Mines students enhancing cattle market software program


Mines students enhancing cattle market software program

A South Dakota entrepreneur is working with local college students to update a software program to better predict the cattle futures market.

Todd Gagne, with the South Dakota School of Mines and Technology, first created the program with his spouse in the early 1990s for a local rancher.

“Essentially what he was doing was looking in the futures market, figuring out when his cattle would be ready to go to market, figuring out what corn price was, deducting all of those costs out, and then if he had enough of a margin, then basically he brought in calves on his property,” said Gagne. “If he didn’t, he just leased the land out.”

In the fall of 2021, Gagne introduced the software to a group of students –Jordan Baumeister, Dustin Reff, and Trevor Borman – and challenged them to enhance the original program using tools like artificial intelligence.

Baumeister recently graduated from Mines and says the goal was to make the software more robust to better predict commodity prices. “We also started to build a web interface as well,” she said. “Our goal was to get all of this automated into a web service.”

Gagne says he hopes to make the program available to producers when it’s finished. “I think a lot of this will just depend on what we find as an outcome in the next two semesters of work,” he said.

In the fall of 2022, Gagne will bring on a new team of students to launch the next phase of the project.