Farmers got a chance to bring their concerns about the year's weather to the experts of SDSU Extension on Monday morning at Mitchell Technical Institute's Nordby Trades Center.
During the two-hour open-house event, anyone in attendance was able to talk one on one with specialists in cover crops, livestock, plant diagnostics and more.
Sara Bauder, an agronomy field specialist with SDSU Extension, said the event came together after crop insurance deadlines arrived at the end of May and many farmers still hadn't done much, if any, planting.
"We've had some drying weather the last couple weeks in some areas, which has been nice, but there's still a lot of questions about delayed planting or crop insurance (and) people wanting to plant cover crops for various reasons, whether that be crop insurance acres or just needing feed for their livestock," Bauder told The Daily Republic.
The event in Mitchell was one of eight originally planned in eastern South Dakota, beginning last week. Bauder said the level of interest she received after publicizing the event led her to add meetings in Faulkton and Aberdeen this Friday.
Experts in attendance at each meeting has varied by location, Bauder said, but in addition to specialists working with SDSU, local insurance agents have participated.
SDSU Extension plant diagnostician Connie Tande has been to all but one of the open-house events. Tande said the biggest plant issue she's seen this year has been root rot, but that her office is open to helping farmers with a variety of other problems.
"I know they're going to be doing a lot of different crops this year, too, than maybe they're used to," Tande said. "They might have more questions, and we just wanted them to know that we're here to help."
Mitchell farmer Craig Stehly said while he's been to multiple meetings hosted by SDSU Extension on cover crops, he wanted to attend Monday's event to learn about what will likely be a full-season cover crop and to make sure he's following crop insurance rules.
"There's a lot of things I have to think about, like what mixes to use, and I have to think about last year's herbicide restrictions and what mixes will benefit the crops for next year and improve the soil quality," Stehly said.
Those who attended Mitchell's meetings weren't all farmers: Pam Browning, a banker from Huron, said she came to get more information on ways to help her clients, such as insight on what cover crops might be beneficial for them this year.
"SDSU always has a lot of good information, overall, with our business," Browning said. "I came specifically, I guess, to discuss prevent plant with some of my customers that are all facing prevent plant, a few deadlines, a few restrictions, etc."
Five meetings hosted by SDSU Extension were held last week, while one was hosted in Kimball on Monday, in addition to the one in Mitchell. Another session will be held from 2 to 4 p.m. Tuesday at the Jerauld County Courthouse in Wessington Springs.
Bauder said the events so far had each hosted between five and 20 people, varying by location and if conditions on the day of an event were good enough that farmers could be out planting instead.
"I always say that as long as someone is here and we're helping someone, that's the goal," she said. "We try to provide a service, and whoever is available can come."