The Farmer's Daughter: South Dakota Legislature, Looking out for Farmers and Ranchers.
|A cloudy morning at the capitol building in Pierre.|
Last week, as part of the Ag Unity Leadership training, I was fortunate to spend time in Pierre watching the legislature in action. There’s a lot happening this year and it’s clear that agriculture is a priority in our state.
While in Pierre I attended Ag Fest, a gathering of ag groups and South Dakota legislators. It is no secret that agriculture is South Dakota’s number one industry, bringing $25.6 billion to the state’s economy each year, and the vast majority of our legislators understand that a strong ag economy is key to keeping many of our small towns and rural areas in South Dakota thriving. In fact, many legislators are farmers or ranchers themselves — 15 members of the state House of Representatives and 9 members of the Senate list their occupation as a farmer or rancher. These legislators understand how policies and decisions made in Pierre impact agriculture across the state.
However, our representatives and senators can’t make decisions in a vacuum. They need input from their constituents to understand how a bill or issue will impact individual farmers or communities.
Reaching out to your legislator does make a difference, and there are many ways to become more engaged. Both the senate and house have an agriculture committee, and every Tuesday and Thursday they are taking on issues that affect agriculture in South Dakota. You can listen to the committee sessions online. If there’s something you’d like to see changed, call or email your legislators or testify for a bill. Each of the state’s crop and livestock associations work with legislators as well, and can help make connections on key issues. You can make a difference!
Listen to this week's Farmer's Daughter radio segment here: FARMERS_DAUGHTER-FEB_1ST.mp3