Recent Op-Eds

Nearly every day I meet with groups, agencies, and organizations that are impacted by agriculture production. Some are ranchers and farmers, while others are bankers, car dealers, and lawyers, all of whom take a special interest in agriculture despite not always directly working in agriculture. All of them know that because agriculture is the number one industry in South Dakota, the success of our agriculture producers greatly impacts South Dakota’s economy.

In March, we recognize and celebrate the many contributions of our agricultural producers across South Dakota and our country with Ag Appreciation Day. As a past member of the House Ag Committee and now a member of the Senate Ag Committee I have had unique opportunities to shape and draft the past few Farm Bills and address the needs of South Dakota’s and our nation’s agriculture industry.

Although South Dakota farmers and ranchers are much more at home and comfortable tending to a newborn calf or lamb, or operating a piece of farm equipment, I sincerely appreciate those who take the time from their schedules and farming operations to visit with me as I travel around the state or in my Washington, D.C. office to share their concerns.

South Dakota agricultural producers are very fortunate to have several state-based organizations representing their diverse interests who also provide valuable advice and assistance to me. If I have a question or need information about corn, wheat, soybeans, beef and dairy cattle, hogs, grasslands, or conservation practices, my staff and I know who to call to find accurate answers to our questions or to obtain sound advice about an ag-related issue or legislation.

In spite of last year’s widespread drought, thanks to their hard work, willingness to pay for available risk protection tools like crop insurance, and their use of moisture saving tillage practices and drought tolerant crop genetics, South Dakota farmers and ranchers met the weather-related challenges they faced.

I not only appreciate the safe and affordable food our ag producers provide, but I also appreciate their willingness to pull their weight in addressing the runaway federal spending that is plaguing this country’s economic wellbeing.

Direct payments bring more than $140 million to South Dakota each year, yet South Dakota producers are willing to give up direct payments and other types of assistance in the next Farm Bill. I do not know a single farmer or rancher who would rather receive a government check than profit from what they grow on the farm or ranch.  

As we celebrate Ag Appreciation Day, we take this opportunity to thank all South Dakota farmers, ranchers, all other ag producers, and ag-related businesses for all they do.