Too much going on this weekend! Blogging, designing, Daughter trying to pack to go off to college (Unfortunately, she’s going to the U, as opposed to a school in a nice town) and I finally managed to locate a corgi pup, which I’ll pick up in September.
My wife suggested I have a contest on the War College to name it, but I’d be afraid to see what we come up with.
Anyway, my point is that it was a crazy weekend, so I missed Kristi Noem’s weekly column when it came out – and it’s worth the read:
Fighting for Certainty for our Farmers and Ranchers
By Rep. Kristi Noem
August is a very busy month in South Dakota. Sturgis welcomes the annual motorcycle rally, Mitchell gears up for Dakotafest and families get ready to send kids back to school. As all of these things happen this year, it will be hard ? if not impossible ? to ignore the worsening drought across our state and much of the country.
South Dakotans are well-known for our resilience, but we cannot create rain. That?s why it?s so important that the federal government does its part to provide a safety net to our farmers and ranchers whose livelihoods are threatened by drought.
On August 1, the United States Department of Food and Agriculture (USDA) designated 25 South Dakota counties as disaster areas, giving farmers in these areas access to low-interest emergency loans. USDA also responded to calls from me and a number of my colleagues to open up acres enrolled in ongoing Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) wetlands practices for haying and grazing.
I was also proud that the U.S. House voted on August 2 to reauthorize livestock disaster programs for our drought-stricken producers. As ranchers and livestock owners in South Dakota are well aware, the 2008 Farm Bill failed to provide them with a safety net for the full life of the bill. While the Farm Bill was authorized for five years, livestock disaster programs were only authorized for four. By approving legislation to renew these programs, the House voted to give producers in South Dakota and across the country some certainty. The legislation would reauthorize the Livestock Indemnity Program (LIP), Livestock Forage Disaster Programs (LFP), Emergency Assistance for Livestock, Honeybees, and Farm-raised Fish (ELAP), and the Tree Assistance Program (TAP) for the current year.
I am disappointed the Senate voted to adjourn before taking up this important piece of legislation to give our producers certainty. While this fix to the 2008 Farm Bill is important, so too is getting a new Farm Bill done this year. I have been leading the charge to bring a Farm Bill to the floor and have gathered a group of Republicans and Democrats to join me.
Not long after the House Agriculture Committee passed the Farm Bill on a bipartisan vote of 35-11, I was joined by Democrat Rep. Peter Welch of Vermont in gathering signatures on a letter to leadership calling on them to bring the bill to the floor. All told, 79 Members of Congress, Republican and Democrat, signed onto that letter. And we?re not stopping there. We?ve followed up with this coalition, asking them to make August the month where they educate folks at home and other Members of Congress about the critical importance of getting a Farm Bill done this year.
I am committed to doing a five-year farm bill this year, and will not stop working to get it done.
Congresswoman Kristi Noem and Congressman Rick Berg who is running for the US Senate in North Dakota are holding a press conference on the farm bill on Monday in Sioux Falls. Stay tuned for more on Noem’s efforts for agriculture!