When Calvin Hove’s dad bought their place near Sisseton, South Dakota in 1958, the property had two functions. One side was pasture, the other side was where they made hay and fed the cattle. Since then, things have changed a lot. Calvin’s son Mark has worked with a variety of partners to develop more livestock water sources and increase the number of pastures. By managing the grass and water they have, Mark says they’ve been able to add ten to thirty animals per pasture. Even in dry years the new system is working and he’s found that having some grass left in the fall gives them a huge start in the spring.
In this 6:17 video, you’ll also hear from two of the people the Hove family has worked with over the years to enhance their operation: Pete Bauman, South Dakota State University Extension and Brian Pauly, South Dakota Game Fish and Parks. Mark Hove says that the biodiversity and management practices they’ve worked on together have reduced weed problems and improved animal health. He says there’s less foot rot and eye problems, and cattle are quieter and gaining better than in the past.
Looking out for rancher profitability is something Bauman says is really important and he notes that “If we don’t keep the people profitable, knowledgeable and…sustainable, everything we do as resource professionals doesn’t really matter.”
Enjoy this visit to the Hove Ranch and think about how you might work with partners to improve water, grass, biodiversity and profit on your place.