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Last Updated: Thursday, 19 February, 2004, 16:33 GMT
US state recruits British farmers
South Dakota Farm
Farmers must be able to invest about 300,000 in their new business
Farmers struggling to make a living in Yorkshire are being urged to head for the American Mid West.

A team from South Dakota is in the region on the latest stop in a campaign to persuade British farmers to change continents.

The US state says it needs an extra 65,000 cows to meet the milk demands of its expanding dairy industry.

Farmers who express a serious interest will be taken on a visit to South Dakota in April.

One farmer who is thinking of heading west is Tom Rawson who has an organic dairy farm at Thornhill near Dewsbury, West Yorkshire.

He told BBC Look North: "The UK dairy industry has gone into meltdown.

Tom Rawson
Tom Rawson thinks he could have a better future in the US

"The price we are getting for our product is just decreasing all the time.

"The people from South Dakota are promising a higher milk price if we go and set up over there."

One reason for the high demand for milk in South Dakota is a new mozzarella factory.

To move to the state, farmers must be able to invest about 300,000 in their new business and will have to employ four US citizens full-time.

Larry Gabriel, South Dakota's secretary for agriculture, said: "We are very committed to expanding our livestock industry and in particular dairy

"Unfortunately, we don't have enough young South Dakota people who want to set up dairy enterprises."

But a word of caution comes from James Ede of the National Farmers' Union in York.

"Dairy farmers have to look at all the opportunities available," he said.

"But they do need to think of one thing and that is why the good people of South Dakota don't want to go into dairy farming."

Farming subsidies link to be cut
12 Feb 04  |  Scotland

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