Calf Field Specialist at 605-480-1056. To learn more about DeJong and other cattle producers who are contributing to the Send a Cow to College Campaign visit iGrow.org.