PIERRE, S.D. (AP) - The South Dakota Certified Beef program was launched with great fanfare eight years ago, but it has fallen short of its goal of helping farmers and ranchers sell state-branded beef as a premium product commanding higher prices.
Mike Rounds, who was governor at the time, said he hoped people would pay more for beef carrying a state seal of approval. But that hasn't happened, largely because South Dakota hasn't had a large-scale meat packer that would make processing economical.
In the first eight years of the program, farmers and ranchers have enrolled only 16,386 cattle in the program. Only 500 have actually been sold as meat from the program.
Rounds and state officials hope the program will take off once a new packing plant in Aberdeen gets running at full capacity.
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