AG Watch

South Dakota governor wooing California dairymen

Thursday, February 13, 2014

An out-of-state governor was in the Central Valley on Wednesday on a recruiting mission. South Dakota's governor is trying to get California dairymen to set up shop in his state.

Gov. Dennis Daugaard (R-South Dakota) says local dairymen have plenty of room to grow in his state, and there's less regulation than in California.

Daugaard is flying into the Central Valley -- the country's dairy capital. For the third year in a row, Daugaard has his sites set on recruitment.

"South Dakota offers some very good advantages for dairying. Our land is low priced, we have lots of forage," said Daugaard.

Daugaard will spend his time in Tulare at the World Ag Expo, talking to California dairymen.

"We've already identified over 400 different sites in several counties that could be considered for location of a dairy," said Daugaard.

The governor says he's already convinced a few dairy owners to make the move. But lifelong dairyman -- and owner of Maddox Dairy -- Stephen Maddox says while the opportunity may be great in a state with less regulation, there's one reason it'll be difficult to persuade the move.

"Anybody that moved back there in the last year or so is going through a little bit of a shock right now. That's one of the things you're going to have to give up if you move out of state, the weather is not so nice as California," said Maddox.

Gov. Daugaard's office claims it's not trying to steal our business owners, unlike Texas Gov. Rick Perry, who launched an ad campaign last year slamming California's business climate.

"We're here looking for dairymen who would be considering starting a new herd in South Dakota, maybe diversifying their operation. It doesn't mean they have to leave California," said Daugaard.

But his efforts to double South Dakota's dairy herd could work, especially since California is in such a dire drought.

Maddox says the governor's effort could also change the dairy perspective from local government.

"Well, sometimes you gotta be far away from home to be appreciated," said Maddox.

Gov. Daugaard will be in Tulare on Thursday for the final day of the World Ag Expo -- hoping to convince a few more dairymen to begin work in the Mount Rushmore state.

(Copyright ©2014 KFSN-TV/DT. All Rights Reserved.)

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ag report, tulare, tulare county, ag watch, rick montanez
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