South Dakota University : EcoSun Prairie Farms tour is July 15 near Colman

BROOKINGS, S.D. - Producing and marketing grass-finished beef, native plant seed, forage and biofuels from restored grassland are some of the topics at this year’s EcoSun Prairie Farms tour.

The tour is set for Friday, July 15, at EcoSun Prairie Farms near Colman.

EcoSun Prairie Farms, the North Central Sun Grant Center and South Dakota State University will host the event from 1:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. at EcoSun’s 650-acre Prairie Farm, now in its fourth year of operation.

The farm was established to study ways to make a living from restored native prairie on former cropland while making significant environmental improvements.

Scheduled speakers at this year’s tour include ecologist Carter Johnson, giving an overview of the project; soil scientist Tom Schumacher on soil and water improvements; forage scientists Arvid Boe and Vance Owens, discussing grass plantings and yields; range scientist Scott Kronberg on the farm’s grass-finished beef project; wildlife scientist Susan Rupp on wildlife benefits from managed grass; and farm manager Craig Novotny on project management.

A tour of the working farm is part of the day’s events. For more information about EcoSun Prairie Farms, or more details about the field day, visit the EcoSun Web site at

The outdoor event takes place rain or shine, so those attending are advised to dress accordingly. Carpooling is recommended, as parking may be limited.

To find the farm from Interstate 29, take Exit 114, the Flandreau exit. Travel west on 230th Street for about 3.5 miles (2 miles past the junction with Highway 77) to 469th Avenue. Turn south (left) onto 469th Avenue and proceed 2 miles. Turn west (right) onto 232nd Street and proceed about 0.75 mile. The meeting site is on the north (right) side of the road. Do not park at the farmstead (46786 232nd St.); parking areas will be marked.

About South Dakota State University Founded in 1881, South Dakota State University is the state’s Morrill Act land-grant institution as well as its largest, most comprehensive school of higher education. SDSU confers degrees from seven different colleges representing more than 200 majors, minors and specializations. The institution also offers 30 master’s degree programs and 14 Ph.D. programs.

The work of the university is carried out on a residential campus in Brookings, at sites in Sioux Falls, Pierre and Rapid City, and through Cooperative Extension offices and Agricultural Experiment Station research sites across the state.