Recent Op-Eds

Representing South Dakota as a Member of the Senate Agriculture Committee is a privilege and responsibility I take very seriously.

I was pleased the Senate recently passed its version of the 2012 Farm Bill by working through more than 70 amendments. This bill will provide adequate risk management for crops and livestock, only when needed, while saving taxpayers more than $23 billion.

I believe this bipartisan, fiscally responsible Farm Bill secures South Dakota’s and our nation’s agriculture industry for the next five years with adequate safety nets and conservation provisions. I am pleased that the Commodity Title used the Aggregate Revenue and Risk Management (ARRM) legislation I introduced last year as the foundation for what is in the Senate Farm Bill. I am also very pleased that this Farm Bill provides additional assistance to fight pine beetles, reauthorizes permanent livestock disaster programs that I included in the last Farm Bill, and includes my common sense sodsaver provision which modifies crop insurance to provide coverage and indemnities according to the productivity of native sod and longstanding grasslands converted to cropland.

South Dakota farmers and ranchers told me on multiple occasions that preservation of crop insurance was their highest priority as we drafted the Farm Bill.

My goal for this Farm Bill was that it be fiscally responsible, which it is, as it saves taxpayers more than $23 billion. During the debate over the past several months, I made certain that spending cuts were carefully considered. It is imperative that our farmers and ranchers can continue to grow and provide a steady, safe, and inexpensive food supply with the least amount of federal farm program assistance. I believe this Farm Bill is a win for all South Dakotans.