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August in South Dakota

August 24, 2007

A few weeks ago I wrote about how much there is to explore in South Dakota. When the Senate went into recess for the month of August, I came home to talk with people and hear about issues important to them and see first-hand a number of exciting things that are happening across our state.

As I traversed the diverse aspects of our state, I had renewed excitement about the abundance of renewable energy our state holds. Earlier this month I visited a wind farm outside of Highmore where I saw up close the capability South Dakota has to be a leader in clean, renewable energy. I am confident that we can balance our wind energy development with environmental concerns and make South Dakota a top wind energy producer. Also, ethanol production continues to grow in South Dakota. I was pleased to participate in the opening of the new ethanol plant in Redfield. Without question, the growth in renewable energy production continues to benefit our state and the thousands of individuals and family farmers that are part of a growing sector in South Dakota's economy.

Agriculture is still central to our state's economy, and this is nowhere more apparent than at the annual Dakotafest in Mitchell. This year I had the privilege of participating in a Farm Forum where producers were able to ask questions and offer their insights on agriculture policy. I am happy to have all of this advice and input as I return to Washington to write the Senate's farm bill as a member of the Senate Ag Committee. I also had the opportunity to meet more directly with producer groups, both at Dakotafest and at Farm Bill forums I hosted around the state.

I was also reminded of the uncertainty the weather can bring - both as parts of our state continue to experience the impacts of the drought, and as much awaited rain came, and then kept coming, leaving the residents of Mobridge, Hermosa, and Piedmont to deal with the devastation that comes with flooding. I hope we can all work together to help restore their lives to normal.

Even with the Senate in recess, August is a very busy month. I have met with people all over the state, from tribal elders to doctors and nurses, business owners to farmers and ranchers. It is always good to hear directly from the people I am fortunate enough to represent and I hope that you will continue to be in contact and let me know what we can do to continue to make South Dakota such a wonderful place to call home.