Recent Press Releases

Washington, DC —  Senator Tim Johnson (D-SD) and Senator John Thune (R-SD) toured drought stricken areas of South Dakota today. They traveled to six towns, visited with hundreds of South Dakotans and came to one conclusion: that the drought is a natural disaster, and should be treated that way by the federal government.

"Drought aid is imperative at this point," Johnson said. "Many South Dakotans took time out of their workday to come talk to us, and the fact is that this is a disaster as devastating as a hurricane or a tornado. We must act now to try to sustain producers, because this affects every part of our economy from our fields to our main streets."

"The conditions we saw today were devastating. Each time I tour the affected areas I am struck by the overwhelming effects it is having on our family farmers and ranchers, and our economy overall. My heart goes out to those who have worked so hard to provide for their families," Thune said. "I have seen the damage, I have visited with producers and families, and there is no question that emergency relief is a must for these farmers and ranchers. Senator Johnson and I will continue to push for this relief in the Senate and urge our House counterparts to do the same."

The Senators toured the state together hoping to draw attention to a disaster that they both agree is devastating to South Dakota producers. They understand that touring the state is just one step and they hope it will help foster the grassroots support needed to fully illuminate the severity of the drought in the northern plains.

This year there have been numerous attempts in the Senate to secure drought assistance for South Dakota producers. Aid packages have been included in supplemental funding, but then stripped away due to a veto threat by the President and the failure by the House of Representatives to pass drought relief. Funding has also been included in the coming year's agriculture appropriations bill, which has cleared the full Senate Appropriations Committee, and is now awaiting full consideration by the Senate.