Governor-Elect Kristi Noem’s Weekly Column: Gratitude and Tradition

Gratitude and Tradition
By Governor-elect Kristi Noem

Thanksgiving is always an exciting time. Kitchens bustle in preparation for the big turkey dinner, TVs buzz with sounds of football, and families gather together. It’s a time for gratitude and a time for tradition – some of which are sincere and others a bit silly.

For decades, we’ve made it an American tradition to spare two turkeys from the Thanksgiving table through a presidential pardon.

For generations, South Dakota’s turkey producers have raised some of the world’s best turkeys, bringing millions of families together around the dinner table. And this year, it is two Huron-area turkeys that have been honored with the presidential pardon, giving us an opportunity to put South Dakota agriculture on display.

These two turkeys are one of about 5 million turkeys raised in South Dakota each year, the production of which causes ripple effects throughout our ag industry. In fact, turkeys consume around 51,000 tons of soybean meal a year, as well as thousands of bushels of corn.

This is the kind of production we need in South Dakota, which is why I plan to create a Blueprint for Agricultural Economic Development as Governor. With an annual economic impact of $25.6 billion, agriculture is South Dakota’s number one industry. In recent years, however, deflated commodity prices and various natural disasters have dealt a serious blow to the state’s ag economy.

More diversity in ag could help soften future blows, which is why our blueprint will look both at broadening opportunities for existing farms and ranches and helping identify and recruit our next ag-related growth industries.

Without question, it is exciting to see South Dakota agriculture up on the national stage. I am so grateful for the work our turkey producers, farmers, and ranchers put in to ensure our Thanksgiving tables can be filled. I’m thankful for the families and communities that come together this time of year and for the work of our armed forces to ensure we have the freedom to join in fellowship.

Happy Thanksgiving from my family to yours.

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