South Dakota couple raises yaks near Rapid City

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RAPID CITY, S.D. (AP) – A Rapid City-area farmstead is raising animals more accustomed to the cold, high-altitude areas of Tibet and central Asia.

Julie and Jim Smoragiewicz are raising 10 yaks at their Pennington County business, Yak Ridge Cabins and Farmstead.

Julie Smoragiewicz says the yaks enjoy climbing the Black Hills, where they can cool down in creeks and under trees. The animals may get too hot in other areas of South Dakota.

They also turn yak milk into soap, and use their hides and fiber for throws and rugs.

Smoragiewicz calls yaks sustainable animals because they eat less food and create less waste than cattle. The animals can also give birth on their own.

She says yaks have unique personalities, and they’re fun to be around.

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